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'I'm a mum of four. These are the questions I always get asked, answered.'

Being a mum of four can feel like living in a zoo.

Strangers stare as they count the kids and ask if they are all mine. They shake their heads in bewilderment before stating the obligatory, 'You must be so busy'.

After being a mum of four for some time now, a response automatically rolls off my tongue: 'Every mum is busy.'

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Here are the five questions I always get asked about having four kids, answered.

"What were you thinking?"

I wasn’t thinking. Not rationally, anyway.

I was not thinking about a car with space for four car seats or spending my weekends and evenings driving to sports games and training. I did not consider how we would afford school fees or holidays.

Honestly, I was thinking about the preciousness of a newborn. I was thinking how exhilarating, irreplaceable, and magical the first 12 months are, and I wasn’t ready to let that go!

"Why would you want four kids?"

I’m a Capricorn, and I blame my star sign.

Let me explain. Capricorns define themselves by their ability to endure what others cannot.

I constantly want to push myself beyond what ordinary people do. Not to be better, but to see what’s possible. This, by the way, is not a trait I see in a positive light.

As an example, in my 30s, I liked to run. So, I decided to run a marathon after each child was born. (Yes, I know how ridiculous that is).  

And kids. Well, I thought if I was going to give up a job I loved; I wasn’t just going to do it for one child, so why not go all in and have four. It seemed crazy but doable.

Image: Supplied. 

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"How do you survive?"

When the kids were little, I would wake up and think, 'Oh my god, here we go again'. With four kids under six, I wondered how we would get through the next 18 years.

As the kids have grown (and thankfully are now all at school), our parenting style has evolved. Now survival looks like this:

Divide and conquer.

My husband and I divide and conquer 95 per cent of the time. When one of us is in the office, the other works at home for the after-school parenting shift. You will rarely see us at the same sports game as the games are always at the same time. We typically socialise separately with our own friends, so we both get time out. 

Set the bar low.

When my eldest was a toddler, I prided myself on having a tidy house. I’d put away toys while my son napped just in case friends dropped in. Now, the house is mostly a mess. I look the other way, and honestly, I hope my friends do too. I have better things to do.

The kids pitch in.

The kids are all old enough to help at home. We expect them to join in the fun of chores, ironing school uniforms, walking the dogs, and packing lunchboxes (to name a few). Do they complain? Yep. But one day, they will thank me for teaching them life skills!

"When do you ever get time for yourself?"

I’m no martyr.

Four kids may require an enormous investment of time and energy, but it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own life entirely. 

For my sanity, I fiercely protect time to exercise with my beautiful girlfriends most mornings. Swimming, running, or walking the dog is a chance to laugh, cry, and solve the latest parenting challenge.

Do I feel guilty for leaving the kids? Nope. They know it’s my time out (and I always return a calmer, more patient person).

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"Was having four kids a mistake?"

This is the question I get asked the most.

The truth is that I sometimes feel completely and utterly overwhelmed by the responsibility of parenting four kids. The mental load is exhausting, and the running around never ends. I worry that I do not have the resilience and patience required for this gig. 

But a mistake? Never. While we are many years beyond the magical baby stage, I can’t describe how privileged I feel to be a mother to my four kids. They are kind, caring, and funny (even the teenagers), and I love them all to bits.

And when they are ratbags, I simply put on my trainers for a run and a vent with my girlfriends.

Angela Eves is a mum to four crazy humans and two even crazier golden retrievers. Requires coffee to function. Believes everything is better when coloured, from hair to walls, and anything in between.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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