Miss Clara celebrated 6 months yesterday, and what a fantastic 6 months it has been!
Well, the last 4 months have been really great — the first 2 were a little rough, but then she stopped crying all the time, started magically sleeping through the night, smiled all day long, and decided she actually loves being in her carseat!
She is trying to sit up but not quite there yet, she rolls all over the place, she loves grabbing and sucking on her toys (and her fingers), and she’s cutting her very first tooth!
Clara is an absolute dream baby — but honestly, the only reason I can fully appreciate her sweet demeanor and easy-going personality is because I’ve had years of experience with sleepless, crabby, colicky, screaming-all-day-long babies.
Those of you with sleepless screaming-all-day-long babies can still hate me… but just know, I “earned” this one! 🙂
Obviously, the fact that I get a fair amount of sleep every night and can enjoy a mostly-happy baby all day long plays a HUUUUUGE factor in my ability to enjoy this period of my life and more easily handle the needs of 4 children each day.
Yes, there are definitely aspects of life that get more challenging with each new baby, but (in my own experience) there are so many reasons MORE children have actually been EASIER for me!
If you’ve ever heard a mom of several young children say something like, “the more I have, the easier it gets” don’t roll your eyes — I swear, it’s actually true.
Somehow, for some crazy reason, 4 children has actually felt easier for me than 3, 2, or 1… and as I’ve thought about this over the past 6 months, I have a few ideas of why this might be…
1. I sort-a, kind-a know what the heck I’m doing!
After 6 years of hands-on motherhood experience, 2 girls, 2 boys, 1 Winter baby, 1 Summer baby, 2 Fall babies, and SO much advice from everyone in my life, I feel like I actually know what I’m doing now!
I’m certainly not an expert and there will forever be more to learn, but I honestly shudder when I think back to the day Dave and I took Nora home from the hospital (a Thanksgiving Day I will NEVER forget)!
I still sometimes wonder what doctors and nurses think when they send a new baby home with first-time parents. There is SOOOOOOOO much we don’t know — and the worst part is, we don’t even know we don’t know it! We THINK we know everything because we read the books, watched the DVDs, went to the childbirth classes, and read all the blogs.
But we know nothing. We have no actual experience. We are basically flying blind!
From delivery to diaper rash, teething to toddler tantrums, potty training to preschool — everything is easier when you’ve done it before and feel like you sort of know what to expect.
2. I have more confidence in myself, and others do too.
Since I sort-a, kind-a feel like I know what I’m doing, I have so much more confidence in myself and my mothering abilities.
If a baby has a fever or congestion, I know what worked (and didn’t work) with my other 3 children, and I feel confident in my decisions.
When my baby cuts her first tooth, I’m ready and waiting with my Amber teething bracelets, my favorite cool teething toys, and a little bit of teething gel. I don’t need to run to the store, I don’t need to do research or call my doctor — I already know what to do.
Also, everyone else has more confidence in me and my abilities too. I suppose they figure if I’m capable of raising 3 other children through the baby and toddler stages, so I should be OK with my 4th baby too.
The doctors don’t constantly question me about every single decision I make, older parents don’t tell me I’m doing everything wrong just because it isn’t how they did it back in the day, and strangers just assume I’m rocking the motherhood thing since I kept having more children!
3. Older siblings play well together.
When Simon was born, Nora was only 2, she still never slept, and she was unwilling to do anything without me RIGHT NEXT TO HER. I never got a break (even at night).
Then when James was born, Nora (3.5) was slightly more independent — however, Simon was only 16 months old, and definitley not able to play by himself, or really do anything by himself. Heck, he couldn’t even talk yet!
Now, with 3 older children who are all very independent, potty trained, talking well, and not scared of other adults, I can send them outside by themselves, to a neighbor’s house or relatives house for a break, or just have them play upstairs together while I enjoy a little quiet downstairs with Clara.
4. Older children can actually be very helpful.
Along with simply entertaining themselves and playing together without my constant supervision, the older 3 kids have actually been quite helpful — both around the house and entertaining Clara.
For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to feed Clara and my phone starts ringing or I get a text messages. So I ask one of the kids to bring me my phone… done.
The kids love helping me with Clara too — Nora will take any opportunity to hold Clara for a few minutes, Simon loves to make her giggle, and James is a pro diaper-changing supervisor, singing to her the whole time I’m changing her!
They can pick up their toys and books on their own, get themselves dressed, and Nora can even work the iPad enough to get a show going for the 3 of them if I’m not available!
I should note that my children are not always angelic sources of happy help (especially when we ask them to clean up). They often grumble and complain when we ask them to do anything — but they do usually do it, and it’s always helpful! 🙂
5. I have the right “tools”.
My dad has almost every tool imaginable and he always jokes that “Any job is easier when you have the right tools.”
Well, I have to agree — and even though motherhood doesn’t require screwdrivers or jack hammers, there are A LOT of tools I’ve acquired over the past 6 years that have drastically simplified my life with little people, and made it so much easier to be a better mom.
Believe it or not, when we had Nora, we didn’t have a noise maker, a humidifier, diaper rash cream (seriously), infant pain meds, or even a stroller that worked with our carseat (I found one on Craigslist about 2 weeks after she was born — boy did we put the miles on that stroller!).
I was trying to get by with the absolute minimum when it came to buying baby things, but I quickly realized that life with little people is much easier when you have lots of tools at your service.
Now, our house is filled with children’s things – but they all have their place in our home and their purpose in our lives.
I am definitely excited to purge our jump-a-roo, baby bath tub, high chair, crib, and infant toys when that time comes, but for now, it’s more important hat I have the right “tools” for my job as mom!
One thing that isn’t listed in that post is the Glamourmom Nursing Tops. They are, hands-down, the most amazing nursing tops ever! If you’re in the market, Glamourmom is having a sale right now, and I have an extra 20% off coupon code: GMLR5772 (good through 4/30/18).
6. I am more patient, humble, empathetic, and laid-back.
To be clear, I would never describe myself as an overly patient, humble, empathetic, or laid-back person. However, I am significantly MORE patient, humble, empathetic, and laid-back than I was 6 years ago.
I no longer judge parents with screaming children, I no longer think my way is better, I no longer get super frazzled if my kids freak out in public, and I no longer stay up super late to finish every last thing on my to-do list.
I pick and choose my battles with my children, I give myself SO much more grace, and I count my blessings more than I ever have at any point in my life.
Sure, there are days when I think how much easier it would be to get out the door, eat dinner, or tackle the laundry with only 1 child, but there are SO many other times when mothering FOUR children feels significantly easier than it ever felt when I had fewer children.
So… if you’re like I was 5 years ago, wondering how on earth you will possibly be able to handle more than one baby — I promise, you’ll be able to do it! Who knows, it might just feel easier for you too!!
Seriously, if Type-A, needs-my-ducks-in-a-row, introverted me can handle 4 children, I think almost anyone can!