It turns out that just like the Grinch, your heart grows! You don’t have to divide your love, you’ll develop the capability to give infinitely more with each child.
Your time, on the other hand, of that there is a finite quality. Perhaps never before in human history has a mother’s time, in particular, been so in demand. Here’s some not-so-expert advice on how to literally “do it all.”
For the past seven years, my life has been a constant cycle of either being pregnant or breastfeeding. I personally choose to only feed one at a time that way, but many others make a successful run at tandem feeding. You do you, boo.
My general approach is to treat the child like the individual person, deserving of respect and kindness, that they are. Sometimes, silence is the best response. Other times, they need to be talked through a situation. Always, always, always, I try to remember how very little they truly are and how absolutely dependent they are on us for love.
My husband and I share the bedtime duties since we’re outnumbered 2:3. He usually puts the bigs down and I do the baby. Then… ADULT TIME! With three energetic, rambunctious little ones, adult time is crucial to my personal sanity and we are big fans of early bedtimes.
Some days, it’s heat and serve. We do baby-led weaning so in general my kids have varied, healthy appetites. Having several kids, I grocery shop alone. This is a must for me, unless it’s Publix. Double-seat, racing car shopping cart, free cookies and stickers? Count me in.
I try to spread out as much of the get-ready-for-school nonsense as possible. I’ve found a few tricks that seem to work for us; get clothes out the night before. Let kids choose their own. I set my alarm to wake up, hopefully, 30 minutes before they do to mentally start the day.
Frankly, we don’t do a lot of this. Next. In all seriousness, my approach is to do it together. Bath or shower, toys, lots of soap. Eventually they’ll get clean or really prune-y.
With three children, the house is never completely picked up or clean. I try to pick my battles, but this is a definite weak area in my parenting style because I really prefer for everything to be in its place. I’ve learned to teach to the kids “Off the floor. I’d prefer in the right place, but off the floor is the most important thing.” I’ve also given the bigger kids allowances for chores like picking up the living room and making their beds.
We’ve been blessed with a third baby who is a “good” car rider. Which is a blessing indeed given how much taxiing around takes place! School, gymnastics, swim lessons, my own profession, etc., requires a great deal of time in the car. We muddle through with the kids’ channel on the satellite radio, car games and a fair amount of “Don’t make me pull this car over!”
This is a pretty popular concept lately and looks different for every person. Mine comes from a few different buckets and is often only for short periods of time: Early bedtimes – see above. Time – even if it’s work – where I’m acting as a smart, capable adult separate from “mommy.” Pedicures. 15 minute trips browsing through TJ Maxx. If there is a moment to knit, that’s a true luxury.
Some people are night owls. Others are early birds. Christie says I’m a noon pigeon. Ha! I’d love to stay up late and I’d love to wake up early if it meant I was alone. But I’ve been gifted a child who loves to wake up very early. For that reason, I go to bed early. It’s not my preference, but I do require at least eight hours of sleep, so there it is.
And you? What are your tricks for parenting to more than one child?