The Math of Parenthood

A lot of people think having 5 kids is exponentially harder than having 1 or 2 kids.

 In case you forgot your high school math, this is my explanation. (remember, I teach English!) 2x5=10 but 2^5, or 2 to the exponent of 5 = 32. People think that adding kids makes life exponentially harder. It really doesn't. The kids help. They play together. The act of adding one more chicken breast, or, let's be honest, one more box of macaroni and cheese, is not that much more difficult than what I was doing before. It does get harder, but not exponentially harder, the way most people think when they see us at the grocery store, with 2 full carts, 10 hands grabbing things, 4 sticky chins, and 7 voices saying or singing different things (2 of those voices are saying things like "Stop," "No," "In a minute," and "Please put your pants back on.")

Now, it might be exponentially louder. That has to be true.

There might be one time, though, that it is true, when having 5 kids is exponentially harder, not just 5 times harder - when a stomach flu hits the family. Unless you have 5 kids (or more), you can't fathom the amount of dread that runs through me when someone starts throwing up. It means at least one week of trash cans by beds, scrubbing floors, washing blankets, taking temperatures, making soup and buying gatorade. Unless it happens during the summer (which is obviously rare) or Christmas Break, it also means taking turns off of work. Of course, the days that you do work are exponentially more difficult themselves.

And, then, of course, there are the other kids, running and playing and not understanding why one of them gets to sit on the couch and pick TV shows all day. They want the smelliest food for lunch, prompting the sick one to vomit more. The younger ones will bump into, or even REACH INTO the barf bucket. Don't forget the vain attempt to keep the other kids from touching, eating after, or generally breathing near the sickie.

And all hell breaks loose if mom and dad get sick, especially {crossing fingers} at the same time. For some families, this is just if mom gets sick. Thankfully, Pastor Hubby is amazing and is great at doing the chores listed above. In fact, last night, my oldest came into my room (and turned on my light! what was she thinking?!) and said, "I threw up." A groan, not unlike those in early childbirth, escaped my body before I could stop it. That lovely man said, "You stay here and take care of her {the nursing baby} and I'll take care of that." I don't think I've ever loved him more. Seriously, I could hear him dry heave (he explained in the morning that it involved scooping) at times while he cleaned the top bunk, the wall, the lower bunk, and the floor, as well as tossing linens into the washer.

There comes a point in marriage that voluntarily scooping vomit is better than any amount of flowers.

There are a few other times that it might also be exponentially harder - going to theme parks, or if you're stupid ambitious enough to try to take them all to a doctor's office. The thing is, you can avoid those things. Or enlist family members to help. Nobody wants your sick and germy kids at their house. If the flu comes, you're just stuck. Stuck in a vomit-filled version of hell that you can't escape until it's made its rounds through the whole clan.

So, there you go. Having 5 kids is not exponentially harder unless you're vomiting or at Disneyland. Or, God forbid, both.


Mrs.O said...

LOL, so witty and probably so true, although we only have 3. :) However, I've always made the opposite argument for twins, at least for the first couple years, it is not just 2 times harder it is 10 times harder - nursing two, opposite sleep schedules, double colic, and simple logistics and juggling feats!

Beth at Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids said...

LOVE it!

"If the flu comes, you're just stuck. Stuck in a vomit-filled version of hell that you can't escape until it's made its rounds through the whole clan."

Bahahaha! Excellent post. Funny, and TRUE.

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