Four Under Four

So a couple years ago I wrote a post about having two kids under two years old. This seems a bit laughable to me now as up until this past weekend I had four kids under four! (Zac just turned 5 Saturday so I guess I can't say that anymore.) However, I know that my feelings at that point in time were valid. At that point in time I had no idea that we were going to add two more babies to the mix in a short amount of time.

Anyway, in honor of Zac's 5th birthday, I thought I'd examine those Two Under Two lessons I learned and see how Four Under Four has measured up in relation:
  • Someone is always pooping. YEP! Quite literally sometimes. And with four under four, you've got *multiple* kids in diapers or training pants, plus some potty-training. Invest in baby wipes. You'll need them and you can use them for everything - wiping down the sink real quick, cleaning up a "miss" from a little guy, etc. I buy an extra-large box with multiple packages of wipes instead of individual ones because it's cheaper in the long run and then I don't have to go back to the store as often.
  • You will probably not eat a hot meal again for awhile. This is somewhat true as well. I usually run into this problem more when a baby is first born. Then once they've gotten a little bit more independent I run into the problem of shoving food into my mouth once they've gone to bed. (See recent posts on Weight Watchers!)
  • Your toddler and baby will inevitably be upset at the same time. You'll have to figure out which problem is the most pressing or easily fixed. One of them will spend more time crying and you'll feel terrible about it. Also still true. Except now it's times 4. However, me having some big kids does help this problem sometimes. Really I just kind of feel like this is done on the fly. Congratulate yourself every time you get through this!
  • You will be overwhelmed with mountains of laundry. I have tons and tons and tons of laundry. If you can get on a schedule, fantastic. In the early days, that's nearly impossible. Doing one load a day (minimum) works well for us.
  • You will become a logistics planner when you need to go somewhere. Can I nurse in this top? Did I use all the diapers up in the diaper bag? Better double check. Where is my wrap? Gotta remember to grab my wallet off the desk. How much time will we have before the toddler needs a nap? Did I remember the snacks? How cold is it outside? This is pretty much still true, only more so. I plan things in advance or we don't go. I have said "no" to things because the logistics of it were too complicated.
  • And along those same lines: you'll need at least half an hour to get ready to go. This is especially true if you have older kids as well. Some family members have chuckled at me getting ready to leave a huge amount of time before we need to actually go someplace but I can't just run out the door. Instead, I spend that time: making sure the diaper bag is stocked with extra outfits, diapers, snacks, and wipes; grabbing my cell phone, wallet, and any other things I need; making sure everyone is dressed halfway decently/seasonably appropriate, securing two toddler/child seats, packing the baby up into his infant seat, going back in the house for the things I forgot, finding my keys, doing a head count to make sure there are four/five of them in the van, and still ending up 3-5 minutes late. Still true, except more packing, more stuff, more car seats, etc. Instead of half an hour, I allow an hour. This also gets easier as you get through the first few weeks. And again, having a few older ones helps at times. But sometimes that actually creates more chaos...but that's a post for another time.
  • Even though you're allowing yourself more time, you will inevitably forget something. Diapers, an extra outfit, the snacks, your wallet, money....something. You will feel like a giant idiot and possibly even have to go back home. This is okay - you're still a good mom. So very true. I can't count the number of times I've forgotten something. It's still okay though. Making lists is essential for me. One way I stop myself from forgetting things is noting it down in the "Notes" app on my phone and leaving it up on the screen. Or using a sticky note and placing it where I'm going to see it - on the fridge handle, on the door I'm going to go out, etc.
  • A hidden chocolate break is totally acceptable - in your bedroom, hall closet, bathroom - wherever you can escape to for a few minutes. This is sometimes accompanied by crying. Yours, of course. This is also okay. And you are still a good mom. Since I made this post I have really, really realized the importance of self-care. Self-care is not something you should "fit in" "if you have time" or "every once in awhile." Every mom deserves to feel like herself, her own unique human being. Not everyone hides with chocolate. Sometimes they sit in the car by themselves for an extra 5-10 minutes. They stay up late to binge on television shows. They shop online when everyone is asleep. They get a job. They take a long hot bath. They escape the house as soon as Dad gets home to go get a coffee. They get a babysitter and go to lunch by themselves while running errands. They hire someone to do that task they hate. They write, they sew, they knit, they run. They enjoy a cup of tea during nap time. They take a nap during nap time! Whatever your "thing" is, make yourself do it. Because having four under four can be stressful and I personally feel like you have to take your moments when you can get them.
Is four under four harder than two under two? Yes and no. It's similar, just more of everything. What do you think? Do any of you readers have multiple little ones? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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