Yup. I said it. While I love my kids, and I wouldn’t do anything to change this crazy chaos of having four kids 5 and under, sometimes I look at the mom with just one kid and wish it were me.
How amazing would it be to completely focus on one child for more than 10 minutes straight? Sometimes one of my older girls wants to tell me a story, or build a Lego castle, and after a few minutes her little brother has gotten into something or one of the other kids starts crying. Even though I tell her I’ll be back, I know I’ve lost the moment.
Swim lessons? It would be awesome to do mommy and me, but there’s only one me and always at least 2 of them. The library for circle time? Nope. The library is the worst. They all have to sit and be quiet while someone reads a book; I can do that at home and not stress about how much of a trainrweck we look like when it’s time to go. The park? We tried to go to the park once when there was a field trip happening. I turned right around and went home. There’s no way I can keep track of my four kids in a sea of 40 other kids.
I discovered I can fit three kids on my lap at once, but that means one is always left out. At every meal it’s a negotiation for which two kids get to sit next to me. I feel like every day is an intricate balancing act of everyones emotional, physical, and mental demands, and most days I’m failing.
I’ve started thinking about the financial aspect too. Not the bigger issues of putting four kids through college, but the smaller impact having four kids can put on my budget. Souvenirs when we’re on vacation, treats when we’re at the store, uniform and activity fees in sports, even taking four kids to a fair. With tickets, food, rides, games, etc it adds up. Our tooth fairy needs to get a side job because it’s going to get expensive paying for four kids teeth!
Even something as simple as running errands; if I’m at the house and I discover I don’t have an ingredient that I need for dinner, there’s no running to the store really quick if my husband isn’t home. I’m making a different dinner. It’s at least an hour ordeal to get everyone ready, shoes on, in the car, buckled, to the store, in the cart, items found and purchased, then back in the car, buckled, and unloaded at the house.
How much easier would it be if I could just focus on one kid? Getting their shoes on. Getting them buckled. Shopping with one kid in the cart. Buckling one back into the car. Back to the house.
And taking one kid to the fair; going on rides wouldn’t be a problem because no one would have to stay back with the kids that were too small. I could cuddle one kid in my lap and no one would feel left out. You want to go to the park today? Sure! I only have to keep track of one kid; perfect!
Realistically I know it’s not that simple. If I really only had one kid I wouldn’t feel this way, because I wouldn’t know how crazy it is to have four. And I would never wish any of my kids away; they’re all amazing little people who I couldn’t imagine living without. But sometimes, I look at the mom who says she’s tired from chasing her one kid around all day, or that it’s hard to go anywhere with a kid in tow, and I’m jealous.
Jennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.