We are just over a month into having three kids, and I think I may have already mentioned a few times HOW FREAKING INSANE IT IS. And it may not even be the number of kids so much as their age difference, so please do not let me scare you, but it has been hard. I used to think being outnumbered with two kids was hard, but having your hands/arms outnumbered takes the cake. At any given time, I have Claire in one arm, Eloise on my hip & am still trying to fumble through helping Harper get her shoes on or braiding her hair. There are so many times throughout the day that I feel like I am on the brink of tears feeling like I can’t do it, like as soon as I sit down to nurse Claire and all hell breaks loose between the other girls as they fight over a single sticker or both decide that they are hangry and really wanted their lunch before they even ate breakfast. Lots of deep breaths & hugging it out! I can honestly say, it has gotten easier each day as we come upon a routine & navigate this new territory, but we are not out of the trenches just yet.
But you know what they say, hands full, hearts full! 😉
So, here are a few of my tips for keeping (just a sliver of) my sanity. I apologize in advance for this being so lengthy, just want to give as many details as I can. And please remember, I am by no means an expert or even a seasoned professional, this is just what works for us & all I can hope is that something here may help just one of you get through a crazy day.
1. Make your bedroom (your hiding spot) your oasis. Make it off limits to your older kids as much as possible, so they don’t bring the mess, the toys, the chaos into your space (minus morning snuggles in your bed, because those are a must!) This might sound silly but, the rest of the house quickly becomes a zoo, so just keeping this one spot in the house clean & relaxing makes a huge difference for me. Do everything you can to keep all of the stress out of this room, fold your laundry somewhere else, don’t bring your laptop or work into the room, just let it be a place to relax & sleep.
2. Meal prep & planning. This is a big one, and I won’t go into a ton of detail because there are so many amazing resources on pinterest or other blogs dedicated to this topic, but this is a must. We do it on Sunday afternoons when the kids are napping, we open a bottle of wine or crack a beer, and just get to work. We wash and cut up all of our fruits/veggies to put in ready-to-serve containers, cut up meat for the week & cook any meals that I can ahead of time & throw them in the freezer. It is significantly less work to just do it all at once, and have a ton of pans on the stove or going in the oven, than to do them individually each night. Some obvious freezer meal options are lasagna, casseroles, soups & our favorite, breakfast burritos. I sometimes cook a few pounds of chicken breast in the crockpot on Sundays to make shredded chicken for the week, which can easily be thrown into quesadillas for the girls for lunch, or made into chicken salad or chicken tacos. I am also not above giving the girls lunchables or freezer waffles on occasion, because that is real life & anything is better than cooking elaborate dinners with three kids during witching hour.
3. Don’t be afraid to get a babysitter or accept help. I started having a babysitter two days a week, for three hours, a few weeks before Claire was born & although it wasn’t much, it was life changing. Being pregnant, and it being SO hot outside, it was becoming such a struggle to run errands, and on the weekends we wanted to spend our time all together, so we got a babysitter. I take Claire with me now since I am nursing, but it is still a relief to get out of the house during the week when that may not always be an option with all three kids. Making a quick coffee run before going to the grocery store, going to the post office or taking Claire to the doctor can be a relaxing morning instead of something completely chaotic, like it would be if I took them all. We also have my parents here who have been a huge help. We didn’t have family nearby when Harper or Eloise were babies so this is new for us & we are very grateful for all that they do, even if they just swing by for half an hour after work while I cook or clean. It also reminds me that every little bit helps, so for my friends that are new moms or have young kids at home, I will always offer to pick up things for them at Publix or grab them a coffee (or a bottle of wine) while I am out.
4. Divide & conquer. In the early days of adding another baby to the family, Brandon & I sometimes feel like single parents. I am usually in charge of the newborn & he the older kid(s). We did this when Eloise was born & it worked well, so it is our strategy again this time. He takes Harper & Eloise to the park, while I grocery shop or stay home to do housework with Claire. He sleeps in the guest room with the baby monitor on Harper & Eloise (who both wake up randomly throughout the night for various reasons) while I sleep in our room with Claire, who is currently sleeping next to our bed in a Halo Bassinet. We both get much more sleep than if we were both waking up to all three kids. While we do want to spend as much time together as a family, it is sometimes just easier to split up tasks & kids until they are all on a similar schedule & the baby adjusts to sleeping a bit longer at night.
5. Make time for each kid individually. This isn’t so much for sanity as it is for your heart 🙂 I always feel like we all have a much better day if we can all get a little one on one time with each other. And it may seem impossible so you might have to get a little creative. Sometimes Harper will take a shower with me in the morning & then I am able to give Eloise a bath by herself at night. Kids are so much sweeter when they aren’t trying to compete for attention, so it’s a little more relaxing & gives them a little space from each other.
It’s one of those things where you don’t realize how easy one kid was until you had your second, and you don’t realize how easy two kids was until you have your third. So I know those of you with three or more are probably laughing at me right now, and rightfully so. I hope to look back and laugh at my self in this season of life one day as well. I hope some of you found this helpful, and please be sure to share any tips or tricks that you have for getting through the day, I would love to hear them!!7