The other day my husband and I did the maths, and found out I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding for a total of…wait for it… 73 months.That’s 6 years. SIX. Our eldest, Emily, is currently 7 years old.
So except for the obvious years of my life 🙂 , what is life really like for a mom of four, you ask?
Step into my life for a minute.
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- Taking all four out – anywhere – gets me stares.
“Are they all yours?” “Whoa, that’s a lot of kids!” “Better you than me…” “Same dad?” “Did you plan them all?” “Good Luck. Seriously.”
Firstly, how is my sex-life or our family planning any of your business? Since when is it OK to ask people that? Thanks for the luck (and all your unsolicited comments), but I actually don’t need it. They are beautiful and sweet and fun to have around and mostly well-behaved children.
- They’re not always sweet, or fun to have around, or well-behaved.
Like all other children in this universe, they can sometimes really be too much. Too loud. Too busy. Too colourful. Too happy. Or irritable. And fight with their siblings. Or singing the damn Baby Shark song.
Now imagine that … TIMES FOUR. Can you say sensory over-stimulation?
- Pregnancy brain? Try Mom-brain.
It’s a thing. It truly is. Moms of four constantly have about 734 browser tabs open at all times. Did Emily take her lunch? Did I pack lunch?! When are the library books due? Is today Tuesday? Tuesdays are early pickup. Why is Alexanders socks still on the couch? I gave it to him this morning to put on! Did he go to school (again) without any socks? Why do I not care? Did Nika take a bath last night? We need to buy wet wipes. And chocolates. Loads of it. Both.
And at the same time, 2 or more of those tabs (also known as children) are talking or singing or asking questions, or just trying to see how loud their voices can truly go… So please excuse me for not replying to to your text. From last week. Asking me why I haven’t been responding to your texts. From two weeks ago. Mom-brain is a real thing. Our brains are slightly mush.
- Showers have been reduced to touching water, clean if you must, and jump out.
And not because of water restrictions. The other day, I finally had all four fed and happy watching a movie with dad in the TV room. This was my chance to take peaceful shower where I can actually get to wash my hair with grown-up shampoo!
Just as my body rejoiced with the healing touch of warm water sprinkling across my body, Number 3 came in and complained about Number 1 that took her doll. “Tell Number 1 to give it back, it’s your birthday gift.” Sorted.
One minute later, Number 2 entered asking for an apple. YOUR DAD IS LITTERALLY SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU ON THE COUCH!!!!
- Also, am I the only one hearing babies cry while in the shower?!
No? Ok just me, then.
- Clipping nails becomes a family event.
I realized – with a slight grossness – that on Sunday evenings when I clip my nails, I also grab all four children and I clip their nails as well…and by the time I’m done, I have clipped 100 nails.
Yes. One hundred nails. It’s a whole family event.
- The village takes care.
You’ve heard the saying “It’s a takes a village to raise a child.” We have created our own village right here. I have learned to step back and let the older ones’ natural nurturing ability take over. I’ve watched my 5-year old son open a snack for his younger sister, and have seen my 3-year old gently clean her baby sister’s mouth after dinner. It’s amazing to see how they have this special bond as siblings and help and support each other.
We have really tried to teach our children to be independent from a young age. I often get looks if I don’t immediately run to my child if they start crying. If it’s a fight, let’s see if they can practice problem solving. If they got (not so seriously) hurt, let’s see them practice some compassion and help each other. If they need me, they will come find me.
It’s not as cold as it might sound. I’m never far away, and won’t leave my kids to run wild in the store. But allowing my children to be the village and take care of each other, I am also a much calmer, relaxed, and trusting mom. Good for them, and good for Mama.
- Everyone chips in.
“Clean is relative. As long as I keep my sanity, and I can find everything, I don’t really care how clean my house is.” I was telling my friend, while sitting for tea, while my four children screamed happily in a different area of the house.
Having four children creates four times the mess in this house. BUT it also creates four extra little humans to assist me in daily chores. Toys pick up. Dishwasher unpacker. Getting breakfast ready. Cleaning out the car.
Great advice I received from mom of eight (!) and author of From Frazzled to Focused was to create an “away place” for everything, and say, “Don’t put it down, put it away.”
We’re still practicing that one, though…
Look, I know four children might seem like a lot. And sometimes it really is.
But we’re just like every other family. Only different. And that’s what it’s really like being a Mama to the power of 4.