10 years ago, if you would've told me that I'd have four kids I would've laughed in your face. I planned on having one or two kids, maybe. And when I finally became a mom I realized how taxing parenthood truly is. Parenthood, in no uncertain terms, felt like my undoing. And then, against my better judgement, I went on to have another kid. And then I met a guy with two kids, and then we decided to get married! But the most surprising part? Me realizing that having four kids is easier than having one.
I know you’re probably thinking that this is some kind of delusion, or a story I tell to make myself feel better about my situation. But once you get past the mess, the chaos, and the hellish amount of noise that four kids can collectively make, you realize it actually is a hell of a lot easier to be a mom to four than it was to be a mom of an only child.
I think, in big part, my life is easier simply because my kids help each other and, by proxy, help me. They each do their chores (with some complaining and cajoling), and the older siblings teach their little brothers and sisters things I could probably never teach them — how to win at Mario World, what it’s like to have a crush, and even how to use the potty (for real). The more kids I had the less I had to be "on" all the time. With four kids, I found myself having more moments of silence and self care than I did when it was just me and a single baby.
I won't pretend my experience is universal, and I'm sure another mom with four kids is going to have a very different perspective. But, in my opinion, having four kids is way easier than having one, and here's why:
Because They Don't Need Me Every Hour Of Every Day
Four kids has, for me, meant more free time. (At least once they were all out of diapers). My kids keep each other occupied all day long, so I actually have time to do things like shower, work out, eat, and pee. I actually have moments of boredom, which never happened when I had one child.
Because They Talk To Each Other
My kids never stop talking. When you have one child, you end up having to answer questions and talk about the latest episode of Dinosaur Train or level on Minecraft all damn day. More kids, however, means more peace and quiet, because it's the siblings who are stuck answering the questions. Talk about bliss.
Because I Don't Have To Play With Them
Please don’t judge me, but I absolutely detest playing with my kids. It’s not that I don’t love them, or want them to be happy, it’s just that playtime is so boring and repetitive. And if that's not enough reason to forego their playtime sessions, it's physically hard for me to get down on the floor, play tag, or jump on the trampoline without peeing my pants.
One of my favorite parts of having a large family is that they play with each other... so I don’t have to.
Because They Sleep In The Same Room
My kids have never been great sleepers. Most of the time, they ended up crawling into bed with me at some point during the night, which meant I haven't had a decent night's sleep in god knows how long.
Having four kids has translated into a variety of room configurations over the years, which has had the added benefit of more sleep for me.
Because They Help Each Other Out
My kids help each other, too. The older ones do a way better job of explaining common core math to their little brothers, for example, than I ever could. They read books together, give each other makeovers, and even help each other through hard times, like tantrums and disappointing news.
Because They Hold Each Other Accountable
It's kind of amazing to hear your kids teach each other about right and wrong, or watch your kids resolve conflicts without my intervention. Having a lot of siblings means my kids have more opportunities to learn right from wrong, how to stay on task, and how to work things out on their own.
Because They Teach Each Other
There’s nothing more amazing than watching your kids teach each other life lessons that you know are going to be beneficial in the future. It actually makes me tear up a bit when I think about how my oldest taught my youngest to do things like read and use the potty. Simply magical.
Because They Compete With Each Other
Since I'm a competitive person myself, I understand the value in having a sibling you can engage in a bit of friendly competition with. My four kids challenge each other to do better, and for the most part, it works (with a few fights and some sibling rivalry to contend with).
Because They Keep Each Other Company
Having four kids means my kids always have someone to play with, wherever and regardless of where we go. It also means that I actually get to hang out with my friends on playdates, and eat meals at family gatherings, because my kids are going to be preoccupied with their siblings.
Because They Help Me Out, Too
Having four kids means having four sets of hands to help around the house. No one could be more surprised than I was to learn that my house with four kids is actually cleaner than my house was when I only had one child. Now, I’m not going to lie and say that there’s never complaining or dragging of very upset kid-feet, but now that we have a routine my kids are a big help. Instead of just making messes and watching me do all the work, they pitch in and help make sure our home is always clean, inviting, and a place we want to be.