Being Mom of Three and What I Have Learned
I am frequently asked what it’s like to be a mom of three…
I think my favorite analogy to reference is from the comedian Jim Gaffigan “You know what it’s like having a fourth kid? Imagine you’re drowning… then someone hands you a baby.” Just swap out “fourth” for “third” and you have a very funny-yet very accurate statement.
All kidding aside, being a mom of three children is truly quite spectacular.
It IS a lot and I feel like I go-go-go with never stopping unless it is a scheduled event that is put on the calendar weeks in advance.
Yes, our hands are way WAY full BUT my heart has also never been so unbelievably full. And I wouldn’t trade |that| for all the free guac and pretty dresses in the world.
Like most of life, you can’t really grasp the reality of a situation until you have personally lived through it but I will try my best to paint you an accurate picture of what it is like raising three tiny humans and what I have come to learned…
| Letting go of control
Being a mom of three means letting go of all that control I once thought I had. With our first, I was pretty obnoxiously particular about how she was cared for. [aka. Mrs. Super Control Freak. Pretty sure anyone can attest to that!]
With our second, I saw the silliness in all of that and how none of those little things really mattered in the long run.
By the time our third came along, not only did I see the value in not sweating the small stuff, but quickly realized there literally isn’t enough time in the day, let alone enough mental space for any of that.
So now I say, if you want those gaudy light up shoes- why not. For that matter, take off your shoes – go for it. If you want to wear pajama pants backwards with a stickers galore on your shirt and a lollipop in your mouth as a I grocery shop...Sure as heck dude, let’s roll with it.
| Seeing the love grow
The love these kids have for one another is truly immeasurable.
Even the baby can show so much love for his brother or sister with just one little smirk.
Don’t get me wrong, they bicker and argue with each other like all siblings do. But the love + compassion that is weaved throughout those moments is so super special.
When I stop and really think about how the love between my husband and I created these little love-giving beings, it gives me allll the feels.
| Exhaustion level : Expert
Saying that being a mom of three is exhausting is just a ginormous cliched understatement. It is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. Every.single.day.
Not only is sleep an elusive hope to wish for but because we have a larger gap between our first and our second, I feel like someone’s needs are always not being met. Scratch that, someone’s needs ARE always not being met. I have come to realize though, that it is just the nature of it all.
As I continually meet a third of the children’s needs- my ability to switch from hugging one kid, to burping another, to discussing why we don’t just say whatever we think- slowly depletes every ounce of energy I possibly might have causing total exhaustion.
Most days I just repeat to myself like a mantra…
“Ill sleep in a few years, Ill sleep in a few years, they’re only little once”
Then just accept what is, and learn to survive on 4 hours of sleep, coffee, and inappropriate memes.
| Self care + “me-time” are mandatory
As a mom of three my eyes have opened very wide to the fact that I |HAVE|to have self care/me-time/stress relief/decompress-time whatever you want to call it, as a mom of three, I NEED it.
It is a vital necessity at this point. A mandatory requirement for me to be the best version of myself. For my kids, my husband, my friends + family and even my dogs.
If you know me personally, you know that I am such an advocate for “taking care of yourself first, filling up your cup before others, putting your oxygen mask on before helping another” and all those clichés you’ve heard. I make these suggestions for other moms to do all the time. But to be honest, in the hustle bustle of trying to just stay afloat with three kiddos, I briefly forget the importance of following those suggestions myself. But it’s imperative that I make that time for myself.
Sometimes the guilt of being away, even for an hour will creep up on me. When that happens, I have to tell that guilt to get the H-E-double hockey sticks out here. Because when I allow myself to have that time and make it a priority, it gives me some much needed space to just breathe. Physically and metaphorically. It gives me the opportunity to actually MISS those babies. It allows for me to come back to them refreshed and stress+angst+anxiety-free. Well, most of it anyways.
| A flexible routine provides sanity.
Being a mom of three means learning to have a schedule with expected routines but also being flexible with that routine.
With my first I was so strict with her schedule + routine. We HAD to be home for nap time- no exceptions! The problem with this style is that if we missed being home for nap-time, it was a total disaster.
With our second, I didn’t want to be that strict or chained to a routine so we wound up having no set schedule for him. Which, [despite working for us in that season of life] the problem with this is, it probably heavily contributed to his consistent lack of sleeping through the night.
So for our third, I found the great value in having a routine and wanted to implement that again but also realized that with two other kids and a full life, something almost always comes up and deviates us from that plan.
Making flexibility a priority just as much as the schedule itself has been a huge factor in being a mom of three.
Basically, the kids + myself need to have a game plan to follow, but if that game plan falls apart we don’t have to lose the whole game [ahem.. my sanity] because we know to always expect the unexpected.
| Bedtime is a marathon + not a sprint
As a mom of three I have now accepted that bedtime will be a marathon and not a sprint. When there is just one you can usually get away with a night or two of a sprint bedtime routine. You know what I’m talking about. The nights where you half sing the songs, double turn some pages, cut chit-chat a little short in hopes of getting an extra fifteen minutes to unwind that evening.
WELL, with three there is ALWAYS someone waking up, or needing to pee, or asking a question. I have estimated that it now takes me no less than 2 hours to get ALL three kids in bed, sound asleep.
Hello marathon – goodbye sprints.
| Going out in public is a TASK.
Going out in public with any child can be a task. Add another and it is definitely a challenge. BUT with three, whoa buddy. It’s next level.
The struggle of getting them all in and out is enough to make anyone go cray. Then once you get to your destination, keeping track of them all and making sure they aren’t touching all the things, or running around, or climbing on everything, makes you wonder why EVERY store doesn’t offer drive thru services.
I once saw a friend of ours who [now a mom of 4- god speed] who counted her three kids. Like, legit just one–two–three. Over and over. I remember thinking simultaneously- that’s weird and brilliant.
Now I am like an OCD patient counting 1-2-3 over and over again. I might look + sound strange but all three kids are accounted for!
| Pride in being perfectly imperfect.
Being a mom of three has forced me to lower my standards of what “a good mom” looks like.
With one kid I had this notion that everyone was a great mom all the time and they always knew what to do. What I found out is, no one really knows what they are doing and we are all just trying our best with what we are given in that single day.
Some days I rock this mom-thing like no body’s biz. (Or so I feel I do.)
Other days I seriously shouldn’t be allowed to talk to a house plant, let alone raise a child.
But what I know now, after 3 kids is that it is okay to be in that space and most importantly that other moms feel that way too.
I am perfectly imperfect and that is okay.
| Crazy is as crazy does.
I think every parent is crazy. No matter how many children you have. Because- kids. Kids are hard.
When you have three kids, I feel like it’s just an automatic nomination for the crazypants award.
What I have learned to love + accept is that I am very content with that kind of crazy- because the type of crazy that is produced by motherhood is so beautifully wonderful in it’s chaotic mess.
| Savoring it all. Even the crappy parts.
Being a mom of three means savoring EACH and EVERY moment of this chaos. Especially since we do have such a larger gap between our first and our second, I truly do see how fast each stage goes.
I find that I am able to see the joy in the terrible twos or the challenging threeangers years and comforting that teething babe just a little more peacefully than before.
I know that it will all pass.
The bad + the good.
And before I know it they will all be grown + gone
and I will miss the sweet, noisy, exhausting chaos so much.
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Love this! I am a mom of 2 and feel your pain! I can’t imagine throwing in a 3rd would be a picnic. We got this, the biggest part is to be flexible and accept that things don’t go right 90% of the time. Roll with the punches and just love those little stinkers as much as possible!
Oh, my favorite part of this post was “savor even the crappy parts” — I feel that too often we are trying to create moments that are great. Some times, it sucks! But we can remember it. Savor it. Take a picture of it. And. Move. On.
I absolutely agree! I have four kids now, but having three was the first time I really had to release control and learn new flexibility…and survival skills! I wrote a similar reflection on transitioning to life with three kids: http://thekriegers.org/2015/08/i-like-to-call-it-my-daily-grind-because-that-reminds-me-of-coffee/
I love me this article. You have a great mom blog. I literally just wrote and article very similar called “Parenting doesn’t have to be so complicated… try this”. This shows how much parenting is changing for the better.
I really love this! I love your “savor even the chaos,” especially as a Mama of 7. We will all miss the chaos when they get older.
I have two and on most days I feel like collapsing for good! I love the sub headings within the post – the touch of humor realm elevated the post!
I love this! I am a mother of 5 girls. I still have trouble getting me time! Thanks for sharing!