Things I’ve learned after having 4 children…

Ok, so I didn’t actually give birth to four children, but with the three I did deliver plus my bonus daughter, it doesn’t matter how you count them…there are four (five, really, if you count my husband). With this many children, I have come to discover a few things that I wanted to share that make life easier~

1. Accept that you may not make it out of the house with full make-up and a coordinating outfit. I saw a Facebook post today talking about leaving the house with mis-match earrings on, and my first thought was, “Wow! I’m lucky to even REMEMBER to put earrings on anymore!” On that same note, my friends will be the first to tell you that I used to be the girl that never went anywhere in public without make-up on (hey, you never know when you might run into while out…like Colin Farrell perusing the bookshelf at the William and Mary Barnes and Noble while in the area shooting his latest period film in Jamestown). These days with 4 kids, I feel like I have won the lottery when I get to take a shower before noon and am wearing something other than yoga pants. And speaking of showers, they have to be strategically arranged around nap time, otherwise you never know what you might discover after you emerge.

2. All babies are different. And it’s because of this that I have 4 children. If they were all like my first…there’d be no more! Crying uncontrollably every night for no apparent reason. The type where once you get them to sleep, you find yourself making ninja-like moves to quietly slink away from where ever it is that they finally konked out (and will remain until they wake themselves up-whoever said that you should wake a sleeping baby to feed them did not suffer from lack of sleep and peace and quiet-when the baby falls asleep, LET HER SLEEP!!). My second one tricked me…she was the perfect baby. You could place her in her crib and she’d just lull herself to sleep. Did I say PERFECT?! I was a sucker and had my third. He falls somewhere between the previous two…or maybe it’s the constant lack of sleep that makes me THINK he isn’t so bad…but they are all so darn cute, they’re worth it (most days…)!

3. Never, Ever take all the kids to the store! So, this isn’t realistic. I know that people don’t have a choice and have to take their kids to the store with them…but if you want to maintain your sanity, then try your absolute hardest NOT to take the kids to the store. A normal trip to the store that might take you an hour by yourself, will take you 4 times that long with kids in tow…it’s pretty much a scientific fact! You practically double the time before you even get out of the driveway by inevitably having to go back in the house like 5 times for the items you’ve forgotten…bottles, coats, the package you are returning (which was the whole reason you were going to the store to begin with), and most importantly, every child’s special, precious little blankie that they might not survive without…oh, Lord! Once you finally make it to the store a quick jaunt down the aisle is tripled in duration while you stop every 2.3 seconds to look at “the coolest thing” that they “have to have!” I mean, thanks a lot, person who created Barbie, I’m almost sick of the color pink (almost) and if I step on one more Barbie shoe…

4. Give up the vision of quiet, enjoyable family dinners. I am a huge fan of Pinterest and spend hours concocting the perfect, healthy meal for my darling family using the most perfect recipes found on the blogs of moms who make every thing from scratch and don’t ever leave the house without their make-up on and all kids in coordinating outfits. By the time dinner hits the table, I have one kid screaming that they don’t like chicken, they want chips and dip for dinner (and every other meal of the day), and the other child shoveling food in their face and wearing most of it. The food that she’s not wearing is actually ground into the carpet under the dining room table. I’m still finding pieces of rice around the house from our last attempt at Jambalaya. Inevitably two things happen during dinner, as well…1) the baby starts crying, and 2) someone knocks over their apple juice. Why do I punish myself by giving them real cups of juice and not just a sippy cup? Why?

5. Say goodbye to privacy! Children have the uncanny ability to know exactly when you sit down to pee. From now on whether you are peeing, showering or putting on your make-up (on those rare occasions), you will have an audience. Any modesty you once had will be tossed out with the dirty diapers…the many, many dirty diapers!

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, my best friend (who has 4, almost 5, kids of her own) laughed and told me that I would have to get over being an obsessive cleaner once my baby arrived. If I could have carried my Windex around in a holster-like belt, that would have been totally awesome! I’m a tad neurotic when it comes to cleaning, and I would Windex tiny little finger prints as soon as they landed on my back door. She laughed at me, knowing that I would change once I had kids, despite my strong denial. And she was right. I no longer run around immediately cleaning up tiny finger prints and I accept that I will never again pee in peace. But once I made these realizations, I made an even bigger discovery…that it’s all worth it!

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