Coping with FOUR
I must get asked every day how I cope with four children. How does my day run? How do we get out the front door?? And the big one; how do I make time for myself and my relationship? So for the curious ones I thought I would get back to blogging (it’s been a while) and let you know.
It was a shock to say the least finding out we were going to double up on children in a matter of months. With a husband away for weeks at a time throughout the year anxiety certainly crept in. When I was pregnant and had had a tough day with, at the time two toddlers, I would lay awake staring into the ceiling trying to see how my day would have gone with an additional two babies in tow. I would spend hours thinking how our routine would work with two more. How would we get out of the house? How will bath time work? I would worry myself to sleep. We had such a solid routine for Nell and Teddy and guaranteed every night they were in bed and asleep by 7:30. They would sleep through and were becoming more and more self sufficient as my pregnancy progressed. I just knew that was going to be the key.. ROUTINE!
The first few months are a blur to me. I was just a machine ticking through the motions. Our routine was tightly in place and if anyone dared to change it it would throw the whole thing off. As much as newborns need feeding constantly when they weren’t feeding they were asleep and very content, this gave me time to do housework and play, dress, bath the elder two. My husband went away a couple of weeks after they were born for 6 weeks. Looking back I don’t know what happened in those weeks, it was very hard but we managed and needless to say I was glad to have him home ( even with an injury ).
In this time he was away I realised if I was going to get any time to enjoy this whole four kids thing I needed some help. I spent my evenings searching for some sort of help that would fit in with our erratic family schedule, I didn’t want anyone to live with us or even be here everyday, I just needed an extra pair of hands every now and again and someone to let me take N & T to their classes without dragging everyone along or even canceling them because they didn’t fit in to the twins naps. The last week of his tour I found someone and she is like gold dust to us. She fits in with our life and is 100% supportive of how we raise our children. The icing on the cake is our kids love her. It is wonderful having lots of children but I never want to get to a place where I feel they are missing out because of it. So getting help in was the perfect solution, especially when we are a man down, literally.
My Nan actually asked me the other day ‘If I get much time to my self?’ The answer is HELL NO! But who goes into having 3 children never mind 4 thinking they are going to have a lot of time for themselves? I LOVE my kids and they bring me more joy in 5 minutes than a spa day does ( I would still love a spa day though Courts, Thanks ) This doesn’t mean I don’t crave for time to myself. I find it hard to take a day out away from the kids unless there is a reason, this became even more prominent when Nell began school in September. Mum guilt is a serious buzz kill. But they are all in bed by 7 so we tend to make good use of babysitters and go out in the evenings and deal with the consequences the next day. Also ask anyone to have four kids and they run for the hills. So finding a babysitter that you trust will cope with the whole clan is the dream. That would probably be my number one tip! For anyone, one kid or ten, find a babysitter you love and trust. If you are paying them you wont have the guilt of rushing home, missing dessert and worrying if they have to be somewhere else. If they didn’t want to babysit they would have said no and you can spend your date night concentrating on each other and enjoying yourselves.
Some days I honestly couldn’t tell you how we get through the day. But I like to think that most days we have it cracked! It is hard but the pros beat the cons five times over. All in all, routine is my savour and no, we wont be having anymore :)
A day in the life;
Everyone up! 7/7:30am
Downstairs and the twins have a bottle of milk whilst the older two have cereal.
The Nanny arrives 7:45
8:00 am The twins have breakfast which is anything from scrambles eggs to warm Weetabix. While the older two get dressed for school or the day ahead.
I do the school run whilst The Nanny stays at home with the twins.
9:30am The Nanny goes home and nap time for the twins 1.5 hours.
Wake at 11am
Bottle at 11:30 and lunch at 12:30. We normally go out in this time, a dog walk or meet friends for coffee.
Home in time for nap number 2 at 1:30 for 2 hours.
The Nanny arrives at 3 in time for me to go and do the school run.
Twins awake at 3:30
The older two change into casual clothes and we do any home work at the dinner table whilst I cook dinner.
The children all tend to eat the same dinner. If I’m organised I will have made a cottage pie or spag bol during the twins afternoon nap.
Dinner is at around 4:30 we used to eat later than this but it fits into the twins routine better earlier and since Nell has started school she is too tired and grumpy if we leave it any later.
5:00 is bath time for everyone.
5:30 the twins have their evening bottle, Nell and Teddy can have milk if they wish but not so often. The Nanny leaves now.
6:30 is the twins bedtime. I put them in sleeping bags and down awake in a dark room. They settle off within 5 minutes and don’t wake till the morning.
7 is Nell and Teddy bedtime. They do not have screen time at all in the day so they can either have some iPad time before bed or we read stories. Now Nell has begun to read we are doing more stories which she helps to read.
Then by 8 I have a huge glass of wine and my dinner.
We do not have the nanny over the weekend unless babysitting