I have four children. Four sons, to be exact. While I know that’s a lot of children, the other day it really hit home. After dropping two of my sons off and hauling only the smaller two around, I had the thought, “Wow! This is so easy. It’s like I have no children.” That’s the moment it hit me — Wow, I have a big family!
A few years ago, having only two kids felt like more than I could handle. But now, as I see the challenges of two multiplied by two – like double the laundry, double the need for my attention, and double the demand for managing moods and energy — having two seems (a little) less tiring!
As a young adult, I always wondered how families of four or more survived the day-to-day happenings of life. And why? Why did they choose to have so many children? But now, I know. They aren’t a special breed of parent. They’re just like anyone else. They just have one child at a time and grow and learn. And slowly adjust to managing the number they have. Until poof — they have four!
But now that I’m living the big family life with all its chaos, I have to say: I cannot imagine life going any differently. I absolutely love it, and here’s why I think other big families do, too.
1. You let go of senseless worries.
I think the more children you have, the easier it is to identify how quickly children change and grow. So instead of being stressed out that your infant isn’t sleeping 14 hours a night, you’re more focused on the sweetness of the infant in the middle of the night. You are well aware that the baby phase comes and goes almost as quickly as your Amazon Prime delivery of diapers. Or instead of being stressed out that your 2-year-old doesn’t know her letter sounds, you’re better able to focus on the sweetness of her voice when she calls a letter a number. And feel peace that by the time she’s in kindergarten, she’ll know them.
2. You see the advantages of different ages of development.
One of my favorite things about having children in different developmental phases is I am better able to appreciate the positives in each phase that I may not have otherwise noticed. Because my grade-schooler can dress himself, I can enjoy his independence and the fact that he doesn’t need me to do everything. But the fact that my baby cannot do a thing for himself, including getting dressed, allows me to enjoy the fact that I get to pick out what he wears. Because I can no longer do that (without a lot of opinions) from my 7-year-old, and let me say, I love treating my baby like a doll.
3. You enjoy the sibling relationships.
My favorite, favorite, favorite thing about having four children is seeing the way they interact with one another. I love seeing their relationships develop, and seeing them crack each other up. I love hearing my two-year-old yell goodbye to his brothers by name as they drive away to school and hear them yell back from the window to him. It’s comforting to know that they will have their siblings to rely on throughout life. And it’s also nice for them to have built-in playmates, too. Of course, with playing comes fighting. That’s not my favorite part. But there is nothing better than watching all of my boys engage in a game together. It truly warms my heart.
4. You appreciate the unique personality traits of children.
It was not until I had my second son that I realized how awesome it was that my first son never put tiny objects into his mouth when he was a toddler. And it was not until I had my third son that I realized how awesome it was that my second son was good at sharing toys with friends. And it wasn’t until my fourth son that I appreciated how much my third son liked his car seat. I think you get the picture. It is hard to notice the strengths of one child when you have nothing to compare it to. But it’s easier to see them when you have multiple personalities side by side. It’s always easier to see how all children have strengths and weaknesses, and easier to not sweat about the particular weaknesses of one child. Because you see they have unique strengths, too.
5. You have help from your children.
This might be my most pleasant surprise after the birth of my fourth son. And this one really only played out when I had my fourth. The older children get, the more help they are. They are full of energy and more than happy to run up the stairs to go and grab a package of wipes. Or more than happy to play a game of peek-a-boo with their sibling while you finish checking out in the grocery line. When you have your first child and then second close together, neither is really able to be helpful because they are both so little. But by the time you have four, at least one child is old enough to help with the little things. And that help is amazing!
6. You see the “more the merrier” concept play out.
Now let me be candid by first saying, the more children you have, the more work it is. That is undeniable because every child is a human with individual and important needs! And with more children comes more needs. And that can certainly translate into more chaos. However, when things are going well, the joy seems so much richer. I love hearing all the kids laugh together. I love seeing all the kids sitting at the dinner table together. I love seeing one brother help another brother with a problem. I love seeing them walk into a restaurant in front of me. When you love one child so much, imagine how much love you feel when there are so many together. It just feels that much sweeter. (And in our case rowdier, too!)
So if you’ve been considering having more children but are not sure what to think about it, I would say take your time to consider your energy and resources! Because it’s a big decision and one that deserves thought! But don’t worry about having enough love. The love just continues to grow with each and every one. I guarantee it! ❤️