On New Years Day 2019, I gave birth to my fifth baby (and fourth girl!). The immediate postpartum period was difficult for me, because my aunt died of an accidental overdose the same week. I would definitely seek out more support caring for my older children if I could do it over again. Thankfully my depression and anxiety didn’t become too severe, and besides some lingering anxiety, I feel back to my regular self.
Since most American women do not have five children anymore, I don’t have too many local women to look to for advice. I dived into this sort of blindly. So far, it appears that life with five is manageable chaos.
- There is NO such thing as a “quick trip” to the store. Getting my toddler and baby into and out of their carseats is work enough, but I also have my three girls squeezed in the back of the minivan. They often annoy each other back there, just when I’m unable to quickly pull over! It is actually one of the hardest parts for me personally, the constant in and out of the van for even simple needs.
- My food bill is scary. I no longer buy organic produce unless it’s on sale (7.99 vs 2.99 for a pack of strawberries!), but there are still 7 people in this house and we EAT. A LOT.
- Sometimes, everyone goes crazy at the same time. This is when I really feel overwhelmed. This usually happens right after I get a little too cocky thinking “I have this parenting 5 kids thing down! Look at how wonderfully behaved my little cherubs are!” That is when my kids have to remind me how outnumbered I am with the baby needing a bath from a poop explosion, and while I am gone for a few minutes the toddler smears cream cheese all over the couch, and the girls decide to fight over the same barbie despite an ENTIRE BOX full of barbies. Phew.
- Meal times are crazy. Everyone wants something different, so at least one child is complaining about the meal. Then, it’s like whack-a-mole getting them to stay sitting.
- Nothing is cheap anymore. A little toy for 5 dollars? Multiply it.
- Your house is never neat. I sweep, mop, and vacuum. I scrub, clean, and pick up. Someone inevitably spills juice and drags mud across the floor the moment I put the mop away.
But you know what? It’s worth it. Life with five kids is a wonderful, beautiful, love-filled, awe-inspiring, manageable chaotic way of life.