It wasn’t long after Bini and I announced our third pregnancy to friends and family that we started hearing the same question over and over again; “you're going to be outnumbered, what will you do?”
My thoughts were so consumed with excitement then that nothing said or asked ever phased me…until after Novena was born and I saw the three of them together for the first time… the idea of being outnumbered by the children hit me smack in the face, and I started to panic.
I was worried about how I would share my time, energy and space with each child equally among other things.
So I did what everyone else does when they have a concern or question these days… I googled “parenting three children” and the results varied from one extreme to another. You know how all doctors tell you NOT to go to Web MD when you’re sick, so you don’t diagnose yourself?! Well, let me be the mom that tells you; do NOT go to google for questions regarding parenting three or more children! From my own experience, it will scare you more then it can help you. You’re better off asking friends and family any day over the internet.
I started calling all the moms I knew that had three or more children and asked all kinds of questions from how they handled homework/bath/bedtime to how on earth could they vacation or go to crowded spaces and not panic. I asked how to manage after school activities, and my favorite question was how to divide your time? Each mother gave me very different responses, and that taught me a valuable lesson;
I didn’t have to have all the answers, heck I didn’t have to have any of the answers, I just had to be a loving, caring mother that did my best and the rest would eventually come to me.
So from one mother to the next, here are some tips you can use when you start to stress out about being outnumbered by your children.
So usually everything seems harder until you jump right in, but if you’re like me and you are just on cloud nine while pregnant, the thought of being a mother to three or more children will hit you at some point and cause an “OMG! What the Hell was I thinking” moment. That’s when I panicked and started assuming what the future would look like… well you already know how that went. Truth be told though, once I dove into my new role, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had envisioned it to be. In fact, the transition from one to two children was actually harder than two to three. It just took more planning and being much more organized then it did when we only had two kids.
Regardless of how many children you have, stressing about it and not taking care of yourself will not change your situation. You are still their mother, and they need you- a healthy you. Sometimes putting everyone’s needs before your own isn’t the best solution. As mothers, we have to be in a good place (mentally, physically and emotionally) before we can give to our families. Give yourself a break sometimes! To read more on finding the time to relax and taking care of yourself read Finding Time for Me Time.
This is easier said than done, especially when you like being in control of situations. When I became a new mom almost 11 years ago, and a family friend gave me this advice, my immediate reaction was “define small stuff” LOL. She meant that not everything would go according to my plans and I should learn to accept it and move on.
Fast forward to today… as a mother of three and outnumbered, I’m now truly starting to accept life as it comes and beginning to see the beauty in doing so. I focus on the bigger picture instead of the minor details which gives me peace of mind and helps take away the stress when things don’t go according to plan.
Let’s face it, with two or more children, one is bound to get disappointed when you can’t make it to their game because their sibling has one at the same time, or they have to miss out on a playdate or a birthday party because their sibling cannot attend. The bottom line here is SHIT will happen so take it easy and don’t let it affect you.
As a control freak, this was a hard one for me, but I learned quickly after Novena was born that I could not do it all myself, heck even Bini and I couldn’t do it all together. I’m quick to call on friends and family whenever needed now and trust me it does help ease the stress.
Successful moments- on vacation and no one gets lost!
Not so successful moment- on vacation and one of the kids scraps their head in the pool leaving it blood red and bruised.
Successful moment- All the kids are tucked in and sleeping at 8:30 pm.
Not so successful moment- They’re all sleeping in your bed.
Successful moment — They all had their veggies today.
Not so successful moment — I had to hide it in their smoothies, masking it with sugary fruit.
Get the point? Life as a mother has its ups and downs; the road is even rockier when you have three or more children, and you’re outnumbered but take the good with the bad and give yourself some credit. You’re doing the toughest gig out there, and no one can replace YOU!
Until next week!