Good news, everybody! Abu Halen has decided to monetize his blog by allowing me to contribute posts for a mere $50 a pop. Sweet deal, no? But wait, it gets better: since we share all our money in a single bank account, the transactions are oh so easy.

So, now that I pretty much have free reign to the blog and can say anything I want without fear of retribution, it's time for introductions. I'm Um Halen--the mother of one son and three daughters. I am the reason Abu Halen's life is full of joy and happiness. I'm his inspiration. You're welcome.

And now, without further ado, here's my first little blog post:

I consider Violet to be my last child—that is, the last child I’ll give birth to. It’s not that I don’t want to have more children, it’s just that each pregnancy has been more difficult than the one before. Children come at a price, and I don’t think my body can pay the bill another time.

That said, I love my kids, and for all the burden they’ve imposed on my life and body, they’ve given me treasure in return. In the weeks following the birth of my first three babies I felt like my infants were consuming me—that they were fattening up not only on my milk but also on my life. As they grew older, there were weeks when I lost my temper as often as they did—and that definitely wasn’t the me I had grown up with.

But as I look back at the journals of my life (I now have twenty-one years’ worth of them), I can see that it wasn’t such a bad thing to leave behind the me I grew up with. In fact, my journals really didn’t start becoming entertaining until my children came on the scene.

What have your children done to YOUR life?