I have been so busy blogging about the things that affect my life as a stay at home Mum, I plum forgot to write about my boys.
Four boys is quite a lot and I receive many comments along the lines of ‘Wow, how do you manage?’ Often accompanied by a wide eyed stare and a small sigh of relief, that they don’t have four boys too. Usually I just laugh and say the wine helped. Which is true, but I’m also not entirely sure how I did manage. Certainly immediately after my fourth son T was born, life was tough going for a while. We lived in a small two bedroom house, with three occupants in each room.
T’s birth had been a little dramatic; we had moved from Devon to Gloucester and had only been here for nine days, when I attended my first midwife appointment. We had no car, so it was a bit of a hike with three other children in tow. At 39 weeks and in a July heat wave, an ungainly waddle was all I could manage.
The midwife performed all of the usual checks and then grew rather alarmed by my blood pressure, it was ridiculously high something like 150/100 and climbing. (This was nearly eight years ago so I might be remembering incorrectly. Just in case this blood pressure is impossible!) After my urine was checked she announced that I had pre-eclampsia and an ambulance was called. To cut a long story short T arrived the following day, beating his Dad by ten minutes to my hospital room. To be fair I was 4 cm dilated when they rang P at 6:30am and when he arrived, less than an hour later I was already cradling our newest son.
T was a fractious colicky baby and breast fed little and often. We were readmitted into hospital three days after leaving at 4am in the morning thanks to my still sky high blood pressure and an intense migraine. Luckily all was well and this time when we went home, we stayed there. My hormones were all over the place and looking back now I can see that I had a definite case of the baby blues if not full blown post natal depression. Living in a too small house with no relatives nearby to help, no car and three other children aged 12, 8 and 4 is not something I would recommend to anyone.
Play dates were tough going, I found 4 boys hard to cope with, never mind any extra! William once had twins over to play for a few hours after school and after coping with 6 boys, I was on my knees calling for Chardonnay to be administered intravenously.
Life slowly got better, we bought a car and with the help of housing benefit we moved to a 3 bedroom house. I slowly started to make friends and as T got older he finally began to sleep through the night. In fact as all of our boys got older life in general became easier and when Jack was fourteen we were able to leave him at home when we went to the supermarket. Dragging four reluctant boys around Tesco, could easily be one of the nine circles of Hell, in my opinion.
Money was and still is tight, feeding and clothing 4 boys is not cheap and got even more expensive as the boys grew. There’s nothing like a hungry teenager or two for eating you out of house and home. Having so many children also means that there is always at least one of them with some sort of crisis. Just when you think one boy is sorted and happy; another problem with a different child will appear. If one has just finished his GCSE’s another might be being diagnosed with dyslexia. If one has been acting out at school and is finally settling down; then another one might be miserable, because he is finding it difficult to make friends and so on.
One of the biggest drawbacks about having four children? Spending alone time with your partner is nigh on impossible. No one wants to take all four boys off your hands very often. To be fair I can’t blame them! That said, my parents kindly had them all for the day on our tenth wedding anniversary. On my 40th birthday P and I finally spent our first child free weekend in almost eighteen years.
Of course no one forced me to have four children and hands up; it was completely my own choice. I hadn’t realised quite how difficult it would be but I also hadn’t realised how wonderful it is to be the Mother of 4 boys. I am never far from a hug or a kiss and even though, this is not allowed in public for three of them anymore, they are all four of them Mummy’s boys, through and through. My eldest boy left home for University last September and my heart broke in two. I cried every day for a fortnight and we spoke on the phone every day for a month. Even now we Skype twice a week and I am always on the look out for ways to increase this. Burnt the toast this morning, do you need me to call and talk you through this terrible time? Please? Needless to say I am already dreading W leaving and that’s still three years away – thank goodness.