Our Story Begins:
Parenting Problem Or Matter Of Perspective? 

How many of you have gotten that “look”?

You know which one I’m talking about . . . although those of you who are the “average” parent – the 2.5 children with the picket fence and golden retriever in the yard – you have no idea what I’m talking about.

I first started getting that “look” after the twins were born. To review: I have four kids: two girls, Abbi and Hannah; twin boys, Noah and Sam. Their ages go from almost 18 to 13 to 9. It wasn’t always easy, it was a difficult road.

Why? A year into marriage, very young, just determining our new life as a couple, Andrea got pregnant. She freaked out – and that’s an understatement. I didn’t and in 10 months we had our first child.


Abbi was messy, silly, and had a problem with her digestive system. She threw up anything – milk, formula, breast milk – some protein was messed up that caused her to vomit like the girl in The Exorcist. I had to make her formula – four times a day – from scratch, at a massive cost. Her diapers were . . . let’s just call them “messy.”  I changed diapers – changed her first diaper, as a matter of fact. I got her to fall asleep when no one else could, getting her the nickname “snuggle” because of how she snuggled up in my arms.


Then came Hannah. First, some hormone test said she would be born with birth defects and we were “given options” for what to do with the pregnancy. We had an amniocentesis. The test was wrong. When Andrea was in labor, she nearly died on the operating table. Hannah ended up being born on my birthday. Andrea was told she couldn’t have kids again due to the damage during childbirth, something we were okay with since we had two. Then, four years later, Andrea got very ill.  She was told, due to the damage done during Hannah’s birth, there was a high likelihood she had a problem that could lead to cancer.  We were preparing for years of tests and ultrasounds.  She might be sick a long time.  Then came the news – no cancer, you’re not sick.  Instead you’re pregnant.  Oh, and did we mention, it’s twins?! 


 That’s when the “looks” started; the “oh . . . you have four” look.

“How do you do that?!  Just taking care of one is so much work!”

That’s a common thing.

Then, last year, I  lost my wife, they lost their mom.  The look became “Oh . . . you’re taking care of four.  ALONE!”

Here’s a secret, folks.  It’s not work.

Is it hard? Of course.  Do I go insane, yell, scream, punish, holler, and pull out my hair? Sure. Do I often wonder why, for the love of God my son  can have one shoe with no possible idea where the other could be?!  Yes. Constantly.


But here’s the thing: I dealt with slimy baby food and horrible smelling diaper pails. That never bothered me because I also got days alone at the ice-cream parlor.  I got a daughter born on my birthday! I got two boys who are constantly happy. Where I deal with a broken arm because one tried to skip three monkey bars at a time, I get to jump in leaf piles like I’m nine-years-old again. I play, jump, sing, dance (badly) and watch in pride with one daughter’s acting and another’s guitar playing.

This isn’t work, folks.  Work is what makes you money and is difficult. It takes time you don’t want to spend doing something and you look at the clock until you get to go home. My kids have never amounted to work. For the colds, cleanups, doctor visits and sadness there’s joy, love, elation and lots of hugs and kisses. Every day.

When you treat anything like a job it becomes work.  I never want them to feel like they’re that kind of burden.  They’re simply not.

What about you?  Do your kids get the impression you’re working too hard on them? Do you treat your kids like the little blessings in your life or are they work?

 More From GEM:

Our Story Begins: Hang On! Can’t Dad Be Nurturing Too? (VIDEO)

Our Story Begins: Parents.. Are You Hearing But Not LISTENING?

Scenes From The Front Lines: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California.  A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins, is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.