Friday, May 15, 2009

A Q&A with Mary Ostyn of Owlhaven, author of "A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family"

Mary Ostyn, a work-at-home mom of 10 children and blogger at the ever-popular parenting and frugal-living blog Owlhaven, took some time to chat with me about parenting, juggling work and family, and her fantastic new book, A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family.

A short review of her book is live at my Affordable Luxuries shopping blog, where I'm also hosting a giveaway. The book is geared for moms of many, but really is a wonderfully helpful, down-to-earth parenting guide for families with any number of kids. It is one of the very, very few parenting books on my short list. Click over to read the review, and be sure to enter the contest (it's easy -- just leave your best parenting hack in the comments, and I'll select a winner via Random Number Generator on Friday, May 22, 2009).

While you're at Work It, Mom!, be sure to read my interview with Mary, in which she talks about everything from the challenges of raising a large family, to her decision to adopt (two of her sons are from Korea, and four of her daughters are from Ethiopia). Here's an excerpt, to get you started:
Your family is unusual not just because of its size, but also because you and your husband chose to add to your family via adoption. What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in deciding to adopt?

My husband's first reaction to the idea of adoption was, "Are you nuts? We already have 4 kids!" It took awhile for him to decide that we really could do this and that it would enrich our lives. Once he decided to go forward, he never looked back. And the blessings have been greater than we could have even imagined.

How do you manage to juggle the needs of so many people without losing sight of any of them -- or of yourself?

Two keys for me are homeschooling and being a work-at-home mom. We are together for most of every day, which gives me more time to focus on the kids. My husband and I also try to "divide and conquer" whenever possible: We run errands or do projects or play games with a couple kids at a time, which gives us more time to interact with them. We also encourage kids to help each other. The parents are always the main nurturers, but it is really sweet to see a big brother help a little one with a math problem, or a big sister making cookies with a younger one. That kind of interaction enriches everyone. We don't get it perfect every day, but I think in the long haul we are doing okay. As far as finding time for myself, I'm a night owl -- I can often be found late at night writing on my blog or chatting on facebook with one of my grown up daughters.

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