These are my three. Wild & sweet at the same time. So much love with these three.
These kids are the inspiration behind the the words that I have written below.
1. My first advice for you is to use that "village" that you have. Thankfully, I know you have an amazing group of family and friends to help you with your sweet kiddos & don't be afraid to use them. With a newborn baby and two more kids, four and under, you do need help. Let them cook you dinner. Let them take your kids. You can repay them back another time, but at this moment, you need to take care of yourself & soak up that newborn. Your village wants to help you because they care about you & your kids. Three kids, or really any amount of kids, is no easy thing & the support and care from family and friends is what will help you hold on to your sanity.
2. Your house will never be clean again. With two kids, it's not really clean either but now it's just a disaster. There is no getting to those piles or the closets or storage areas. My best advice is to spend a few hours every few months with a garbage bag while the kids are out with daddy and just walk around and throw whatever you can get your hands on away. The Happy Meal toys, the books with missing pages, & all those items that are missing the piece. Purge & purge & purge. And when you aren't completely exhausted, try to spend 15 minutes at the end of the day to pick up. It will make you feel better in the morning, trust me. Oh, and don't get me started on that never-ending laundry...
3. That mini-van suddenly will feel full. You will back in your rearview mirror & have to ask yourself, are all these kids mine? Yep, they are. And there's something about three kids in the car that makes for some wild rides. They are all yours & they will make themselves be heard. Get ready to turn up the radio sometimes & tune out three different demands for snacks, water, & their need for mommy. You have to be a little more creative when you pack for big trips because you can't pop that back seat down anymore. Don't be afraid to use the DVD player more often, especially when you are stuck nursing the baby in the back of the car while sitting in the parking lot at Target. And keep a container in your car for trash because with three kids, because it seems to never end.
4. You will be parenting three different personalities. And it's amazing to watch. Sometimes I wonder if all three of my kids come from the same parents. They are so different in their personalities, which makes them so special & unique, and a never-ending challenge to parent. I have learned not to compare or expect the same from each child. This parenting challenge teaches us, as parents, to stay humble. Just when you think you have something figured out, the next one comes and does it entirely different.
5. You and your husband will be outnumbered. But that's okay because you will figure it out. Every set of parents does. You figure out how to divide & conquer. Which kid is the best to take on errands? Which kid is the best to keep at home when you have chores to do? You will learn the ins and outs of each kid & how to most efficiently divide and conquer to make the most of each day. And what's the worst that can happen...All three kids have a meltdown. Yes, it will happen. And when it does, just close yourself in a room for a few minutes & let it be. (I recommend a bathroom because there's a lock on the inside where they can't manage to get in so it guarantees you a moment of quiet!) Their tears will stop, trust me.
6. Hitting the town & running errands is a whole new adventure. People will constantly tell you that "you have your hands full" or "oh look, here comes the circus". Yep, it's true. You do have your hands full & you will feel like a ringleader. But with the chaos, you will learn to laugh at the crazy moments. And be patient with those sweet faces. And to set really low expectations on what you may get done, because some days, you may be proud of the fact that you managed to get all three to the store just to get that gallon of milk that you ran out of last night.
7. And did I say set lower expectations? Yep, with three kids, I just knew that some of my "must-haves of parenting" had to go. No more daily bath, now we do it every other night. No more laying out clothes the night before, instead it's get yourself in something clean before we run out the door. No more homemade muffins in the morning, now it's Cheerios or frozen waffles. But I have learned that it's okay. My kids may smell a little stinkier, look a little less put together, & may not have a five star breakfast, but as long as they are happy, that's all that matters.
8. Forget the treadmill, you won't need it. Between running after three kids & juggling all the schedules, I swear many days I get a better workout than when I was training for marathons in college. Even me, with endless energy, admits that parenting young children is exhausting and I often fall into bed at night without one more drop of energy, but I have to admit that it's kind of like a rush all day long. You just go from one thing to another, stopping for coffee & more coffee, to keep you going and all of a sudden they are all asleep & then you sit in a stupor. A very long stupor where you will grab a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate & that's okay. You need to celebrate the fact that you made it through the day and bedtime, because we all know that little kids and bedtime (times three) can be rough!
9. Which brings me to my next message. Bring on the coffee & wine. Until three kids, I was never a big coffee drinker. Now I can't survive without two cups a day. You tell me one drive through I would like to be built in my town, I would embrace a Starbucks. Please. And thankfully, with the help to you & a few other fellow NJ moms, I have embraced a big ole glass of wine. Somedays, a glass of wine is all you need to put the humor into the bedtime chaos & to help you unwind after the crazy days that you have.
10. Get ready to share that endless love you have. I know that you are an amazing mom to those two crazy, sweet girls you have. And this child is so lucky to have a mom that strives every day to be the best mom that she can be. With three kids hanging on your side, it is crazy and exhausting and somedays, you may wonder if you can make it through one more minute. But you do and you will. You will be amazed at the love that continues to come out of you. You will not just learn how to survive, but you will thrive. Because this, being a mom to all of these kids, is such a blessing that has come into your life & it's truly an amazing gift.
Good luck Court, I can't wait for that baby to come!
And wait, one last tip for you. The perfect picture with three kids: it never happens...