We moved to a small town during the summer time. For the first couple weeks I was herding my 4 kids from one establishment to another in an effort to get errands done before nap time (and so I could take my “nice pants” off for the rest of the day) I couldn’t help but notice people staring at me and the kids. Maybe it was because we were new and this town is so small they would notice every new person but the fact I had 4 kids seemed to be a big deal. The old guy who delivered our furniture made a point of saying that you don’t see that large of a family anymore. And he was old. He came from the time when 10 kids to help on the farm was totally acceptable and encouraged. Don’t get me wrong, when I lived in the city it was even more rare to see people with more than 2 kids.
We didn’t set out to have 4 kids. They were all planned. We carefully considered what we could handle. OK, me, we considered what I could handle haha. I am often asked how do you do this? How do you manage so many kids? I can honestly say that there have only been 2 or 3 times when the thought, I have too many kids has popped into my head. Bear in mind there are a ton of times the looks and what I hope are well-meaning comments tell me I have too many kids. But there have only been a few times I have felt I literally have too many to handle.
I remember the first time it happened back when I only had 3. I had survived a trip to the store with them all and of course when we walked through the door coats were dropped and shoes were kicked off . I was trying to decide if Baby #3 would wait until after I put groceries away so I could use those precious extra minutes while I only had 2 kids to relax instead of unpacking the bags. I was interrupted by a commotion near the main floor bathroom. # 2 was just starting to master potty training and had started to head to the bathroom with her pants already down only to see #1 already sitting on the toilet taking care of business. I asked #1 if she was almost done and she said no so I told #2 to use the other bathroom downstairs. I’m holding #3 with one arm and trying to open the baby gate for #2 as she is waddling over pants by her ankles. Then #2 tells me she has to go poop and I realize she isn’t going to make it as she starts to squat. Still holding Baby #3 I frantically look for something and see a newborn diaper the kids use for their dolls within arms reach and get it under #2 just in time to save the carpet but not my dignity. This was the moment when I thought I had too many children. Holding a baby while one child poops into the diaper I’m holding (so glad it wasn’t my hand) and the other one now asking for me to come help wipe. There were too many kids to manage at that moment but I considered myself lucky that I was 3 children in before I thought that thought.
Looking back its a hilarious story but at the time I was a little freaked out. The picture that goes with this post perfectly sums up how my life was at that time. Couch cushions on the floor, cheesies and toys everywhere so that the kids have food and entertainment. Things are a different kind of crazy now. As much as I’m glad that my 3 kids under the age of 5 are more independent I miss the days when preschool could be skipped and we could just stay home and have a recovery day. We had A LOT of recovery days. Now that I have 2 kids in full-time school and one in part-time I think I am going to miss them. We are only a few days into the school year so it’s too soon to tell. Other people might look at me and think I have too many kids but that just seems scary to them when everyone is so little. I know it’s not always going to be like this and I’ll use that to help me survive and appreciate where we are now. Every day if I have to.