I remember when my fourth child was born. A big beautiful baby boy. That’s a lot of b’s. After he was born, a lot of people congratulated me on (finally) managing to have a boy after 3 girls. But I wasn’t hoping for a boy. And I wasn’t hoping for a girl either. I was excited about welcoming a new person to our family, and if it was another girl, I would have been just as thrilled!
I couldn’t wait for my three girls to meet their brother. Here they are watching TV on my hospital bed.
I remember coming home from hospital to my brood of children under 6 years of age. And Motherhood hit me with full force. Motherhood. It’s filled with so much joy. Incredible really. But there is also a lot of sacrifice involved. And I can tell you, I felt it especially when my children were little. Right from when you carry your first child within you, your body doesn’t belong to you anymore. And it doesn’t stop when the child is born. So much of what is “yours” ceases to be anymore. In a way you, your body, and your life is dictated by your role as Mother.
What you eat can affect pregnancy and breastfeeding.
When you eat depends on when you have a spare moment (and sometimes you hide in the pantry to eat a piece of chocolate so you don’t need explain to a 2-year-old, why they can’t have some).
What you wear depends on how much vomit and snot you are prepared to have on a particular outfit.
When you dress you need to allow for breastfeeding and looking after little children. This means dresses are sometimes out…and dangly earrings, and long hair left out, and necklaces, and rings, and a lot of other things.
When you sleep, and how long for, depends how sick your children are, when they are teething and a myriad of other reasons.
What you do and where you go depends on how settled your child is and a million other variables.
The home needs to be child proof, and is rarely tidy when you have a toddler tearing around pulling everything out.
You can’t go anywhere without a huge bag filled with mumsy things.
You can almost never sit down for a more than a few minutes, even when you’re trying to have coffee with a friend.
You’re constantly (absolutely constantly) responsible for keeping another person alive.
Sometimes you feel like a machine, always providing for the needs of other and cease to exist as an individual person.
It’s like you need to consult 100 variables before you make any decision! And that can be extremely draining. This may not be true for everyone, but it was for me. I’m not trying to paint a negative picture of motherhood. Being a mum is an incredible privilege. And if anyone asked me whether I would recommend becoming a parent I would say, without hesitation, “YES!” Best thing that happened to me. However, the sacrifices involved in parenting, at any stage, are real.
My baby boy is now almost 4 and my eldest will soon be 10. I’ve entered a new phase of parenting, filled with school issues, attitudes and extracurricular activities. I can tell you, all the sacrifices when children are little — all the wearing nights and long days; all the giving of yourself, and your body — it’s all worth it! And it’s ALL IMORTANT!
You see, while being a mum is always going to involve sacrifice (because that’s part of the beauty of it), it does change. You will get (most of) your body back. You will be able to go away for a weekend (childless) with your spouse. You will be able to sit for more than 2 minutes at a time while the kids play. You will find yourself again. It does happen.
If you’re in the midst of raising little kids, feeling weary, and my story rings true to you, I’m telling you from the other side: What you are doing is vital, even when no one notices. It’s an investment, so keep on keeping on and keep on loving the moment. While it may not be clear now, you’ll look back and see all the moments for what they are: pieces of a beautiful masterpiece.
AnnetteJuly 4, 2011 at 8:33 am
Thanks for pointing out the reality of how motherhood is a challenge and its all worth it.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm
It really IS all worth it.
katesaysstuffJuly 4, 2011 at 8:44 am
Great post, and so true. My baby is nearly 8mo, my eldest (I have 4 too) is nearly 8. Sometimes it feels like my body will never be my own again.
And maybe it won’t. Certainly it will never look quite the same as it once did. But such a small price for the joy of a house full of children <3
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm
Beautifully said Kate. No, I KNOW my body won’t ever be quite the same but I have a bit more say over it now 🙂
LouisaJuly 4, 2011 at 8:45 am
What a beautiful post Kel. One of these days I need to chat with you about how you found the 4th. We’re both keen to have 4 but having watching several friends take that step I’ve noticed it seems to have the biggest impact on the mother’s life – as in, she doesn’t seem to have one anymore, esp during the first couple of years. So, would love to pick your brains about this one day!
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm
Happy to chat anytime Louisa x
KellieJuly 4, 2011 at 8:52 am
I so needed to read this today, Kell. Had a rough night, have been pining for a wine, some nice clothes, sleep, my skin to be normal again, my hair not to keep falling out in chunks and all the things that go with babies and breastfeeding.
I get through by telling myself that I’ll miss this period once it’s over. And I know there’s truth in that.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm
I’m so glad it was an encouragement Kell. And you are so right: it really does go so fast. Hope you get a little more sleep tonight x
AlissaJuly 4, 2011 at 9:15 am
Oh such a wonderful post. Perfectly said and so true. I know this is just a season and one day I’ll look back and wish it was still “in season” but it can be a wonderful joyous journey – a positive attitude helps!
And I DEFINITELY identify with hiding in the pantry to eat chocolate to avoid explaining to my 2 year old why he can’t have what mummy is eating!!
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm
Yes! Seasons. And each season is beautiful it its own way. I’m glad I’m not the only pantry eater 😉
Nikki @ stylingyouJuly 4, 2011 at 9:18 am
Today marks 16 years as a mum for me. It is all worth it. X
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm
Beautiful Nikki xx
Nicole GrantJuly 4, 2011 at 9:28 am
I agree with Kellie. I so needed this today too. Actually, I bawled after reading that final paragraph. My house is a mess, there is so much housework to be done, I feel hideous, and after a fight with my 2 year old (again!) over getting dressed, I have been feeling particularly flat this morning. My big baby is 4 in a few weeks, and I know that this phase will be over in the blink of an eye. It’s just hard sometimes to have any kind of perspective when you are completely overwhelmed, so thank you for a well-timed, and thought provoking post Kelly 🙂
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm
Aww, Nicole. Hugs to you. You know I cried when I wrote that last paragraph. I remember where you are at so clearly. Be encouraged. You are a beautiful Mum xx
Nicole GrantJuly 5, 2011 at 9:54 am
Thank you <3
MelissaJuly 4, 2011 at 9:52 am
A lovely post Kelly – couldn’t help smiling and nodding as I read it. I too have been known to hide in the pantry to eat chocolate for the exact same reason… Motherhood is a sacrifice and it’s especially tough when they are little and you are no longer your own, no doubt about it, but the love you receive and those magic moments when you can just sit back and watch them and your heart just bursts with pride make everything more than worthwhile. Like yesterday: My boys went to their kindy disco and watching them dance on the dance floor (as only a 4 year old and 2 year old can) was such a lovely moment for me as a mum x
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm
Melissa, the picture you gave of your boys at the disco made me smile. And you are right: those magic moments are gold!
JackieJuly 4, 2011 at 10:16 am
Thank You Thank You Thank You. Im clealry not the only one who needded to read this today, but God knows I needed it. Thank You. 🙂
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm
Be encouraged xo
CynthiaJuly 4, 2011 at 10:24 am
Thank you for this lovely post. 🙂 I’m sitting at home today with a sick 2.5 year old and a 6 month old bub (who will probably have the same cold by tomorrow!)… so I’m feeling every one of those things today. I never regret it, despite the difficult days. 🙂
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm
“I never regret it, despite the Difficult days” — beautiful!
Sarah@fignutmumJuly 4, 2011 at 10:41 am
Thank you for such a lovely post.
I think along with sacrifices comes ….. letting go
You have to let go of all those expectations of how you think things should be and how some things use to be.
Motherhood is a HUGE never ending learning curve.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm
Yes! So many expectations to let go. I think if we can be mums who grow and learn, we will make it! Ha! I hope 😉
Kate @ Puddles and GumbootsJuly 4, 2011 at 10:49 am
A beautiful post, thank you! There are a lot of sacrifices with being a mum, but so many incredible joys too. As a SAHM of five, sometimes I feel consumed by my role of being a mother and that there is little left of what made me, well me! But I am learning how to carve out a little space for me, starting up a blog has helped so much too. I love doing something that is solely for me. My twins are leaving babyhood behind and moving into toddlerhood. It’s bittersweet, no more little baby stuff, but exciting as the family dynamics change as all the kids get older 🙂
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm
I know exactly what you mean! Blogging has given me a voice amongst the chaos too! x
joJuly 4, 2011 at 10:50 am
brought tears to my eyes…thankyou
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm
MarciaJuly 4, 2011 at 11:48 am
Beautiful post Kelly.
This is so true; I remember having 2 under 1 and half.
My husband worked 7 days a week, 14 plus hours a day and studied part-time.
I often left overwhelmed, the first time our oldest slept through the night was when our youngest was 3 months old!
The days I shed a tear from sheer exhaustion were well worth it.
Now our children are 13 & 12 and are such a delight. They are so close and have such a wonderful relationship with each other.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm
So lovely to hear from a mum just a step ahead from me. Thank you!
NeenJuly 4, 2011 at 11:49 am
lovely post Kelly, it is all worth it every sacrifice. Every time my beautiful girl smiles at me all those other worries (not fitting clothes, floors needs washing, not enough time etc) fly out the window. Luckily for me she smiles alot!
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm
lol love this! Made me giggle.
MummyKJuly 4, 2011 at 11:57 am
You are so right. It is constant but fruitful. I feel like I’m on duty all the time and it’s mums like you that encourages me to be better — you have four without regrets and you’re rocking the role.
Btw, thanks for all your ideas too, I love trying them out on my little one.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm
So glad! I think it’s the constant “on duty” that is sooo exhausting! So right on there. xo
VeronicaJuly 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Tell me about hiding the chocolate! I’m a chocoholic with little chocoholic in the making! Anyway, I can so relate to what you’ve written and I think it’s important for mums to share these realities so we all know we are not alone or going mad. I’ve got a 4 month old and a 2 year old so am early along in this journey but after the 1st time, the initial changes and sacrifices the 2nd time round have not been as much of a shock. Think I’m mostly going to look forward to getting a new wardrobe when nursing is finally over.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm
It’s nice to know we are not alone…
LyndallJuly 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm
So very true. Thanks for the encouraging words – good to hear them from a Mum who is a little further ahead on this journey of raising little lives. I’m clinging on to the thought there will be a time when there will once again be a little more time for me in the future…while everything else seems chaos at the present. You’re an inspiration.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm
Thanks Lyndall. You are special xo
Mrs MJuly 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm
I have 4 kids too. (10, 8, 5, 1) and my youngest is going on 5. He really just wants to catch up his siblings. Watching them all play together or when they break up in groups of 2, makes it all worth it.
At the moment they all sleep in the same room because that’s how they want it. I can’t get them to separate. Which was always my greatest hope, that my kids would love hanging out with each other.
Love & stuff
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 8:27 am
That’s so gorgeous, my girls love sleep in eachother’s rooms. It’s special to see them forming strong friendships with eachother isn’t it?
EllaJuly 4, 2011 at 7:39 pm
Im glad im not the only one who has sneaky chocolate! Great post 🙂 Just what i needed to read today xx
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 8:28 am
lol seems a lot of us do it!
BelindaJuly 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm
Thanks Kelly for such a lovely post from the other side. While we only have one 20 month old boy at the moment, we’re thinking of soon adding to our little family and going through the demands of that newborn stage again scares me senseless at times. This is a great reminder that all the sacrifice is so, very much worth it! x
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 8:30 am
Oh yes, I always got sacred of the “no sleep” stage too. But second time round, you’ll probably be much more relaxed about it 🙂
DebbieJuly 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm
My youngest is 2, my eldest will be 8 soon (we too have 4 kids). And I can honestly say that I am finally seeing the end of the wearing pace that comes with the younger years. When I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak – and life was a matter of survival. Now, that my children are older, I am able to sit and enjoy the moments with them, without the strain on my body and my emotions, and the effects of sleep deprivation affecting every aspect of life. It’s busy now – and always will be with 4 children – but I’m able to enjoy, not just survive them. In saying that, I’d do it all again just to be a part of something special.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 8:32 am
You put it just right Debbie. In the early stages it feels like you are just surviving, not living. But there is light hey…you just need to keep on keeping on. xx
MeeganJuly 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm
So. This post of yours has been open on my laptop for hours and hours today. It’s taken me that long to read your whole post.
I am Meegan Harvey and I am mother to three littles under 6. Hi! Welcome to my circus!
While it look me forever to read it, I am so glad I finally got to the end of your post. I loved it. It rings so true with me at this point in my life. I’ve had a glimpse of Life After Toddlers (with Owen before the two littlies came along) and it was great. I am not going to wish away the baby/toddler stages, but I have days where I think I want to! Don’t we all though?!
Lastly, I just want to say thanks Kel..
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 8:36 am
lol your Circus sounds very familiar Meegan. And I can absolutely relate to the sometimes “wishing away the baby stage” …and it’s true that it really goes very fast. Really. Ha! Even though it DOES NOT feel like it at the time. xo
BookChookJuly 5, 2011 at 7:15 am
My baby is 23 and I look back, and know the sacrifices are totally worth it. I must admit though, there were nights I wasn’t sure I could say that!
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 8:38 am
Nice to hear you say that BC.
Sleep deprivation is though ay. I remember.
Kirralee BakerJuly 5, 2011 at 7:45 am
Yes yes YES! Loved the list. Can so relate. With my kidlets soon to turn 4 and 2 I feel like I’m coming to the end of the my-life-is-not-my-own stage. It is a joyful time. While I am thrilled to have my boobs back, time for fitness and work, and the occasional opportunity to get dolled up, I am amazed and astounded to have survived those first few years and had a hand in creating 2 happy healthy kids.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 8:40 am
It truly is amazing isn’t it? Such an amazing privilege! I like having my boobs back too, after being either pregnant or breastfeeding for 8 years. Ha!
WendyJuly 5, 2011 at 8:51 am
How true you are Kelly, my youngest is now 4 and oldest is 10 and just like you there are 4 of them (3 boys and 1 girl), but this age group is very different. Our life is filled with ballet, dance, sport, play dates and sometimes we only dump our bags before we are off again. But every stage of their development is special and we are enjoying every single still sleepless moment of their childhood.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 9:13 am
I couldn’t have said it any better Wendy.
NaomiJuly 5, 2011 at 10:40 am
After weeks of flu, spent the coldest night so far this year in perth up and down to my 3 and 2 year old with ear infections and my 5 month old with croup. Was feeling quite desperate after weeks of sickness and sleep deprivation and for some reason picked up my iphone at 5am and saw your post – coincidence? I don’t think so. Thankyou for letting God use you as a voice of encouragement to all of us in the baby season x
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm
Sorry huney. It’s hard when everyone is sick. xo
MartineJuly 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm
Great post & you raise such an important point that I hope many newer mums take heed of, and that is that whilst there are always sacrifices, the sacrifices change. I think that is why I have gotten so much joy from my 4th son. With 6 years between him and his next eldest brother I was so aware of how quickly the time goes and how you do start to get much of your life back as they get older. I know that they are little for such a short time and that the sacrifices are so worth it! And when you do manage to get away for a break with the hubby or the girls it is so much more appreciated than it ever was pre kids!
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm
Yes! It really does make you appreciate the time you spend with your spouse more! And also a lot of other things in life! And you are so right: it does go so fast! It feels long at the time but you look back and wonder where all the time went!
KimJuly 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm
Awww now I’m crying…. I love my babies ssssoooooo much it hurts but I’m sad…sad that I have disappeared, and can’t see me anywhere. My girly is 4.5 years, my middle boy is 3 years & baby boy is 8 months. I’m looking forward to my resurrection!! Thank you for making it so clear and thank you for the hope and promise of light at the end of the tunnel.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm
Aww sweetie. I’ve been where you are right now. Keep on keeping huney. You won’t regret it…keep loving the moment and know you will be able to breathe sooner than you think xx
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MiaJuly 20, 2011 at 10:41 am
Thanks for this. I’ve needed this for 6 months. My house is a mess, my body has been failing me for a while and I miss my old life. I’m now trying to decide whether to go back to work at the end of the year and all I can think of is that my baby is growing up so quickly.
Kelly Be A Fun MumJuly 26, 2011 at 9:26 pm
Dearest Mia. It’s hard when you feel torn. I think it can help to know that you’re not alone in feeling so worn out. It is very a very wearing stage but looking back I can say it really goes too fast! Go with your gut and find ways to make it work for your family and situation. xxxxxx
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KarinaSeptember 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm
Very timely, so needed this today – with a newborn of 5wks, a 2yo and a 4yo, as much as I love them all, the opportunity to grab 2minutes without them is rare. But it does happen, and it will happen – when (eventually) I regain my self (and my boobs!) for me 🙂
Kelly Be A Fun MumSeptember 23, 2011 at 8:53 am
Yes, it will happen — eventually x
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RenaeNovember 8, 2011 at 9:51 am
I’m just navigating my way around some of your old posts and this one really hit me. I have an 11 month old and want to have 4 or 5 kids, so I’m really at the beginning stages of being a Mum. My son isn’t a great sleeper, and I think this is a lot to do with the fact that we move around so much so he has never learnt to self settle and there’s always something going on that prevents us from putting in the time to teach him. I think it’s funny when people say “gee hasn’t that time gone quickly!” and I’m thinking to myself “ummmm no? It hasn’t really gone quickly for me!” My saving grace is that my little guy is happy as can be during the day, so the 2-3 hourly wakings don’t seem to be affecting him. Just me!
This comment has turned into a bit of an essay, so I’ll just leave it by saying it’s good to hear someone speaking from the “other side” of 4 kids 🙂
Kelly Be A Fun MumNovember 8, 2011 at 11:18 am
I know exactly what you mean. When people used to say “the time goes quickly” I was the same: I was like….not for me! My first child was a terrible sleeper too, and days (and nights) used to drag on. But now, when I look back, I find myself saying the same thing. The days sometimes go slow but years? They fly by so quickly. Keep on keeping on lovely, and know what you’re doing is so very important, and YOU WILL look back when things are a little easier, and know that’s it’s all worth it and it really does fly by. HA! xx I’m just in the middle of writing a post about this little window of family life I am in now and how wonderful it is. You have so much to look foward to. Believe me. xx
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AmandaMarch 9, 2012 at 7:23 am
Love this blog! So true. It’s refreshing for me as a mother if a two year old and new born to read that all the seemingly insignificant tasks we do, do actually amount to something. And that we will make it through this beautiful and exhausting stage.
Kelly Be A Fun MumMarch 10, 2012 at 10:20 am
Love that last line Amanda: we will make it through this beautiful and exhausting stage. Yes indeed. x
JanetMarch 9, 2012 at 9:37 am
Definitely worth it … especially when your “children arise and call you blessed” … 🙂
Kelly Be A Fun MumMarch 10, 2012 at 10:21 am
LucindaMarch 9, 2012 at 9:44 am
Fabulous article! I am going to send this to all of my childless friends who berate me for wearing my Mum uniform (jeans, tshirt, sneakers) day in day out, never having any time (or money) to attend a night out, never having a spotless house with pretty breakable things, constantly having to put others before myself and still managing to smile about it all 🙂
Kelly Be A Fun MumMarch 10, 2012 at 10:21 am
KatAugust 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm
Oh boy I think we are in a very similiar stage of parenting and life.
I too have four (although two girls and two boys) and my youngest will be four in November of this year. I also have a 10 year old and one who will be 8 in Oct and another who will be 6 in Nov.
I can so relate to what you have said and remember it vividly.
Actually I am finding it sad that stage is over in some ways and yet finding this new stage busy in a different way. (the washing remains the same almost full time job it did almost four years ago though, lol.)
oh the extra curricular actitivities that have sprung up this year!!!
Love reading your blog and cheers to happy parenting!
AlisonAugust 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm
Love it, great piece. Mine are nearly 6, nearly 5, just 3 and 15 months and I have never felt so overwhelmed, exhausted, unhealthy etc etc. BUT I wouldn’t swap it for anything, I don’t see it as a sacrifice, rather an investment. It goes so quickly, before I know it I’ll be wondering why it’s so quiet when I’m trying to get things done through the day, they’ll all be at school and wanting to hang with their friends, not their mum.
I’ve just made a sign to hang as you come own my hallway….’excuse the mess. My children are busy making memories’ 🙂
Bek @ Just For DaisyAugust 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm
What an awesome post! 🙂 I am b’feeding an 8 week old gorgeous girl and running after my 2yo girl!… Life is chaotic at times…. Nights are exhausting and days are repetitive. But I love it!! AND I love reading from women like you who’ve come out on the other side to say it’s all worth it…keep up the good work…. soldier on… do not despair! Thank you! I love reading things like this and dream of the day my daughter is 10 years old and wonder in amazement what she’ll be like! But not too soon… she’s already growing too quick!
AlanaAugust 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm
I just read this! amazing blog, love it! I had 3 under 3. There now 1,2 and 4. All boys and its just me and my partner rasing them. Very rarely do we have any help from family. Life is very hard. Sleep is little. I love all my boys so much, but do struggle alot. Thankyou for writing this, it has made me see things a little differently 🙂
MariaAugust 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm
thank you for this am struggeling to keep my head up and the tears inbut thank you least i can see how important what i do can be one day.
TerriAugust 6, 2012 at 7:45 am
Had a cry, thankyou, probably a good release!! It would be amazing if you did a post on which parts of parenting young ones were the most important, which things you could have stressed less about IYKWIM as you enter this next chapter and can reflect. Because i often feel crippled with trying to decide what i should be focusing on, on a daily basis with 3 under 5 because i cant do it all, ot i can but will likely have a nervous breakdown 🙂
melanieAugust 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm
Thanks for this post. I have 3 under 5 and planning on having 4 under 6 in the year or so, and then another after that. I often hope I am not making a mistake having so many kids and that it will get easier so it is nice to hear this from someone with a larger family who is past the little kids stage.