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Outnumbered and Out of Control

“Mom, Gannon has a Sharpie!” 

It’s a good thing my five year old likes to tattle because otherwise a lot of really bad shit would have gone down with that Sharpie.

This is life with three children. 

I remember hearing toddler horror stories about kids who colored all over the walls and flushed cell phones down toilets. I know kids are insane and this shit occasionally happens, but I’m not going to lie, a very small part of me judged wondered about the parents. What the hell are you doing when your kid is coloring your on your walls with a Sharpie? How is it possible that your child is left alone, unsupervised, long enough to find a Sharpie and then redecorate your house? 

Then, we had our third baby, 20 months after our second baby. It all became very clear to me. When you have three kids under five, someone is unsupervised at all times, whether you like it or not. 

Unfortunately, feeding and caring for a needy newborn means my very independent and capable two year old has let himself out the front door and played around in the yard by himself once (or twice). It doesn’t make me a bad mom, or neglectful, it just means that it’s not humanly possible for me to have eyes on all three at all times. Obviously, we’ve learned to lock the front door. 

My escape artist.

My escape artist.

When I found out we were expecting our third, I asked a friend of mine who also has three kids about how she manages being outnumbered. 

“Well we’ve lowered our standards, obviously,” she replied. 

This made me laugh at the time, but now I totally get it. Our first child wore expensive toddler shoes when he was learning to walk. We served him vegetables at every meal, even if he refused to eat them. We held tight to his strict napping schedule and made sure we tracked and limited his screen time. These days, my kids play outside without shoes, eat freezy pops by the box, and skip naps whenever necessary if it means getting where we need to be on time. And when I’m really feeling like a rebel, I let them eat dinner in front of the laptop while they watch other kids play video games on YouTube.  

So the next time you see a toddler playing in the front yard alone, instead of contemplating calling CPS, pick that kid up and carry him inside. Surely the mother is busy trying to breastfeed a baby, while on the phone with the pediatrician, and trying to get someone dressed for soccer practice all at the same time. 

And for those of you moms who are expecting your third, or fourth, my advice is simple. Relax a little. Forgive yourself when the kids are chaos. Lower your standards just a little bit, and um, don’t forget to lock your front door. 

An Honest Mommy Update

three

In 2012, my husband and I welcomed our first baby into our family, and needless to say we were blindsided by the responsibility and chaos that comes with parenthood. Before Greyson was born, we belonged to a gym. We drank cocktails on Thursdays and slept late on the weekends. We were unprepared for the endless doctor’s appointments, the long sleepless nights, and the toddler tantrums in the Target parking lot. 

Instead of having conversations with friends over cocktails, I was talking to a toddler, saying things like, “Don’t lick the dog,” and “Stop touching your butt.” I traded in steaks and scallops for chicken nuggets and fish sticks. Instead of running on a treadmill, I was chasing a two year old up and down the stairs all day. 

For many women, first time motherhood is magical. For me, the first two years were exhausting, mind-numbing. I hated hand-washing bottles, spending a small fortune on formula, and watching Paw Patrol on repeat. 

But slowly, as time went on, we adjusted to our new roles. We even willingly decided to have a second child. It wasn’t even as insane as I expected. I learned to wipe butts while breastfeeding and to wear the baby in my Bjorn when I needed to chase Greyson around outside. 

I stopped writing. The things that I found so outrageous with my first child became my new norm. I felt like I had closed a chapter. I had overcome the craziness of caring for infants. Gannon was turning one, and I could just barely see the light at the end of the tiny-baby tunnel. 

And then, the unthinkable happened. The week of Gannon’s first birthday, we found out we were unexpectedly expecting a third child. Even as I type this, while this little baby stares at me from his bouncy seat, I’m still in shock.

Life with three is often times… well… indescribable. It’s hectic, overwhelming, hilarious, unreal. Sometimes I look in the rear view mirror of my minivan and I have to catch my breath at the sight of three  kids in car seats. 

I posted recently on my personal Facebook page about how within ten minutes, the baby’s shitty diaper leaked all over my shirt, I found my two year old wandering around in the front yard, all while my five year old was busy teaching himself how to rap via YouTube videos.

“You should keep a journal,” a friend said.

And I laughed, thinking of the hundreds of blog posts I have saved from when Greyson was little. It inspired me to get back on the bandwagon. Hopefully, by sharing the chaos that occurs in my household everyday, a few other women might feel as though they are not alone in this motherhood mess. And maybe you’ll get a few good laughs. Or quite possibly, my stories will serve as a serious form of birth control. Either way, it feels good to be back and I hope you enjoy what’s to come.