December 2, 2011

i need more park daysi need more park daysi need more park daysi need more park daysi need more park daysi need more park days
I am a homebody. I really am. After I had Soul, I really didn’t leave the house all that much on my own with the kids. Ben started doing the grocery shopping on his lunch breaks and we have a Target close enough for me to run to at night when the kids are in bed. Now, I am learning with four, I need to leave the house sometimes. It’s good for my sanity. So when my friend Jane and I planned our playdate, we made sure to make it a park date. Fresh air is definitely good for all of us!
I am thinking I need to regularly take them out of the house more often. I needed to go to the store last week and decided to just go with all of them. The big girls were still in their pajamas, but I figured what the heck and off we went. It was definitely funny, but honestly, I didn’t care. I already look crazy already toting around 4 little kids (we get looks all the time), so keeping them in the pajamas is not that big of a deal.
This is the scene a couple weeks ago at the doctor’s office… Glow in the sling, True in the back seat of the double stroller, Soul in the front seat, and Brave walking next to me.
True: Mom, why does everyone look at us? Is it cause we are cute?
Me: No. It’s because they think mommy’s crazy.
Just then a lady who was walking in front of us turned around and smiled. Probably, cause she heard what I said and that was exactly what she was thinking.
Any of you have tips on how to tote around a little clan of kids?

36 comments on “FRESH AIR”

  • Ariel says:

    Such beautiful pictures!

  • i don't have any advice – but i loved these photos! πŸ™‚

  • ahh I'm jealous of all your sunshine in december! (something we don't get a whole lot of up here in BC.

    I'm a homebody too. I just have two littles but I find getting out with them overwhelming at times. can't imagine doubling that.

  • We are weeks/days away from adding baby four and I leave the house with the other three (6, 4, 2) all the time – because I have to. We get so many astonished looks. Yes, people think I am a crazy person. So I am so with you about not caring what they (or I, for that matter) are wearing. Usually it's ripped jeans that have dirt or food on them – but my older two are boys, and that is just par for the course.

    My only tips are not to try to accomplish anything near a time that they are hungry or tired. My older kids know their boundaries well and don't test me. The two year old constantly tests me, so it's important to keep her strapped into something (cart, stroller, etc).

    If I know we're going to try to accomplish a lot, I either break it up with something just for them (park, etc) or resort to bribery. If they are good, we'll get a treat on the way home. If they horrendously disrespect me in public, they also know that they WILL come home to consequences, not to mention the absence of any treats.

    Truly, while people definitely look at us like I'm crazy, I usually find the most common comment is that the kids “are so well behaved!?” I think that most people assume one person could never manage more than 2 kids. For the most part, I think people are amazed that a string of small children could be well-behaved.

  • jozen says:

    I'm a homebody and only have 2!!! haha. don't worry, you are getting looks because your family is beautiful.

  • Nessafoo says:

    I am a homebody as well and I only have two. My little boy is 2 , with flaming red hair and a personality to match. People are so rude when it comes to tolerance for kids these days. My son is a handful and he throws fits and cries but If I have to get milk or pullups I have to get it. Alot of times I have other people give me a weird look and say ” Whats wrong with him??!!” To which I look at them and say ” Nothing. He is two. Whats wrong with you?” They generally get the hint and turn around. You tote those kids with pride and the best piece of advice my dad gave me was ” Nobody is allowed to call my kid difficult but me.”
    You and your family are beautiful and next time someone gives you a crazy look just smile and say

  • Celeste says:

    I agree that people are probably giving you looks because you and your children are so beautiful! And I also agree that people are just really shocked that one person can handle several small children alone. I have five children under age six, and the most common question people ask me when they inquire about the age of my kids is whether I have help. I always say, “Um, my husband?” πŸ™‚ It's not easy, of course, to have all these little ones so close in age, but I *am*a grown woman after all! LOL I'm with you on the homebody thing, with you on the stares in public thing, with you on staying in pajamas all day–I kinds feel like we're leading twin lives!

  • ClaireTet says:

    Wow what beautiful photos!

    They must in part be staring because you do have a truly beautiful family. I take my hat off to you. I have one daughter aged 21 months and we are pretty house bound as her behavior is pretty unpredictable!

  • Greta says:

    I love your blog for lots of reasons, not the least of which I can really relate to you.
    I have a 7 year old, 5 year old, 3 year old and 5 month old.
    We get a lot of looks too.
    And comments.
    Some nice, ut most containing an element of disbelief.
    Oh well.
    I homeschool so my kids are all with me, all the time.
    And we have to go places.
    And I have to take them.
    I try to grocery shop on the weekends or evenings, but it doesn't always work.
    I have an Ergo carrier for my baby and that is my life saver.
    I strap him in that and then I don't have to worry about my 3 year old pulling the groery cart over with her baby brother inside.
    She only pulled it over on herself.
    Oy vey.
    It's always an adventure, but the more I do it, the easier it gets.
    For reals.
    We hike together a lot.
    I've taken them clothes shopping (kinda wanted to shoot myself for that one) and when my husband was out of town last month for 10 days, we went out to eat (In and Out), to get hair cuts, to the bookstore and to Target for Thanskgiving prep.
    You do what you gotta do.
    I always have snacks, I'm not above bribing the 3 year old with a lollypop, I try never to go around lunch time or too close to dinner, and also try never to do more than 2 stops.
    Sorry for this crazy long comment.
    Have I mentioned that I love your blog?
    Love from,

  • I loved this!

    1) because I am a homebody too. and with just TWO, i have husband pick up milk and apple juice on the way home after going all day with none. πŸ™‚

    and 2) because I was the oldest sibling of 6, and just like True, I noticed the stares. My mom was crazy, but we were happy kids. πŸ™‚

  • SUSANA says:


  • Jacomijn says:

    Well, I think some of them actually think that you all look very cute !!!! It's not every day you meet a mother with four lovely girls so maybe you should turn your thinking around and give a big smile back at them !! :o)!!

  • As much as I don't like to resort to it, I always make sure I have snacks in my purse for emergencies! Nothing calms a whiny toddler like a little snack! I only have three little ones, but I'd go stir crazy trying to keep them all occupied at home all day.

    I find that thrift stores are the perfect outing- interesting things to look at, the kids get to carry around a toy to play with in the store, and the whole vibe is just a little more tolerant of whiny kids in a thrift store, if you know what I mean!

  • I have two girls, and because I look like I am 18 when in fact I'm 26, I get the crazy looks too. It really erks me because I was NOT 16 and pregnant!

    p.s.- I saw your cupcakes in a jar post on Bump Smitten! congrats!

  • The Lady says:

    Nope. No tips here. I can barely do it alone with two kids. I'm just thankful the baby is out of her car seat carrier now. That makes it so much better. I guess I would say run errands at night once or twice a week. I love going out alone:/ Like everything, this too shall pass and they will be less dependent on you and easier to run around with.

  • I look at it this way: at least you dont have 20 kids and counting πŸ˜‰

  • astr!d says:

    they may think you are crazy….. WHO CARES!!!!! they also probably cant believe such a tiny little momma had 4 babies and still looks so beautiful! and plus, you dress them so pretty; mismatched, colorful, and vintage! it draws attention cause they are so darn cute!! you do a great job! dont worry with what others think!

  • Katie says:

    It's only crazy if you can't manage it! And people are probably staring because your cute too because girls are just darling at least from the photos.

  • Lynn says:

    This made me laugh out loud! Good for you, you're doing a great job! Half of them prolly think you're crazy and the other half are just amazed you made it out of the house at all πŸ™‚

  • gabrielle says:

    it was probably bc you guys are so cute!


  • Ha! This is hilarious to me because I can completely relate! I have 4 kids ages 7, 6, 4 and 2 with one on the way. We get tons of looks while we're out and about (especially since I'm pregnant) so I try my hardest to appear supremely happy at all times and like I'm never annoyed with my kiddos.

  • I have only two, and when we go out, there is always one crying or doing something wrong. People look at us strange cause, we just let them cry and don't give them what they want. So we just keep the “we don't care face”, it's our kids and we raise them like we think is better !

    But I agree with the others, they look at you cause you have a really cute family. And surely because you get a double stroller. It always impress people !

  • Thalita Dol says:

    Oh, I think that the cutteness factor might be the reason for some of the stares indeed!

    I'm not a homebody. I only have 1 kid (for now), I know. But my baby is one of those babies that won't take naps alone (still!), that nursed 24/7 for the first months (and still nurses at least 6 times a day, at 28mo. I get the stares because of that)… I NEED to go outside to keep MY sanity. I need the fresh air, the talk with other grownups, the sun… I bet it will be crazy when I have more babies… oh my!

    hugs from Brazil!

  • sharyl says:

    I actually I am guilty of looking/staring at mothers toting around 3,4,5 kids! But I stare in awe and amazement. I already struggle taking care of my 2 nieces every weekend, but moms like you do it day in and day out and I am just amazed and have so much respect for you! And I agree with the other reader about the double stroller. Those always catches my attention, coz I expect twins to be sitting there. hahahaha! Have a good weekend Bratcher family!

  • jane says:


    hey! i'd say we had a successful day at the park with two mommies and SIX kids (four of them being yours!). πŸ™‚ more playdates is my tip!! πŸ™‚

  • Paige says:

    I am really glad you admitted to being a homebody. I am a homebody too. Sometimes I think I shouldn't be, but it is unavoidable.

  • Karen says:

    Lot's of good advice. We don't go out much either but when we do I recommend keep it short, don't plan more than 2 stops and make a list. Pack a snack for long lines. If you can, add a treat to look forward to and motivate the older children to set a good example and be helpers to you and the littler ones– a candy at the check-out line, baking cookies together when the babies are sleeping, a DVD rental, you get the idea.

    The more you do it, the less overwhelming it becomes…most days. πŸ™‚

  • Liz says:

    When I see moms of multiple little ones (well-behaved little ones) out and about, I stare too, but not because I think she's crazy, but because I ADMIRE her and her bravery πŸ™‚ I have 2 little ones and that's about as many I think I can take out by myself!

  • neilandnikki says:

    i know just what you mean by the crazy looks. i have three boys aged 5, 3 1/2, and 18 months, and am almost 8 months pregnant with our fourth (a girl this time). i take all the kids out on an almost-daily basis and i feel like i can just read people's thoughts about how crazy i am. although i am often agreeing with them in my own head…

    your little family of girls is precious!

  • ~ Kim ~ says:

    I love your pics of Soul. She is adorable. I get looks all the time when I go out with my four. I have the two little ones in the pram and the older two walking (5mths, 2yrs, 3yrs 11mths and 5yrs). They are generally well behaved and I tell them that if they act up they won't be going to the shops with me next time. It's not as hard as it seems but it requires lots of patience, attentiveness and I don't like to yell at them unless they are running off. My tip is just to get them to help find items or play a game of eye spy to distract them. If they're involved they're less likely to find their own fun. Make sure they've gone to the toilet so you don't get stuck in a queue with one of them hopping around. Kids take alot of the vibe from their parents so if you're stressed then they'll be too so have fun and take your time. You can always stay home another day and go over with them what they didn't do correctly. Oh and yes I normally go first thing in the morning as they are most settled at this time of the day and less crowds.

  • mmkp says:

    Hi! I'm soon to be a mama of SIX!! So you can imagine the looks we get when I'm out with my 4 kids and pregnant (with identical boys!!) but honestly I love it! I hardly leave the house too and my house looks a lot likes yours…”very well lived in”!! I have 2 in school and come February I'll have four under four at home. I'm a stay at home mama too:). It really is crazy and wonderful. Congrats on your new baby and your beautiful family. God bless

  • Hayley says:

    Aw they're just looking at you 'cause their jealous.

  • mimi623 says:

    My daughter and son-in-law have three biological children: Rowan is 6 years old, Miles is 4 years old, and Tucker is 20 months old, plus they have had 2 foster kids for the past 6 months (whom they are hoping to adopt. They are David who is 3 years old and Tim who is 2 years old . . . so that makes 5 children, age 6 to 20 months. Every time we go anywhere, people stare . . . A LOT. We are all so happy to be in the presence of such great kids that we just have a habit of looking the starers straight in the eye and giving them a big smile . . . because that's how we feel inside. Kids are lovely . . . the best gift ever!

  • Jenny D. says:

    I remember getting those looks at the grocery store when I had a baby strapped to my chest and a toddler in the seat — and I only had two. I also come from a family of eight children, so as a teenager I was self conscious of the looks we would get when we would all go out to eat (which was rare).

    The peace comes from knowing that even though people may think we are crazy, and some may be able to empathize with us, in the eyes of our children, our spouse, our God, and all those who truly love us — we are angels. Even if we have our pj's on all day and we don't get to shower until they have all gone to bed at night, they see us as lovely and wonderful and they are quick to forgive our weaknesses. Just keep on doing what you got to do, and do it with a smile (as often as you can ;-).

  • After reading your blog for so long, and reading those comments up there, the next time I see a momma with her crew of kiddos, I think I'm gonna give her a high five and tell her how awesome she is.

  • Ali says:

    HAHAHAHA I'm right there with you. I just toted my herd to the doctor's today. My 9 month old in the Ergo, my 2 year old in an umbrella stroller, and my 5 & 6 year olds each with a hand on the stroller handles, at least when we walk through the parking lot. Everyone always HAS to comment on how I must have my hands full and how I must be such a busy mom. It gets pretty annoying after awhile actually. Yes, they all think I'm crazy too.

    I finally braved Target with all four only a month ago. My boys are pretty full of energy, so I hate shopping with everyone together. I usually do Amazon Mom shopping to avoid it. But, they were fantastic and I was relieved…phew!

    I love reading stories that make me feel like I'm not the only crazy mom!

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