For everyone who’s ever said (or thought), “I can barely handle my one kid, I don’t know how you do this with four kids!“ I want to let you in on a little secret: I don’t. One kid is the hardest amount of kids to manage. I know the math doesn’t add up. I know it doesn’t seem true, but I assure you it is absolutely true.
I do not even know how I survived life with one baby. All day at home. Every day. Just sitting there with her. Staring at her. Completely bored and completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know how to do it.
Everything within me shifted when I became a Mom—it had to. I went from Diana The Person to Diana The Mom and it took my sanity some time to catch up. When I finally got a handle on things, when my baby was finally able to talk and pee in a toilet, we took a gamble and added another human to our family. Going from one to two had its own challenges.
I had to learn to juggle. By the way, you can be the world’s best multitasker and still suck at moming more than one kid. And I sucked. And I was depressed.
I was constantly mad at the 2 year old for needing me riiiiight as the baby needed me. I was spread really thin and I wasn’t excelling in any area of my life. By the time we had 3 kids, I had reconciled my new identity with my old identity. I was no longer JUST a mom or JUST a person, I was some mom-person mixture. I was the new me. I figured out who she was and what she needed.
And now, with 4, I am thriving as this new mom-person (knock on wood). I don’t feel spread thin at every moment. I don’t feel constantly overwhelmed or like I’m failing at everything. I feel pretty good, you guys.
I NEVER felt like this when I was one kid deep (and rarely when I was two kids deep). I know some people catch on quicker. I know some people don’t even experience the identity crises that I did. I bet some of you are reading this and scratching your head. You have no idea what I’m talking about. Some of you, though, you get it.
So, if you’re one kid deep and you’re looking around at all of those moms with 3, 4 and 5 (or more) kids and you’re wondering how they do it all: they don’t.
They don’t do it all because they don’t have to. Their husband has had to adapt to fatherhood in a real, hands on, knee-deep-in-kids way. The older kids help and no one remembers what it was like before siblings so there are minimal jealousy issues.
So, don’t worry if you’re one or two kids deep and drowning. I was, too. The math doesn’t add up and it doesn’t seem possible, but EXACTLY the amount of kids you have is the hardest number, and if you have more, you’ll stretch, you’ll adapt and you’ll master that number because you ROCK (even if it doesn’t feel like it).
(Featured image by Jelleke Vanooteghem)