Tori Spelling announced today that she and her husband, Dean, are expecting their fourth child. Yes, that’s just five months after the birth of their third child. And in case you’re trying to figure out the math … that means that they had sex one month after the birth. Wow. That’s about 100 days faster than most couples with newborns manage to reconnect in the bedroom. I don’t know whether to be appalled or super-impressed.
In any event, congratulations and good luck to them both. For those you who are wondering what life is like with four kids, take a look at our chart detailing the incremental impact of each kid.
|Number of Kids||1||2||3||4||5 or More (yes, they are out there)|
|Parental Defense Method||Tag Team||Man to Man||Zone||Prayer||Brute Force|
|Grandparent Participation Level||Overwhelming||Halved||They’ll take one kid at a time.||They’ll take one kid at a time.||They’ll take one kid at a time.|
|Free Time||30% of former life||Goes to zero||Ha!||N/A||Negative – you even dream about working.|
|Minutes Required to Leave the House||5||10||20||Who knows? You’ve lost your watch.||Half a day|
|Number of Appointments per Year (doctor/dentist etc.)||6||12||18||36||Unless your spouse is a medical professional, you consider leaving them to marry one.|
|Number of Birthday Parties per Month = X (X also equals the number of times your ass is in Toys “R” Us buying a gift before hightailing it to Chuck E. Cheese)||X||2X||3X||4X||You start hearing the Happy Birthday (Cha Cha Cha!) song in your sleep.|
|Number of Names of Kids’ Friends’ Parents to Remember (Assume A=preschool class size, B=neighborhood friends, and C=other friends||2(A+B+C)||2(A+B+C)X||2(A+B+C)Y||2[(A+B)X(CY)]N||When you see anyone, you just nod your head and act like you know them.|
|Sibling Rivalry Decibel Level||0||3||11 (like in Spinal Tap)||You need a hearing aid.||You turn off your hearing aid.|
|Gallons of Milk per Week||2||4||6||8||You consider investing in dairy stocks.|
|Table Size at a Restaurant||Table for 2, plus a high chair||Table for 4||You have to wait for a bigger table.||You have to wait for a bigger table.||You don’t go out.|
|Travel Considerations||3 plane tickets, 1 hotel room, 1 cab, mid-size rental car||4 plane tickets, 1 hotel room, 1 cab, full-size rental car||5 Plane tickets, 1very cramped hotel room, 2 cabs, mini-van rental||6 plane tickets, 2 hotel rooms, 2 cabs…time to rent a bus||You are broke, having spent all your money on the previous vacation.|
|Weekend Getaways||Once a quarter||Twice a year||Bribery required||Weddings and funerals only||Not ever|
With each kid, of course it gets harder. The love and joy in our homes increases a thousandfold, but so does the general mayhem. There’s more noise, more chaos, more work to do. By necessity, we take time away from each other to care for our kids. ”Your time” gets folded into “family time,” and we can begin to lose the sense of being a couple.
But as it gets harder, somehow it gets easier, too. We realize that the struggle to get back to our pre-baby “normal selves” is futile. This noisy, chaotic life is where it’s at. We step up and embrace it, and we surrender to the madness. Both parents get caught in the full-court kid press. We share more of the labor and more of the joy with each other. This leveling of the parenting field can put marriage on a much more even keel.