This is a question I have been asked a lot over the last few years. Is that it now? Are you done populating the world? And a few rather more crude versions that I won’t share here.
OK so is there a magic number? How do you decide? Have you always planned to have a specific number of children or has it just happened that way for you?
If you‘d have told me 6 years ago that I would be a mother of four I would have choked violently on my prosecco. After having my son Jack at 18 and the relationship with his dad breaking down, I had never really given much thought to extending our little team of 2.
On a night out in Cheltenham I met my husband Will in one of those meet cute moments – random place, right time. Once he had passed the very stringent checks my young son had put in place – do you like children, dogs and Rhianna? Will was allowed to join the team. The following November our beautiful Evangeline – ‘Evie’, made an appearance making us a very happy family of four.
Before we’d really had chance to blink and after just accepting an exciting new job, when Evie was just four months old, I was surprised, shocked and utterly panicked to be feeling those familiar early pregnancy symptoms again. 4 weeks after Evie’s first birthday, Eliza arrived into the world and has been making her mark ever since. We were now a tribe of 5!
The first 6 months of having two under twos, whilst juggling school runs and work, was a whole new level of crazy for us. However, as time went on, and the girls developed a more similar routine, life as a tribe of 5 became pretty damn good. Don’t get me wrong it was chaotic and loud most of the time, but we were blessed with 3 children that generally adored each other and were awesome little humans to be around.
So we started talking about number four. I mean really talking about number four. Both Will and I had decided we wanted another baby but there were so many other people and things that we needed to consider; how would another baby affect the amazing relationship our current three had? Could we afford to have another child? Could we give our children enough quality time with us if we were to have another? Is this the right time? When is the right time? Could I physically do this again? – I had severe SPD in my pregnancies. Could I afford to take more time out of my career? We will have to get a new car and I don’t want to drive a people carrier – Me! I’m never going to get back in my jeans – also me!
After much deliberation we decided the tribe had room for one more. THE LAST ONE.
Making that decision changed our outlook completely. Everything we did from the moment we got that positive test we completely embraced because we knew it would be the last time we experienced it. Scans, first kicks, even when the dreaded SPD reared its ugly head when I was 16 weeks pregnant, the knowledge that this was the last time made it bearable.
Life as tribe of six is hard work. There are times I have shut myself in the utility room and had to count to 20 before opening the door to deal with world war three going on in the next room, there are nights I literally have not slept because all of the three youngest have decided to wake up for different things at different times. Trying to coordinate getting four children to four different places in the morning is like a military operation, I have no hope of getting in my pre-baby jeans and I drive a very large, not very cool Swedish tank.
Although life is busy, we are all very close and there is so much fun and laughter in this house. Having Lachlan join the tribe after the conscious decision that he is our last baby has taught me such a lot. Most of which I should have appreciated already.
When Jack was born I was determined to prove that although I was young, I was a good mum. I remember reading lots of books and willing him to reach the next stages in his development so I could reassure myself and everyone else that I had been getting it right. The girls’ first years passed by in such a crazy busy blur, I don’t think I stopped to take it in and to really enjoy it.
Lachlan has taught me to embrace every milestone; every giggle and every night spent soothing a teething baby. I now try my hardest to embrace and enjoy every moment good or not so good with my children because they are all changing so much, so quickly. So now, when I have a teenager or a toddler screaming at me because they don’t want to eat their broccoli or Netflix has crashed (it could be either way around!) I take a deep breath and get some perspective.
Lachlan has just celebrated his first birthday and started walking, Evie has just started school, Eliza has learned to ride her big girl bike and Jack has just started working towards his GCSEs and his sports accolades are ever increasing.
Baby chapter is now almost over for us. I’ve packed up the steriliser and the perfect prep machine, and whilst part of me will always miss those lovely tiny baby moments, I am looking forward to the next chapter for our tribe and all of the exciting adventures to come.
So do I think we will have anymore? No, I know 4 is our magic number.
A Guest Blog from Charlotte Simmons
Charlotte is a thirty two year old mum of four – fourteen, four, three and one. When not running around after teenagers and toddlers she can be found balancing a career in housing with hosting beautiful weddings and events at her families exciting new exclusive hire venue – Twyning Park. Charlotte would love to read more, exercise more and sleep more. Down time for Charlotte consists of family trips to Cornwall and get togethers with friends and family, mostly where wine, good food and the great outdoors are involved. You can follow Charlotte on Instagram and follow Twyning Park on Instagram and Facebook.
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