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  1. JEN Garrett says:

    Good guess, but that’s not why 4 kids is less stressful. It’s because you’ve learned the art of delegation. With two, you can handle it… like you said, mental bookkeeping… even if your hubby is at work all day. With three, you get overwhelmed and need a lot of rescues from hubby, Grandma, that sweet lady in the grocery store who decided to help instead of judge. :)

    With 4, or more, you have an OLDEST (hallalooya!) whom you can delegate some of the chores to. (i.e. “Oldest, will you help Toddler on the toilet while I change diaper? Oldest, will you help Toddler find his shoe?” — and Oldest thinks to look in the car… every time. “Oldest, will you get me 5 diapers for the diaper bag? Oldest, will you keep Toddler from dismantling the waiting room while I deal with Poop-pocalpyse?”)

    1. Yes, Yes, YES!! My older two are 11 & 8 and my younger two are 5 and 11 months. The older two are tasked to help out and actually enjoy being helpful. I feels like a whole different world this time around than it did 5 years ago when my third child was born. Almost makes me want to give in to my husband’s desire for #5! :) –Melissa

    2. Charlotte says:

      Delegation only works if you don’t have the kids back to back. We’re having our third now, and by the rate we’re going we’ll have 4 under 4…. Sure the 4 year old can help with some things, but not much. :)

  2. Yep, 3 kids…two mini vans, we’ve pretty much made peace with the J.O.Y. factor of it all. J- Jesus O-others Y-you. To all those young couples that want to wait to have kids or never do, it’s better to learn to serve others above your own self-guided desires. Makes for a better culture over all. “Date” nights come to mean a lot more too. Not much else to report.

  3. Stephanie Bishop says:

    As a mother of 4 I can tell you that 4 is not a magic number! Every child means more money! And there is nothing less stressful than money issues. A bigger house, a bigger car, (you can kiss that 4 cyl. goodbye) more electricity, more doctor appointments, more grocery shopping trips, MORE MORE MORE! I’m pretty sure if you were to ask us mothers of 4 or more they will call this article completely bogus.

    1. I do actually find my 4 less stressful than when we just had 3.

    2. Actually disagree. I have 4 and my 4th is nearly 4 months so yes I am busy. My older ones have sports practices etc etc that I didn’t have when they were younger but 4 feels more complete, even, and my older boys help . And I agree with this article, at 4 I’m more relaxed etc I felt like 3 was a awkward number

  4. Stacey Nash says:

    I agree that mental bookkeeping gets tough. I think stressfulness of handling kids depends on where you are mentally. My first two kids were extremely demanding and difficult as babies. My third was mellow yellow so the transition to three was easy. By the time number four came along, we just went with the flow. I would agree with other comments that having an older sibling that can help with childcare makes a huge difference. I think its about reaching a point where you realize that things are going to be left undone, appointments are going forgotten, and socks won’t match. Laugh and try to keep it together.

  5. Eve Olsen says:

    As a mom of 5, I can tell you that it gets a bit less stressful because the number of helpful hands increases by number 5. My 7 year old was capable of helping the little ones grab things or buckle up or take things to the car as I checked them off my mental list. Yes, 5 means more clutter, faster cluttering, but delegating jobs and rewards also can make it easier and worthwhile to share in taking care of family and home. It sounds great in theory, but does take lots of trying because with any number of children, aside from being a mind reader, we will have emergencies that will just happen. I have been very fortunate and blessed to have healthy children with healthy immune systems, but can you imagine the stomach flu ripping through a house of 7? Ew! Great post!

  6. I’m laughing at Jen;s comment because I totally agree with having the older kids delegate. We always tease our oldest (of 4) that we had him first so he could do things for us; Even though he really doesn’t spend all day doing stuff for us (or his siblings), he does help, and that’s one extra person. Of course, he needs attention too so it’s not like it really balances out. I have to say that 3 to 4 was the hardest jump for me. It’s a LITTLE easier now that they are getting a little older (12, 9, 6, & 3) but it’s still tough. Now that we are out of the baby phase, the older kids have activities that we have to juggle. We are all in over our heads. LOL!

  7. Space those babies out. Or that’s what we chose to do and we didn’t have our first until I was 34. I’m all of 6 days older than my husband. I just want to say hallelujah that we decided not to have kids until we were older. I think that helps a lot, too. Our oldest daughter is 10, who I had at 34. Our only son, and the middle, is 7 and we were 37 when he was born. Our baby, our second daughter, is 4 and was born only 6 days before my 40th. We didn’t even try for #2 until #1 was at least fairly potty trained during the day. And #3 we decided to try for to coincide with #1 starting Kindergarten. We were pretty certain we were going to have 3 from the very beginning of our relationship. We were very happy with 2, but something felt missing.

    I want to say that we also weren’t at all afraid of being older parents, because my own parents had 2 sets of children several years apart and they were much more relaxed with the 2nd set. A lot of that was probably that they were a lot more accomplished parents, but both having very well-paying careers helped, too. We chose to become settled into careers before having children and my being a stay-at-home parent isn’t much of a financial issue now as it probably would have been in my 20s. I had my career. I got to travel. I got to have fun. And now at 44 I feel that I had a life and when #3 goes back to school, I can choose whether or not I even want to go back to work. I enjoy puttering in the garden in the summer and cooking dinner 6 nights a week for my family. I enjoy meeting up with friends and getting my nails done during the week or getting lunch or even volunteering at school. I enjoy my life and my introverted soul loves time to decompress now that all 3 are in school.

    1. You won’t be around to help your kids with their children ?

      1. Wow. My mom had me at 41, and I had my first at 31. She’s definitely still here… and helping with our kids. They love her. So….. strange comment. She might not get to see them get married, but she is here for their childhood.

    2. Thanks for that. I had two back-to-back (less than 2 years apart–1 and almost 3 now) and it has been rough. I’d like to have a 3rd, but get nervous about being overwhelmed. I definitely, don’t want another less-than-two years situation. I don’t know how other moms do it.

      Another thought on what helps, in general, is having a supportive husband. I’ve seen moms on Youtube and such with tons of kids and you see their husbands making breakfast, helping with the kids, and just generally being engaged with the family. Those of us with husbands who think they’re helping a ton when they show up to put one kid to bed have a rougher time with each addition.

  8. Julia Bessa says:

    I have four , three was mayhem, four was a piece of cake . Everything was in disarray from having three .So when four came I was not emotionally upset at all . I didn’t try to straighten out the house , did laundry when I could , didn’t worry about folding it , had a sock basket and the older siblings did help a lot. I was an only child and having four children was the joy of my life . Take one day at a time and who care if the child has two different sneakers on .