THREE kids 4 years of age and younger. Whew. Talk about exhausting. Amazing. Challenging. And beautiful.
When I gave birth to our youngest and third child a year and a half ago, I was literally in SURVIVAL mode. Which is pretty similar to the first year after having twins, so you can say it wasn’t unfamiliar territory. If everyone had been fed, diapers changed and I had a few minutes to eat something, that was a successful day.
But it was definitely different having a newborn and twin toddlers. I had others to take care of while the newborn slept! Sleep deprivation, anxiety and stress took over.
It was very challenging having three so young, and still is today. Luckily our 18-month-old is finally sleeping through the night.
After baby #3, the balancing act became more and more difficult. Some days, I honestly wasn’t sure how I would survive. Between work, the kids and family, my health (both mentally and physically), running errands and chores around the house- it honestly became impossible for me to do it all!
I can’t do everything. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is amazing and helps so much.
But we were BOTH beyond exhausted.
So here are a few tips I would give new moms or moms of multiple young children:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Delegate as much as possible! It really does take a village, trust me I learned that very quickly. Ask for help from family and friends if you need it, and if they offer to help- LET THEM! If you can afford to hire someone to help clean your house or other chores around the house- do it!
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Easier said than done, I know! I worry over every little thing and detail. But in order to mentally survive, I had to stop worrying so much and learn to let some things go! Just like Queen Elsa would say...”LET IT GO, LET IT GO” (p.s.- I have heard that song hundreds of times) :)
- Don’t compare yourself to other moms and don’t believe social media. There is no such thing as a perfect life or body. Keep in mind everyone’s postpartum journey is different. Comparison truly is the thief of joy.
- Get into a routine/schedule-and stick to it (for both you and children). This is so important. We literally plan everything around our kids' nap schedule. This allows us to make the most of each day and move forward with our goals and priorities beyond parenthood.
- Order as much online or automate as possible. Groceries, clothing, miscellaneous items, and the list goes on. If I can get it online or Amazon, then consider it done! We had to seriously figure out something different with time management after baby #3. So we do as much online as we can to save us time.
- Make time for yourself. This is a BIG ONE. I know, you are probably thinking how do I make time for myself when I can’t even go to the bathroom alone? I get it- I’m still in that phase. It’s very hard with a newborn because of the constant feeding and sleep deprivation. But once the baby is sleeping better and you can get more rest, try to give yourself 20-30 minutes a day just for you. If it still seems impossible, talk with your spouse to plan and schedule it.
How do you make time for yourself? We all know it's essential, but making the time is the hardest part. Personally, I need/want to focus on my health and mental mindset when I have some spare time. Put down the phone and distractions. The dishes and laundry can wait. Journal, meditate, exercise, go for a walk or do whatever you enjoy to give yourself a mental break! I know you need it, mama!
I hope those tips help. The bottom line is we only get a short time with our children while they are young. So soak it all in. The hard times will pass, even though I know the sleepless nights seem endless. Motherhood is so wonderful but also challenging at times. It’s important we support each other through it all. If you feel like you need more postpartum support, head on over to the Healthy Mama Huddle community on Facebook!