Kristy provides support for pregnant and laboring mothers and for transitioning families after the birth of their baby.See all posts »
Transitioning from Two to Three Children
I've been asked alot lately about the transition from two children to three, what it is like, and how we do it all. Many people find out we have three boys and automatically make a comment to the effect of, "Oh boy! You've got your hands full. Good luck!" Some days that feels so true, but mostly we just feel blessed and happy. If you realize that no one can do it all and everyone's idea of "it all" is very different anyway, it's takes some of the pressure off. And let's face it, while three may seem like a lot to some, there are always those who it do it well with many more.
Our babysitters are of a family of 13 kids. My mother was one of 9 children. I am the baby of four in my family. There will always be someone who has it harder -- and someone who has it easier, for that matter. This is not necessarily contingent upon the number of children they have. Each person has their limit and different ways of handing what life brings or what they choose. A struggle is a struggle and should not be compared -- the same goes for times of joy. It's about knowing what you can handle and what works for you and your family.
It's more difficult if you are a nervous or anxious person. I found that slow deep breathing helps so much and just letting yourself laugh and enjoy the moments is key.
To be honest, the days that I feel like I am truly on top of things and feeling well balanced and happy with my parenting and enjoying my time with my children are the days when I am well rested, eating healthy, and have gotten some time outside with some type of movement. Add some time for yoga or even just 20 minutes all to myself somewhere in that day, and I am like a whole new person. An hour to take care of me helps to ground me and provides me with a lot more patience to take on the challenging things thrown my way with three kids.
The quest for balance with three children starts during pregnancy. Even though one is inside of you, finding the energy to care for all three is the same. Pregnancy itself can bring on as many challenges as joys without the added responsibility of taking care of children. Finding the time and drive to take care of yourself can feel more like a luxury. Caring for your children and all the tasks and running around that may go with that, coupled with your daily workload, can leave you a little weary and quite frankly, exhausted. Whether you work in the home or outside of your home, the workload can seem never ending when you are creating a child within you and taking care of two other children. There are days when you feel energized and empowered. Lots of them. These are the days to remind you that it is all possible and worth it.
The hardest part of going from two children to three is sleep; anything to do with sleep. Keeping the baby asleep, getting naptime to go smoothly for all who nap, the constant flux of children waking and making their way into your bed. Oh, the pursuit for deep, uninterrupted sleep. (Tired? See my post "Functioning and Thriving on Little Sleep.")
As with everything good in life, there is a balance to be found. Enjoying having three children is a lesson in surrendering to the moment and letting go of a lot of your hang ups and "To-Dos." Making special time for every child, family time for all, and time for you and your partner as well as yourself is a juggling game. But it's worth the effort. It's ok to not love it every day, as long as you are in touch with the purpose of it all and find gratitude in the experience of it all. Just embrace all the deliciousness that comes with kids and try and be more playful.