PARENTS

Four Richer, Four Poorer: Why I Always Wanted To Be A Mother Of Four Children

12/05/2011 23:06 | Updated 22 May 2015

family of four childrenPatsy Palmer's just had her fourth child, Victoria Beckham's pregnant with her fourth, and Heidi Klum, Sadie Frost and Ulrika Jonsson all reached the magic number long ago.

With four children under nine I may once have been derided as a chav, but now it seems I'm up there with the rich and famous.

I live in a middle class area where having four kids is not that uncommon. In my opinion the Little Britain stereotype is inaccurate and in fact having a large family is seen in some areas as a status symbol.

It certainly seems that most women have a secret desire for more children. According to marital therapist and author Andrew G Marshall who conducted an online survey of 2,034 women for the BabyCentre website, only 6 per cent have four children but 16 per cent want this size of family.

This is certainly no surprise to me. Yes I have had one or two people who have looked at me with disgust upon hearing how many children I have, but on the whole most people think it is great and many, many people tell me how they would have liked to have had more children but for different reasons didn't. I consider myself lucky and very blessed to have given birth to four healthy babies and to be in a position to have the family size we always dreamed of.

Camilla Chafer has three but would have liked four. "It would just be too difficult," she says. "We'd have to get a car to seat six, we'd need a house with more room and holidays are already expensive enough with five of us, never mind an extra. And the childcare costs would be astronomical."

For us this is not a problem. We bought a people carrier when I was pregnant with number three, a bigger house was always on the horizon and my husband and I share childcare.

Four children was always part of the plan. I would have loved to have been part of a big family myself and I envied friends who always seemed to have plenty of siblings to call upon.

Shelley Flanagan is one such friend who has gone on to replicate her own background with four children of her own. "I came from a big family and love the buzz of a busy house. I also appreciate that there is always someone on the end of the phone and I wanted that for my own children."

People like to quote the rising cost of raising a child, choosing to forget economies of scale. I have clothes that have been worn by three boys and we have what we refer to as the family wellies, which number four child will soon be wearing. There is something quite special about seeing clothes being reused on another child.

Yes they fight but probably a lot less than many siblings. And they can be fiercely protective of each other, a trait which I hope they carry on. I would like to think that when they're adults they will keep in touch and visit each other regularly.

I have friends with two children who struggle to give their children quality time. Maybe it's my organisational skills but we don't struggle with this and ensure that all four get plenty of one to one attention.

People who visit comment on how laid back we are as parents, and this is said in a positive way. We don't take ourselves seriously and we are able to laugh a lot. Like most parents of four of more we had a large family because we love children and really enjoy them.

But at the same time, people do also comment on how well behaved they are. I am still proud of the time I took all four out to a restaurant on my own, where they were perfectly behaved. After all they have to be. Who could cope with four unruly children!

Five things only a mum of four or more would hear herself say:

What do you mean you've seen the bottom of the laundry basket!

Right, head count time

Yes we do have a telly!

Two's a crowd, four's a party

It's quiet when there's only two of them here, isn't it?

Do you have four or more children?

Would you like to have a bigger brood?

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