Warning: If You Have 2+ Children

Warning: If You Have 2+ Children

“You should have warned me,” was the remark from a friend who had given birth to her fourth child recently.

She was in the grocery store, pushing her cart of groceries, distracted at every turn. Her older two walked beside her, the oldest trying to help with the younger kids. Her second child was touching everything he could, talking nonstop and saying, “Hey, Mom, look at this!” Her third child was in the basket of the cart squeezing the bread, handling the eggs, and moving food around. The fourth, a baby, lay in his carseat, making noise as babies do.

My friend looked frazzled, as moms sometimes do when they walk through aisles of a store. Here’s the secret about what moms are trying to accomplish on a trip to the grocery store: 1. Buy food that will nourish the family. (Don’t get me started on how difficult that can be!) 2. Keep peace with the children. When you have more than one, it is quite possible that an argument will occur at some point in the shopping trip. 3. Keep the environment in the store as peaceful as possible and not disturb other shoppers. It can be a stressful time for moms. The glares and comments can be overwhelming.

frazzled-mom google images

The comment from my friend took me off guard. “You should have warned me.” I didn’t have time to ask her what she meant by it. Her kids required her to keep moving. Mine did as well. I’m sure she was   thinking something like, “Get me out of here -quick!”

    I am the mother of four. Currently, they are 7, 5, 4, and 2. Yes, I am a busy mom.

 

I suppose I could have warned her.

 

1.)  I could have warned her of the sleepless nights for a start. (Her children are more spread out than mine in age, but sleepless nights come with a newborn, right?) My oldest is seven. I haven’t slept through the night in about seven years. All four of my children get up with the sun. Every.Single.Day. I haven’t “slept in” on a weekend in seven years. (Tired Heavy Sigh) Coffee, anyone?

2.) I could have warned her of the seemingly endless amount of diapers that I changed. I had two children in diapers for five years. I am finally at the end of diapers, and I do a happy dance in my heart every time my 2 year old goes to the bathroom – by herself! (Hang in there, mama who is potty-training! Your little one WILL GET IT!)

3.) I could have warned her about mealtime. Mealtime. (Another Heavy Sigh) To this Mama, it is an endless 30 minutes at a table with four little people as I ceaselessly say any of the following:

“Don’t do that.”
“Stop please.”
“We don’t talk like that at the table.”
“Can you use your fork/spoon please?”
“You need to eat.”

“Don’t feed the dog.”

It feels like I don’t get a chance to eat, because I am constantly saying, “No.”

On the other hand…

4.) I guess I could have warned her about the endless giggles that I hear when they are all playing well together, which they do often.

5.) I could have warned her of the tight bond that they share with one another, which seems tighter than super glue. All four of my kids have a special bond that is irreplaceable.

6.) I could have warned about the infinite number of hugs and “I love yous” that I receive every day. The best compliments that come from the mouths of truthful children are remarkably soothing.

These are my favorites:
“I like you, Mama.”
“You could never look bad in anything, Mama.”
“You’re so pretty.”
“You’re not even a little fat, like grandpa.” (Haha, that one was classic.)

Reality Meets Gratitude

There are the endless piles of laundry that I wash and fold, which reminds me of how much life I have in my home everyday.

Or the dishes that remind me of how much food we have to eat, with four growing children.

I enjoy all the games we can play together as a family, which can be so much more fun with more people! Examples: board games, hide-and-seek, tag, baseball, basketball, and card games.

Keep Calm and Mother On

I have learned to stay calm when things have gone awry. One winter afternoon, I was trying to get dishes washed after lunch (no dishwasher for this mama), and I was elbow deep in soapy water. Suddenly, I had a child crying in one room, a toddler unrolling an entire roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, while another child spilled a full cup of water in the dining room — at the same time!

I suppose I could have sat my friend down and given her these warnings. But, I am certain that God will equip her with the strength and know-how to be a great mother. Not one of us is perfect; we are all trying to do our best at motherhood. And through the journey, God has so much to teach us, if we pay attention.

I just need another cup of coffee, God, and I will be awake enough to pay attention.

 

Do you have a large family? Or did you come from a large family? I would love to hear about it in the comments below or on social media! I would love to hear your own experiences!

 

 

Linking up:

Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkUp purposefulfaith.com

Meredith Bernard at W2W

 

Thought Provoking Thursday

Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesus Dance With Jesus

29 Comments

  1. Thanks for the warning. Haha. Isn’t that just how it is we ask for blessings or crave for something else that someone has. But in the end when we get it we realize it was not what we thought it should or would have been. It is not the fairy tale of happiness we played put in our minds. I think that is why God warns us not to want what others have! We desire the fairy tale when in reality life is not a fairy tale it is real with blessings mixed in messes.

    I watch you and wonder some times how you do it! How you stay so calm in the crazy. Dana my dear you are a Awesome mom and you inspire me to be a better one!

    Reply
    • Thank you for such kind comments, Hannah. You are a great friend. I love how much you love my kids and treat them like your own when you’re here. You are a sweet friend.

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      • They are my own family! I must have forgot to tell you… ooops! I adopted you a long time ago back when we were kids. Your my sister! Sorry hon you are family like it or not! 😉

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  2. Dana, what a wonderful perspective you have! I need to always see the blessings (no, I don’t have children, but the same truth applies!). PS – your post made me tired!! :-)

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    • Thank you for pointing that out, Ellen. The same truths apply to us all! It is easy to get distracted by the “daily grind” and miss the blessings. Thanks for reading today!

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  3. Yes, mama friend this mama of ages 11, 9, 6, 4, and 2 knows the sentiment very well. And spoiler alert…warning…as they get older you’ll still be saying the same things at the dinner table (smile). Every good and perfect gift is from HIM. Today let’s count our gifts and give thanks.

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    • Haha, Tyra! Thanks for that. I was hoping that the dinner table would settle down as they got older. I must say, life with all these young people in my life is never dull or boring! I really do enjoy them!

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  4. I love this post!! I have four kids too but mine are a little bit more spaced out as they are 14, 10 in less than a month, 7 and 1. THIS: “There are the endless piles of laundry that I wash and fold, which reminds me of how much life I have in my home everyday.” It’s so true. I try to remind myself when the house is a mess and I am behind on all cleaning that is all signs of healthy lives being lived. It’s hard some days but it really is a blessing!! Cute post, thank you!

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    • Thank you, Rachel!!

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  5. Mine are all grown now. I had seven, but there was quite a range between them, partly because of miscarriages in between. What I had seemed like raising two families, because in the span of 8 years I had 4 daughters.Then six years went by before my next child, a son,was born. Three years later another son, three more years another son. When my youngest was born I was 44 yrs. old. All of our kids were living at home and their ages were 20,18,14,12,6,3,newborn. Anyway, I remember days like what you describe. Even though I had the older girls to help there were still messes to clean up, fights to break up and also loads of hugs and kisses and fun times together. :)

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    • Wow, Gayl! I don’t know how you did it! What a fantastic family, though! So much life in YOUR home. I imagine holidays are FUN!

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  6. I love how you see the good things to be thankful for. This attitude will do wonders for your spirit. I am a empty nester. I only had one child so I really can’t relate to you so much. But I remember clearly the trips to the store. Even with just one I’ve had some memorable moments. One in particular when he puked in the cart, most of it in my purse. A older woman who was in the aisle with me saw the whole thing and grabbed a paper towel roll, ripped it open and said, “Dear, here let me help you clean it up.” I never forgot this. Anyway enjoy it. It goes by so fast.

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    • Oh my goodness! That would have been horrible! What a blessing that woman was!!! Last week I posted about vomit, and I do have lots of stories. None in public, though, so you’ve got me beat!! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  7. The hardest job ever and also the one that brings us the most joy! Some days we focus on one end and forget the other. Now I only have one, so my perspective is smaller than yours, but I just remember being “in it” and thinking it would never be over and then, it just goes by in a flash and I wish someone would have warned me to savor every.single.minute. :)

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    • Thank you, Tiffany. I try to favor the moments. They are going way too fast! I want to freeze them for a few years!!! Thank you for your lovely comment!

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  8. Yes yes yes! Mine are now 12, 14, 16, and 20. I thought it would get easier…. I’m sorry, it doesn’t. And while I can walk through the grocery store now without saying “No, I am not buying those” or “Please stop running up and down the isle” or “You are going to tip the cart and hurt yourself if you keep doing that…” the new arguments are “I’m sorry you hate Language Arts but it is a necessary part of life”, “I’m sorry if you think I think you are gross but showers ARE a necessary part of life and you DO stink…. someone has to clue you in” and “I don’t care if your professor has degrees hanging on his wall and your college friends agree with your point of view… I have LIVED it and, news flash, the world doesn’t all think like 20 year old college students and their professors”. And the latest…. ‘I hope he figures this out right because I do NOT want grandkids that act like……….’ yeah. I’m kinda missing the grocery cart, piles of laundry, messy house days lately. As out of control as it felt then, there was actually more ability to influence and semi-order the universe with toddlers and young children then teenagers, young adults and hormones!!!!

    Sorry, your post inspired a rant!!! Thank you so much. I absolutely loved reading here today. Blessings as you navigate life with 4 <3

    Reply
    • Amanda: I’m scared! Haha. I do know these are the best days, and I savor each moment with them (almost). I wish so badly that I could freeze them for a few years within each year of their life. I love the stages they are in now!
      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

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  9. Dana, I love this post for so many reasons. I love the way you are real but balance, rather, outweigh all the negatives with the positives which abound from your life with four children. I did not come form a large family and have debated having a third child, but several reasons which I won’t go into at this point have kept me from going down that road. I haven’t shut that door completely, though. Thank you for sharing the beauty of a large family. You blessed me with your words today.

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    • Thank you, Abby. I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. Since I read your comment, God has placed you on my heart to pray. So I will be praying for you.
      Thank you again for your super kind words.

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  10. Dana, you have such a wonderful way of painting an image as you write. I love that you not only point out the parenting moments that are tough, but highlight the beauty of the positive ones that far outweigh them all. Thank you for sharing your insight and thoughts. I always look forward to your blog posts.

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    • Thank you, Tina!! I appreciate your kind words. They minister to me to keep going.

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  11. I love that – Keep calm and mother on. Exactly! It is a push, but it is so worth it. It’s give – and a lot of take. You hit the nail on the head with this one. I am nodding! I cheer your words from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

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    • Thank you, Kelly. Thank you so much.

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  12. Whether a small or large family, children always bring challenges. You have shared wise points which truly show that it is all a matter of what we choose to focus. May we come to rely upon God each day for the challenges we face as moms. You have given the best advice – Get a large dose of God, pray & coffee ;)Blessings!

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    • Thank you for reading, Joanne!

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  13. I think that about sums it up…mother on! And the coffee, yes please! Thank you for the giggles but also the reminder of the blessing. Even if you had warned her, we’re never truly prepared for the wonderful, awful, fun reality:)

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    • Thank you, Meg!!

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  14. My 2 girls keep me hopping enough, so I can’t imagine 3 or 4! :)
    I wouldn’t trade my time with them for anything. They certainly are a gift!

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    • Never a dull moment, no matter how many children you have! Thanks, Sarah!

      Reply

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