And how I have sometimes thrived, but mainly survived, having three kids under 4.5 years old.
Before you read any further, let me tell you that I have not arrived. Nor may I ever. But I want to share what I have learned as a mom of three young kids over the past few years. This post is a more personal one and something that I would share with you if we were meeting, mom to mom over some coffee. I hope and pray you can glean something from it.
Let me also say that this can be for any mom (or dad) going through any hard transition in the world of parenting. You might have one child, but you are going through something very challenging like a health issue, a loss of a family member, single parenting, or a situation that is very difficult. You may be reading this as you are mentally preparing to go from one to two kids, twins, quadruplets, or maybe even the addition of a sixth child. Whatever it may be, this post is about solidarity and the supporting of each other as parents.
My Scenario …
I have three kids under 4.5 as I am writing this, ages 4.5, 2.5, and 1. At this point the oldest is pushing boundaries, the middle is in the terrible twos, and the youngest is a new walker. None of mine are in full time school. I work one (wonderful) day a week at the hospital and my husband is full time. With a recent pandemic and multiple littles, I have had to strategize and stretch often.
Here are a few things that may help you as you strategize in your own family. Some might be obvious, some might be a reminder, and some might be something you haven’t considered yet.
Ask for Help:
A counselor first told me this after I had had my third kid. It’s so helpful to hear this from someone who is not related to you and does not know you. After hearing about my situation, this counselor tenderly but sternly reminded me of this, ASK FOR HELP.
The moms of multiple kids you see that look like they have it all together with their matching outfits and clean homes . . .guess what . . they had help. There is always someone behind the scenes helping all of us busy parents function and that’s important to remember when you feel like you’re missing something. It is impossible to do this on your own.
Don’t Parent Alone:
Find community that can support you and love you in this season. Find another mom friend that you trust with your mess and with your kids. Find them and ask for help and then help in return!
I have found that it is priceless when you find a trusted mom friend to help keep even just one child so you can run to an appointment or a single errand. Find that person in your life that you feel comfortable asking and leaving your children with. Then help them or another mom and the ripple effect continues on!
If you don’t have that community or that friend yet, reach out to a local mom’s group, invite a new friend over, or better yet, pray that God would bring great friends to surround you. The Augusta area has several mom groups, message me for details!
Does the new baby need to nap but older sister wants to go to the park? Knock out two activities at once and baby wear. Find a carrier or a wrap that you love and get comfortable with it. I have used my baby carrier more with each kid. A baby carrier is a great tool.
“Touch the Car”
I must thank my husband for this one!
When you are out with the kids by yourself running errands and you have gotten one kid out of the car but also must go get the next one (or grab the diaper bag), we tell our kids to ‘touch the car’. They put both hands on the side of the car and they know to stay in that position until we are ready to move on. It may look like they are getting arrested but IT WORKS!
Going out is just more manageable when there is another set of adult eyes. I encourage you to find some mom and dad friends who are wanting to do fun activities with you.
Invest in a good Double Stroller
I cannot tell you how many times I have used our double stroller. Stir crazy? Go on a walk. Need some exercise? Go on a walk. Kids in a mood? Go on a walk. We have double BOB stroller (bought off facebook market) and it is amazing. It glides, it's lightweight, and can fit in most doorways. A little bulky to fold into the car, but still doable. If you are expecting your second, and walking (or running) is something you enjoy, it would be to your benefit to invest in a good double stroller!
We are in a new era where dad’s get (maybe) one-week of paternity leave, most of us don’t live in the same city as extended family, and we are required to return to work in 6-12 weeks. This isn’t how things used to be. In the good ol’ days, the extended family lived down the street and took on all the added responsibilities (housekeeping, other siblings, cooking). These days we are expected to do so much that we physically will never be able to accomplish by ourselves.
I know this might not be a financial option for everyone, but even if it’s for a limited time, I encourage you to hire help.
I have briefly used a house cleaner either while pregnant or post-partum and will never regret it. This can also apply to hiring a sitter just so you can have a moment to yourself or run some much-needed errands. Putting one child in a mother’s day out program or preschool can have multiple benefits for both the parent and child. Just something to consider.
Find ‘manageable’ parks and outings:
I’ll be honest, the transition from two to three kids was very intimidating for me and going out by myself seemed so daunting. What helped was when I found select parks and outings that were manageable.
Manageable parks mean they are small, closed in, or not crowded. Manageable outings were places/shops that have a double seat in the shopping cart (thank you Aldi and Costco) or bonus when the double seat resembles a car (thank you Publix and Food Lion). If you are local to the Augusta area, I would love to share parks and outings that I love with you. Message me!
Grocery pick-up and delivery:
I am so glad that this modern convenience exists. Most of you are probably already using this wonderful tool so let’s just take a moment to be thankful that this is an option and our kids can stay buckled in the car while our trunk gets filled with food. Hallelujah.
Make sure you are getting your sleep:
No one can function well without sleep. Without sleep, parents are prone to emotional instability, decision fatigue, and lack of energy. This all makes parenting more difficult than it has to be. Make sure you are making your sleep a priority and get to bed at a decent time!
If you have an infant or toddler that struggles with sleep and they are keeping you up at night, please reach out to me and schedule a free consultation on my website.
You can schedule that here:
Another tip: try to sync your kids naps so you are at least getting one solid hour of quiet time per day. If you need help with this, message me!
Things I am loving:
YMCA childcare: Recently I have made the switch from the Peloton world to the YMCA gym world. Up to two hours of me time while working out and being able to answer texts and emails in peace. My kids love it. It's a win win.
Current read: Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. So good!
Monster Cookies recipe by half baked harvest. Delicious and so fun to make with the kids.
Fall scented candles.
What are you loving right now?
Thanks for reading and sweet dreams,