Life with Four

By Kelly

“So how’s it going with four?”

It’s a question I get a lot these days, especially from people I know. (Strangers just stop and stare when I’m out with the whole family.) The question can be tinged with curiosity or fear or even incredulity that I survive daily life with four little people.

The answer, I’m happy to report, is that life is good. Four doesn’t seem to be much different than three. The biggest adjustment has been introducing an infant into the mix again. Figuring out how to nurse a newborn while getting two children ready for school and keeping a toddler out of trouble – it’s like Iron Chef: Mommy Edition. (“Today, the special ingredient is toddler drool! Go!”)

My Mom, herself a mother of four, used to tell people that the biggest adjustment is going from two kids to three. “Once you are outnumbered, it doesn’t matter anymore,” I would hear her say. β€œAfter three, you could have ten without batting an eye.”

I have to say: I agree.

I’m sure you’ve seen the bumper stickers about going from man-to-man to zone defense when you have baby #3. And it’s true. Two kids with two parents means most issues can be dealt with in a timely manner. Once the kids outnumber the parents, it’s a whole new ballgame. (What do you call four on two? Or even four on one, for those times my husband is traveling? I think that’s called a coup.)

That doesn’t make it bad. It just means expectations might have to change. Chaos is now a reality. Order and definite naptimes are not.

But love and joy and the wonder of childhood will overflow like the Diaper Genie.

Life is a series of trade-offs.

So for me, four is good. Four is so very good.

How about you? When did you feel the biggest transition in your family – when you added that first baby, when you went from one to two, or when you shifted to zone defense?

Kelly writes about her life as a Mom of four at her personal blog Love Well.

16 Responses to Life with Four
  1. Sarah at themommylogues
    October 13, 2010 | 11:42 am

    I’m feeling like 1 to 2 was the biggest transition because of the age differences. When we went from 1 to 2, there was a 22 month difference. Chaos. So many diapers. Not a wink of sleep to be had. 2 to 3 hasn’t seemed as big, since the older two are 7 & 5. Going back to baby stuff is bizarre though. It’s like I’ve never had a baby before considering how much I’ve forgotten. I remember nothing of infants.

  2. Megan at SortaCrunchy
    October 13, 2010 | 12:47 pm

    “After three, you could have ten without batting an eye.”

    I have heard this so many times that I have to believe it MUST be true!

    I’m so glad to hear that things are going as smoothly as could be expected up there on Project FourKids (make it work, Kelly! Carry on . . .).


  3. Crystal
    October 13, 2010 | 12:53 pm

    I’m scared now. We’re planning #3 soon. πŸ˜‰

    I did think 1 to 2 was hard… for that reason we’re waiting about a year longer than before for #3. But does that really make a difference?

    I think throwing an infant in with any number of children is difficult at first!

  4. Anitra
    October 13, 2010 | 1:04 pm

    I’m really scared going from 1 to 2… in part because I remember (dimly) how hard it was dealing with infant demands and sleep deprivation, and now we’re going to be doing that with a demanding toddler (and even more sleep deprivation). I’ve got about 3 more months to psych myself up for it. Pretty sure this is going to be the last kid.

  5. Nicole
    October 13, 2010 | 1:22 pm

    I have to say that 1 to 2 was the hardest for me too. The 3rd did add that certain element of stretch that wasn’t there before, but having to split myself in 2 was the very, very hardest. I agree, 4 is good. I was worried bc so many people told me that 4 is SO HARD. And it is hard, but I can handle it. I didn’t feel that way after the 2nd πŸ™‚

  6. gretchen from lifenut
    October 13, 2010 | 2:13 pm

    I think 0 to 1 was the hardest for me.

    In my experience, a great deal depends on the newly-usurped, former Baby ‘O The Family. It was crazy-smooth going from 4 to 5 because our 4th was the easiest, most compliant toddler ever. In history.

    But our 7th kiddo is a total rascal and is making the transition to #8 hard just because he’s trying to scale the refrigerator while I am nursing. I have to blockade him in the living room to be able to get anything done. It isn’t hard having the 8th kiddo. It’s hard because of the personality of #7 (which I wouldn’t change for anything).

  7. Hannah
    October 13, 2010 | 3:28 pm

    This is so good and reassuring to hear as we are seriously considering #4. Thanks Kelly!

  8. Michelle
    October 13, 2010 | 8:45 pm

    Thanks for the update. This was such a nice update. I too thought the transition from 1 to 2 was the hardest, going from total selfishness.. to the schedule of a newborn, yikes, it was so much harder than I had imagined. So when #2 rolled along 21months later and #3 5 years later it didn’t seem that bad. Even when we were out numbered.

    And now… as we look at our odd numbered off-spring, my little mama heart aches a bit. We’re done (deinitely done do to a major complication during my last delivery) but I can imagine #4, and I can imagine going from #3 to #4 wouldn’t be as most would imagine.

  9. Hopeful
    October 13, 2010 | 9:11 pm

    So happy to read so many wonderful comments about having children. I think going from 0-1 was the hardest because everything was so new, even though I had been around kids my whole life, it’s different when you are the one looking after them everyday and night. 2 and 3 were easier. Mine are all around 2 years apart. I think it’s easier with more because they play with each other.

  10. nicole
    October 13, 2010 | 11:25 pm

    None to one was also my hardest transition. I was so unprepared to be a mother (we were engaged when I got pregnant–there’s a blog post about it) and the mental adjustment was very, very difficult. After that it has been easier each time, overall. But like Gretchen our second-to-last kid (#5 in our case) has proven to be the bigger challenge when adding a new baby to the mix. She is just way different than the other kids. Our sixth baby is so happy and relaxed and easy that adding him was not hard in terms of numbers or whatever. It is all just details at this point. I always tell people who think they couldn’t do it that parenting any number of kids hard and challenging, just in different ways.

    So glad four is good for you Kelly!

  11. Sue M
    October 14, 2010 | 9:53 am

    For me #3 was easy. Maybe because he was such an easy baby, and his sisters (at the time 2 and 3) were just good little ducks.

    I’ve struggled a little with the addition of #4. Maybe because it had been a while (5 years) since the last baby and I just wasn’t mentally in the zone anymore.

    It’s getting easier though. He’s 13 months now, and he is such a love. Walking and starting to talk, and so full of affection. I just love it.

  12. Anita Jo
    October 15, 2010 | 12:47 pm

    For me, 0 to 1 was definitely the hardest. I didn’t spend much time with babies before, and basically had a lot of growing up to do (even though I was almost 30–sheesh). Huge transition for me, in just about every way. I think in large part because our kids are all spaced pretty far apart (3-1/2 and then 4 years), the transition from 1 to 2 was really smooth. But most moms I know with kids pretty close together seem to have found that transition a lot harder. In some ways, going from 2 to 3 has been pretty easy, but definitely harder than 1 to 2. I think part of it is being outnumbered, but it’s also the flip-side of the age spread. Each of our three is in a different stage, with different activities and interests, so we are so busy and have to be out and about with baby in tow all the time. We are pretty stretched. But we are really loving having a “bigger” family. We may not be done yet, although I feel pretty much at capacity a lot of the time–especially with laundry…I am so not winning that battle right now!

  13. edj
    October 17, 2010 | 5:45 pm

    Going from one to three was the biggest adjustment πŸ˜‰

  14. Steph
    October 21, 2010 | 6:13 am

    Glad to hear that! I’d like 4 in the future myself. As a kid, I grew up with only 1 sibling so I don’t really know how 4 kids get along inside the same home but I bet it’s fun. More power!

  15. Danielle
    November 3, 2010 | 10:26 am

    I only have one and can I just say its very reassuring to hear others say going from 0 to 1 was really hard; I was kind of slammed in the face, not expecting it to be as hard as it was. The lack of sleep still gets to me sometimes so I’ve been nervous about adding anymore, although wanting more…thanks for sharing everyone!!

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    April 14, 2012 | 8:37 pm

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