Okay. Today I am going to try to respond to all the moms of one or two small children who praise me and wonder how on earth I “do it” with my six children– after all, they are overwhelmed with just one or two.
I know they won’t believe me, but here goes anyway: Having six is easier than having one or two little ones. I should know: I once had just two children, and though I loved them dearly, I would not in a million years trade the life I live now for the one I lived back then. My life with those two tiny people was overwhelming. Back then, when I met women with more children, I figured they must be either saintly or just plain nuts.
I suppose part of the reason life feels easier now is that I have been sufficiently “broken in.” It’s taken me a few years, but I now know that sometimes a baby is just going to cry, no matter what you do, and it does not mean you are a bad mother. I have also learned that bad haircuts grow out, potty training does eventually happen, and most things really do come out in the wash.
The biggest surprise, however, is that it’s the kids themselves who make my life easier. Take yesterday afternoon, for example. When I had just two little babies, going to the store was an exhausting nightmare of buckling car seats, lugging babies through stores, and struggling to carry groceries into the house while keeping everyone content. Yesterday, however, when I piled all six kids into van and took them out to run errands, it was quite a different experience. The older kids helped buckle everyone in, and then in parking lots they held the younger ones’ hands and told them, “No running or shouting in the store, okay?” When we arrived home, everyone unbuckled, I handed the house keys to my oldest son, and everyone–right down to the 3 year old–carried in the diaper bag and groceries. All I had to do was waltz into the opened house with the baby in my arms. Even the dog was let out and fed before I even took off my coat.
Of course my life does not always run so smoothly, but I can honestly say that I am a more peaceful, happier person with six children than I was with just two. It’s okay if you don’t believe me, though. Eight years ago, I wouldn’t have either.