Thursday, September 12, 2013

Eight Great Things About Having Three Kids Four and Under

I am the mother of three girls (so far) aged ten months, 2.5 years, and 4.5 years. When I go places with my three little girls, people say things like, “You’ve got your hands full!” And honestly, I do. But this does not mean that I am not enjoying it. Life is very busy and at the end of most days when the kids are asleep, I scarcely remember what we did in the morning. There are so many negative things on the Internet about having children, how babies are hard to take care of, cost lots of money, and how your life will never be your own again. And while this may the case, I am okay with that.  I have heard from older moms that where I am is the most difficult time in parenting. “The third is the hardest,” they all say. (Though I have heard from moms of larger families, that the first six are the hardest.) Despite the difficulties of having lots of little kids, there are many wonderful things about my life these days.

Here are just eight of the many great things about having three kids aged 4 and under:

1. They are all at home: Once the oldest starts kindergarten or preschool, things change a lot. We are going to home school. In fact I am starting to do what I consider to be real schooling this Fall, where we sit down and “do school” for an hour each morning. I realize that this year is the last year where the expectations of schooling are going to be so low. This is a time to savor, where things are simple and happen at home.

2. They are close: My oldest two never stop playing. They play from the moment they are awake to the moment they fall asleep at night. They are each others’ constant companions and they love it. We give them a break in the afternoon for nap/quiet time, but otherwise they are at a loss without each other. It is beautiful to witness.

3. Quiet evenings at home: I never have to stress about what I am doing on a Friday night. In fact, my husband is thankful to the kids that he can use them as an excuse to stay home every evening if he wishes. Maybe we are homebodies, but I love the quiet 2-3 hours of time with my husband after the kids 8 o’clock bedtime. Someday they will go to bed later, and things will not be the same.

4. Quiet/Nap time: It is a fight most days, but once I get the kids settled into separate rooms for their afternoon quiet/nap time, I have an hour or so to regroup, relax, blog, or make important phone calls. I am wondering how long I will be able to get away with this. Though once the kids are reading on their own, I bet I can make it reading time for the older kids.

5. We can still fit in a sedan, and a minivan has extra seats: This is another thing to savor for now. If God keeps on blessing us with children, there may be a time when a minivan is not enough. But for now, I am happy to drive a “smaller” car.

6. I never have to sit still at Mass: I don’t know about you, but sitting still at Mass has always been difficult. There is always someone to hold om my lap. It is great to be able to get up with a fussy baby and pace around in back or take out the toddler to the restroom. When we first had kids, I was a little annoyed at having to leave the pew so often, but now it adds to my ability to focus on Mass. If I have the rare Mass without kids, I am at a loss for what to do with my hands.

7. The baby is the easy one: When my eldest was born, everything was new. The last newborn I had lived with was my brother who was born when I was three years old. With the third baby, everything comes naturally: feeding, diaper changes, rocking, holding, etc. It is nice to be able to enjoy a baby without worrying if I am doing everything right.

8. All children are gifts from God: Being a parent of three little kids is never easy, and it is often overwhelming. But they are gifts from God. We really do not have control from the beginning over whether we will be able to have kids, and now that I have three I still have to rely on God’s blessing to have any more. God gave them to us to take care of, to love, and to raise to love Him. We cannot “plan” our families the way society wants to tell us we can. So enjoy your family now, as it is, and remember to find joy amidst the craziness of raising little children.

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