You will have more energy the fitter you are and the healthier you eat, and the more organised routine you have with your children. I would suggest doing exercise videos/dvd in the evening after the children are in bed and the house is clean. I have always done this myself, my daughter is 14 now, and I still use videos/dvds, I also did ballroom dancing for ten years and took my daughter with me and she danced for seven years. I don't know what it is like to have four children, as I only have one, but I do everything with my daughter, when she is not busy with homework, we walk/jog in the park, swim at the pool, and do exercise videos. You need to find a diet that is easy to follow and that your whole family can eat, as it is always easier that way when you have children. Like just sticking to eating whole foods only that is fruit, salad and vegies and brown rice, wholemeal bread, legumes (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans etc...) Your body will burn calories digesting these foods (see http://www.NegativeCalorieFoods.com
) If you want any tips on this just let my know, my daughter and I both eat this way, and we love it, we have done it for a long time now, and you have to not eat as much as your children, they will eat more because they are growing. (famous celebrities that eat great eat this way for example Madonna, is on a Macrobiotic diet which is all of the above which I said, plus no dairy, she has soya milk and does not eat cheese or anything). Have you ever noticed the asian people do not eat cheese. If you want to lose weight and be healthy eat this way, you will see the results.
Show to these people that made the negative remarks that you can do it, and only do it for yourself, and you have to find the motivation of why you want to be slim and healty, ie... longevity (time with your kids and husband), good example to your children and teach them how to lead a healthy lifestyle of eating well and exercising daily, bonus is you will look great, more energy, increased confidence, will feel 'sexy'
children and yourself will sleep better, even if they are young, I am sure you can still play with them to help them be active and have fun, and you will be burning calories, just from being active.
Ask your husband to give you an hour or two a week, to go to the pool and have a swim, you get a break from kids and burn calories, or do a yoga class or aerobic class whatever you want, I am sure he will support you. Just decide you are going to focus on health, if you want advice on anything, please do not hesitate to ask me, I understand how you are feeling, and I have an exhaustive resourse on information if you wish.
I would be happy to give ongoing moral support and advice if you wish.