Now that my fourth child is almost going to celebrate her second baby, I wanted to share with you guys our journey, the joy and the reality of the chaos that is our lives as working parents with having 4 kids.
We are proud parents of four BEAUTIFUL kids. Ryan and I are so very lucky to have them in our lives. If I'm being honest, sometimes I think we were insane.
We both went into our marriage knowing that we wanted at least two kids. At the time, I would have never imagined that we would be blessed with four beautiful kids. Did we plan having four kids before marriage? Absolutely not.
We had four kids in less than six years, and we both work outside the home!
Our children are 13 months, 34 months, and 23 months apart. And all of them were very much planned.
For those that are contemplating on going from 3 to 4 kids, here is what you need to know from a working mom's perspective.
Family with Four Children What It's Really Like
I am listing the top things that come to mind when someone asks me what it's like having a football team as a family.
You and Your Spouse Will Laugh as You Cry
There are tough days. And there are amazing days. Right now, we are in our second year as a family of six, and we've gone through so many emotions. The emotions are the same as when we had three kids, but they are much more intense these days.
The House Will Always Be Messy with Piles
We have a cleaning service, and the house is STILL messy. All the photos you see on the blog, that's pretty much what it looks like for about five minutes.
Daycare Will Be Expensive (Especially in the Summer)
You'll have a decade long car payment wit no residual value. Summertime gets quite expensive when the older kids go to all day summer camps (when the cost was offset by public school).
Your House Will Be Loud All The Time
Our house is VERY LOUD. Sometimes, it's unbearable, and I have to tell the husband to deal with the chaos while I lock myself in the bedroom for five minutes to regain my sanity.
Every Kid Wants to Come To Your House
When you have four kids, all their friends will drive by your house and want to come in. And you'll not want them to come in because the house is messy. The kids will all plan playdates at school with one another, and you end up somehow being the hosting house because there is already an embedded party.
You'll Feel Guilty Not Having Enough 1:1 Time With Each Kid
Even after work, I feel like we do group things as a family, and when they get tucked in, each kid gets about 10 minutes of "tucking in" time. So I normally combat this over the summer by taking vacation to spend one-on-one time with each kid during their birthday and another random day!
Reasons to Have Four Children Close in Age
With my kids all being at most 3 years apart in age, I was basically pregnant for almost a decade 🙂 There are a few reasons why I did this:
Strong Sibling Bond
As I watch my kids interact with each other, I can see that they have a very close bond that's pretty unmatched as compared to their friends.
I love the fact that they can pair up and play together. I remember when we just had our oldest, I had to be her playmate. With having a built-in playmate, it was just amazing to see the kids interact with each other and entertain one another.
Similar Stages of Development
I absolutely loved having four kids close in age because I never actually threw away any of their baby stuff, so I kept using them one the next one. However, as my last baby grows out of things, I am excited to purge!
They share very similar interests when their close in age, especially those that are the same gender.
Learn to Share and Compromise
As they grow into their own, they've learned and master the techniques of compromising. They know that even if they ball their eyes out, their sibling might not cave in like Mom does. I have a feeling that they are going to be masters at negotiations as they get older.
Same Nap Time
In our house with four littles, this is a HUGE win. Yes, my 2nd grader still takes naps on weekends. Yep.
Parental Expertise Gets Better
I feel like I keep creating mastering my talent stack of parental skills as I started having my kids because I never "lost touch" of that age!
Two Year Update with a Family of Four Children
When we were debating on having a fourth child, I know it took both of us a year to get on board once we had the thought. For me, I just HAD this feeling that we weren't done. My husband was completely opposite of me. But there was this nagging feeling, and I didn't want to have regret. When my fourth was born, that feeling subsided and I felt complete. (If you wanted to know my thought process as we planned to expand our family from three kids to four kids, you can read that post here.)
What Family Life Is Like At Two Years
We are beyond busy all the time. As parents who both work outside of the home, it gets pretty much hectic 80% of the time. However, as the months go by, I feel as though life does get a little easier and much more manageable (and I'm saying this as my oldest is 7 and youngest is 22 months). I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Winter cabin fever is the absolute worst when you have a big family. Since our youngest is now walking, we're loving the fact that everyone can venture out and play! This was much harder when she was barely crawling.
Daycare and School
I feel like right now in this moment of life, time is my most precious resource and I'm trying to use it as wisely as I can while also balancing not missing out on things. As a mom, I try to attend every class party and every field trip utilizing my vacation from work, but it's going to get harder as my younger two start school.
Husband and Wife
As husband and wife, we get about 40 minutes of time after the kids go to bed just to hang out and decompress. We both know that it's not enough, but we're making room for each other as much as we can. We have dinner together as a family, but sometimes, we do hire a babysitter for us just to get away!
Extracurricular Activities for Kids
I cut down a TON in this space. The older kids are only doing 2 extracurriculars versus the 5 they were originally doing. This has saved a ton of arguing and chaos in our house.
This year was the first year that Ryan and I have been able to pursue our hobbies to the extend time has allowed us to!
Are they all yours?
Ryan and I are raising four kids in a two kid world right now. We totally get it. Things are more expensive (let's not talk about our cruise here). We get stares all the time if one of us should go somewhere with all four kids alone. When asked how many kids we have, I always wait for the bewildered look that typically follows.
We are a large family, and are incredibly blessed. I wouldn't have it any other way. These kids with their personalities bring so much laughter and joy to my life.
Related: Being a Mom of 4
Photo Credit: Cassandra Castaneda Photography