A popular joke goes that if you want to know how it feels having another kid after the third, imagine you’re drowning, and someone hands you a baby. The comedian, Jim Gaffigan, is a father of four and, while hilarious, right to a point. But is that a true depiction, that having a fourth child is like drowning?
One in five families consisted of four or more children in 1964, but now it’s something like one in ten. Yes, times have changed, and a fourth child is viewed by many as a luxury. A grown kid, a couple of toddlers, and a baby are far from manageable, but it’s possible, and mums have done so successfully.
It’s obvious, especially by the stares of onlookers during the troop’s outings, that having more than three children is crossing from normal into large family size. But how exactly clutching to the last straw is having a fourth child is, you’ve got to read on to find out.
What Is It Like to Have a Fourth Child?
The average family size according to the census of 2017 was 3.14 people, meaning that six is nearly twice that. But while three is a stretch in most people’s view, kids work better in tandems or pigeon pairs.
If you’re considering having a fourth child, be fully informed on what to expect. Here’s what I think you should know.
You’ll Love Staying in Compared to the Alternative
The logistics required to get four kids on the move for an outing are immeasurable. You’ll need a wedding level of planning and orchestration to get all the snacks, diaper bags, and sippy cups put together. There will be shoes and toothbrushes to locate. And then when you’re all set to go, someone needs to use the bathroom.
Soon enough, you’ll see sense and get the clan out for necessary outings only. You’ll turn into a home-body, especially if there are infants and toddlers in the mix. It’s not worth the loading, buckling, unloading, and then loading some more just to run a quick errand.
However, you’ll learn to appreciate the few times your troop gets to venture outdoors. Well, I admit that it’s not the same if you’ve spaced out your three kids or when surrounded by a support system of friends or relatives. All in all, a fourth baby can sap your energy and prove a handful in terms of combined logistics.
Your Superpowers Include the Ability to Stay Awake
If you combine all the time when pregnancy, newborns, and breastfeeding have kept you awake, I am sure it amounts to nearly six years. While some mothers cope better than others, a fourth child won’t be exactly freeing you up to catch unlimited Z’s.
It’s a sleepless jungle if your number four is coming at a time when your eldest is barely seven years old. Their body clocks don’t work the same, and you’ll find yourself barely keeping awake to feed your youngest at night. You’ll be amazed at how you can adjust to irregular sleep and still function or how friendly coffee will become.
While it’s not all doom, some of those nightly wake-ups will remain memorable, something to look back on years later. You could be one of those moms determined to make babies use their crib. But it’s easier for late-night feedings to co-sleep, plus little people have a mind of their own. An upgrade to a king-size bed worked for me, as even though some will transition fairly well, they always find their way back in between my husband and me.
You Won’t Mind What Anyone Thinks, Anymore
Have you ever seen moms who, despite the naughty behavior of their kids in public, don’t seem to care? That’s you after having a fourth child, caring much less about what others think. A toddler throwing a tantrum in an eatery used to make you frown and think the parents ought to do better. But that soon changes after realizing that kids will be kids.
When you do get to leave home, which isn’t often, your four-child troop won’t be easy to manage. It’s unrealistic to think you’ll have a babysitter on call or someone to help in the car or at the grocery store. While you’ve done your best to set good behavior expectations, unfortunate outcomes that people will frown upon is their nature; they’re only acting like kids.
Your standards will drop in many ways, including your ever-balanced meals or strict cleaning schedules. After the fourth one arrives, you’ll rely on family routines instead, seeing as nutrition will eventually balance out, and house cleanings will keep.
You’ll have panicked if your first baby ate something from the floor; by your fourth, all your concern is if it’s food or something harmful. Fewer commitments equal lower stress for a functional and happy mommy-hood.
If You Wanted Some Peace, Forget It
There’s a noise level associated with four young siblings that are unimaginable unless you’re right in the middle. One child will be yelling at any given time, night or day, while two others cry simultaneously. The pumped-up hero or heroine living in an imaginary animated landscape will be singing Disney tunes while prancing all over sofas or coffee tables. There’s the admonisher, possibly the eldest, telling everyone to stop while getting up to their mischief.
It’s when you want to catch a show on TV or when you’re online or on the phone that 21 questions never stop. There are moments you’ll be looking for a quiet niche in your house to take cover and hideout. But at other times, it falls eerily silent, and that bothers you too, strangely.
Noise is the background music of a four-child family. Despite how crazy it might drive you; your kids are experiencing life and bonding for life with the built-in friends you’ve provided for them. Expect never to be bored, and you’ll see benefits in your kids playing, loving, and growing together.
They’ll fight and destroy each other’s toys, but it’ll teach them to stand up for one another. Although sometimes it appears they can’t stand one another, you’ll be surprised at their affinity to share. Your heart will melt when they cuddle or teach the other to color or ride a bike.
If you’re thinking of having a fourth child at 35, there’s a need to master energy-saving. Avoiding unnecessary errands and rest will become vital skills, as so is putting off schedules for longer. Think online grocery shopping and stay indoors where anyone can take naps and wear shoes isn’t mandatory. But while the noise levels will escalate, there’s another thing you’ll get a little of, sleep.
I’m Cathrine and I’m a 39-year-old mother of 3 from Utica, New York. And I’m extremely happy you’ve come to visit my hide-out on the web. Here I post about everything related to family-life and usually it will involve babies and lessons I’ve learned over the years from experts, friends, and my own mistakes. So hopefully you will find what i write fun and informational!