Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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. “After 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.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When Mom Gets Tired

By Kelly

Do you remember the post I wrote a few months ago about being tired?

It contained a priceless bit of wisdom from my Mom that says, in a nutshell, when our kids are acting out, consider first that their behavior may stem from the fact that they are tired.

Turns out, the same is true of Moms.

Lately, I feel thin. I feel worn, impatient, shallow, like I have no resources upon which to call. My well is dry. And it’s not just when my husband travels and I’m forced into single parenthood. It’s a weariness that has settled into my soul.

I pondered this last night, as I lay in my daughter’s bed. I was replaying the previous 90 minutes in my mind, and I was shamefaced at my hurried tone and impatient edge. “They are only kids, Kelly,” I chided my inner self. “Why are you so cranky lately?”

And then it hit me – I must be tired.

The recognition poured over me like a flood. The last 12 months have been exhausting. They involved (in no particular order) gestating a human, giving birth to a sweet baby boy, nursing said sweet baby boy, attempting to keep a toddler out of trouble (attempting being the key word), parenting a first grader and fourth grader who are at delightful and intensive stages, supporting my husband as he quit one job and started another (that may necessitate a move for our family next year), and OH YES, writing a blog.

I’m exhausted just writing that. No really. I am.

Plus, I realized this summer took more out of me than I first realized. Making sure the three older kids enjoyed the summer while I balanced the needs of a newborn – well, that was a tightrope walk, my friends. It took a lot of emotional, mental and physical energy.

I am tired.

So maybe I’ll cut myself some slack and go to bed early. I don’t like being tired.

Life is too short.

Kelly blogs at Love Well. When she's not too tired.