Here we are. In this life of raising littles. We can look at one another with the same weary smile and “get” what the other is feeling. We know the struggle between needing alone time and feeling guilty for taking it. We are all too familiar with the frustrations of our kids NOT getting the hang of potty training, and feeling teary-eyed at their newfound independence. We ask ourselves day after day amidst the sweeping, wiping, and PB&J-making if we nurtured their little hearts. Did we model Jesus to them?
Still, there you are with your growing pregnant belly, asking me how in the world I do it with three? (I may not be expecting, but trust me, I still wonder how those other moms do it with 4 or 5!) I just have to say that you will. You totally will. And dare I say that it will be easier for you than it was when you only had one.
I mean, you have already made it through the toddler years with one of them. You are pretty much smack dab in the middle of them again with your second. You have mastered multitasking. You know that you can’t leave home without snacks and extra clothes. You already know which sippy cups leak all over the place and which two brands are even worth the cash. You know what to do for crying, gas, teething, sleep regressions, growth spurts, etc. You know that a pacifier right after birth is NOT the end of the world and that your newborn’s heartbeat is actually supposed to be super fast. You can function throughout the day on little sleep with coffee, naptime, and Little Einsteins.
I think what I am trying to say is logistically three littles might be harder, but you are also better.
The past five years do count for something you know. Remember how you made it through things like NICU stays, colic, moving, living far away from family, nursing, sickness while raising your family, loss, travel, preschool, and potty training? Just to name a few. Plus, how many doubts, fears, and insecurities have you already overcome as a mother and woman? The things that you used to be so unsure about, or had caused you unnecessary stress, or made you question yourself or your capabilities as a mother that now hardly cross your mind. Those changes are huge.
You are no longer navigating the newborn and new mother stage at the same time. You will be welcoming a new little life into a family that has grown up together. You will get to mother this new babe as a mother who has already overcome, experienced and learned so much. You’ll pay closer attention to the fleeting moments, and worry less about the to-do list.
You will figure out how it works best to make trips with three instead of two. You will learn how to give your older two the attention and love they need while attending to the needs of a new baby. You will “get it all done” because it is just what you do. Even if you don’t realize it, it is what you already do every single day.
So that’s it, friend. You are better at doing what you already do. That’s how you will do it when baby three comes along.
My only advice is to definitely drop the guilt about taking some time for yourself.
With love & solidarity,
—Another Mama of Three