Parenting three kids is holding one crying kid because they miss their friend, while the other kid just slammed a door when you had to say “No” to an imaginary promise you may have made two weeks ago, all while the third kid is dancing in and out of rooms with their big fluffy unicorn.
It’s easy to focus on that “happy, good” kid; don’t you dare to compare! But admit it; you have made comparative statements: “See how your sister just moves onto the next friend? You can do that too!” “Why can’t you just wake up and do the things you’re supposed to do like your sister?” “I’m not waiting on you — everyone else is able to get it together but you. You’ve lost out on the privilege.” Geeze, that sounds horrible! I have to be honest though; those statements have slipped past my lips and have been followed by an apology more times than I would like to count in my 11 years (seven with multiples) of parenting.
Is three kids something for which you can prepare?
You’re pulled and pushed. Ganged up on and loved times three. Did we think about all of this before having three? Setting ourselves up to be outnumbered as parents, it really didn’t cross my mind! My son was born, and then 4.5 years later his sister came along. Being a stay at home Mom, it just felt right to keep “not trying” to get pregnant and see what happened! Along came that third child, 14 months later. Sure, by the time the third came along we accidentally practiced baby led weaning (aka hand them whatever they want at dinner), everyone had a baby to play with, the oldest and middle naturally took on more responsibility as Momma was tired! That third child didn’t throw a wrench in the wheel so much as she just sat beside the wheel spinning it as fast as she could while we all watched happily!
With three kids, things are ever-changing.
There are continuous variables (infinity!) with three different children. And if college statistics taught me anything, it’s that I could make a probability estimate for what will happen when their three heads flip, for there to be three returning good outcomes.
1/216…1 out of 216 is the probability that if my kids all have an issue at once, ALL THREE will end up on a good note. That deserves a good ole LOL! (This equation brought to you by said children being back in school after 18 days of winter break! Holla! Took a whole lot of brainpower to get that out.)
Are you convinced now that you could never get it perfect? Especially when multiplying times three kids? What if you’re sad and struggling right along with them? Or maybe you were happy before you became the “worst mom EVERRRRR!”? Pause that. With three kids, you better buckle in. No time to be anything but rock steady. Make up a plan. Regroup!
Mothering multiple kids is finding common ground between three different walks of life and maintaining your own testimony when the words someone said out of pain or jealousy against you as a mother still ring like Notre Dame. Moms of multiples hear it all: “You do know what causes that, right? Better put your life on hold! Good luck planning finances for all those kids! How will you give them all attention?”
Oh, you’ll come apart later in the shower that’s two days late or in the dark when sleep evades you because to-do lists are rolling through your mind. “How many kids have Christmas parties tomorrow? What kid needed a white shirt? Did I remember to put his clothes in the dryer?” As a Momma, you keep it together. You make the ways. You dry tears and mend hearts and play imaginary unicorn all at once.
The sweet moments are what we live for!
When the dancing unicorn child cheers up the crying kid, harmony is formed. Peace is not only when all three agree on a Friday night movie, but also when you show your emotions and a child puts on hold what they’re doing to give you a “time out” while they fix their sibling a snack. It might sound like the only reason I had multiples was to help out around the house and to raise each other. But there is a beautiful, lifelong lesson in serving others. In no way would I wish for fewer kids to care for just to be a little less frazzled.
Multiple kids bring only this: multiple opportunities. When motherhood is your greatest blessing, everything else kind of fades into the distance. The hopes and dreams you had before kids don’t fade away, but in my case, I fight harder for them! I want three sets of eyes on a strong woman that will mirror the woman they become or possibly the woman my son marries someday.
What’s beautiful is that your kids will learn regrouping from you. The happy one will read a story to the sad one. Minds cleared, joy restored. “At least you have me, Sissy!” The third lone kid will hear the laughter and migrate down from their sullen cave of anger…joy all around!