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By Martine Foreman
When my husband and I started dating years ago, he was pretty clear about wanting four kids. Because I did not want four kids.
We agreed on two children and later discussing the possibility of a third. So much for that discussion. Last year, we were surprised when we found out I was pregnant with our third.
Now here we are, happily raising three kids. Some days are pretty awesome. Others are downright crazy. It depends on which way the wind blows. Nonstop sibling fights, a gassy baby, or running out of the right kind of pasta can easily turn our day into a disaster.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything, though. Sure, I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant last year. I wondered if I could really give my best to three kids. What if I mess them up? And what about how expensive kids are? But with each week of my pregnancy, I started to feel like I’d be okay -- like we would all be okay. And actually, we are.
But since becoming a mother of three, my world has changed. It’s become more hectic and unpredictable than it’s ever been. And I know some women say that once you have two kids, adding one more isn’t a big deal, but I beg to differ. Another human being that relies on me for everything is a pretty big deal in my book.
And my big deal has come with so many lessons. I’m blown away when I think about it. Especially since it’s only been four months. But kids have this way of shifting our lives pretty quickly. It’s what they do best.
So as I try to figure out what I am doing with these kids I love, I'm learning more than I ever thought I would.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned since becoming a mom of three:
- The number of kids you have matters...a lot. For some reason, people think having multiple kids is the same experience as just having one. I mean sure, if you are a parent you deserve props, no matter how many kids you have. But I just can’t argue that having one kid is the same as having three. It’s not. Having a third child has shown me that the number of kids who depend on you matters. My husband and I now have three people who turn to us for everything. That’s major.
- There are some things I just don’t need to buy. Nothing makes you cut back on spending like having an extra person to care for. Between diapers, formula, medical bills, and much more, I have recently realized that there are plenty of things we can do without, like cable. And I don’t even think of cutting back as a sacrifice. It’s just a change we have to make because our family has changed.
- Asking for help is more important than ever. After I had my second child, I really started to appreciate the importance of asking for help. Baby number three has made this fact paramount to my success as a mom. Trying to do all of this alone is not cute. That’s why my husband and I have a tribe -- family and friends we turn to for help and support. Having them in our corner has made all the difference.
- Kids can be pretty darn helpful. My son is 7 and my daughter is 4. Who knew how helpful they could be at such a young age? My 4-year-old folds baby clothes. My son takes out the trash cans every Tuesday. They both go into the pantry or fridge to grab something to eat in the morning if I'm still stuck upstairs with their baby sister. They’ve basically been rock stars lately. I know it can be hard to give young kids certain responsibilities, but go for it. They can handle quite a bit.
- Self-care is now more important than ever. Do I have time for manicures and bubble baths? Nope. Is it hard to find time to exercise or pray or meditate? It sure is. But I make a way because I know these habits are more important now than ever. When I make time for these self-care practices, it makes me a better woman and a better mom. It’s so easy neglect myself because there is so much going on, but in these last four months I have learned that neglecting myself is about as bad as neglecting my kids. I can’t let that happen.
Images by iStock
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Martine now lives in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, three adorable kids, and their sassy cat, Pepper. Martine is the founder of candidbelle.com, the lifestyle blog dedicated to helping moms build stronger relationships and create healthier, happier lifestyles. She is also a certified Health Coach, speaker and is hosting her first event, a Wellness Symposium for working moms, in October 2017. When she’s not obsessing over her FitBit or working on one of the 101 things she loves to do, you can find Martine enjoying some dark chocolate while watching her favorite crime show. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.