I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the last 4 months, that is, when I’ve had time to think. Which has basically been only when I’m in the car, or nursing in the middle of the night because my house is crazy town. ha. Probably the most asked question I get from friends, family, acquaintances, and honestly random people is “So, whats it really like with 3?”
Well….it’s taken me a LONG time to gather my thoughts and really get clarity on Life with 3. Partially because its been so busy, partially because I wanted to wait until I felt like I really had a handle on what its like. But first…we need to talk about the transition from one to two because that really sets the stage.
Flashback: The transition from one child to two
I’m going to be real with you guys. Going from one kid to two absolutely rocked. my. world. mentally, physically. Everything.
And even though it was super hard for me to adjust to the new family of four dynamic, I never really felt I was “done” after having Sebastian, our second. I wanted to be done with pregnancy, and the sleepless nights, and pumping. Done with the weight gain ((then losing it)), and done with all of the crazy stages you go through: separation anxiety, the teething, etc. We were in such an amazing place. The boys were napping at the same time, Seb could play on his own, and was going into the 2 year old Pre-K. I wanted to continue gaining this independence. Going places was getting so much easier, including travel. And I was pretty scared of moving into the so called “zonal defense” 24/7 when you add a third child.
But…. I wasn’t done feeling a baby kick for the first time. Or nursing and snuggling with a newborn, smelling that baby smell. Or experiencing a babies first smile, giggle, and step again. Or watching a baby grow into a toddler into a little boy. Watching his/her relationship with their siblings and my husband. Those were the moments I wasn’t done with.
Regardless of wanting and desiring those special moments one more time, I was definitely super anxious after finding out the news we were expecting our third. Two kids to three. How would we manage? I felt like the transition was so hard from one to two. How would we manage with ANOTHER?!!
So. How is it really?
Well, in a nutshell, it’s hard. And I’m gong to be completely honest. Three kids is kicking my ass. I’m more tired than I’ve ever been. Some days I feel like I’m barely managing it all, that I’m drowning- family, work, things around the house, and having some time for myself. Leaving the house is literally a mission at times. I’ve never ordered more from amazon prime. haha. I look around and the house looks like a tornado hit it half the time.
But then I take a deep breath and realize that my kids are happy. and loved. and healthy. And this is a season that seems like an eternity, but its not.
What keeps me sane in the organized chaos?
This is what keeps me sane: I believe that there are seasons of your life where certain things get prioritized. And right now, prioritizing my babies is where I’m at.
I know people talk about having it all. I don’t believe in having it all. I think the second you realize that “having it all” doesn’t exist, you immediately remove pressure from yourself and really focus on the couple things that need to be on top of that list. And that doesn’t mean that the items on the bottom of the list get forgotten about or don’t matter. They’re there. But they are tucked away for a rainy day when your priorities and life changes.
So, I know I’ve got a LONG way to go. I’m only 4 months into this crazy show and I’ve got a lifetime to go, but here’s some things I’ve learned in my transition to a family of 5:
The early stages of being a family of four have prepared you for being a family of five: when it comes to be outnumbered, I feel like I’m somewhat used to this. With my husband working late seasonally, I’ve had to be there putting multiple kids to bed on my own multiple times a week and just figuring it out over the last couple of years.
Things that I stressed about with my middle, I didn’t stress about this time. For example, “what if the baby cries when I’m trying to make their dinner” “what if he needs to eat during lunch”. That never even crossed my mind this time around. #beentheredonethat
You learn that everyone adapts, based on your experience with your transition to two kids. If the big kids have to wait longer for lunch, they will. If they go down for their nap 25 mins later, who cares. If the baby has to cry for 3 minutes while you cut up food, it’s okay. If the kids watch the ipad for an hour because you have a screaming baby and you’re on your own…its OKAY. You’ll all survive.
Your experience with three children can be completely different based on the temperament of your infant: NO DOUBT my life would’ve been a lot more stressful had my first been born last. Colicky, crying all the time definitely would make this journey more challenging. Samson is a pretty happy, chill baby (most of the time) which makes it easier to manage. Don’t mistake this for me saying he’s easy, because he certainly has his moments..for instance how he’s slept the last month (like crap), and how he screams nonstop in the car. So, let’s just put it this way-no infant is easy. Some are just easi-ER. And that can make things less or more stressful for sure.
Letting go. Let go of perfection, let go of cleanliness, let go of even self care for awhile. Embracing the season rather than fighting it makes this ride much more enjoyable. Because, at the end of the day, it’s not forever.
Leaving the house takes on new life: When I go places with all 3 kids, its either we are leaving ____ (insert place) bloodied, bruised, wounded and someone is always crying. Or, like the grocery store the other day….I swear that angels were singing as we walked out, and I felt literally like SUPER MOM. haha.
This is probably the number one thing I’ve struggled with the most and really has had me feeling frustrated and tied down because the energy I need to invest to go to simple places is CRAZY.
Leaving the house with two seems so easy now. I think this also has been amplified by a winter that has seemed about 3 years long. Have you ever tried to get a 4 year old, a 2 year old and an infant dressed for 30 degree temperatures for 3 months straight? yes, it is torture. Also: see winter with kids ((hell)).
But, as I say that, its always worth getting out of the house. And yes, you’ll have some days that are better than others but my advice is to start small to gain confidence. Also, don’t give any fucks about what anyone thinks. You’ll never see them again, and if they can’t respect you for getting 3 tiny humans out of the house on your own, they’re not a good person. So…there’s that.
On a side note, I’m so looking forward to summer, where we can throw on a pair of shoes and call it a day. No gloves, hats, boots, coats, layers. No wondering where we should head to that day. The best part of summer for me, is keeping it simple. Outdoor time. Walks. Bike rides. Playground. I try to live by the saying “KISS”. “Keep it simple, stupid”. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Kids are actually really simple tiny humans and they don’t care if they go to the park 8 days in a row. End of story.
Lower your standards: I’m not saying wear sweats every day of your life and leave your house a pig sty... because truth be told I actually feel more put together this time around than I did with my second. Seriously. I feel like I learned how to manage my time better after having two kids (see #1) but if you’re struggling, cut yourself a break!
GET HELP. End of story. You don’t get a medal, trophy or a special announcement as best mom ever for doing EVERYTHING on your own. Have family help and take the older ones places. Get a “mother’s helper” so you have time to get things done around the house. Ask family friends for help. Its worth it.
Plan ahead: Being ahead of the game is super important at this time for me. A lot of times I meal prep and cut up vegetables/food for dinner and put them in containers while the baby is napping in the morning or early afternoon because come 5 pm, I’m on my own with 3 kids & trying to make dinner with three kids all running around…aint nobody got time to be slicing sweet potatoes! LOL!
My advice: think ahead for everything. Pack diaper bags while baby is sleeping or the night before, put your toddlers shoes on while he’s snacking and sitting in his high chair…you get the drift. Be ahead of the game! It will help you be more efficient at home or getting out the door!
YOU 👏🏼 ARE 👏🏼 ENOUGH 👏🏼 I’m a big believer in speaking light & truth into yourself. I did this a lot as a professional athlete. One of my favorite sayings (especially to athletes I coach) is “Nobody is going to believe in you more than yourself.” This is so, so true and honestly every single day I tell myself that I am enough. And yes, there are some days where I believe it more than others. BUT I do think by speaking positive to yourself, you truly can make a difference in your own attitude and self esteem. Sure, I can always strive to be a better ME. But who I am- as a woman, mother, wife, and human being complete with all my imperfections…is enough.
So is the transition to 3 hard? YES. Is it harder than the transition to 2? I guess for me it hasn’t hit me as hard as the transition to two. I was so used to focusing on only one child’s needs. Now, I’ve had the experience. Will it feel like that for everyone? Probably not. I don’t know.
But what I can tell you is that the love that my older two have for their baby brother is intoxicating.
I can tell you his smile lights the room.
I can tell you that his presence completes our family.
I can tell you the support from friends and family was and IS absolutely heart warming and overwhelming.
So, yeah, it’s hard. Every single day is a battle…. with sweet, silly, heart melting moments mixed in.
But I absolutely positively cannot imagine my life without our smily baby Samson.