By now you must’ve seen the article that states three kids is THE most stressful number of kids. Huh. Well, that’s awkward. (Psst…I have three kids.)
I sympathize with other parents of three. I mean, there are certain logistical nightmares which just can’t be ignored. Two parents, three kids. I’m not great at math, but I’m pretty sure that’s a case of mathematical catastrophe. (It’s a thing, ok?!) I’ve talked before about how I manage three kids to my one person like a triage situation. If you’re bleeding, have lost a limb, are precariously dangling or otherwise maimed…you get first dibs. That means that not only are two children left somewhat to their own devices…it is also very likely that at least one of those two kids isn’t really happy with that arrangement.
In my house? That situation begets the following reaction: meh.
Though my husband would like to tell you otherwise ::side eye:: I have become semi-recently evolved from the hyper-sensitive Mom I started out being. I used to freak my freak over that hyper-escalated cry. You know the one. The one that is high pitched and basically is the auditory equivalent to that keener kid waving their obnoxious hand around in the front row of class. At one time in my early mothering career I acknowledged every one of those hand-waving moments. I was under the false impression that my children would grow to not trust me if I didn’t respond to their every need in turn. In short: I was an idiot. Life with three, at that stage, was unbearably stressful and I was lost to myself and my feelings. My feelings were introverted and miserable. I know, right?! Me!
I have had to re-teach myself how to mother the family I made. That shit ain’t easy, yo. I have a few incredibly valuable tools in my arsenal. Chief among them is a 50/50 partner in my husband. That man knows his wife. Knows she cannot do mornings because they ruin her days. Knows she adores the pockets of sisterly interaction throughout the day. Knows she can cook one hell of a meal…but those dishes will live on the table for hours before she notices. Ryan picks up all my slack…some days? That’s a lot. Another, equally important tool I have acquired is the ability to actually not let a situation become bigger than its force. Some things are a really big deal & life hits a dead stop so we can deal with those. Some are medium deals and the rest of the house can spiral slightly into chaos while we address one attitude or one misplaced word. Most of the time in my house my kids get to hear the words: that’s not for me to figure out, or: you need to walk away and deal with that on your own.
Our daughters are forced to take ownership of their actions, their words, their decisions. (Maëlle less so than the other two, lets not get crazy here…) They are old enough to use their judgement, sometimes poorly. I just cannot physically or emotionally be there to calmly usher them through every emotional dark passage they find their way into. And what would I be teaching them if I did? How would I successfully raise functioning members of society? If you’re struggling to find an answer, that’s good. Because there isn’t one.
Life as a parent of three is indeed stressful. No doubt. But to differentiate between the moments of stress & the permanence of stress? That’s where you win. The moments will beat you almost every time. You cannot see those coming. And you can’t prepare in any real way because once you get there you’re all “what.in.the.fresh.hell…?” and all logic is like Kevin from the Backstreet Boys: inexplicably gone. Those moments of insane bullshit don’t define your parenthood. No, no. Those are what your momma called “character builders” and what I call “shitty situations”. Take stock of the parts where you want to literally high five yourself for your sheer parenting prowess but instead you just go on Twitter & humble brag about it:)
Raising kids is no joke. Oprah can call it “the hardest job in the world” and I’ll scoff at her & say its the most conflicting job in the world. Today it might have been really easy, tomorrow you’re maybe in for a doozy. The win is getting lost in the easy & making the doozy blow like dust in the wind.