I love having four kids! I love having four kids close in age.
Yes, the early years were hard work. It still is sometimes! I remember breastfeeding, reading a story, answering a toddler’s ‘whys’, jumping up to wipe a bottom, all at the same time!
These days, there’s the dinner to cook, homework to help with, a little girl with paint and glitter all over herself and the floor, and a son who comes into the room in the middle of it all and says, ‘Can I have a hug, Mum?’
Well, no-one ever said that having kids would bring quiet, peace and order to your home!
Life with four is full, that’s for sure! It is full of challenge… and full of mess! But it is also full of joy, and full of laughter, and, best of all, full of four little individuals especially created by God, who each bring an indescribable uniqueness to our family.
If you have a few young kids, close in age, and are finding it tough, then I do want to encourage you that it does get easier!
For a start, they don’t stay in nappies forever! They do eventually stop throwing their food on the floor (though you wouldn’t think so looking under our table!).
And you begin to count the nights that you are woken rather than the nights you sleep through (you’ll only be able to work that sentence out if you have had a good nights sleep!!).
In the struggles, do look for the small joys, the cuddles, the laughter.
Do relax about the mess. (It’s only going to get like that again the next day anyway!)
Do get away from it all from time to time. (Leave the kids with your husband on a Saturday morning, or with a friend during the week).
Do chat with a friend during the week.
Do tell God ‘I can’t do this!’ and let him step in and help you.
Don’t wish this phase away!
Time does move on and children do grow! Apart from being more independent and doing loads for themselves, my older boys often organize the younger ones too!
A recent and absolutely wonderful idea that they had is to surprise Mummy and Daddy at bedtime. While my husband and I are clearing the dinner things, they older boys will sneak the younger ones upstairs to get them ready for bed to surprise us!
They get them changed, clean their teeth and even read them their stories!! They then get ready themselves too!
When we are ‘allowed’ upstairs (completely unaware of anything that has been going on, of course!), they jump out, eagerly awaiting our surprise, our wonder and appreciation! Which we readily give….in all honesty…and in the hope that they might ‘surprise’ us again another night!
Then there are the games, and the activities, that the older ones organize and the younger ones eagerly join in.
There were whole days in the summer holidays when I hardly saw my kids, so engrossed were they in building a climbing frame with the quadro in the garden and then, when it was finished, filling it with their pillows and blankets and ‘sleeping’ in it; or when they decided to have a fair, each having a ‘stall’ and selling their unwanted toys to each other and organizing raffles, tombolas, hooplas and games!
Of course, there are still mad, crazy moments!! But it’s moments now rather than whole days at a time!
So do be encouraged! Take one day at a time and enjoy your little ones for all they are in this busy phase of life.
And, if you only have two kids and are wondering whether to have more, then go for it!!
(There may be those of you whose kids are older and it is still very tough -the early years can be physically exhausting, the later years emotionally exhausting, I know. Do find someone to talk to about it, do pray for your kids, do arrange time out, do ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit and wisdom each day. I’ve had some deeply difficult days with my teens/tweens. But God is so faithful (and I still love having 4 kids)! Read more in my post I Can’t Carry My Children Anymore: All About Coming To an End of Myself, Letting Go, and Letting God)
This post was first written in 2008 when my children were aged 10, 8, 6 and 4. My kids are teens/tweens now and like their own space and their computers! (Which brings it’s own challenges. See 8 Reasons Why My Kids have Unlimited Screen Time.) Life changes!
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