An Only Child Raising Multiple Children: The Good, the Hard, and the Worth It

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I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a mom. I also knew that I wanted to have multiple children and a bigger family. I feel that this desire came from me being an only child. My husband and I started our family with one child and now we have three. They are 15, 12, and 6 years old. 

Some days I have a lot of kids, other days I don’t have enough, but on most days, I have the perfect amount of children. 

Growing up as an only child often left me feeling lonely. I spent my childhood in California where we lived in a decent part of town but I wasn’t allowed to go outside and play alone. This often left me cooped inside the house at times when others would be outside playing. I learned to pass the time by using electronics, of course, but primarily reading, writing, drawing, and crafting. While my parents gave me everything I could ask for, I didn’t have a sibling and that was something that I wanted my children to have. I wanted them to have someone to play with—a friend for life—and someone to have fun with. 

In all of my daydreams about having multiple children, I never stopped to think about everything it would entail. The insane amount of laundry and dishes that pile up. I sneeze and I have 10 loads of laundry to wash, dry, fold, and put away. I blink and my entire kitchen is covered in dirty dishes. I keep reminding myself that one day this will change, one day I will miss the endless piles of laundry and dishes. Now that my children are getting older, they help out more around the house and that has been a nice change in pace for me. At times they give attitude for having to do chores and usually don’t want to help. Luckily for them, they get to do chores whether they want to or not. Sometimes I will throw in a bribe or two, whatever gets the job done, right? 

While I knew that siblings fought, I didn’t quite understand HOW MUCH they actually fought. Even being around cousins didn’t prepare me for the reality of how often siblings can fight. “They have my colored bowl,  I want that cup instead, I was sitting here first, he’s looking at me, he’s eating too loud.” The arguing feels endless but they don’t argue ALL of the time. My kids actually get along pretty well, but different personalities can collide and a group of siblings is no different. One major aspect that I have learned is that no matter how much they love one another, they can fight like crazy. I often have difficulty understanding why they fight so much, I find myself saying, “You are all so lucky to have a brother or a sister to spend time with and have a friend with you, treat each other nicer!” For the most part, they have their own sibling bonds and the way they connect,  but it is sort of funny to hear my 6-year-old daughter arguing with her 15-year-old brother.

Something that has drastically changed is the amount of alone time that I don’t have anymore. There is usually a child of mine always around, I can’t even go to the bathroom without being interrupted. It was an adjustment for me to have so many people around all of the time; even though I brought these beautiful humans into my life, I still needed to adjust to them being around constantly. As they grow older, I have noticed that they are off doing their own things quite often, watching their own tv shows, playing with their friends, etc.  I find myself missing them when I do get that alone time because they are busy living their best adolescent lives. Sometimes I may get a bit annoyed when I am trying to read or do something for myself and I keep having interruptions. But, I do my best to savor every moment with them and recognize that one day I will have so much alone time that I won’t know what to do with myself. 

A variety of emotions, endless laughter, and a heart overflowing with love are just a few examples of things I have gained by becoming a mother. I am eternally grateful for my children and their presence in my life. I have learned so much from my children and by being their mother: humility, kindness, empathy, and the list goes on. I embarked on a self-growth journey, not just for myself, but to also become a better person so that I could try to be the best mother possible for my children. They deserve that. Their thoughtfulness and attempts to take care of me in times when I need it have touched my soul in ways they will never quite understand.  The little notes and drawings my kids have made for me throughout the years have mostly found their way into a box that I can’t seem to get rid of. The way they worry about me eating when I have been studying for hours. Or the way they want to help me feel better if they know that I’ve been crying. I hope they carry this thoughtfulness for people into their adult lives and continue to spread kindness around like confetti.

I often fall short of being the best mom version of myself that I can be, but every day I try to be the best mama that I can. Some days  I can give 110%, sometimes it’s 75%. Some days I lose my sanity and don’t have as much patience as other times. I only hope that my children will grow up to know that mommy has always loved them, mommy was always there, there’s nothing that they couldn’t talk to me about, and that I would do absolutely anything and everything for them.

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