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October 08, 2012


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Sweet reaction of a lovely mom having tons of love for her kids. Raising kids is really a challenging job as it tastes your patience at each level and pushes you to your enduring limit. But in that process you get more mature. Your love for your kids grows step by step and respect and bonding of your kids towards yourself increases in the same way.

I hear ya, sister.

I have four kids and we don't just visit, we INVADE. Our path of destruction is wide.

If you can't see yourself having fun, DON'T DO IT. Don't set yourself (or the kids) up to fail. Enjoy outings where they're contained, entertained and you can sit and relax -- the park, a Playland, a friend's (who also has a boatload of kids).

I keep reminding myself that someday, they'll be gone and I'll miss these days.

Thank you for this! I have 4 - 12, 9, 7 and 15 months - and I feel like the terrible mom when I tell the older ones yet again "no, we cannot go to the fair, out to dinner, etc etc." It is all I can do to get through the days/weeks with food in the lunchboxes and clean clothes on their bodies. An upcoming visit from my MIL has me in a panic because I don't know when I'm going to clean the house. If I clean in advance, the baby just wreaks havoc all over again, but the last-minute cleaning ends up not really cleaning up completely. I keep telling myself that the 15 month old will grow up eventually, start sleeping regularly and stop nursing 2+ times each night...

So ironic to read this tonight. I was JUST talking to my husband about how hard it was to work from home now with 4 kids vs. when I used to with just 2 at the same age. I thought I could just jump right back in. :) Nice to hear others point out its the age (ours are 9, 6, 2, 1--and the younger two are becoming a "double trouble" tag team of destruction.

4 is beautiful. That's what we have (10,8,4 and 3), and it's as tough as it is wonderful. We occasionally lose the plot (does that translate across the Atlantic? Means we get messy, angry and shouty), know that we shouldn't and regret it later. And we wonder, as you do, whether this will be how the children will remember their childhood, but hope that the much more frequent times of insane and funny nothingness and everythingness are what they will remember more.

We occasionally (it's dad here) also look at parents of one and two, and talk about what more things we'd be doing right now if we had stopped at two. But you soon realise that two kids stops some parents from doing stuff as much as four. That most 1 kid families get as much shouting and joy as those of 3. I think that you do what you do however many you have, and though the individual bits and balance may vary, the heartache and joy in total is probably about the same.

And as for what having more kids stops you from doing? Well, we just recently took them all out to travel around Latin America for 6 months. People told us in equal measure that we were brave and crazy. But you know what? I can think of little saner than taking our wonderful family to see the world a little. And after that, you do wonder what it is exactly that's so important that having 4, 3 or 2 kids stops you from doing?

Oh my word, thank you.
I have 4 kids- 7 year old boy, 5 year old girl, twin one year old girls.
There is no normal anymore.
My husband works 6 days a week and the weekends are the worst because those are usually his late nights.
I am now a stay at home, looking for work outside the home, mom and you know what? I'm going INSANE.
There is no normal for me.
I am such a control freak about certain things that when they aren't just so I just say screw it.
The thought of going places with all 4 kids is more often than not completely overwhelming and daunting and then when I do try it I end up so exhausted and frustrated that the entire experience is ruined.

I'll stop here...but know, that this spoke to me more than anything I've read in quite some time!
Thank you.

Tired is normal. Cranky is expected. Heck, women without 4,3,2, or even one kid get overwhelmed. Sean sent Briar home from the bus stop because she had sauce on her face this morning and "her hands were yellowish." I have no words, I wiped her clean and 8 hours later picked her up. "How was your day?" She smiled, "Fine I guess, but my hands are still yellow." Then she shrugged.

They don't see half of what we mentally apologize for. You are nothing short of amazing, messy, short fused or whatever. Still amazing.

I admire the fact that your "breaking point" is 4 kids, all younger than 10 (or thereabouts?).

I can barely hold it together with 2 kids of my (certain) ethnical background. Amount of noise/mess/craziness is deafening/depressing/maddening. It turns out, apple does not fall far from the tree - they are MY kids after all. ;-)

I would say it does not get easier, just we parents learn to stop obsessing over Martha-Stewart-home. And grow thick skin (over ears).

In just a couple of years, the little ones will be like your big ones and it will be easier to leave, at least.

I have two and sometimes I'm jealous of everyone else, mostly because I honestly feel like I'm the only one these days that stopped at 2. Everyone else kept going. And it makes me a bit sad.

I recently made the same revelation as you-- that what's the point in having a clean house if my kids remember me as an evil monster? So what if things are messier now? So what if I didn't get to cleaning the floor today?

If my husband comes home and I'm actually smiling and nobody has been sent to a room for eternity-- it is worth it.

Oh, I needed to read this and know that someone else feels this way sometimes. We just had some relatives over for my son's 3rd birthday and my 3 kids were running around and yelling and just making SO much noise. I wasn't really thinking about it until I saw the look on my aunt's face and heard her say that you need a valium before coming to my house. I just felt so defeated.

I have to agree with a lot of people. I don't always think it's the number of kids you have, more the ages. Something has recently switched in my house. My girls are older and now my son is four and just in the past say three months somehow he's gotten easier to deal with in public. No running off, no screeching (only in public do I get this lucky), just in general it's gotten all easier.

You'll get there. And? You don't have to go to everything. Your kids really won't know the difference.

Know what I say? Have your own damn chili cookoff. With that many kids, who needs friends? You've got all the love and happiness one needs right in your own house! As an only child with an only child, that's what I envy about big families.

When they have a take down fight in the parking lot of your Dad's golf club in broad daylight before a fancy dinner, I think more than one is a challenge, no matter how old they are.

I wish I was joking.

Oh thank you all so much. Seriously. It's so true that the age does matter.

And Tiffany, I have AMAZING neighbors. In fact. one just took 2 of my kids home from the grocery store for me AND made me dinner the other day. I'm very lucky.

I have a great girlfriend who has 4 kids- 15,7, and twins 4. I have one, age 15. When I go to her house, it is chaotic, but Heather and her husband handle it with such grace. I love that they joke about the craziness with a glass of wine in their hand, while offering you one as you walk through the door- as if to say 'you're going to need this'. I don't often see them out with all of the kids at the same time- it's a tag team effort, as well as grandparents and friends that help out, but the kids all are happy.
I know that she doesn't have time to read all the daily emails that the school sends, so I text her important school reminders (just the really important stuff), which she is thankful for, like don't forget such and such meeting tonight.
Even though you have a few more kids, aren't there neighbors or friends that you could swap care with? I offer to watch Heather's littles, and I don't have kids that age...

Oh my yes to all of this in the comments and your post. I feel so in the thick of it. It finally hit my husband this weekend to stop planning on all those damn festivals on the weekends because we never have any fun. He said he finally realized that to have a good day you have to set the bar REALLY LOW. I try to remember that each day.

Especially today when I felt like insane, pmsing, screechy mom who wanted to enjoy her kids but all three whining all morning at one time on a constant loop, throwing peanut butter on the floor, eating lip liner and getting into the a pile of clean laundry with jelly hands was about all I was going to get. Yeah..

In the thick of it indeed. I'm going to re-read this post when I feel insane - probably about 4 pm today.

I remember those days. Still have them sometimes, since the youngest is ADHD, but now that said youngest is almost 6? SO MUCH EASIER. They can buckle themselves in the car. They don't need so much rightontopofthem supervision. They can handle minor crises of their own and get to me promptly when they need me. They can sweep/vacuum the floor when they spill cereal all over the floor. Or, when they make magic snow in a test tube and don't measure properly and get magic snow all over the blasted kitchen. They will go to friends' houses, different friends' houses, and you will find yourself just delighted that there's only two or one or, blissfully, none around for a few hours. You've got probably two more years and then the intensity will lessen some.

Good for you for recognizing what you need to do FOR YOU to keep things manageable.

I would give anything to have your chaos. My 4yr old begs for a brother (and a sister) and I am no longer capable of giving him one. Talk about guilt.

You're in the thick of it, friend. Not only do you have four kids, but you have four LITTLE kids.

I remember well when I threw in the towel on living a "normal" (for a smaller family, that is) life when my brood of five were younger. I remember clearly deciding that, no - at least not as an expectation or a general rule - we were *not going to go to festivals, art fairs, the beach, the zoo, out to dinner, etc, all together.

Of course we sometimes did anyway, particularly when it was a special occasion and/or my husband or another family member was available to help; but simply removing that expectation from myself was such a huge relief.

Now that the kids are bigger - my oldest is almost 15, youngest 3.5 - my life is so completely different. Not only can we do all that stuff, but I have actual, real teenage HELP. It seems to have changed overnight from when I had a toddler plus a gaggle of rambunctious boys.

Still, we often divide and conquer because I've learned that it's not always worth the hassle of taking all the kids someplace. For example, the end-of-year school picnic is a complete nightmare with a toddler running all over in a sea of kids, trying to play on not-developmentally-appropriate playground equipment while huge fifth graders go barreling down the slides. I did that twice and then realized - what is the point? So I started leaving Clara at home and just taking the boys.

You do have so much time to do all the "fun stuff" you're missing out on now. My family (4 kids) didn't make it to Disney until I was 14, but I don't regret not going at 4; I'm just glad we went. If we'd never made it, that would have been OK, too.

I know you know all this logically. Just remember that your "new normal" isn't less-than; chilling at home is just a different kind of awesome. (And a whole lot better than going to a chili cookoff with a slightly-insane mother.)

The first thing you should do is rank the children from most-to-least favorite. Then just focus on the two at the top of the list. That's what I do, and I only have the two.

I have two and totally marvel at people with just one. I mean, the only way we got the second was an Elmo video. (Thanks, Elmo. It's ALL your fault.) Amelia is right. I should have slept more. And I should have started a little earlier so I wouldn't be facing 56 with a 15 year old daughter. The mere thought of that sends me hiding under all the covers. But I didn't. Anyway, the grass is always greener. We don't see behind the scenes of those one kid families. Everyone has challenges. What is easy for me eludes someone else. The things I struggle with don't cause others to break a sweat. This is a beautiful post and we all need to make our own way.

Some of it is age: You have one more than me (but I have a dog! does that count a little?) and now that my youngest is 8, life is SO SO SO different. Last night, we sat around eating dinner on the couch (a rare treat), and I thought about how easy dinnertime was now. I remember how exhausting mealtime used to be---ditto bedtime, getting in the car, dressing for playing in the snow. . .etc etc. In a few years, you'll open the door, yell, "run down the street to the chili party and I'll be there in a few" and you won't give it a second thought.

I just have the two ... for now. I also find myself envying my friends who just have one little wiggler... It seemed so hard in the beginning when we had just the Sass Monkey... I try and be a good fiend and listen to them go on and on about how hard it is to get out the door... but all I can think is "Oh, honey. Just you wait." When I was pregnant with my second, my Grandma (who has 6)told me that adding a second was chaotic but that after the shock of 2, it's smooth sailing. I'm convinced she is a crazy lady and is suffering from a severe case of PTKD (Post-Traumatic Kid Disorder). Your family sounds perfect and like SO MUCH FUN!


i love and needed this post. i was going to write some pithy paragraph about my chaotic life with 3 age 6 and under...but i am too tired and i just love this post. the end.

Yesterday afternoon I went to a memorial service before hosting a two-kid, put-together family for dinner. I came home, still tear-streaked, and frantically picked up the mess that had accumulated while I was gone -- not because I cared so much, but because I cared what they thought.

Sometimes I've got a handle on sanity, and sometimes it still eludes me.

Yeah, I have two and I long for the day of one (or shhhh... don't tell anyone, none!) I mean, I love them. Adore them, so glad I had them. But I miss money, and time, and uninterrupted sleep. Two means we can't ship one off to the grandparents and then have the house to ourselves for some grown up fun time. (Nana can't handle two kids at once! weirdo)
I totally get it. I'm so glad I had kids, but damn I should have slept more before I did.

That's funny. I only have 3 kids for now and I am envious of my friends with 1 kid, what I call the luxury kid, bc not only is it super easy to do everything with them, they're also super well-behaved bc their parents have tons of time to be on top of them. Also the parents haven't had another kid yet so they totally think *they* are those parents that have it together (not like you who can't keep your brood under control) and I just miss being that blissfully unaware sometimes.

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