Clara @ 6 Months + 6 Reasons More Children Has Felt Easier

posted by Andrea | 03/26/2018
Print pageEmail page

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! πŸ™‚

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”Β 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.

It’s glorious!

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! πŸ™‚

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!

NOTE: you can read this post for some of my all-time most favorite “Mom Tools”.

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:Β 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!

Filed under: FamilyParenting

 
 

Leave a comment

17 comments

  1. Patty

    03/29/2018

    OMG! How cute is Clara! 6 months is such a fun age too. I’m glad everything is going so well! Enjoy that new baby.

    [Reply]

  2. Katherine

    03/26/2018

    Yes to all of this! My standards got lower and lower with each child- for myself, for my kids, for everything. I have learned to rest when I have the chance, and not work on house things during my precious (short) afternoon window where the two youngest are resting.

    When my fourth was a few weeks old, my husband took the oldest three kids out of town for an entire week. While that would have been totally overwhelming for me with my first, by the time it was my fourth baby I was very at ease and enjoyed the heck out of that peace and quiet. I recommend that to any dads who ask me for advice on having a fourth child! Take those older ones and get out of the house:)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    when James was born, Dave took Nora and Simon for 2 nights — it was AMAZING. So quiet, I just laid on the couch all day with the baby snuggled up on my chest and a good movie or book. I would seriously recommend this to any dad. It was such a fantastic “gift” from Dave!

    [Reply]

  3. Jo

    03/26/2018

    I have a 4 and 2 nearly 3 year old…both potty trained, both can now just about put their clothes on with minimal help. Both happy to go to preschool or with grandparents etc. Both getting better at sleeping all night long (its been a long road!) and both playing well together the majority of the time. Number 3 is coming in May and I’m hoping for a smoother transition then 1 and 2 when number 1 was still not walking and so I was carrying 2 around…let alone the fact neither slept and they were both dependent for everything. Fingers crossed for a sleeper! Out of interest – have you found any correlation between the amount of movement in the womb and how well they slept once they were here???

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, having them so close together is hard in a lot of ways. Congrats on baby #3! I have a feeling you’ll be able to enjoy this one a lot more!
    As for the correlation between sleep and movement in the womb, I honestly haven’t noticed anything. All my babies moved a lot, 2 slept really well, 2 slept horribly!

    [Reply]

  4. Diana

    03/26/2018

    I think it’s because you got your dream baby for #4 πŸ™‚ I have a Nora-type for #3 and it’s been infinitely harder than 1 and 2 were! He’s been incredibly hands-on for his entire life (he’s 1 now) and I am so thankful for many of the things you mentioned above–the oldest two play so well together, they are so helpful, and I kind of know what I’m doing. All that being said, having a super-intense baby is just plain hard, no matter which number in birth order he or she is πŸ™‚

    I guess I’m learning lots of coping skills (efficiency, priorities, simplifying, etc.) that will hopefully transfer into better home-management when I do actually get more than 5 minutes to spend on one thing!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’m sure the fact that Clara smiles or sleeps almost all day is extremely helpful! I will not try to hide that fact πŸ™‚
    I often wondered what life would be like if we got another Nora baby AND had older kids. In some ways, it would be so much harder because I’d be so tired and still need to take care of the other kids. But in other ways, as you alluded to, I’d have more experience, knowledge, and skills to deal with a fussier baby the 2nd or 3rd time around.
    Not that I would wish a fussy baby on anyone (especially not myself!)
    I know you’re not looking for sympathy or advice… but I do feel for you. I know how LOOOOONG the days were with Nora — no naps for breaks and just holding her all day long. I wish I would have worn her more in a baby carrier, I have a feeling that would have helped me some.
    And I will agree that once your little guy finally turns the corner (he will eventually!) your life will change so drastically. You’ll be SO productive and actually have a little free time!
    Keep on keeping on — you’ll get there eventually!

    [Reply]

    Diana Reply:

    It’s always good to hear that hard is hard, but that it will end πŸ™‚

    And I’m so curious to know what his intense little self will be like once he hits preschool age–will he mellow out or stay this way? πŸ™‚

    God gives us what we need, and the hard definitely keeps us where we ought to be–depending on Him! Thanks for the encouraging words πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  5. Erin Heckber

    03/26/2018

    Yes! While I am have just 3 kids (almost 4, 2.5 & 1). I told people that the transaction between 2 to 3 kids was easier then 1 to 2, for many of the above reasons. When #2 came my oldest was only 18mo. She couldn’t do anything independently. I was worried about how do I take care for oldest when trying to nurse. When #3 was born my oldest was nearly 3. Such. Difference! Not only could a have a small conversation, but also she was helpful in small ways!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes! I think the fact that I can have conversations with my older kids is so nice — not just quite or babies crying all day long!

    [Reply]

  6. Jen @ Bookish Family

    03/26/2018

    When moms who have just had their 2nd baby look at me out and about and homeschooling my brood of 3 and soon to be 4, I always try to reassure them that IT GETS EASIER. Having 2 under 2 was the hardest time of parenting for me with so many diapers, breastfeeding, buckling things, and wiping up messes. Older children are helpful and they don’t need me to be their playmate. Now my son is old enough to clean the toilets . . . game changer!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — good for you. Training them to clean the toilets right away!
    and yes, now that Clara is the only one in diapers and a crib, I feel like I can practically do anything πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  7. Annaleah

    03/26/2018

    With 6 kids, I totally agree with this! For me, the transition to two kids was a little rough, but the third and on honestly felt like a breeze! And that was even with only 15-18 months in between most of my kids! I really feel like parenting would be easier for a lot of people if they just had more than 1-2 kids!

    [Reply]

  8. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    03/26/2018

    Yes! As we added our third baby, 2 weeks ago today, I am amazed at how smooth the transition has been. I felt so much more exhausted with 1 than I do with 3! Although, some of this is due to schedules and routines and like you said, older children (okay, just 4 and 2, but still!) who play nicely together…most of the time. Like you, I’ve learned my limits and the tricks of the trade. Plus, lots and lots of Grace makes all the difference!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — you’ve packed a lot into those first 2 weeks. I feel like I’ve seen so many pictures and so much going on — I figured she was at least a month old already!!

    [Reply]

  9. Chris

    03/26/2018

    I have a friend with 6 kids. When she had 5, she said 5 was easier than 2. I think it was because her first two were so close, and with 5, she also had a lot of “helpers”. πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I can believe it! 4 was much easier than 1 or 2 for me!

    [Reply]