(Not so) Easy as 1, 2, 3
It was a great idea to have three kids. Three is the new two! This was totally what we wanted. Heck, I used to want four kids and a white picket fence. You know, before I became a parent and house-owner and realized how completely ridiculous those two things are (no disrespect to parents of 4 or white picket fence owners, yo).
It was the worst idea to have three kids. What were we thinking? We can’t handle this. We are outnumbered! There can be three children crying at the same time at any given moment! There can be three or MORE requests that need to be meet immediately (e.g. watch the baby in the bath/help the middle wipe his butt/help the oldest take his fork out of the toaster) ALL AT ONCE and no room for my own needs or someone to delegate to for much of the day.
We’re 5 months in to this crazy ride and it’s been a lot easier than it could have been, up to this point. There was no colic. There was an easy, sleepy baby. SO LUCKY. That baby is starting to get mobile and more complex, however. That baby has opinions and probably needs a better routine.
The school day routine is incredibly helpful in managing my time. It gives me deadlines to work towards and chunks of time to measure the day out in. Also, by 1pm I’m down to one kid and that’s about the best thing ever. Too bad my favourite time of day ends at 3. Oh the weekends. The weekends are so long. Best to get out of the house as much as possible, really. After spending the morning lazing about.
How else have we been coping?
- We’ve attempted to give the older kids more responsibility for things like packing lunches and snacks, getting dressed and tidying up (ha ha ha ha). But there’s a fine line between promoting independence and child cruelty, and I fear we’ve crossed it a couple of times. The bar has really been raised for the 4-year-old. He thinks we should treat him exactly the same as his older brother, and so we lump them together and expect all the same things from them. This might explain why we all get frustrated sometimes and why I threw a pair of his jeans across the room this morning! Oh I should not admit to these things.
- We divide and conquer. Mark will take one or two kids to run errands or walk the dog. Personally, I use a Friday night grocery run at No Frills as my escape happy time, but he doesn’t mind shopping with them. Usually.
- The two older kids love a good project. Give them the task of helping daddy build a cabinet or give the car a wash and they’re in heaven. Perhaps next they can build me a shed at the bottom of the garden to go and hide in. I kid.
- Playdates. Both here and not here. I love playdates. Go play, children. Stop talking to me. (I love them, really. Mostly.) (I wouldn’t be able to write this post right now if it wasn’t for a well-timed playdate.)
- Getting the older kids to look after the baby is always a winner. I don’t mean that they are watching him while I go out for dinner. Though that sounds perfect. What I mean is getting Callum to fetch him some clean clothes or lay down on the floor with him while I put lunch on. Or getting Oliver to make funny faces at him so I can send a tweet. Priorities, people.
- We regularly ignore one or all of them. Just temporarily. That’s normal, right? We’re building character. Or something.
Joking aside, a lot of the time I feel frustrated and stressed and like I have no time to do anything when really I should have more time (note to self: get off internet, go do laundry). A lot of the time we’re all pretty grumpy. The kids seem to have lost the ability to listen to us since March Break in particular. It’s funny, I don’t remember being allowed to say ‘NO!’ to my parents or completely ignore their requests. I’m just ever so slightly losing my mind. No one except the baby is getting a decent amount of individual attention. And you don’t really need to hear how messy the house is.
Moms and dads of 1, 2, 3 or (gasp) more, what tricks are up your sleeves? How do you keep the peace at home? What works for you when you need to stop the chaos and bring back some order, particularly to morning and bedtime routines? Do you have any good resources to suggest for me?