One day last week, I had dinner in the oven and dishes washed and in the dishwasher before 6:30 pm. What is wrong with this picture? Well, three of our kiddos were at their dad’s house…that’s what’s wrong with this picture. I looked at my husband and said, “what the hell do people with only 1 or 2 kiddos do with all their time?” Oh yeah, they have time to go to CrossFit and work out. They drop by Starbucks and pick up a latte on a whim. They still have money left at the middle of the month. So I thought it might be fun to explain what it’s like to live with FOUR kids.
Let me first say kudos to families of 5, 6, 7+ kids. I don’t know how you do it. Except for the Duggar family with so many they’ve lost count. In her case I have just one suggestion: close your legs. To the rest I say bravo!
Now for those that have one or two and think it’s just as hard, let me ask you this….does your child have a mental or physical disability? If so, then yes, you probably have it harder. No disabilities? Just smiling perfect children? Then perhaps you’d like to take ours for a month. That’s right, a month. A weekend won’t cut it. You would just be the fun aunt or uncle who gets to hang out with them for a couple days and send them home. They wouldn’t be around long enough to make a dent in your wallet or your sanity. Nope, you must keep them around for the entire month to get the full effect. Name the month – Scott and I haven’t been alone one day since last July, so we’re more than happy to make the sacrifice.
What is it like to have 4 children…..three of them in the 9th grade and one in 5th? Let’s take a look. First off, groceries. I am well known at the local groceries stores, as I am there multiple times a week. And not just one grocery store. No, when you spend close to $2,000 a month on groceries….yeah, let’s just stop for a pause and let that one sink in….$2,000 a MONTH….moving on…when you spend that much on groceries, you damn sure have to know what is on sale where. This requires a trip to an average of 3 stores in one day.
And since you’re wondering, NO, we don’t eat steak at every meal. In fact, the last time we had steak was Christmas Day, and that was a treat from my dad! No, its just hamburger and chicken for us on most days. Of course, that means THREE pounds of hamburger or 2 packages of chicken breasts (because chicken breasts usually come in packages of FIVE….do you see the problem here?).
Why so much meat? Have you even seen how football playing boys eat? Let me tell you, the first time it happened in our house, I yelled at them. I mean, they hoovered food up faster than a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Growing up with one sister, I never saw anything like that in my life. My husband quickly corrected me and explained that this was normal. Now granted, “normal” means hoovering up a 10×15 casserole of meat and pasta in less than 20 minutes. And the youngest boy hasn’t even begun to start eating like this. Lord have mercy when he does. This weekend, when we only had the 3 teenagers, they went through 2 gallons of milk all by themselves. My husband pointed out that J.J. Watt went through a gallon of milk a day in high school. I quickly pointed back that ours boys are no J.J. Watt.
How about we talk about our phone bill? Yes, I realize the kids don’t HAVE to have cell phones. But two of ours will be driving by themselves in less than 2 months. I want the ability to track them (thank you inventor of GPS) and get a hold of them at a moment’s notice…..cuz I might need them to run to the grocery store!! So the convenience of having cell phones in each of their hands is in part my fault. What does it cost you to carry your iPhone 6 around? $120 for your family (saw that price on an AT&T commercial)? Try $380. And that’s because I get a discount through my work.
How about school supplies? Ever try shopping in August for a 24 pk of pencils…times 4? Do this with a list of 20 items per kid. It will make you pull your hair out. Those cute little school pics….you grab the deluxe package so you can send copies to every relative to show them how stinking cute your precious is….$35 bucks? We go for the small package….just enough so we have incriminating pictures to show their significant others years down the road…..that’ll be $150 please. But wait, there’s more…..foootball pictures, band pictures, choir pictures, orchestra pictures, soccer pictures….you get the idea. And of course, those pictures go in the yearbook…gotta have one of those…time FOUR. This year we dropped $265 on yearbooks.
Do you get your laundry done in one day? Because you have 3 loads? Four in the winter because everything is bigger and bulkier? If I start early enough in the morning, I can get all 9 loads done in one day. That’s just Sunday. There will be more washing during the week, as the boys come home with workout clothes that smell like something that’s been rotting in the corner for months. Yes, there will definitely be more washing during the week.
Have you ever stopped to consider how much it costs to insure these 4 little precious things? Texas A&M has very good benefits when it comes to health insurance, thankfully. Now, car insurance? That one is looming on the near horizon. 3 teenagers will be on our insurance bill within the next year. I’ve only spoken to moms of girl teenagers. They say their car insurance went up $150 a month when their darlings started driving. And we all know that boys cost more to insure at this age. This should be fun. I think instead, I’ll just buy them all bus passes.
No, I shouldn’t complain. I have 4 wonderful (most of the time) kiddos. People do a lot more with a lot less then we do, and kudos to them. Perhaps it’s the lack of sleep from waiting til midnight to finish that last load of laundry. Next week, I’ll have to start on Saturday.