Here I am, 39 weeks pregnant. Not loving it but I am practically at the finish line. I’m mostly ready for baby number three to arrive. When I say mostly ready I mean the playpen is set up, hospital bag is some what packed and the car seat is ready to be put in the car. So far our experience with number three has been vastly different. I’m not sure if its because I have been down this road a couple of times or if life just has not allowed me time to prepare as much. I am more relaxed but Babe has yet to arrive…. this all could end up biting me in the behind. Hopefully not!
I have moments where I mentally freak out over three kids under three. For the majority of time I think I will be okay. I am much more confident in myself and my mamma skills than previously. I think I am. I can handle three. Can I? I’ve managed to keep two alive and mostly happy. One more won’t break me. Or will it? Ahh!
I reached out to some fabulous ladies for their best tips in regards to making the jump. I thought maybe, just maybe, someone else might benefit from all the advice I have received. I’ve expounded with my own thoughts throughout this post.
- Get a Baby Carrier! I already believe in carriers 100%. I would not have made it with two kids without one of these lifesaving devices. Its like suddenly growing extra arms and becoming Super Mom. You can accomplish so much more when you aren’t using your arms to carry a baby. Household chores, errands, playtime and even nap time become so much simpler. So far my kids have both slept well in carriers which meant I didn’t have to put everything on hold to get the babe to sleep. I would just strap them on and keep on keeping on. My favorite carrier is my Tula! The Tula is so comfortable and easy to adjust to get the perfect fit. It is a soft structure carrier which means it is stiff but not hard but it’s more than just a piece of material. Best of both worlds to me. I also have a mesh ring sling that I love for newborns and playing outside in the summer, especially at pools and water parks.
- Freezer meals. If you are not sure what this is jump on Pinterest! ASAP! Seriously. There are so many recipes out there that you can easily double. Make one for dinner and freeze one for later. Yum. I don’t love cooking so freezer meals are a lifesaver. I do a little bit more work one time for almost a completely prep free meal another day. Win, win. I have done quite a few freezer dinners but I never thought about breakfast before. Silly me! Now if your anything like me you just don’t want to get up any earlier than you need to, which pretty much cancels out hot breakfast. An easy solution is frozen breakfast! Mind blown over here. Whip up a big batch of waffles, french toast, pancakes, muffins, etc and freeze them. Done. Ready to go, just pop your choice of breakfast in the toaster quick. Another tip is to stock the fridge with easy to grab food. Especially ones that the kids can help themselves to. Our fridge has a designated “snack” drawer. The kids know they can eat anything in there. I just have them ask me before they go in the fridge. Its easy and I’m certain will come in handy once I am stuck on the couch nursing the baby for what seems like hours on end.
- Do you have a routine? If you don’t you might want to get one set up. Kids thrive on routines, not necessarily a schedule but something to help them know what to expect in their day. One routine that was brought up often was a bedtime routine. I’m not sure why this is so much harder with a new addition yet. Maybe its because the baby might need you at the same time or maybe its extra complicated if they share a room. I’m not sure but I do know consistency is huge in my home. If our bedtime routine changes when baby arrives that might just be one to many changes. I’ll let you know how it goes!
- Embrace help, don’t fight it! Ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to accept help when it is offered. It is not always easy to let others step in but help is an amazing blessing. You will be blessed but also those that serve you will be blessed. Baby has you up late and you need some sleep, find a friend and have your kids go play so you can have a rest. Getting dinner ready is extra tough, let someone drop off a meal. Laundry piled up, let someone help you fold it. (This is one of my favorites) There are always dishes, ALWAYS! Let someone wash a sink full or load your dishwasher.
- Spend one on one time with your other kids. Everyone has their own needs but often kids need your special attention. Do your best to set aside some time everyday for each child, even 5 minutes can make a huge difference. If you haven’t read “The Five Love Languages” I highly suggest it. There is even a kids edition. The book talks about various ways to show others that you love them and how your kids show their love for you. I love it! It goes on to talk about Love Tanks, similar to gas tanks on a vehicle, how your relationship constantly needs fuel. With my kids I notice a change in their attitudes and behavior when they are in need of a little extra loving. In spending a little time and putting in some effort into your children you can directly impact the atmosphere in your home. I’m sure this gets more and more challenging as life gets busier.
- Hubby. He is your partner, co-captain and team member. Let him know what you need, he is not a mind reader. Well mine isn’t, maybe yours is. Let your hubby take over when you need a break. He can rock a baby, change a baby, read a story, what ever needs to be done. He is a Daddy, let him be a Daddy. He will handle the situation different, guaranteed, but that doesn’t mean his way is wrong. Believe it or not your hubby can do dishes and laundry too.
- Take time to find your new rhythm. Rome wasn’t built in a day, finding your your new normal will take time too. Things will change and develop and that is a good thing. Let somethings go until you are able to tackle them again. Yes, I am talking about the unless errands and dishes. You will get to them eventually but its okay if today is not that day. Prioritize what really needs to be done. You will need clothes for tomorrow but you don’t need to have all the laundry washed, folded and put away. I give you permission to lower your expectations guilt-free. You and me both.
- It’s okay to let your baby cry for a minute while helping a sibling. Before you lose your cool, I am NOT saying to ignore your baby and let them scream for an extended amount of time. Your toddler may only need you for a quick minute. You can find something to distract your toddler before you end up being tied up with the babies needs for more than a minute or two. They could need something as quick as a snack or a toy off of a shelf. Helping the tot quick might even help you to avoid a toddler meltdown or a bigger problem later on down the road. You will probably have more hair this way too!
- Get a secret mamma stash! The top suggestion was chocolate. I agree, sometimes you just need a chocolate break, especially on a crazy day. If you need to put yourself in a timeout to enjoy your treat then do it. You will thank yourself later. I need ice cream after bedtime but a quick fix during the day is a must.
- Let two oldest entertain themselves. Assemble some mini activities that they can do independently or together. Maybe your kids love workboxes, like mine, perhaps they prefer hands on activities or just some open ended play things. There are so many options you cannot be the entertainer 24/7. Your kids will strengthen their bonds as siblings as they play and learn together. Maybe, just maybe they will become best friends and be there for each other for their whole lives.
Bonus Tip: Trust your mamma instincts. You have been here before and know the basics. You know your kids and will know this new baby too. Take the advice that fits your life and discard the rest. You don’t need it! You got this. Pray when you don’t. Before you know it life won’t be near as hard as you thought it was going to be.
I guess I am ready for this baby to arrive now…… well as ready as I will be.
Wish me luck!