I’m writing this post because I’m nosy and, before I had 4 kids, I wondered what life would be like. Here’s the real deal on what life is like with 4 kids 6 and under.
Alright, this post is done. I hope you enjoyed it.
LOL, no seriously.
There are a few things that make life with 4 kids totally and completely different than the experience with 3 kids, 2 and 1.
First, before I get any further, I want to say that no one wins an award for having more children. This is not a post about how hard it is with 4 and anyone who has fewer than 4 has it easy. That is simply not true. Motherhood is challenging, no matter how many kids you have. I actually think having 1 kid is super difficult because you are their sole playmate. It’s simply different at every stage.
For me, having 4 kids makes me feel like I’m constantly juggling 4 balls and suffering from PTSD because someone is always crying, pooping, making a mess, breaking something or hitting another kid.
I never sit for more than a few minutes, and someone always needs something. The needs are relentless right now, and this is not unique to having 4 kids.
First, the baby is, well, a baby. She needs constant care, obvi.
My 3-year-old is potty-training and constantly making messes. The other day he squeezed an entire brand-new toothpaste into his bathroom sink. You know, just for fun. He likes to open the fridge and walk away. He enjoys dumping pancake syrup and playing with it like finger paint. This is the same child who got into black paint last summer and went to town all over my white house. If you remember this, thank you. You are my people.
My 5-year-old is constantly destroying things, just for pure entertainment value. Yesterday, he lifted 4 of our pavers out of the patio walkway and broke them. It’s now a hazard and someone will probably twist an ankle before we get it fixed. He constantly steals gum from my purse and chews it, leaving it random places around the house and usually his bed.
My 6-year-old is also mischievous, but smarter and older, which is a deviant combination. With the help of his brothers, he “accidentally” pulled a brand-new curtain rod out of their bedroom wall the other way. (Editor’s note: I refused to put the curtain rod back up, and told them now they simply won’t have curtains.) He also likes to pick his baby sister up, which while very sweet, has almost given me a heart attack a few times, namely when I caught him unloading her from the Suburban alone and teetering precariously over our brick driveway.
Basically, they can never be left unattended. Like, ever.
For this reason, more adults are needed in order to keep the kids safe.
Having 4 kids has forced me to seek out help.
In January, we decided to hire a full-time au pair who lives with us and helps with the kids. With my husband’s travel schedule and no family nearby, we decided to make this huge commitment because, well… we freaking needed it. It’s definitely a monetary sacrifice, but this is the probably the year we will need the most help of any year of our parenting lives. (God, let’s hope so. Let’s pray.) I also consider it an investment in our marriage because Diana allows us the chance to get away kid-free, and not be interrupted every 4 words by pooping or curtain crashing or unsanctioned toothpaste squeezing.
And even with 3 adults in the house, and only 3 walking kids (plus the baby), we still don’t catch everything.
The other day, my husband came upstairs to change the baby’s diaper, and when he got back downstairs, they’d emptied an entire large chip bag onto the floor where they were eating it like dogs. To be honest, it was pretty hilarious, and they are really just kids being kids… but, honestly.
I have a million stories like this, and I could write about it all day, but I digress.
Life with 4 little kids is busy and mind-numbing. While they all need something and are always busy breaking things or attacking each other, there is no break from the monotony of their needs and wants.
Everything takes a lot of instruction.
I talk all day long.
(Again this is not entirely unique to 4 kids.)
Today, I was asking one of them to pick up their dirty shirt and put it in the hamper, and I kid you not, I literally had to repeat myself 7 times. Before I had kids, I swore I’d never clean up after children who are physically capable of doing so themselves, but I now curse my pre-kid self and now totally understand why people do that.
We, the parents, are simply sick of hearing the sound of our own voice.
With 4 kids, someone is always sleeping or hungry, which prevents us from leaving the house 99% of the time, or ever comfortably doing the same activity at the same time.
This was totally obvious when I tried, yet again, to shoot a I’m-such-a-stylish-mom-with-classy-kid photo session to show off my new Lily Jade bag. I was all decked out in a dress, but the baby was napping and the kids were all but ready to jump in the pool, so a cranky baby and swim trunks were what I got.
You know what, that’s life.
And right now, I’m rolling with it.
I have also grown completely accustomed to having no idea where I will be at any given time.
Basically, because of all the sleeping and pooping and breaking stuff, it’s hard for me to commit to things. Like what church service we’ll go to. Lately, we leave super late for the 9:15am service, and end up getting there early for the 11am service. (See the mind tweak there?!? #winning)
Even scheduled outings with friends can leave me stressed because with 4 kids, there’s a 4-time greater probability that something will go wrong and I will have to cancel. This summer, I succumbed to literally having nothing planned and if I found myself out of the house and wanting to meet up with friends, I literally text them on the way there.
I don’t know if I’m going somewhere until I’m literally in the car on the way there.
This is why it’s fantastic that my Lily Jade lives by the door so that I can grab and go in that 18-second window when we’re all awake and fed and clean.
I just got their Brittany bag in blush and gold, and I am totally obsessed. That pink color is so fresh and happy!
My kids are holding their packing cases in jade and gold, which as you can see from our shutters in the background, this color is literally my fave ever. (I swear, I will write a house renovations post at some point soon. I know, it’s only been a year.)
It’s crazy, it’s fun and I love it.
It’s my life right now.
Like everything in parenting, it’s just a season.
It’s a busy one and I haven’t slept in at least 4 years, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Am I missing anything? Head to the Facebook page and share in the comments section.
A huge thanks to Lily Jade for sponsoring this post! Through the end of August, use the promo code LJPACKHAPPY with any Lily Jade bag purchase and get free packing cases! Lily Jade is a company I’ve partnered with for years, and I love that they truly support women and small businesses.