So remember back when I just kind of…disappeared??
The thing is, I was pregnant. And then I had my baby. (( Birth story in the works, you impatient whiners… )) And suddenly I became a whole new person. I used to be a Mom to THREE…and then…I morphed into this new version of myself.
Mother of Four.
Now my youngest is almost 3 months old and I’m finally getting the hang of this “big family” thing. I mean, sort of. I’m SORT OF keeping everyone happy, fed and clothed MOST of the time. So…it could be worse.
I’ve been doing a lot of learning and growing and thinking and not sleeping. When it comes to my blog, this site, what do I want it to be? Who is it really for? WHAT GOOD can I bring to this world of REALLY BAD STUFF?? And then I measured up my list to this one thing I read once and have adopted as my reminder of how to be good at what I love…
“Write what you know.”
It’s so simple that it really ALMOST sounds lame. But being good at writing comes a lot easier when you’re writing about what you already KNOW. Writing about how you FEEL and what makes you…YOU.
#iknowmotherhood #iknowtoddlers #iknowpeople #iknowcomfortableclothes
Before my baby girl – Miss Zoey – was born, I was anxious. I’m not a worrier so much as I’m just…well…I don’t know the word for it…
I’m not a planner –
I thought I was but I’m too lazy to ever actually stick to any sort of plan.
I’m not afraid –
I am loved by an awesome God who takes pretty good care of me. Not much to be afraid of when you know it’s all gonna be good in the end.
But I DO like to know things –
I’m a Googler. Someone is sick? Google. Someone just said a word I don’t recognize? Google it. I need to understand a term in a paragraph I read in the midsection of a proposed bill on education? GOOGLE IT.
I just found out I’m pregnant with my fourth kid and have no idea what the heck I’ve just jumped into and should probably prepare???
GOOGLE THE CRAP OUTTA THAT.
Normally Google’s got my back and I can find enough information to help me feel like I’ve got a handle on things…
#notthistime #darnyouGoogle #darnyoutoheck
THIS time, as I desperately searched for tips, advice or encouragement from Moms of four kids…
…the results fell a little flat.
Have you ever googled “Having Four Kids”? Here’s a VERY little summary of what you can expect to read (( in no particular order ))…
1. People will say awkward/rude things.
2. You will buy a minivan.
3. You’ll never poop alone again.
4. Life will become simpler…because you quit caring about a lot of things you used to care about. Like your own appearance.
5. It’s hard but worth it.
I mean, ok…helpful…but…not. Come on, even my 6 year old could have come up with that list. I’m not turning to Google for a list of BALOGNA! (( I want to just write Baloney but I can’t bring myself to do it…what the heck is with that word, anyway? )) In my three months of parenting four real-live children 6 years old and younger…I’ve come up with a pretty good list that I would have preferred to read back then. It’s only 5 things right now because I don’t have the kind of time to add anything else right now…
(( ALSO, this is a work in progress. This list will continue to grow as my children do. My parenting style is constantly evolving which means THIS LIST will most likely evolve as well. Have anything to add? Share it! Anything you don’t agree with? Let’s chat! I’m always down for a little conversation with opinionated peeps. COMMENT. MESSAGE, EMAIL ME. Tell me what YOUR life is like as a parent to four kids…or two kids…or no kids…?? ))
A little bit about me and where I’m coming from…
I am 28 years old. I have been married for 8ish years to this guy named Harold. He’s my favorite person. Together we have four kids, one dog and one cat. Aden is our oldest – he turns SEVEN in December. Taylor is my Wild Child – she turns FOUR in November. Jack is our third – he is our grumpiest, most emotional and sensitive one. He turned TWO in June. FINALLY, our newest, youngest, most adorable and BEST one – Zoey. She was born July 11th and is ALMOST three months old.
I am currently a stay-at-home parent. It’s hard for me. If anyone were to have been picking someone to fill this position, I am positive I would have QUICKLY been passed over…and I probably would have let out a sigh of relief. I love my kids but boy, do they push me to my flipping limits. Daily. Like a million times a day.
“SO why so many kids, Allison? Why would you do that to yourself? Seems a bit irresponsible, if you ask me…” – everyone.
I really don’t know. For some reason my husband and I really, really love the kind of kids our particular genetic cocktail seems to produce. They are super cute and smart and crazy unique. And honestly, it’s just the toddler stuff that irks me. Give me a whole herd of 6 – 18 year old kids and I’m in my happy place.
#dontworry #fourisplenty #sodone
Anyway, that’s me. If you’re offended already, I’m not your people. That’s fine, man. I’m just doing my best here. I’m sure you have plenty of tips or tricks or adjustments you might like to toss into my world to make it BETTER…and gosh, that’s so kind of you…but EVEN THOUGH I kind of like to exaggerate things here and there to encourage a smile…I actually really, really, really do love and adore my super annoying, very loud, extremely busy children. And for some reason…they kind of like me. So we may not be YOUR people but we are pretty happy together.
Not feeling it? Kind of concerned for the well-being of my kids? My husband? My fingernails, dry skin and neglected hair?
Send some prayers up to Jesus because He’s the only one who can save me now.
5 Things I’ve Learned as a Mother to Four
1. Routines make life easier…if you’re not lazy and exhausted. And poor.
Which you will be, if you’re living on a single income and 2 of your 4 kids don’t sleep well and you’re lacking motivation because everything gets ruined no matter what you do, anyway…
The truth is, routines CAN and DO make life easier for me. But I can’t ever seem to keep up with ANY routine, no matter how much sense it makes. I mean…I still try. Every once in awhile everyone sleeps a little bit longer and I have a little more energy and I’m feeling good so I come up with a NEW routine that I am SURE I will be able to implement and maintain. Of course there is a little bit of me that knows this won’t actually happen…but…I ignore that and hope that THIS TIME will be different. THIS TIME I will get my sh*t together.
(( Spoiler Alert – I’ll never actually get my sh*t together. ))
2. The older kids will be neglected sometimes…ok…a LOT of times.
And they will be alright. Mostly. They will MOSTLY be alright MOST of the time. There will be days that you will tell yourself that you need to be doing more. There will be days when you have to say, “Not right now…” to too many things and you’ll feel guilty. You’ll look at your older kids and for about a minute you’ll wonder if you’ve ruined their lives by having too many OTHER kids. And then you’ll remember that you don’t have the time for this crap and you do something about it.
(( Quick Mom Tip – Fix The Guilt ))
Make a special surprise snack – popcorn is great but be prepared for the clean up. Assign vacuum duty to the most capable child and have the others pretend its a monster.
3. You won’t ALWAYS worry AS MUCH about how much you’re doing wrong.
Because you really can’t waste that time…or energy. You’re in survival mode – who cares?? It’s four against one. Laundry piles up – routines or not. Dishes get stacked, floors get crumby, meals get forgotten…THIS WILL HAPPEN. And it’s ok. DO do the laundry when you can – whether you want to or not. You have a minute or two? Start the laundry, fold something and put it away. Future you will be so appreciative. You’re doing your best, right? Even your best won’t always be enough. Get used to it and know that it won’t always be this way.
4. You are gonna have to figure out how to communicate. Like…yesterday.
(( Part One – Husband ))
If you haven’t learned how to communicate with the world around you by now, you should probably work on that. Now. My husband and I have known each other since we were 14 & 15 years old. He was my first kiss, first boyfriend, first heartbreak…it’s an adorable story that I wrote about (( Read about it HERE )) and it should be proof that we have this communication thing DOWN. But, alas…here we are – quickly approaching our thirties – and we still struggle with communication.
#becauseheisMAN #andiamWOMAN #andhedoesntlisten #anditalktoomuch
When I gave birth to our third baby, life was tough. It was EXTRA tough because my husband and I were both pretending like life was fine. We are terrible pretenders. Jack was the hardest baby and looking back, I’m thankful for how horrible he was. Because Harold and I are both stubborn. And had we not been pushed to that point, we never would have sought the help we so badly needed.
ANYWAY, that year we learned how to communicate…better…
It was necessary if we were to stay married – so we stripped our lives down to the most important things – the things that our marriage stood on – and we focused on repairing and building and forgiving. Now that we have FOUR kids, those things we began 2ish years ago have made this transition NOT ONLY possible, but actually fairly enjoyable. My husband and I can speak to each other and actually understand each other (( for the most part… )). Sure, we have a lot to learn still but let me just say that if you have NOT gotten to this point where you feel comfortable with the relationship between you and your spouse/partner/husband/helper…
DUDE. FIX THAT.
Trust me here. When you’re coming home to THREE kids and you’re torn apart and leaking and aching and swollen and wearing ginormous paper underwear AND carrying an INFANT…you’re going to need to be able to give your guy A LOOK and know that everything will be ok.
(( Part Two – Kids ))
You’re also going to have to figure out the best way to communicate with your pre-existing children. They’ve never met this new you. They don’t understand the new things going on with you and your leaking and crying and giant mom-diapers.
#youwillfeeloverwhelmed #everyoneneedsyou #allthetime
Whether you FEEL like it or not, you have four kids who depend on you. You are their rock and that’s not their fault. They are individuals with their own personalities and needs and quirks and habits. They will annoy you. They will have their own fears and questions and worries about what this new baby means FOR THEM.
Remember that as you speak to them.
You’ll fail…often. But keep trying. You’ll yell…often. But try to remind yourself AND THEM that Mommies aren’t perfect. Yelling is a thing that happens. It’s a mistake and you’ll try harder to not yell or mess up or get mad or say mean things…but you’re going to make those mistakes still. AND THAT’S OK. So just make sure your kids understand that.
Which leads me to this last one (( for now ))…
5. You will have to choose this life again and again and again. It will never come naturally. Never.
I thought that once I gave birth to my baby that I would magically develop all of the qualities that would make me a good mom. When that didn’t happen (( oh yeah, you first timers or no-kidders…that won’t happen. I’m genuinely sorry. )) I seriously questioned my decision to reproduce. I thought for sure that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life…
I hadn’t. I learned along the way that GOOD MOMS are just women who have CHOSEN to be good moms. They didn’t magically become good moms. Some may be naturally gifted when it comes to things we normally associate with good mothers, but NOBODY is NATURALLY a GREAT MOM.
Every single day, no matter how many children you have, you will have to choose to be their mom. You will have to choose them and their needs and their stories and their habits and their annoying puppy noises and their potty accidents. You have to CHOOSE to practice patience. You have to choose to speak kindly – to them, about them, to yourself, about yourself…
And when you have FOUR kids…that means there are just fewer opportunities for you to choose ANYTHING ELSE…at least for awhile. And it will feel hard sometimes.
Sometimes it will feel impossible. Some days it will feel easy and natural. Some moments it will feel incredibly empowering.
But don’t ever – for one minute – think that this work that you are doing isn’t worth it.
Don’t – for one second – think that you’re missing that “Momming” Gene.
I mean, at the end of the day, chances are that you’re going to suck at this parenting thing just as much as everyone else. You’re going to pretend like you don’t…but you do. And I’m going to walk around and pretend like I have things under control…but I don’t. And everyone will look at me and think one of two things, depending on the day…
“That girl has got her sh*t together.”
“That poor thing needs to get her sh*t together…”
And you know what? I think I’m ok with that. Actually, all things considered, knowing that those are the MOST LIKELY things to be muttered as I walk by with my herd…
…maybe I do have my sh*t together, after all.
Thanks for reading, Friends.
Remember to comment HERE on my blog…because I make more money that way. So far I’ve made 8 cents. And I’m super happy about it. I’m almost ready to start telling people that I’m a paid writer. But I think maybe I should wait until I’m at least bringing in dimes…
Cheers – Allison.