“Are they all yours?” – What Life Is Like With Four Kids

I always knew I wanted to have four kids. My husband, however, was a one-MAYBE two-kind of guy. I’m obviously very persuasive because we are now enjoying life with our four awesome kids!

Dylan (age 11) and Alexandria (age 9) were our trial run. We quickly and easily found our parenting groove with Phase One.  Four years later we decided to challenge ourselves and set the bar just a bit higher.  Along came Phase Two! Liliana (age 5) and Liam (age 3)  complete our family. I know that we’re technically considered a large family but it doesn’t feel that way to me. I’m the youngest of eight children so my own family feels small by comparison!

Life with four kids

That being said, life with four kids can be easily summarized with three words: noisy, chaotic and busy! There’s simply no way to prepare for it. You just have to dive in, adjust accordingly and pray that you always stay one step ahead of your crew!

I’m often asked what it’s like to have four children, so here’s the brutally honest and slightly humorous scoop on life with four kids:

*Every single day is an adventure! It will most likely include laughter, smiles, tears, frustration and quite possibly a trip to the ER. (ER punch cards, anyone? Pay for 5 visits and get one free?)

*One, two, three, four. Get used to repeating those words because everywhere you go you will be counting heads.

*You will be the parents with the most children and still end up with a few extra kids at any given point.

*The probability of having at least one child bent out of shape, pouting or crying at some point during the day is very high. You know the phrase “You can’t please all the people all the time?” Apply it.

*Imagine your house as a pristine snow globe. Within 5 minutes of the kids waking up it will look like that snow globe was put in a paint shaker.

*Get used to hearing “Are they all yours?!?”  What I REALLY want to say is, “No. I just picked a few up on the side of the road.”

*When it comes to taking four kids out in public my husband offers just one word of advice: DON’T. (He’s just kidding. Our kids are actually very well-behaved in public but getting to where we are going takes a LOT of work!)

*One child can be noisy. Multiply that by 4 and there’s your sound level.

*You will become completely immune to the chaos. Tuning it out is the parent of four kid’s specialty.

*There are 40 fingers and 40 toes. That’s a lot of nails to clip.

*People will look at your family like you’re from another planet and the comments will make you laugh.

*Proudly embrace the Familymobile. With 4 kids your only option is a minivan or SUV.

*Two words: MOM TAXI. Toss in some snacks, a book and a toothbrush because you’re going to log in a lot of hours behind the wheel.

*When someone asks for your child’s birthdate you will stare blankly for a few seconds while you desperately try to match a birthdate to the child in question.

*Going on vacation with four kids? Rent a u-haul. Because even with a luggage rack on top your Familymobile will be overflowing.

*Vacation with four kids is not relaxing (fun, yes but relaxing, no) and after 5 days of constant togetherness you will be ready to kill each other.

*You’re never alone. And when you are, you end up missing your kids after a few hours!

*Browsing the aisles of Target by yourself will feel like a dream vacation.

*If you want to keep up with them you will start drinking caffeine from the moment you woke up and you won’t stop until you drop. (From exhaustion, of course.)

*There’s a new phrase that everyone on social media is using: “Motherhood is my cardio.” It’s true.

*You will be late more often than not. Just tack on 5 minutes per child to your arrival time.

*Four kids in school. Enough said. Four kids in four different schools? I can’t even.

*Using the bathroom is a spectator sport and showering alone is a luxury.

*You will have to wrestle 1-4 kids into car seats. And as soon as you have everyone strapped in and wipe the layer of sweat off your brow, someone will say those four dreaded words. “I have to pee.”

*You will never eat a complete meal. Just resign yourself to the fact that you will share every meal or snack with your kids from now on. Even if they hate it they will want what you’re eating.

*The bedtime routine for four kids takes approximately 2 hours.

*Back to school shopping for four kids costs a small fortune.  Tack on the back to school expenses (picture day, yearbooks, fundraisers) and you’re going to be broke in the month of September!

*Making breakfast? You’re going to go through one dozen eggs, a loaf of bread and a 1/2 gallon of orange juice.

*You no longer have just yourself to get ready before you can leave the house. Now it’s you plus four tiny humans and you need to start preparing the night before!

*Laundry for four kids is truly never-ending and the amount of dishes you go through each day is overwhelming!

*At one point you just might have a child in each stage of childhood. Just for the record I would gladly parent 20 newborns over 1 tween any day.

*You will be a peace negotiator, cook, house cleaner, taxi driver, event planner, teacher, personal assistant and entertainer.

*Absolutely nothing will surprise you and I mean NOTHING.

*You will quickly learn that laughter is the BEST coping mechanism because a little bit of humor will get you through anything.

All humor aside, I feel incredibly blessed to be a mother. My kids bring so much joy and laughter to my life. If money and house size weren’t a factor I would happily double my crew because the more the merrier. Okay, so maybe not double, but perhaps add Phase Three!

(OUT OF THE QUESTION says my proofreader.)



Stefanie documents her beautifully chaotic life with her four kids on her blog, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Stefanie Settlemire
Stefanie is a wife and SAHM to 4 children, living in Mars. Stefanie and her husband refer to their children as Phase One (Dylan-Age 13 and Alexandria-Age 10) and Phase Two (Liliana-Age 6 and Liam-Age 4). Phase Three is out of the question! Stefanie’s family became a family blessed with Down syndrome when her youngest child had a surprise diagnosis after his birth. Although the family’s initial reaction was shock and fear, they quickly learned to embrace this beautiful journey and they now realize what the term “The Lucky Few” really means. Stefanie spends her days wrangling chaos. In addition to four kids, her family has 4 large pet rabbits...the more the merrier! In her spare time she loves to embarrass her children by singing show tunes from her musical theater days, come up with messy projects to keep her children busy, chase her children around with her camera, read, volunteer for the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network, blog at http://www.lexieloolilyliamdylantoo.com and post daily on Instagram (www.instagram.com/lexieloolilyliamdylantoo). Sleep is just a distant memory!