Week 34. That is currently how far along I am in my pregnancy and it’s just now starting to get real. Up until this point I haven’t really paid attention to what week or even what month I was.
With roughly 6 weeks to go, I’m becoming increasingly anxious. This will be our third child making me the lucky mom of three kids aged three and under.
I realize I should’ve maybe confronted any potential, possibly irrational, fears prior to this stage in my pregnancy or even before getting pregnant this time around, but any lingering doubts were overshadowed by the excitement of our growing family. After all, I didn’t have any concerns over my previous two, why would the third be any different?
With my first, I was filled with excitement. Excitement of the unknown. Excitement of having our first child. Excitement of the experiences to come. I even enjoyed being pregnant. Looking back, it’s funny how those warm fuzzy feelings drastically diminish and change with each subsequent pregnancy.
My second pregnancy happened so quickly after my first, excitement was quickly replaced by a constant state of exhaustion. Even so, was I scared or nervous of how the second baby would fit it? No, not at all. I always planned on having at least two children and wanted them close in age. I would push through the second pregnancy and learn to juggle two kids under two.
The third that’s currently cooking has me more and more nervous with each passing day.
The jump from one to two kids was a real game changer for my husband and I. One child was easy peasy lemon squeezy. I had the freedom of taking naps when the baby did and was only responsible for one unbelievably demanding human being. In fact, we had it so good, we rushed to complicate things by quickly having another.
Jump to today.
Managing two toddlers is a completely different story. It’s constant. It’s always. It never stops.
Currently this nonstop shit show lives primarily during the day, but will soon spillover into the night. The luxury of peaceful, rest-filled evenings will be a thing of the past. Presently, my two toddlers are amazing sleepers. After they go down for the night, I have a solid 11 hours off before I’m back on duty. I can always look forward to a good night sleep before a new day of chaos. That will soon be long gone and I don’t know how I will keep up with everything and everyone.
I’m already exhausted all the time with what feels like nothing more to give. If my current situation has me struggling to effectively divide myself between two, how can I possibly add a third into the mix?
Caffeine can only do so much. Maybe this baby will come out of the womb already sleep trained? A mom can hope, right?
Although it’s just one more, three children is very different than two. I sometimes lie awake trying to figure out the small details of how we’ll manage normal day-to-day activities with this added family member.
How do I fit two toddlers and a carrier into a shopping cart? If I do manage to stuff everyone onboard, where is the food supposed to go? Maybe there is a secret store designated for families with more than two children and has carts with additional seating capacity. If so, please share. I’d greatly appreciate it.
The car seat configuration is another obstacle to overcome. I’m a guilty party of owning a minivan and yes, there are a lot of seats and rows, but how do I manage three car seats in this beast? Who gets put in the farthest back row? Do I take a seat out and put two kids in the very back? I envision me crawling and climbing through seats and rows as if I’m trying to complete an obstacle course. Getting everyone in and out of the car is to be such a production.
I’ve been known to be a meticulous planner, especially when it comes to organizing our lives and schedules. I have a monthly whiteboard outlining our planned events and appointments along with weekly meal menus.
When planning to leave the house, timing is everything. I plan for the unexpected, taking into account the potential meltdowns and distractions of wanting to chase a random butterfly. We are never late and always early or on time. It’s a well-oiled machine I’m proud of.
One kid was easy. Two was a challenge. Adding the unpredictability of a newborn to the demanding needs of two toddlers, seems impossible. Will we ever leave the house? Someone will always need to be fed, changed, put down for a nap, and by the time you think everyone is ready to leave, it repeats again.
I envision us being late for everything. By the time we arrive to whatever we are showing up for, it will be over. Why even bother?
Two parents. Two kids. There’s a buddy system in place. When things get bad, this matchup is crucial. Kids running in opposite directions? No problem. My spouse will get one and I’ll get the other. Both kids desperately need something at the exact same time? Ok. We’ll each take a kid.
Two parents. Three kids? That doesn’t sound right. It almost resembles a bad math problem you had to solve in high school:
If X needs to be fed, Y needs to be changed, and Z? Where is Z? How do you solve? Maybe I should’ve paid more attention in class. Sorry kids.
Even when I’m by myself and technically outnumbered, I can manage. Handling two meltdowns or tantrums isn’t pretty, but it’s do-able. If the situation requires me to chase and potentially carry their screaming, flailing bodies out of wherever we happen to be, I got it. Two hands, two kids.
What about three? What does that even look like? Especially in the beginning when I’m lugging the baby around in that obnoxious, heavy carrier.
Ugh. I think I’m starting to understand the whole ‘kids on a leash’ idea.
In all, I know we’ll survive. Other people have done it. Hell, some went on to have more than three kids.
A friend from church who has survived four children recently gave me some welcomed advice. I needed some honesty and she gave it to me.
Let it go. Let it all go.
She went on to tell me how liberating it is to not stress about it all and let whatever happens happen. The kids will adjust to the needs of the family and the new dynamic. You just have to let everything fall into place.
I’ve decided to take her advice or at least attempt the best I can. I don’t really have much of a choice at this point. I will try my hardest to let some of the control go and realize I can’t do everything all the time and everyone will still survive. Things aren’t going to be perfect and the house may not be as clean as I’d like it to be. Cereal might be for dinner and that’s OK. We will be late or might not even attempt to go anywhere at all. Yes, I will be tired. So tired. We will get through this. We will survive, right?