Back in March, my husband and I welcomed our third baby girl in under four years. Apparently, I’m not very good at remembering to take my birth control, and/or God just decided that we needed a house full of baby girls.
Either way, our lives have changed immensely since those distant days of newlywed bliss. Here’s what I’ve learned since inviting an army of babies into our lives.
- With each child comes a new level of exhaustion. After my first baby, I didn’t think I could ever be more tired. Until No. 2 came, and I morphed into an emotional zombie. Now, I want to go back and smack myself for ever thinking I was truly tired before. Things have gotten so extreme that last weekend, I bought a Keurig for my bathroom. I physically cannot get moving in the morning without an immediate cup of joe. My husband says I’m much more pleasant to be around at 5:00 a.m. when I’m caffeinated.
- Going to the grocery store is not an option unless the kids are at daycare and I get out of work early. Walmart pickup or Shipt delivery all the way, baby. I’d much rather have a total stranger bring me my food for the week instead of lugging three likely uncooperative kids into Publix, where they will no doubt get into a fight in the buggy or throw a tantrum when I refuse to buy 12 boxes of mini muffins.
- Parenting three kids three and under brings the term “homebody” to a whole new level. At this time in my life, leaving the house is about as appealing as getting blood drawn. Back in the day, I lived in the moment. I was spontaneous. I’d be on the go, all the time. Concerts? Loved them. Trying new restaurants? A favorite. Laughing on a barstool next to my best friend? Fun times. Last-minute weekend trip? Sign me up. Now, leaving the house is comparable to competing in an episode of American Ninja Warrior. Is the diaper bag stocked? Do we have snacks? Sippy cups? Bottles? Change of clothes? Toys for the car? Stroller? Baby Carrier? And the list goes on. So many supplies are needed to leave the house that I’ve determined it’s better to just stay put, especially when one or two kids can’t find their shoes, cry about it, then the one that’s potty trained decides she needs to go pee for the 17th time. They’re also at the age now where they can attempt to escape by running down the driveway, knowing I can’t chase them because I’m holding another toddler and a baby.
- Weeknight productivity no longer exists. I’m worthless on weeknights, and my day doesn’t end when I get home from my full-time job. When I walk in the front door with three kids in tow, I immediately change into my mom uniform (aka lounge attire) and prepare for the battle that is dinner, baths, and bedtime. Recently, I’ve been sprinting to my own bed as early as 7:30 p.m. as soon as the two younger ones are down, leaving my husband to fend for himself with the other one (who hates bedtime). What can I say? See #1.
- Someone is always sick. Seriously. It’s a good thing I have an understanding boss, because with three kids in daycare, someone’s nose is always running, or someone is throwing up, or someone has an ear infection, etc. Just last week, my three year old was home for 3.5 days with strep, and the day she finally went back to school, the five month old threw up and had to go home. And then, when all of my kids are actually healthy, I’m the one who’s sick. At the moment, I’m battling congestion, a sore throat, and massive sinus pressure. Thanks, kids.
- Daycare drop-off and pickup are not going to be quick. Ever. No sense in rushing because doing so is likely to end up with someone in tears (usually me).
- Someone is crying 84% of the time. That’s not scientific, but I’d bet it’s pretty accurate.
- The house is a wreck. There are dishes constantly in the sink, old sippy cups with sour milk (ew) under the sofa, and random toys strewn everywhere. There’s a Little Tikes slide in my living room where a coffee table would be in a normal person’s house. Bottles that need washing line the counter. Dog hair, crumbs, and possible spit up are usually visible on our hardwood floors. And I dare you to try to walk through the main level of my house without stepping on a cheerio, a gummy bear, or a Disney figure.
- Mealtimes are just about as challenging as leaving the house. One kid loves dinosaur nuggets one day and turns her nose up the next. The other kid decided she hates my staple, PB&J. Seriously. What kid doesn’t like PB&J? Where did I go wrong? I try to get them to eat healthy and try new things, but sometimes it’s easier to throw up the white flag and order Pizza Hut.
- Despite the challenges, my heart is fuller than it’s ever been before. Sure, I’m tired. Yes, I struggle. But even on the hardest days, I have three little people who love me to the ends of the earth. Despite the chaos, I can find calm and comfort when I gaze into their beautiful eyes. So yeah, it’s tougher than tough. But at the end of the (very long) day, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But seriously, pass the coffee.