A Third Child? Time to Step it Up!

I had my third baby, our first girl, three weeks ago.
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I had my third baby, our first girl, three weeks ago.

I’d heard from so many people that the third baby is when things really start to go nuts around the house. You know the stories: man-on-man defense to zone; rubber meeting road; three is the hardest. I tried to mentally prepare myself for how it would be with a newborn, a 4-year-old, and a 7-year-old. I told plenty of people that I hoped that because my older kids were older (as opposed to 3 or under,) they’d take it better.

On the morning that we came home from the hospital there was a moment when I realized that you are never prepared for this kind of upheaval. Don’t get me wrong, the boys seemed to handle their new baby sister wonderfully. They truly like her: holding her, kissing her, showing her their artistic creations. But they still were the same loud, active, needy kids they were before.

Just because you have a newborn who nursed every hour of the wee small hours, doesn’t mean your 4-year-old can pour the new milk gallon himself at breakfast. Just because the 7-year-old wants to hold his sister constantly doesn’t mean that he’s not prone to new, overly-dramatic fits, lying, and general emotional distress. And just because you have a baby doesn’t mean that the older kids will fight, run, or yell less. They try to keep it down, and are good when you remind them, but sheesh, I am reminding a lot. A LOT.

It’s rare to have such a clear opportunity in your life to stretch and grow. You do not have a choice–you have obligations to your children to be a good mother even when it’s hard. It’s time to grow more. I could and can feel myself stretching to meet their needs and push past my own limitations. Is the transition from two to three kids hard? Absolutely. This may be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but there isn’t an acceptable alternative. I have to figure out how to juggle their every day needs with the demands of a new human. I have to remember to not be mean in the mornings when I’m a wreck. I have to remember to feed them, clean their faces, recall when they last bathed, recall when I last bathed.

We’re still in the thick of things, so I would love to hear your words of advice. How did those of you with three plus manage the transition? Do you have your system all worked out? It gets better soon, right?

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