Clara @ 2 Months… and The Hardest Part of 4 Kids For Me

posted by Andrea | 11/27/2017
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We celebrated 2 months of Clara on Saturday…

She’s getting chubbier, she’s losing a bunch of hair on top (but NOT in the back!), and she’s starting to make all kinds of cute sounds and noises.

She also SLEEPS A LOT! 

I know her schedule will continue to change for the next 18+ months, but I am beyond thrilled with how well she has been sleeping the past 3 weeks. She usually falls asleep for the night between 10 and 11pm and sleeps straight through the night, until about 6 or 7am! Then she eats and goes right back to sleep until about 10 or 11am!

I can hardly think of a better sleep situation for our family right now.

The evenings do feel long — especially since I previously used the hours between 7 and 11pm to tackle most of my to-do list, but it’s so nice to be able to focus on the older kids in the morning without holding, rocking, and feeding a baby, and then have one-on-one time with miss Clara in the evenings.

And I certainly don’t need to tell you how fabulous it feels to sleep 7-8 hours straight at night! 

Like I mentioned above, this could all change any day, but I’m soaking up the sleep while I can.

In the grand scheme of things, I would have to say everything has gone better than I expected!

My labor and her delivery were quick and without any complications.

My time offline and away from work were fantastic.

I’ve been getting more sleep than I ever imagined.

I’ve been keeping up with housework fairly easily — thanks to lots of planning ahead and a very full freezer!

Physically, I feel great — a little squishier, but not in any pain or discomfort!

Emotionally, I am doing well too — I know more of what to expect so it doesn’t seem nearly as overwhelming for me this time around.

Even the older children are handling the change so well. They all have their moments, but for the most part, they play well together, they love on Clara whenever she’s awake, and they are quite helpful around the house.

Yes, I am thrilled with how well things are going so far and really have nothing to complain about.

However, since I’ve been asked many times what I feel is/was the hardest part of transitioning to 4 kids, I thought I’d share — especially since I know EXACTLY what the hardest and most challenging thing has been for me!

The hardest part of transitioning to 4 kids is the additional mental load!

Honestly, my brain feels like it’s fried by 3pm (sometimes earlier on the days Nora is home from school).

There are so many little things to remember, so many to-do’s to get done, and so many questions to answers ALL DAY LONG!

  • Did Nora remember her library books?
  • Is Simon’s dentist appointment at 9:30 or 10:00?
  • Who is coming to watch James while I go to the dentist with Simon?
  • They rescheduled Clara’s 2-month Dr. appointment, so now I won’t be home when Nora gets home from school, so I need to remind Dave to hustle home on that day.
  • Is Nora’s “school shirt” washed for her field trip?
  • Did Simon go to the bathroom before we left or not?
  • Did James eat enough for dinner or will he wake up hungry?
  • When was the last time I fed/changed Clara?
  • What nights does Dave have meetings this week?
  • Did I remember to buy _______ for tonight’s dinner?
  • Did I remember to defrost ___________ for tomorrow’s dinner?
  • Add ________ to the grocery list.
  • Call/email/text ___________.
  • Can I see Simon and James playing outside while I feed Clara inside?
  • Remember to switch the laundry when we get back inside.
  • Remember to fold the laundry when it’s dry.
  • Don’t forget the dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Remember to schedule tomorrow’s post on social media.
  • Remember to take pictures for the sponsored post next week.
  • The neighbor kids are over and everyone wants a snack.
  • The phone is ringing, Clara is screaming, and the other kids are running around like crazy people.

I could go on and on! 

I have a feeling it’s a combination of a new baby with a new schedule and new needs AND Nora being in school with a new schedule and new needs that has made the last 2 months seem so mentally taxing for me.

I need to get up on time to make sure Nora gets on the bus (I usually feed Clara before Nora wakes up), then try to get Nora ready without waking the boys up. The boys usually wake up right as Nora is ready to leave for the bus, so I get them ready, feed them breakfast, and hope that Clara stays sleeping throughout that whole process.

Once Clara is awake, it’s just a daily “dance” of feeding, changing, wiping, rocking, and entertaining 3 or 4 kids every day — all while trying to get a few things done and have dinner almost ready shortly after Dave is home so he can then “take over” and play with the kids while I have a few moments to breathe before we start the bath and bedtime process.

.

I do want to reiterate that my life is NOT stressful or “too busy” — in fact, I’ve worked diligently to simplify most aspects of my life over the past 6 years. However, there are so many people who rely on me for so many decisions each day that it’s easy for my brain to be overloaded.

I know this is just a season of life and I’m honestly not upset or annoyed in anyway. Just brain-dead some days!

I will find my groove eventually as we work to find a “new normal” and a new routine that works for this stage of life — but until then, I’ll just continue sleeping as much Clara lets me and doing as few extra things as possible (that’s not so easy during the holiday season!)

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39 comments

  1. Rhonda

    11/28/2017

    I only have two kids, and my brain gets fried each day as well! My part-time work, my husband’s work, 2nd grader schedule, 4K (half-days) schedule, my school board meetings, in-laws moved to town from out of state a few months ago to help…it’s taxing to remember it all! Minute to minute I don’t seem that busy, but the details can really make you feel wiped out! Hang in there Andrea.

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  2. Linda

    11/28/2017

    What a cutie! I must say I was shocked that she is already 2 months old. I totally get the overload on the brain. I am so glad she is currently a good sleeper. You look great Andrea.

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  3. Jo

    11/28/2017

    Have you seen this cartoon about ‘mental load’? Feels like it explains some of what you’re saying. https://english.emmaclit.com/2017/05/20/you-shouldve-asked/

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    Andrea Reply:

    amen! Dave always told me “you have to ask if you want me to do something” — so I started asking very early on!

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    Rhonda Reply:

    Oh wow. I should have my husband read this, because it’s explained so well here. When there’s little decisions to make, he says “but you’re good at it, so why don’t you just decide for everyone? it’s not a big deal.”

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  4. Melissa

    11/27/2017

    Yes! This! We have seven children now as we adopted a sibling group of four from foster care over the past year. The kids are doing great and we are seeing them grow and heal so much from the trauma they went through but my brain is absolutely fried each and every day! I keep telling my husband that if I could go back in life I would have studied management as maybe it would help me stay on top of everything. I do all the list making, writing down, calendar using imaginable but I still feel that my head is spinning keeping track of everything. I’m so glad to head (read!) that I’m not the only parent feeling this way!

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s a lot to handle every day! good for you!

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  5. Amy

    11/27/2017

    I am pregnant with #3 and am so looking forward to this baby. Dreading the not sleeping though. I hope you are planning a post on your success with Clara’s sleep. I know, I know, I know…they are all different…but after two non-sleepers, I desperately want to try something different this time!
    Your whole family is just the cutest and you look FABULOUS!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Amy — and congrats on baby #3. Also, I’ve never had an infant sleep this well, and (unfortunately) I don’t think I really did anything to make it happen. I think she just must be a good sleeper.
    I will say that I spend a lot of time in the evenings (like 9-11) just camped out in her nursery — feeding, burping, rocking, feeding, burping, rocking, etc. until she finally falls asleep for the night. I’m not sure if that “routine” has helped at all, but it’s relaxing for me to just sit in the dim room (I wear a neck pillow, rest her on the boppy pillow in my lap, and sort of doze in and out!) Might be worth a try 🙂

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    Amy Reply:

    That has been noted. You are so smart with the neck pillow too! Tucking all this away for April

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    Andrea Reply:

    the neck pillow is a life-saver! Good luck!

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  6. JoDi

    11/27/2017

    Oh my, what a cutie! I love that picture of her sleeping on the pink blanket with her little hand under her cheek. So sweet!

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    Andrea Reply:

    that’s one of my favorite pictures too!

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  7. Fenton

    11/27/2017

    Congratulations!! She is so precious!! I love the family photos ~ You look fantastic! This is such a special time-try to enjoy it as much as possible. Mine are 29, 27, 25, and 24 now. Keep up the good work, mom 🙂

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  8. Jo

    11/27/2017

    I understand what you mean and I only have two with another on the way. So much to remember in the week! I use to very diligently plan the week out and know exactly who was doing what when and who was looking after who and which grandparent was needed/helping etc but now although I do plan the week on a Sunday with my husband I then can’t think more then a day at a time – if I think about Thursday on a Monday it is a recipe for me having the biggest stress headache! So its a day at a time and somehow we make it through most weeks!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    congrats on baby #2 Jo!
    it’s always hard adding another to the family — a new schedule, a new routine, new needs, etc. One day at a time is a great plan!

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  9. Susan

    11/27/2017

    This was precious–what a cute baby! After many years of mentally keeping track of so many kid/family things, I sometimes wonder if my 57 year old brain is on vacation! I now work full-time as the assistant for a father-son financial services office, and I feel like I don’t have nearly the memory or mental sharpness I once did when managing a houseful of kids. Is it my imagination? Copious notes and my task list on Outlook–that’s how I make it through. Anyone else out there my age who can relate? 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    I think you’re normal — my mom definitley forgets so much more now too 🙂 I told her she needs to do better and writing things down!

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  10. Katherine

    11/27/2017

    Wow- I totally, completely remember that feeling! When people asked me what four kids was like, I just remember that first year how I would periodically need to stop and do a mental roll call to make sure I knew where everyone was. I was alway a brain fog away from leaving my oldest waiting at the bus stop or realizing too late that my third child was walking down the sidewalk in his underwear. (The first one never happened but the second one definitely did. More than once.)

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha! today, Simon had to remind me to button and zip his jeans about 4 times because I kept saying, “just a minute” while I was doing other things for other children. He finally walked up to me and said, “mom, if you don’t button my jeans everyone will see my underwear!” 🙂

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    Amy Reply:

    Oh Katherine, I am dying laughing! In his underwear! That is the best!

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  11. Alicia

    11/27/2017

    They are so adorable! I’m jealous of the good sleeper…I’m only a couple weeks behind you with our fourth, and his sleep is different almost every night. He ususally only sleeps for one 3 hour stretch. 🙁 I’m ready for some consistency! Especially since I have 3 other children!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Sorry to hear about your not-as-great sleeper. You know it gets better though — it’s just torture until you actually get there! Consistency is usually the main thing I crave when I’m dealing with a newborn!

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  12. Holly

    11/27/2017

    Clara looks so much like Simon to me in some of these pictures! And yay for a good sleeper! I only have 3 kids and my youngest is 6…but the brain fog is still there. It’s mentally very challenging to keep up with everything! I think you are amazing for managing it all!

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    Andrea Reply:

    We often hear she looks like Simon — and yes, we are THRILLED with how well she is sleeping! My best infant sleeper for sure!

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  13. Myka

    11/27/2017

    Miss Clara is so cute. The few months of having a baby there is plenty of brain fog. It took me about 6 months to get things rolling, lol.
    Myka
    http://www.supersimpleways.com

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    Andrea Reply:

    it usually takes me at least 3-4 months to clear the fog… we’ll see how long it takes with baby #4!

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  14. Kim

    11/27/2017

    Merciful Heavens! Who wouldn’t have brain overload?
    You ROCK!!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha!!

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  15. Ruth

    11/27/2017

    Such a sweet stage of life! And yes, you are very fortunate with such an awesome sleeper!

    Once my twins left for college, I purposely and deliberately left my calendar completely empty until Christmas. Yes, I am blessed to be able to do this, but after having homeschooled 3 kids for 17 years, I just needed a span of time where I did not have to think about ANYTHING! There were days when I just sat/laid on the sofa, stared out the window and didn’t move unless I need to take care of dog or use the bathroom!!

    It was AWESOME!!!!

    Your time will come! In like 20 years! lol! Have a great day!

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    Summer Reply:

    I hear this! My youngest (of 4) started at the West Michigan Aviation Academy this fall and after years of homeschooling… I didn’t schedule a thing! There has been things that have to be done and things for her new school, but basically I am enjoying a breather. I only had to wait 15 years!

    Clara is adorable full out laughing! Already!? And I vividly remember brain fog. It was like you just couldn’t turn it on.

    Blessing all!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes — she has SUCH BIG smiles. It’s fantastic!

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    Andrea Reply:

    That’s awesome! I can’t even imagine how great that must have felt after year and years of non-stop go-go-go!
    I’ll let you know in 20 years 🙂

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  16. Becca

    11/27/2017

    I have 3 kids, all about 4 years apart, and I agree. I felt absolutely brain dead the first few months, and am just recently feeling better, though I still have my days. I took my son to a follow-up appointment an hour early once because I thought it was at 1, even though I had it written down in 2 places that it was at 2. For me, getting up with my 3rd grader every day, with a baby who only sometimes slept through the night, completely wiped me out the first few months. Like I said, we’re finally finding our new normal, for now.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh good — I’m not the only brain dead mom out there!
    We have Dr. appointments tomorrow — I’ll double check the time and try not to show up an hour early 🙂

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  17. Chris

    11/27/2017

    What a blessing the sleep “schedule” has been the last few weeks. I’m glad for you!

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    Andrea Reply:

    YES!!! It’s amazing! I’m sleeping better now than when I was 8 and 9 months pregnant!

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  18. Paulette

    11/27/2017

    Andrea, Clara looks like you! Just adorable. Love Nora’s hair cut. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Paulette — you are officially the first person to say that Nora looks like me… I’ll take it!

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