When I left the hospital with my second and third babies, no one handed me a guidebook for getting through life with multiple children (of course, the same can be said for having my first child, which was a different, challenging thing!). I am not entirely sure that a family of five qualifies as “large,” but considering an average U.S. family has 2.5 kids, it’s larger than average. There are a lot of things that people didn’t tell me about having a larger family, but these are the things that stick out to me the most.
Someone is always sick.
I have three kids, six and under, and right now, it feels like someone is always sick. Cold symptoms can linger for two weeks, and by the time the virus has gone through every child in the household, someone brings home something new. It’s a never-ending cycle. In our house, Motrin is stocked, and the doctor’s office is on speed dial.
There is no shortage of friends.
If my kids are ever bored, my first response is, “go play with your brother/sister.” It doesn’t mean that they don’t bicker and fight, but they always have a built-in friend, and watching their relationships grow is one of my favorite parts of having multiple kids.
Getting kids into car seats counts as a daily workout.
I have three kids in 5-point harnesses in the middle and back rows, and sometimes I am sweaty before we leave the house. If you don’t have time for a workout, it’s okay; buckling the kids into the car will do.
You will become desensitized to the noise level in your house.
I am sensitive to noise — I have been my whole life. It’s funny to me that I now live in a home that is always in a state of noisy chaos, and sometimes I don’t even notice it.
Two words: bulk shopping (is a necessity).
I am not sure how my three small children consume as much food as they do, but we can easily go through an entire bag of apples in the span of a weekend, and a bag of pretzels never lasts more than a few days. Enter Costco. Or Sam’s Club, Aldi, or wherever you choose to do your bulk shopping. I have gotten creative with storing food in our 1960s kitchen, and we have a second fridge in the garage.
Alone time does not exist.
Unless my kids are sleeping, I am never alone. My kids barge in on me in the bathroom, peek their heads into the shower, sit on top of me on the couch, and stand over me as I try to eat my food. As much as I miss doing those things alone, it also feels very strange when that happens.
Love does multiply.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, love grows every time a child enters the family. I was worried about my love being divided when we decided to grow our family. My attention is divided, but there is no shortage of love for my kids!