Friday, June 7, 2019


I have 4 kids. 4 isn't that big a number. I mean my oldest child is 4 - her age is the number of kids I have and she's only been alive 4 short years. 4 isn't even 5. It's certainly not even half a dozen. 4 is only the double of 2. So, that doesn't sound like a lot. But in kids? In baby kids? in toddlers? That's a lot of kids. That's so many kids.

And I love it. Don't get me wrong. I mean, I planned it. Maybe not all at once, but we definitely wanted 4 kids in total. Sure, we would have spaced them out a bit more, but still, we wanted 4. One for each hand. 2 pairs. A playmate for each child. A solid family of 6. That doesn't seem too crazy or even too big in the realm of big families. 

I'll tell you what I didn't expect. How isolating this is. Most of my friends have 1 or 2 kids. Some of them have 3 and they seem like the overextended crazy moms. So if my 3-kid-mom-friends are the overextended crazy ones, what does that make me, mom-of-4?

I get weird looks. I get super mom comments. Either I'm weird for wanting so many kids or I'm a hero for managing them. In reality, I'm neither. I'm just me. It's funny too, I'm not a baby person. I mean,  I like my babies. I like my friends' babies. Paul is a baby guy. He LOVES babies. But not me. I've learned babies. I have babies to have kids. I have toddlers to have kids. I'm starting to see the light with Avie - she's becoming a kid. It's so awesome. I can see how you have to endure the baby years, the toddler years, to get a kid. I have learned 4 kids later to enjoy the baby years. I'm enjoying the twins in ways I didn't know how to enjoy Avelynn those 3 years ago. I'm learning to have fun with toddlers - they are my hardest stage - but still, I'm getting better at handling them. At the end of the day, I have 4 kids and I love them. I love being a mom. I don't feel like someone with a lot of kids, and yet I know that in this culture, I am. It's a weird place for me. Nothing about my life feels that crazy or strange but I know it's not the norm. 

Most of my twin mom friends are first-time moms, so they have just their twins...then I roll up with my van FULL of kiddos and it's like insanity. There are naps in my house from 9am to 4pm straight. STRAIGHT. There is always someone napping in my house (often including me). Today we were heading to a twin family meetup and we had hoped to find childcare for the older two and just take the twins, but that fell through and all our sitters and family were busy (as often happens). We tried to nap Bailey early so we could take all 4 kiddos (since she naps during the twins mid-day awake window) but she refused to nap early and we knew that while taking 4 kids to a beach park was crazy, taking even 1 melting down toddler was worse. So Paul stayed home with the older two and I just took the twins. The decision to go was hard. I had so been looking forward to time with Paul and our babies - we don't get much alone time with the twins. I was not looking forward to the effort of getting the twins out of the house, driving half an hour, unloading the twins and then taking care of them for the picnic, reloading them and driving half an hour home. Two on two seems much more reasonable. I was overwhelmed and cried. I don't cry very often. But I did. I cried. Then cried some more. Then I went. It was good. It was work. I'm so glad I went. But it wasn't easy.

My friends with 3 kids get it - they do. Two of them have young kids and just had their third babies and I'm not sure it's any easier than my life. Maybe slightly but only slightly. Our situation has forced us to see our need in major ways and in that sense it's made this easier. It's all just different than most people around me. I have two wonderful friends that I'm getting to know - who both have 4 kiddos with twins at the end, who both love Jesus, and I'm pretty sure are answers to my prayers for people who may actually get what this moment is about for me. And both of them will have also moved this year. So lots in common, wooooo.

I took the kids out by myself the other day. For a walk. We were out of Avocados and Creamer. Avie *needed* Avocados and I certainly needed coffee (and what's the point of coffee without creamer?). It was probably a pretty terrible plan. I mean, I'm not tall enough to see over the top of the quad stroller and it's too big for me to use easily so I took the jogging stroller because it's light and I love it - I can also fit the twins in it, with one of the big girls chilling at their feet. This way only Avie or Bailey (depending on who is in a better mood) needs to walk. We started with Avie walking but soon that proved to be terrible (we almost turned around and went home 4 times), so finally we switched the Bailey walking. I use the term walking loosely since it's really a drunken lurching - with some haphazard running. Cute though. Eventually, I had her on my shoulders (not great with a bad back) while I pushed the stroller across a street. I was not sure how the walk home would go, but somehow the time in the store was decent and the walk home was actually nice. Both big girls walked, and the twins were almost asleep in the stroller. B was super friendly and waved at everyone, and both girls walked while holding stuffies and my heart was so happy.

I don't really know the point of this post. All I know is I never knew I'd love being a mom so much. I always suspected how tiring it would be, but I never knew how much I'd love it. And I think I'm sometimes bugged that some people think our lives would be easier with fewer kids. Maybe. Sure. But these 4 little ones are amazing. 100% ordinary. And amazing. I just never knew what this would be like - the good side. Growing up (and as an adult) you always hear how tiring kids are. You hear how the more kids you have, the less money you have for things. I guess I didn't as often hear about how much joy each individual child could bring you. The work of 4 kids isn't exponentially more. 2-3-4 - it's all a lot of work. But the joy and fun of 4 kids is certainly exponentially more. Watching the twins hang out together, watching Char climb over Colty to get a toy (leaving a disgusting trail of poop across the floor and across her brother) is so fun. Watching the two older girls entertain the twins is delightful. Avie and B sing to them to calm them down when they are sad. B and Char love fake sneezing then laughing hysterically. Over and over again. Colty loves to cuddle and watch his 3 sisters act like crazy people. Avie wants to proudly tell you about her 3 siblings. It's a zoo and I would pay to be here over and over again.

This joy doesn't negate the hard things. But I think right now, mom culture is reminding us how exhausting it is. And it's so helpful to be reminded we aren't alone in that. To watch out for the burnout. Seek counseling (I know I am), be vulnerable, have deep friendships. Be real. But on top of that, man is it helpful to tell people how great it all is - because the fear of hard things is never a reason not to do them. The hardest things are often the best things.

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