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Moore, Moore & More

Parenting is the name of the game for Mitch and Mary Moore, who have quadruplets plus one

MARY & MITCH MOORE

10th anniversary: October 8, 1998
Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
Children: Keric (5), Payton (5), Clare (5), Shane (5) and Riley (4)
Mitch's occupation: Painting contractor
Mary's occupation: Full-time wife and mom
MP readers: 4+ years

Marriage is a big step forward in setting aside the selfishness of focusing on "my goals, my plans and my dreams." After all, you've got another person's welfare to consider. But if you really want to smash your selfishness to smithereens, try having five kids in less than two years.

In 1993, Mitch and Mary Moore were blessed with quadruplets—three boys and a girl. "They were all born healthy, answers to tons of prayer from everyone we knew," says Mary. "The big surprise was Clare. I'd had about 20 ultrasounds, and every one indicated that I was carrying four boys. When the third baby was a girl, there was so much whooping and hollering our friends out in the hall wondered what was going on!"

Taking responsibility for four kids at once is a major adjustment, and for Mitch it precipitated a personal crisis. "It just wasn't how I'd pictured fatherhood," he says. "I wasn't pleasant to be around. It took me nine months of soul searching and praying. The Lord began to turn me into the kind of father and husband he wanted me to be.

"Now I'm a dad/husband junkie," he says. "I want to pour myself into my family."

He's amazed by his wife, too. "It wasn't motherhood the way Mary expected either, but she responded so much better than I did. But that's Mary. She sees a task at hand and says, 'Let's do it!' Anyone stopping over at our house would just jump in as this conveyor belt of life—feeding, bathing, diapers—was going by."

"People say to us, 'Well, you guys could do it, but I couldn't,'" says Mary, referring to parenting the small crowd of Moores. "But when it happens to you, God gives you the strength to get the job done."

Mary's tough time started just about when Mitch's ended. Thinking enough was enough with four at once, the Moores had opted for what they thought would be a "permanent" form of birth control. "But the Lord had his own plans," says Mary. The quadruplets were nine months old when she found out she was pregnant again.

"It didn't seem fair," she says. "We knew how many people were dying to have a child. And there we were with more than we could handle, and I was pregnant. We panicked. But by the time Riley was born we were ready. The Lord knew what he was doing."

Partners and Friends

Despite the five small challenges running around their home, the Moores stay close. We keep learning about each other," says Mary. "It's amazing how different and more fulfilling our relationship is from anything I ever dreamed it would be."

How does this kind of closeness happen? "Obviously, a lot of teamwork goes into handling the kids," she says. "It's helped that we have such a strong friendship as a foundation."

Mitch and Mary met at the hospital where Mary worked as a physical therapist and where Mitch was using his degree in sports medicine to create a wellness program for hospital employees. Mary's boss encouraged her to work out in the fitness program, "so I finally went," she says, "even though fitness clubs were not my kind of thing."

But it was hardly love at first sight. "We buddied around for about six months," says Mitch. "I was new in the area, and pretty soon Mary was the best friend I had in town. We had a blast together."

Eventually, though, they had a "do you think this friendship is going anywhere" discussion. Mary wasn't eager to get involved romantically, fearing that if they entered a dating relationship and something went wrong, she would lose Mitch as a friend. But she need not have worried. A couple of years later they married, and they've never stopped being best friends.

As far as the future is concerned, Mitch says, "I had a good lesson in commitment when the kids were born. I want to be committed to God, to Mary and our marriage, to our kids."

"We'd like to encourage people who may feel stuck in their marriage or may be going through a tough time," says Mary. "We hope to encourage them to stick with it."

Ten years from now the Moore children will all be teenagers, and Mary has a pretty clear idea of what life may be like then: "Can I have the keys to the car?"

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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Commitment; Marriage; Parenting; Relationships
Today's Christian Woman, Spring, 1998
Posted September 12, 2008

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