Monday, 24 May 2010

Wanted! Mum of four with twenty minutes to spare*.

B and I have had the conversation. 

And then we've had it again.  And again.  And again. With each other and pretty much everyone else we've come into contact with over the last few weeks.

Are we going to have another baby?

It's no secret (if it wasn't before, it certainly isn't now, the amount we go on about it) that I want another baby, and now we're here, and we have the space, and I have no job**, I really want another baby; but B isn't so sure.  And where I'm worried about birth defects, and age gaps, and more sets of twins, he's just afraid of a little hard work (and the twins...).

Because it would be hard work, wouldn't it?  A baby is hard work.  A baby, two toddlers and a three year old would be very hard work.  I can't pretend that it wouldn't.  All I know is that I want it anyway. 

But what neither of us knows is whether it's too much hard work.  Of course that's subjective.  If I'm a lazy bugger who likes long lie-ins (which I am) and you're a workaholic who enjoys laundry and can survive on four hours sleep a night, you're going to find it easier than me, goes without saying.  But what I want to know is, insofar as it is possible to be objective about this sort of thing:  is 4 children do-able?  Does it get easier each time? Do the older ones ever start to be more of a help than a hindrance?

So this is a plea.  Does any of my lovely readers have four children?  Does anyone know anyone who has four children? And if so, would you or they be prepared to tell all....?

* and if I can't find anyone, that might tell its own story

** and therefore need something to validate my existence (?).  I think therein may lie another post...


  1. I'm still taking inspiration from the fact you have 3 and are still thinking that you can manage another. So my 2 to 3 move might be ok?

    Try, Wife Of Bold and if you are feeling really really brave andonemoremeans5...

    From what I've heard (because we are toying with the idea.. although might just see how 3 goes first) it is a big change from 3. But can't be as bad as going from 0 to 1 right?

  2. Here to help, m'dear! Fellow ex-city lawyer and mother of four, VERY pleased we have them all (and we too had four under five). Busy? Yes. Chaotic? At times. But they get on well, have always had someone to talk to/play with/moan at, and my view was always well if you are going to stay at home and bake cakes and take children for picnics and to the zoo etc, you might as well do it for four as three! Besides, odd numbers can mean someone getting left out, with four there are options for them.

    I reckon the second is the hardest, having to work out how to entertain number one whilst feeding number two, but after that successive children just slot in (well, unless you end up with more twins I guess, which must make it a lot more difficult!)

    Ours are now all teenage so the challenges are different (the girls are taking A levels and GCSE's at the moment, for example) but they are there for each other and I love the way the family continues to grow and enjoy different experiences. You just need a sense of humour, some time for yourself every day (ours went down for some quiet time every afternoon for my benefit rather than theirs!)and a people carrier!

    Good luck with whatever you choose, but YES you can do it, after all by now you are an expert!

  3. Awww, it's not going to go away is it...those broody niggles. I think I said before, go for it but...I have to admit that I really enjoyed a bigger gap between 3 and 4 and then the same with 4 and 5. Can you imagine if I'd had smaller age gaps I may well have ended up with 8! Or maybe I wouldn't change anything...I love having my big family. Good luck with whatever you decide. X

  4. Definitely get in touch with my friend Ursula at Fourdownmumtogo. She went from 2 boys to 2 boys plus boy twins - bit of a shock I think. But she is doing admirably well.

  5. How about Ella at Notes from Home?

    I think that anyone who can cope with twins, can cope with pretty much anything. Wouldn't it just feel quite easy, having a singleton, after twins?

    A friend of mine who had 4 always said she was SO glad she had. Her take on it was that if there's even a tiny niggle that you want another, you should go for it.

    Here, lots of families have 4 kids. I know a few of 5, and even one or two of 6. So I guess 4 only seems a lot to us Brits because the norm is a pretty low number these days.

    I always think that you're giving a child the best gift when you give them a sibling. Someone to go on holiday with, someone to spend Christmas with, someone to complain about the parents with - for life.

  6. Hi - have you seen Ursula's blog at She has two older boys and twin sons aged about two now - her blog is a fantastic read and gives a real insight into life with four kids. Don't forget that once you have twins the chances of you having them again goes up, I used to quote in articles that the chance the first time was 1 in 70 and after that one in 18. This is easy to joke about! Good luck to you whatever you decide. I also just read a book called The Adoption by Dave Hill where the mum had three children and desperately wanted a fourth. My view is that so long as there is enough love to go around, all is well. I am simplistic bugger.

  7. Oh I'm sorry - just seen that Emily already pointed you in Ursula's direction! That'll teach me. x

  8. Mrs T (not that one)25 May 2010 at 09:43

    Sounds to me like its more of a 'when?' question than an 'if?'...

    .. the way I see it - you'll manage fine if you do it now, and you'll manage fine if you do it in 6 months time or a year. In any case you've got time - its not as if you're over the hill in terms of having babies!

    The question is how you want to 'manage' I guess. Would it be easier, for example, to time it so that baby #4 (or even #4 and #5) arrives when L has started school? By which time A/S will be old enough to understand pretty much everything you need them to?

    Either way. You're a fab mum of three, and you'll be a super mum of five ;-) - just don't do it in a hurry because you feel like you need something to do cause you're not working and its part of the whole 'new life' thing... you do still have time!

  9. I want to go for no3 - the only thing stopping us is the worries about another bad pregnancy and the timing with me starting a new job in August - I love large families and yes they are more work BUT think of the love and the siblings you are creating for the children

    Might need to talk to someone who actually has survived three before getting totally mushy about it though!

  10. There is a group on BMB, can't remember what it's called, but it's for large families (defined as 4 or more). You could ask their opinions. My guess is that they'll all say "go for it", because once you've got 4, you could hardly say "I wish we'd stopped at 3" could you?

    But they might have some thoughts on age gaps and timing (assuming you have control over that...)

  11. I'm in awe at anyone who has more than two! And I agree with Iota 'go for it!'

  12. So think you should go for it... Would love to go for number 3 myself but need to work up the energy first! Personally I think I would like my pixie (15 months old) potty trained first. Think that would have to make things easier? Love motherhood- hate the nappies!

  13. I've just had my 2nd baby, so can't really help - but you should maybe talk to Amy who has just had her 5th! good luck :)

  14. Pants with Names - you're thinking of 4!!! Let's get 3 done first shall we?! But nice to know that I'm not alone in thinking that 4's a nice number. Interesting too that you've heard it's a big change - see Kim's comment below, and my feeling is that one more wouldn't really make much difference. B disagrees of course. But you're right, 0 to 1 is the shock you never get over isn't it?!

    Kim - really interesting that you found one to two hardest , because I've only ever done one to three and so I've sort of been thinking that that was to do with twins, but you're right, it wasn't, it was much more managing the toddler, and making the babies fit round her. Really pleased (selfishly) that yours are all close in age too. Proves it can be done! And I agree with you re odd numbers. I'm one of three and so I always felt as though someone was being left out (although oddly, usually not me, as I'm the oldest)

    Chic Mama - Doh! Meant to ask you directly and then you seemed to have too much on your plate, and then I forgot... if I have a fourth baby my brain really will turn to mush - it clearly won't take much! And while I wouldn't expect you to say you'd change anything, it's always nice to hear it! Plus your kids sound fab!

    Nappy Valley Girl - Ursula's clearly the woman to know! Thank you for the tip!

    Iota - Will pop over. But it's interesting that in the States bigger families seem much more "normal". Lots of people here have been looking at me like I'm insane for saying I want a fourth... And as for a singleton being easy - that assumes it is a singleton!

    Linda - she's clearly the woman to go for. Will be paying her a visit later. I like the thought about love though. When you put it like that it seems so simple doesn't it?

    Linda (again) - I think that's just a case of great minds!

    Mrs T - it depends on how mean I am to B... But thank you for being lovely as ever! Probably one to continue over a glass of wine in a couple of weeks time?

    Muddling Along - 3 is great! Ask anyone with three! My worries about three though are all to do with someone being left out, all the more so here when 2 of them are twins...

    Iota (again). Good thinking. Have joined the group (under false pretences!) and will see what they say.

    Northside Mum - interesting - one of the reasons I don't want to hang around is because I don't want to get out of nappies and then have to start all over again.... I'd rather have them all in one fell swoop and then never look at another nappy again. EVER!

    Lorna - I'm not sure that's going to help in my campaign to convince B but thanks anyway in advance for not looking at me as though I'm insane if I do "go for it"!

    Tiddlyompompom - Will do. Thank you! And congratulations on the baby too!

  15. All my friends with 4 say by the time you've had 3 you may as well have 4 as it really doesn't seem to equal excessive amounts of hard work (excluding the first baby months which can be tough with other little ones around).

    I'd love more but no can do after the hell of my pregnancies. I spent most of the last one in Gleneagles (not THAT one, the hospital in Singers) and its not an experience I'd care to repeat here in The Shire with the NHS. Only thing I'd say from personal experience of giving up work and moving away is to beware of grabbing ideas by the throat before you've had a chance to settle into the new life. I think some of us (ahem) more independent ladies can be a bit gung-ho on entering SAHMotherhood so don't overload yourself with decision making as you unpack the last Pickfords box (my speciality!).

    MD xx

  16. I SO see your point about needing to validate your existence. I felt really desperate to have another baby, because that was my job.

    We're only upgrading to three children, but I am one of four, and there are a lot of four child families in my extended family - the consensus seems to be that if you can handle three, four is just fine. If anything, they balance each other out better in the end, so they're less hassle.

    Basically, I would say go for it unless your husband isn't on board at all, because obviously it wouldn't be fun if you had no support. Good luck with the decision!

  17. I'm always ready to talk about my children etc...don't hesitate to ask please. XX

  18. I recently lost number 4 but was very optimistic that all would be fine and that I would actually enjoy having number 4, but then my kids are a little older than yours (6 years adn twins of nearly 3 years). I was petrified of having another set of twins as I think the odds are about 1 in 12 if you have natrally conceived non-Id twins like me, but we would of coped if it was meant to be.

    My dh like yours was not very pro the idea and was so worried how we would cope. Some of the problem for us was space and cars etc and no money to sort it but if you have that sorted then that is half the battle.

    My other concern was having enough time to spend separately with each child and them all getting the attention they deserved but I think you just make time- don't you?

    Good luck with persuading your hubbie.

    Mich x

  19. You've already had so many comments already, not sure my two cents will help. I also have four although there is a large gap between my first and second (6 years) I then had the next three in quick succession. I love being a part of a large family (I was also one of four) and wouldn't give up any of it. However, it is hard work no getting around it. When we are all in the house it can get very noisy! Things have gotten easier since the kids are now all in school. They fight but also spend a lot of time playing together. I love being a mother and I think if you are happy in that role then you always have room for another. I still look at babies with longing!! Good luck x

  20. I am in the same place as you, but with No. 3 not No. 4!!!

    The talking about it is driving me so mad I think we will just have to do it. I don't want much bigger a gap either - my 2nd is already over 2.

    Will be reading your blog with interest, to see what you decide!

    S x

  21. Lovely reading your comments, I have just posted on this too at Heather is right, noise levels are high (especially as there are normally friends here too) but it is a good kind of noice and I am beginning to miss it as they fly the nest!

    I did always tell them we couldn't have a dog whilst I was still tripping over toddlers around the house...

  22. My next door neighbour has five and she's the most chilled person I know! I've got two and I'm the least chilled person I know...

  23. MD - again, you appear to be in my head...fortunately not with the difficult pregnancies. In a way it'd be easier if I didn't find being pregnant so easy, as it is, that holds no fears... but I suspect there may be some truth in the idea that if this is my job I've got to jolly well DO IT! Boxes unpacked. What's next?? Oh yes, a baby....

    Mwa - again, it's interesting which change in number people see as the big one. I'm with you, I think 3 to 4's not that big a deal, but others clearly differ (see above!)

    Chic Mama - again I'm writing this on a day when you've got lots on your plate. Will have to find ten minutes when both of us are calm and have that chat. xxx

    Michelle - Firstly, I'm so sorry. I hope you're coping ok... and then secondly and selfishly, how did you persuade the dh? And do you think you'll try again?

    Heather - you have four and still manage to be a domestic goddess! Shows me that it is possible.

    Solveig - it is a tricky one isn't it? The first child is easy, the second is because the first needs a sibling, and then after that (twins count as one for this exercise) it begins to feel unnecessary and therefore debatable. Will be interested to see what you decide too!

    Kim - thank you again, and for your post. And the no-dog excuse is definitely one in favour in B's book (he's not a dog person!)

    Mummmeeee - Out of everything that everyone's said I think you've probably hit the nail on the head.... if we're the sort of people who can cope, we'll cope, and if we're not, we won't. Problem comes when B thinks we're not and I think we are. Hey ho....


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