Parenting Four Kids: What I’ve Learned So Far


All four kids on Emma’s birthday

I’ve been parenting four kids for a little over eight months now! Here are a few things I’ve learned, so far, in no particular order:

  • I’m not sure I’ll ever get them to look at the camera at the same time. So far, I can get the three older kids OR Anna. Or some other random combination.
  • Oh, the laundry. I’ve always been good at keeping laundry washed, folded, and put away. No more.
  • I love watching them play together. They all appreciate one another, and I really appreciate that!
  • It is shockingly easy to focus on the youngest and oldest kids – even as a parent who was a middle child! Emma has homework and other school demands, plus she has the best communication skills. Anna has a lot of needs because she’s a baby! I definitely prefer having two middle children over only one, though – I think it both helps them get my attention and gives them their own camaraderie (plus, Johnny and Lily have always been very close). Emma has her own special oldest-youngest bond with Anna.
  • Travel gets more complicated. If we’re renting a car, we need a minivan.
  • It’s well worth the extra work. My three “big” kids adore Anna. So do Mike and I! It’s impossible to imagine life without her in our family.
  • Most people consider a family of four a large family. Including Mike – we’ve doubled his family size.
  • People have quit giving me parenting advice. I think some people think I know it all because I have four kids, and some people think I’m crazy because I have four kids. There are still times when I could use some advice, but it’s nice to be left alone in the grocery store.
  • I stay home more. It’s a lot of work to get four kids places, and we have a lot of fun at home.
  • When we do go places, we stay out longer. Might as well make all that work worthwhile! Anna is a mellow baby, and the other kids are old enough to tolerate longer outings.
  • Four kids eat a lot of food!

What did you learn when you added a new child to your family?


  1. Ally says

    This is such a lovely post MaryAnne, you have such a beautiful family!

    We’ve got 4 boys and 1 very sweet baby girl. A lot of time people think we’re crazy, no one offers us advice. We get a lot of the “Oh you finally got your girl…your stopping now right?” stuff. Which is more annoying than the “You’ve got your hands full” comment, that we’ve heard a lot.

    I agree having older siblings to help out is awesome and such a blessing!

    • says

      Thank you, Ally!

      My first was a girl, and my second a boy. When I was pregnant with my third, I had complete strangers ask me in the grocery store why I was having another child when I already had a girl and a boy!

      I do get the “You’ve got your hands full” comment a lot!


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