The real tea on how i’ve adjusted to the jump from 2 to 3 kids
Transitioning from one child to two was undoubtedly challenging. Whether it was due to our oldest just turning two, our inexperience as parents, or the perpetual sleep deprivation, it was undeniably rough. I vividly remember relying on coffee as my trusted companion, feeling mentally drained from my corporate job, and realizing that fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans was a distant dream.
Fast forward to 2022, and our children are now seven and five years old. We recently welcomed our last and final baby into the world. Anticipating a difficult adjustment from two to three kids, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't as tough as expected. Nevertheless, I've faced my fair share of challenges along the way.
It's as if our oldest child served as the practice round for us. We made countless mistakes and learned from each one, so by the time our middle child arrived, we had a better grasp of what to do and what not to do. Of course, we still made some mistakes along the way. Having a boy as our middle child and a girl as our oldest presented its own unique challenges. By the time we decided to have our last baby, our older two were already in school and leading their own lives.
When it came to the arrival of our newest addition, we felt well-prepared. We knew all the ins and outs of parenting. I was aware that my breast milk would take approximately three days to come in, and oh boy, did it come with a vengeance! I knew I would be incredibly tired during the first few weeks, that he would frequently cluster feed, and that eventually, the umbilical cord would drop off. I was well-versed in the progression from black tar-like newborn poop to mustard-colored, and later, the shift from messy blowouts to constipation once solid foods were introduced. With this child, I feel like a seasoned mommy professional. I've seen it all, and nothing scares me when it comes to raising him.
Currently, I find myself sitting in bed next to my seven-month-old, reflecting on the love and appreciation I have for all my children. They hold a special place in my heart. However, I must admit that this past year has been incredibly exhausting.
When you have two kids, it's easier to divide and conquer. Each parent can take care of one child, giving them undivided attention. Tasks seem more manageable, and you feel like you can accomplish more. However, when the third child enters the picture, everything changes.
In our household, I am quite literally Declan's sole source of nourishment. As a breastfeeding mother, he relies on me around the clock. Whether he's hungry, tired, or scared, he wants mommy. My life now revolves around meeting his needs constantly.
Yet, I also have two other children who need and want their mommy, even if they don't express it as openly. My oldest daughter battles anxiety, and my other son is on the autism spectrum. It's my responsibility to hold space for their unique needs while being physically available for my baby. Some days, I feel like I'm failing one of my children. I often question if all I'm good for is taking care of their basic necessities, shuttling them to appointments, enduring their tantrums, and dealing with the messes and challenges that come with motherhood.
Let me tell you, this shit is hard.
Whether you go from zero to one, one to two, two to three, or any other combination, the challenges are real. Trying to meet everyone's needs feels like an uphill battle. Holding space for each individual while also taking care of yourself is an ongoing struggle. There are days when I find solace in hiding in the closet for a few minutes, allowing myself to cry and release some of the overwhelming emotions. I've come to understand that seeking help and support from trusted individuals is crucial. The saying, "It takes a village," is absolutely true, and it took me having three children to truly grasp its meaning. I've learned to recognize when my cup is empty and prioritize self-care, understanding that I can't pour from an empty cup.
So, here I am, continuing on this journey of motherhood, embracing the challenges, and striving to find moments of peace and fulfillment amidst the chaos. It's a constant balancing act, but I'm determined to navigate it with love, resilience, and the unwavering belief that I'm doing the best I can for my children.
So, how do I do that? How can I practice self care when I feel like my calendar is already booked and busy with all the kids activities and such?
- Hang out with friends: I make a point to hang out with my girls at least once every 2 weeks. I’m such an extrovert that I feed off of people's energy and being around my friends feeds my soul.
- I do my pop up shops WITHOUT my kids. Who would have thought getting up at 6:30am on a Saturday morning to go 20 minutes away to run a 10x10 booth would bring me joy. But it does. I get to be in my element and it reminds me that I am a whole business owner. There is more to me than just being a mother and I get to be that person when I am doing ANYTHING business related.
- Get a facial/massage/manicure/pedicure: Not all at once. Just pick one to do a month or every other month to remind yourself that you are that THAT GIRL. I just had my first facial since 2021 today and YALL CANT TELL ME NOTHING. My skin is glowing and luxurious and I feel like a million bucks. I felt great until my son tried to eat my face [insert face palm].
- Exercise: Go out for a walk. Walk the dog. Walk the stray cat down the street. Do a free trial gym class. Namaste. Get your body moving and I promise you, once the pain wears off you’ll feel so much better about your mental health.
The moral of the story is clear: parenting is tough, regardless of the number of children you have. The key lies in building a supportive village around you and creating a game plan to prioritize self-care. By surrounding yourself with people who can help and being intentional about taking care of yourself, you can navigate the challenges and conquer the difficult moments that come with raising children. Remember, you are capable of doing hard things.