How's That Three Kid Thing Going?
01 • 28 • 2017
Perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of me, running, wild-eyed through the aisles of Target, searching for the silver bullet formula that will cure Evie’s spit ups, or the third variety of bottle that we’ve experimented with in a matter of days. I could fib and say three kids is easy, but many times I feel very overwhelmed, especially with the logistics aspect. The boys are older so they have their own schools and activities, allowing for lots of sweet snuggle time with our new baby. But newborns nap a lot so I still manage some quality one-on-one time with the older boys. Yet most days I feel like I have accomplished nothing, my house is a wreck, and I’m just generally failing at life.
One hour exactly into her nap, Evie wakes up crying, for seemingly no reason. No burp, no dirty diaper, nothing. And as I furiously “shh, shh, SHHH!,” bopping up and down in a futile effort to get her back to sleep, I tell myself, “This too shall pass.” Reminding myself that at some point, these babies morph from a screaming question mark into a normal human person who can miraculously fall asleep without crying. And then I feel guilty. Why am I not basking in every moment? Why am I not cheerfully hopping out of bed when Evie wakes up at 1:25 a.m.? Why is everyone else using that annoying #timeslowdown hashtag when all I can think about is I cannot WAIT until this baby sleeps through the night!
Then some days I say to myself, I’ve got this. One day in particular I had all three kids by myself for like ten hours (a rare confluence of events I try to minimize as much as possible). But it was fine! Educational games were played, forts built, semi-nutritious meals served, and no screen time. Finally I allowed myself to check my phone to see what time it was, and I realized I forgot to show up at a good friend’s birthday lunch. Just completely missed it because I didn’t even know what day it was.
Balls get dropped literally all the time. I used to think I was an organized, on-top-of-it [most of the time] mom. My kids are in monogrammed, matching polos for heaven’s sake! And if that doesn’t scream, I have my sh*t together, I don’t know what does. But now I’m the mom sprinting to pick up my kid last from school. Did I remember to send an empty grocery bag for my kid to put his Halloween costume in? No. “Mom! Why didn’t you send money because today is the deadline for the fun run T-shirt?” Whoops. I was starting to get really anxious because I couldn’t figure out how to function at the same unattainable level of perfection that society demands of women and that I have always so unforgivably demanded of myself.
But then I had a breakthrough when I talked to a mom who has three littles. Her advice really resonated with me: “You should have zero expectations for yourself. Literally zero. Your job is to make it through the day.” Suddenly instead of feeling guilty that I wasn’t enjoying every single minute of this labor-intensive phase, I changed my mindset to just getting through the day. I’m now able to enjoy the tiny moments, like the toothless, sideways grin Evie gives me on the changing table that makes my heart want to explode, without worrying so much about the enormous pile of spit-up covered laundry and the thank you notes that I haven’t even started. And I don’t beat myself up when things are hard and I’m fixated on when will it ever be bedtime?!?
I’ve so got this.