Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mom of 4

I have 4 kids. 
4 kids 5 and under (until last week). 
3 boys and 1 girl. 

I hear this a lot,
 "Wow! You have your hands full." 
(yep, full of love and maybe a little craziness, okay a lot of craziness)
and this
"You have 4 kids?!?!?!? You are a busy lady."
and my favorite,
"What's it like having 4 kids so close in age?"
(do you have a couple of hours for me to tell you?)

My usually answer to the last question is,
"Its definitely fun and busy but really having 4 is not much different then 3. It's just more exhausting."
(Going from 1 to 2 kids was the hardest transition for me. Going from 2 kids to 3 was not so bad, just more a little more crazy. And going from 3 kids to 4 was not really any different, just more exhausting.)

That's the easy answer. 
The long drawn out answer I never give. 
The answer where I tell them how I am always worried that I am not giving each kid what he/or she needs. Having four kids ages 6,4,2 and 8 months is exciting, and crazy and exhausting. I love it and I worry about it. 

I always worry if I am giving each kid enough time. Am I really showing Landon, Braddoc, Tayton and Aowyn how much they mean to me? When they grow up will they know how much I cared about them? Will any of them feel left out or like they did not matter to me as much as another? I am constantly worried that I am nurturing each child the way they need to be nurtured and not just the way I THINK they need to be nurtured. 

I lay in bed at night thinking about and praying about EACH of my children. I worry that because they are all still so little and so close in age that I may be grouping them all together and therefor doing one or more of them a disservice. Do I cater to each individual need and teach them in the way that they learn best?

It's not an easy question to answer, "What's it like having 4 kids so close in age?"
The answer to that question is so deep and so full of meaning that I don't feel I can ever do it justice when I try to explain it quickly to people, that may or may not really want to know the answer too. 

I have learned (quickly) that each of my children need me in different ways. 

I can't look back on the day at the end of the night and say, "I helped Landon with his homework, took care of the babies, and helped Braddoc clean up his toys." and feel like I really gave each child what they needed. I am teaching them wonderful principles and helping them grow into well rounded adults, but am I nurturing their spirits? Am I showing them the love that they need through the time spent with them? I know that each day I am showing them love, but am I showing them the love that there spirits can see?

I know my children and I know that for me to give them what they need I need to focus on who they are as individuals. I once read the book The Five love languages, (there is one for kids too) And I thought about my kids and what their love languages would be. I realized that I needed to love my child the way they needed to be loved.

It's easy as moms to feel spread too thin. We have so many things that we do each day and we have so many tasks at hand constantly. We are juggling multiple jobs and usually have a list a mile long in our heads that we never seem to fully check off. Its hard sometimes to devote enough time to each child, but its so vitally important.

I made a "list" so to speak for each of my children and what they need from me in order for them to feel loved. It has helped me in so many ways when I feel like I am not doing enough for them. I think of "the list" every night when I assess how my day went and I some times realize I accomplished more with my kids then I thought.

Loves to talk, so he needs me to listen to him and all his stories.
Loves to ask questions and learn, so I need to take time to listen and teach him.
Loves to read and be read to.
Loves to be recognized when he does something good.
Loves to be praised for good behavior.
Does not handle punishment well unless it is done with LOTS of love.
Loves to listen to stories about his family and what it was like when he was a baby.

Loves to be cuddled and held and loved on.
Loves to learn and enjoys being involved in things I am doing.
Loves to help me with my chores.
Loves to take care of me. 
Loves to have his back rubbed and scratched.
Loves for me to run my fingers through his hair and sing.

Loves to talk and loves when I talk back to him.
Loves to play with characters and loves when I play with him and make the people talk.
Loves when I just sit with him and hold him and sing him songs and rub his head.
Loves to sit at the window with me and tell me all the things he sees.
Loves to help take care of baby sister, and loves it when I let him feed her.

Loves to be sang too.
Loves when you sit on the floor and talk to her.
Loves to be tickled and called Princess.
Loves it when you play with her hands and feet.
Loves it when we are all looking at her and smiling.

When I know what each child is like then I know what they need from me and I how valuable my time is spent with them. I know what they need from me the most and I know how different they all are. I know that just loving them is not enough, but that some days its all I have in me. I know that just being a nice mom is not enough. I know that I need to love them the way they need to be loved. I also know I am not perfect and that I am still a work in progress at this task. I learn a little bit more every day about how to parent each of my kids. Some days I learn better then others and some day I spent my time with each kid better then others. I always try to remember that the important thing is, is that I am trying and that I am a good mom and one bad day doesn't change all the good ones.

 So yes, mothering 4 kids so close in age is hard, its worrisome and its exhausting but it is SO, SO, SO worth it.

1 comment:

J and M said...

i'm exhausted with TWO kids. and after potty training i tell myself that i am DONE. you are a wonderful mother, aurie!