My large family: what worries me most now I’m a mum of four

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Large family - what having a big family has taught me and what I worry about most as a mum of four

Paige Lehman

I always knew I wanted to be a mum with a large family. I wanted my home to be filled with children running around.

I imagined their chatter and laughter filling the rooms as well as the happy chaos and adventure. And I feel beyond blessed to have just given birth to my gorgeous fourth baby and been able to fulfil my dream. But, I have to say as well that I-am-knackered.

Having 4 children was everything I wanted for our family and I am so lucky to have been able to get to this point, but there are things I worry about now that we have a large family. Mostly about my eldest child.

I now have four children. My eldest is 8 and my youngest is 3 months old. The other two are 6 and 3. Life is busy and messy and loud. And exhausting. Really exhausting but I wouldn’t change it for the world. The chatter and laughter and happy chaos I imagined do fill the house each and every day.

But there are also tears, tantrums, trials and tribulations. Some days I feel pulled in four different directions as each child needs me right NOW and I don’t know whose tears to mop up first. Some days I want to curl up on the floor and cry too. Some days I do.[/wrap]

But the thing that gets to me is that, more often than not, it’s the little ones who get my attention and my time and my eldest daughter who misses out.

I never expected to feel so guilty about the effect of our having a large family would have on my firstborn.

Large family - what having a big family has taught me and what I worry about most as a mum of four

My eldest daughter is 8. She’s growing up and yet still so young. Sometimes I feel like I’ve pushed her into growing up to fast.

She’s brilliant. She’s super helpful and rarely moans when I ask her yet again to just run upstairs to get me a nappy or to help buckle up her little sister’s shoes. She’s so patient and understanding and kind.

But she’s 8. She’s only a little girl herself.

Her younger brothers and sisters shout loudly or cry loudly to get my attention and demand my time. They’re all little so they need me to help them with all sorts of things they can’t do themselves. And my hands are full as I see to everyone’s needs. Except my big girl’s.

So often I start to listen to her as she tells me tales of her day or sit with her to help with her homework, only to be swiftly pulled away to see to the needs of one of the little ones.

I have to change the baby or wipe my toddler’s bottom or sort out a squabble. I am always having to interrupt the little bits of time I carve out to be with my big girl. She’s always having to share me.

I miss having the time to just be with her and talk to her without being interrupted.

I worry that by always having to tell her to wait when she needs to talk to me that she’ll give up and decide not to open up when she’s got a worry.

Or that she’ll hide a worry because she can see I’m so frazzled dealing with the little ones.

And so I made a promise to myself to make time just for my big girl each and every day. Even if it’s just ten minutes.

When the baby is sleeping I plonk the little ones in front of the telly and have some precious time with her. We chat. We giggle. I play with her hair and she tells me the stories of her day, or whatever she feels like telling me about.

Life is full on with four children. And there never seems to be enough of me to go round. But I’m trying.

I won’t get it right every day but I’m trying to be the best mum I can be to all four of my beautiful children. And, really, that’s all any mama can do.

My children might not have all of me but they have each other. And I know they will always have each other as they go through life. To laugh with, to play with. To share secrets and the magic of Christmas with. To squabble with and make up with. To talk to when mum and dad just don’t get it when they are teenagers. I know they’ll help each other through.

 

See our article Why parenting tweens is so exhausting, for more Mum life insights.