Having a big family is something I’ve always wanted, lots of kids, lots of laughter. It wasn’t until my sister started having kids that I realized raising kids would not be a walk in the park. Not because her kids are terrible, on the contrary (they are reading this too so I’m probably on thin ice here 🙂 ). I just think every kid is a handful and every age has its challenges. When I started having kids myself, I still found it overwhelming, even though I already had nephews and nieces. I thought I had a good idea of motherhood before I got started. But there’s a big difference between babysitting and caring for other people’s children, and having your own, as in you watch them for a few hours, maybe have a sleepover and then they go home again versus they’re home already and they’re here to stay….
When people ask me how I am or how life is with my three little ones, I’m not lying when I say I’m okay, that life is nice but busy. But sometimes I realize only afterwards that my answers are preprogrammed, it’s like a natural reflex to say ‘fine, I’m doing fine, everything’s fine’, without actually thinking about the question, let alone the answer. Every once in a while I’m not fine, I’m tired, I’ve used up all the patience I had, and I need to get away from it all. And there’s the catch: you can’t, since you have children to take care of. You can’t just drop everything and run out, at least not without arranging for a sitter.
As I mentioned earlier, that is what I miss most as a parent of young children: the freedom to do what I want when I want. Feel like watching a movie? Be sure to have at least two whining little ones and end up watching Peter Rabbit…not exactly what you had in mind. Want to go for dinner or drinks at the last minute? Try finding a sitter on such short notice! Everything needs to be planned ahead.
I also can’t leave the house just me and my three kids; I always need help which kind of annoys me. Of course, I could stay inside for the next few years but staying inside with three kids is not necessarily fun or relaxing, on the contrary. I could go visit family or friends, usually my parents or my sister, but even then just getting all three of them ready to leave the house is a hassle, especially in winter: getting their shoes and coats on, putting them in their car seat, taking them back out, repeat everything when leaving the family or friends you decided to bother with your presence, trying not to forget anything, but hopelessly failing…
So would I do it again? In a heartbeat…assuming things are not getting worse but better, easier, and a little less challenging. The 3-year old is growing bigger and better; he can now actually play, just him, his set of wild animals, and his imagination. Beautiful to watch! The 2-year will be going to school soon which will be good for her I think. She’s extremely hard-headed and doesn’t compromise but she won’t be any cuter than she is today. And the baby, well, one smile or a giggle and she makes my day!