Since the arrival of baby number 3 just one month ago, I’ve been trying to process how going from 2 to 3 babies is different than 1 to 2. It feels harder. Each addition has felt really hard and then gotten easier, so I’m hoping that is true with 3! As my hubby says in basketball terms, we have gone from man to man to playing zone.
My kid’s abilities at this point:
For reference, my oldest is 3.5 years, potty trained, speaks well, is super kind to his sassy 2 year old sister, and still naps 2-3 hours a day. (Which I plan on continuing till he turns 18 btw, lol) I adore that boy. He does not know how to get dressed alone yet.
My baby girl just turned 2, was not trying to potty train until last week when she verbally told us she wanted to go on the potty… mind blown! She talks just as much as her brother, does not watch TV (so no break for mama if she is awake), and can pretty much dress herself. She also takes a nap at the same time as her brother, so their nap is my free time.
I figured that having a third would be easier, as the first two had just started playing well together and being friends without me intervening every single moment of every single day (ok, it felt that way for a while). But it is actually way harder to me, and I’m trying to process what feels SO different than having two kids.
Changes from 1-2 kids
The most shocking thing going from 1-2 kids was losing the ability to nap “whenever baby naps”. I really missed that, since even if my newborn was napping I had an 18 month old awake. For a while the baby was just before and just after my toddler’s nap. This allowed special one on one time with each. I combined their naps after the baby turned 1, so for about one year I enjoyed a lot of free time during their 2-3 hour mid day nap. Another adjustment for me was taking more time to get out of the house, and just not being able to follow my toddler around all day or play with him as much since I’d sit and nurse so much.
Changes from 2-3 kids
This became clear as soon as we came home from the hospital! I remember sitting on the couch at bedtime nursing, and not being able to help get the kids ready for bed (already way past their bedtime). Peter was awesome and did it all but we usually both help, so it just took longer and we were both more tired than usual.
It has taken me 4 weeks to be ok not having the floor cleaned up or chores done. I still try, I can’t help it. But it is clear how much stuff I used to pick up. It just has to wait unless the older two can follow directions enough to help, like “Put this dirty diaper in the garbage” (they have that down)! It’s the spills and dirty dishes that I’d normally clean up right away, that seem to stare at me all for hours or occasionally days. I just started making a game of “how fast can we go”, where my oldest two put something away “fast” and then come running back looking for what I tell them pick up next. It helps me and teaches them to help clean as well as be aware of the messes they make! So glad we got rid of 10 boxes of who knows what just before the baby came, because less stuff = less to put away!
With three little ones, someone ALWAYS needs mama it seems. Potty, poopy diaper, hungry, thirsty, changing clothes, lots and lots of questions, requests galore and then lots of nursing on the couch. I feel like I am giving instructions all day, especially from the couch where I nurse. My oldest two are good at waiting now, and used to hearing “after I’m done nursing”. And to save my sanity, I don’t cater to many special requests. If I hand them cold milk, and my two-year old says “warm it?” then I say “drink what I gave you please”.
Less free time
For the first two weeks, I slept as soon as the older two went down to nap since my newborn slept practically all day in his Rock’n’Play. I moved it between the living room in the day and my bedroom at night. That is hands down my favorite baby item. I loved counting on that time to sleep after being so tired and up at night again! But since I’d nap during my only break, I woke up rested (yay!) but felt like I lost ALL my free time. One month in now, the nights are better and I don’t feel I need to nap as often so there is more time for “me” when the house is quiet. I usually opt to do something relaxing rather than chores 😉 As much as I do miss having more free time, I focus on being thankful for my babies. Soon enough they will all dress
One month in now, the nights are better and I don’t feel I need to nap as often so there is more time for “me” when the house is quiet. I usually opt to do something relaxing rather than chores 😉 As much as I do miss having more free time, I focus on being thankful for my babies. Soon enough they will all dress themselves and be so independent I will long for the days when they needed me so much. I don’t want to throw away this beautiful time of life wishing I could just have things be easier.
Slightly more flustered
Sadly I admit I get really flustered when the walls all crumble at once. Baby starts to cry and needs to nurse, and at the same time toddler pulls out her 50th kleenex, and the same time my 3-year-old bites his tongue while chewing and is now also crying. I’m learning to take a deep breath and do one thing at a time. It’s hard to let go of my expectation of perfection that doesn’t exist in real life. Like being in control of every situation with 100% obedient kids who never cry. HA! That is so silly to say out loud!
Leaving takes longer
Seriously SO proud of myself! One month in, and I just took my 1st outing with all three of them…to visit daddy at work at the hospital! To a veteran mother of three or more this is probably no biggy, but for my confidence as a new mom, this was HUGE! I planned (my key to getting out on time is planning way more time than I think!) 45 minutes to just get them all dressed, hair done, diapers changed, and in the car. And squeezed in a nurse. I felt like a rockstar! Even with two kids, I would give myself an extra 30 minutes if I wanted to be on time…and we always needed it.
So you like having 3???
Yes, I love it. It sounds like a scary rant if you don’t have three yet, but let me tell you how I feel: It’s hard but rewarding and my heart if full. And, whenever baby-cakes is sleeping I feel like it’s back to “normal” life with just two kids. Very, very small accomplishments help me gain confidence too! The first week I was so proud to have kept my kids safe and not burn down the house. (Lots of T.V. while mom adjusted to a new baby.) Check check. Second week, made some real food. Check check. Third week, got all three dressed and outside by myself to play and ride trikes. Check. check. Forth week, took my first trip out with all three!
Overall, I love having them close together. Yes, I’m more tired. I don’t feel like I’ve got it together like I used to, but I do see my kids as a huge gift and they deserve a mama who is loving and patient and present more than a mama who is angry and stressed! It’s a great thing to be a mom of three, and I’d do it over again in a heartbeat. 🙂