Life with Three Kids: Relishing Sweetness, Coping with Stress
Can we talk about life with three kids for a second? Because it’s a whole ‘nother ball game.
For one thing, the cuteness is off the radar. It’s like all the love and delight a child brings TIMES THREE. It’s a lot to handle –a heart-bursting, overwhelming sort of joy that almost hurts.
It’s so good!
But life with three kids is also a new kind of hard.
Now I have more kids than hands, so if someone decides not to cooperate when we’re out and about, I feel overwhelmed.
Like when we’re playing at a park and it’s time to go, and I say, “Come here. We’re leaving!” and they giggle and run back up the playground structure…
Because wrangling and disciplining two kids *running* away from me, in a public place, all while toting a baby who is in a questionable state by the end of park play is tough.
Giving up is not an option, so I draw another deep breath and push forward. I’m glad my big kids are being pushed to obey with new immediacy and learning increased personal responsibility.
And since Emily’s been born, the mental breaks just. aren’t. there.
Like when I say, “I need some space,” grab the crying baby and bolt from the room where the other two littles are jumping on the bed and gleefully throwing the laundry I just sorted, inadvertently landing a pair of shorts across my face.
And the 4-year-old emphatically parrots, “I need some space too!” only to follow me from the room, trailed by her little brother, to continue talking at and climbing on me while I attempt to nurse the baby.
So, yeah, that’s how it’s going.
Being a mom to three kids is more heart-filling than I expected. I feel rich! But being a mom to three kids is also harder than I expected.
It’s better and harder all at the same time.
I am so thankful for each of my children. They are precious and I wouldn’t trade them for anything! However, there is an underlying stress there, and I’m feeling its effects.
Thankfully, I’m also finding some good ways to cope with that stress as I continue acclimating to this new life.
How I’m Coping with the Stress of Mothering Three Kids
- Establishing a weekly Sabaath. I wrote about this recently. This is giving me some sense of rest. It’s hard to be consistent, because I’m reliant on others’ schedules, but I’m fighting for it.
- Getting up before my kids. Through waking up before my kids I’m gaining a sense of control. I’m able to spend time with God in the mornings. I crave it, and it steadies me.
- Tidying and de-cluttering my main living areas every night. This gives me a sense of order. Although I’m more worn out than ever, it’s been worth it to push through and make myself do this. I’ve completed 45 days in a row without missing a single day (I use an app called Commit to track this goal).
- Going for walks alone or with baby Emily only. It’s a major production to take my whole crew out for a walk around the neighborhood, but by using the early morning, I’m able to leave my sleeping kids with my husband and still get out. Stretching my legs feels good. It greatly relieves my stress. I walk hard, and it helps me start out the day more relaxed and with a smile.
- Giving myself a bit of grace with TV watching. Many of us strictly limit our kids’ screen time for many good reasons. However, God is humbling me of whatever pride I may have taken in this area. For this season of a new baby, I’m allowing more TV into our day, specifically as I feel myself reaching breaking points of overwhelm. And you know what? As hard as it is to admit, it’s not going to harm them.
I’m going to make it. There are many absolutely delightful moments. I don’t want to miss those moments.
It’s an adjustment, and I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but I know I’ll get there.