A lot of people ask me "how we do it" in terms of parenting soon-to-be five children ages five and under. Many people do it. And, most do it well! I'm sure it is a combination of things that varies from person to person.
I've often said that I am blessed to be able to stay home with the kids, and there are days that I don't have to leave our home, and for me, that makes things easier.
I also have the most supportive and helpful husband you can imagine. He helps in all areas, so that kind of teamwork also adds to the big picture of raising these little ones with out losing our minds or one of them.
I have great support from my nearby family as well.
All of that said, I think one of the biggest factors in being able to do this (at least for me!) is sleep.
I know it's a controversial subject these days in parenting circles. But, honestly, what isn't? With that said, if you co-sleep, wear your baby, rock them to sleep, etc, that's fine. It just isn't the way we've chosen to do things, and I can only talk to what has worked for us, so here goes.
We are huge proponents of Babywise and Healthly Sleep Habits, Happy Child. We have used the methods on all of our children, and all of them have given us a 4-5 hour stretch of sleep at night from the beginning and have reached a 12 hour stretch by 3-4 months. With this kind of sleep, they've been very happy babies...thus we've been very happy parents! Seriously, knowing that our children are getting ample rest, and allowing us to refuel as well has made a huge difference in our physical and emotional health as a family.
The premise of the method is that the children learn to self-sooth with a basic schedule of wake, eat, play and sleep on repeat throughout the day. I don't rock or nurse my babies to sleep. I swaddle them and give them a pacifier if they need it. I don't feed my babies on demand. They are on a schedule (but sometimes that schedule changes!). And, yes, it allows us the opportunity to be flexible when necessary. But, it also adds one more element of routine in our lives, and they've all thrived on it.
Do they occasionally wake up at night? Sure. Do they sometimes cry (as babies) for a couple of minutes when I put them down? Of course! But, I can tell when they're tired and have confidence in knowing at particular times, they're only fussy because they need more rest.
And, I still get ample opportunity to cuddle them and love them throughout the day!
It's worked for us...and it allows my husband and I time to ourselves and the energy to keep up with these little ones. Plus, we have well-rested, happy kiddos, and that's worth it all.
How do you make life work with young kids?