How DO you do it? (Confessions of a mom of 4 all under 5)

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There's two questions I get asked on a pretty frequent basis. The first is as I am standing in a line with two grocery carts and four kids packed into them. "How old are you? You don't look old enough to have one child, let alone 4!" To which, I always respond politely, "I'm 27, I'm not as
young as I look." The other question is the one that gets me the most though. "Rachel, how DO you do it every day? How can you manage four kids all under the age of 5 years old and STILL be sane? I could NEVER handle it as well as you are. Whatever you're doing, keep it up!" I very rarely have an answer to this question because well......I don't manage very easily and it often looks like it's easier than what it really is.

The people that ask me this question don't see me on a regular or even semi regular basis.
They don't see my house a complete and utter disaster zone or the piles of laundry in our basement or even the dishes stacked up in our sinks. They don't see me about to yank my hair out as my 5 year old misbehaves, my two girls running around screaming like chickens with their heads cut off as well as see me trying to bounce my 2 1/2 month old against me to keep him calm. In public, my kids look like little angels for the most part. At home they act like they're abducted by evil aliens. :) If you would have asked me a couple years ago when my third child was born, "How do you manage?" I would have looked at you like you were insane. Back then, it was AWESOME having three kids all 16 months apart in age. My kids WERE perfect little angels. THEN the terrible twos and terrifying threes came into play. Man, oh man was I NOT prepared for that one to backfire. You see....there's a little problem with having kids close together in age. Once one starts to outgrow these "terrible" phases, the next one is soon to follow into the phase and it's a never ending battle. Don't get me wrong, I love ALL my kids with all my heart and would never trade having them close together because they are all the best of friends. However, I wish someone would have warned me ahead of time all the "fun" that proceeds me.

Right now our current obstacles are mainly with our 5 year old who has decided that he REALLY likes to push the limits especially right now when there's a new baby in the picture. He loves his little brother so much and we've never had jealousy issues with his sisters and him. But he just is at a point where he has decided that since my attention is averted towards the new baby, he can get away with anything and everything. Ha, ha....how wrong he is! I may look like a crazed mama at home but you best believe that my children are and will always be disciplined as they continue to grow older. I am constantly seeing mamas on BG who are stressed out because they just found out they are having an "oops" baby. Let me just tell you, three of mine were "oops" babies so no one can relate better to you, if you're one of the lucky or unlucky(depends on how you look at it) ones. The BEST answer/advice I could give to anyone who wonders, "How DO you do it?" is this: I don't. Or rather I do.....because I have to. But that doesn't mean that the
well composed person you see standing in front of you is who I truly am inside. Inside I am mentally thinking about running away on a daily basis when nothing is going right and my kids are driving me insane. I lock myself in the bathroom just for a couple minutes of alone time a couple times a week. Inside, I am crying at times because I feel like I have somehow failed my kids and am a bad mother. I often fear for company to show up unannounced because my house is VERY rarely cleaned up. And as much as my kids drive me up the wall, I am still thankful for all of them every.....single.....day. Their good days greatly outweigh the bad days and I can't help but smile and feel so grateful seeing them play together, smile up at me and tell me they love me and at night watching them sleep.

Most parents will tell you to stick to a routine when you're adding a new baby into the family but what I would say is....it's impossible to stick to a regular routine as your family grows. It's GREAT to be able to have that mind set and to have that goal but the reality is, you'll probably have more crazy days WITHOUT a routine than you will have success in sticking to one. The one thing
I try to do is be consistent with discipline though. The more children you add, the more stress and the more they will want to press your limits. DO not back down even as much as you may want to give up. One thing I have learned is as much as that ONE question irritates me, those people who think I make my life look so easy actually help make me feel better about myself usually when I am feeling at my lowest. So next time you're out and you see a mother, whether they are struggling with their kids or seem well composed, give them a compliment even as simple as it may seem because you never know what each mother is personally going through at the time. A simple acknowledgement of just HOW hard their life is could brighten up their day too.


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4 Comments
Joanne + 1 ♡ Apr 7th '14

I read your blog about your loss and noticed you posted another one and without seeming like a stalker I had a read of it and wanted to say how amazed I was with you, you are in your late 20's, have small children and suffering with the loss of your 2 unborn babies and through all that even though it's hard you've still held your head up and carried on with life. Not many people can do that. I'm sorry to hear about your son's disease and your loss

Trey&Genesis'momma Apr 20th '14

Thank you so much. Don't worry, I don't think you're stalking me. :) I'm just glad that I am able to share my stories with all the ladies on BG because it's so hard keeping stuff in especially with my two losses and dealing with my son and his disease. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.

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