Let’s be brief. The primary thing that birthing and raising three children has taught me is that, *holy God*, the female body is a freakin’ miracle machine. Like, WE DO THE DAMN THING. Day in and day out.
We bake ’em up, and get ’em out, and then raise ’em and love ’em and even though we sometimes do stupid stuff with them, we overall are pretty badass at this mothering thing. We are ANIMALS. Fierce, badass, tough-as-nails BEASTS.
That being said, there are more specific things I’ve learned along the way as well. So allow me to share!
Scheduling is optional
The thing you hear the most frequently about having multiple kids is that scheduling is a MUST.
It does help, yes, but what I’ve found over the years is that sometimes scheduling is just one more thing you grow to feel like you have to do, which in turn ends up stressing you out even more.
Know when it’s important to schedule–like, say for a big family event–and know that it’s also okay to let your plans go to the wind once in a while. Sometimes less stress and more flexibility makes all the difference in making mama happy. (And we all know what they say about happy mamas, right?)
Try your darndest to enjoy your time with them because man, it does fly
If there were ever a cliche about parenting that were painfully true, it’s this one.
I won’t belabor the point, but man oh man, it’s like some divine force hits the fast-forward button as soon as you squeeze out a kid.
One minute you’re feeling a sharp kick to the ribs, rubbing that big old Buddha belly and easily carrying that little dude with you everywhere you go (read: inside you); the next minute he’s out in the world and turning six years old and telling you he needs to take a bath alone now because, “Everyone needs a little privacy, MOM.” (Sob.)
Sleep training is Not for Everyone
Despite what the books tell you, you don’t have to have your infant on a precise schedule after 12 weeks.
You certainly can if you want to, and I know many mamas who have, but if it doesn’t feel right, do yourself a favor and don’t force it.
I’ve written about my dislike of sleep training before. I don’t judge moms who do it (at all! So don’t send me hate mail!), but it didn’t work for me. What I ended up doing by instinct alone I suppose ended up veering more toward attachment-style parenting, and co-sleeping (more accurately, “breast-sleeping,” was a part of that. But the reason I went in that direction wasn’t because some book told me it was the best thing for my baby; it was because my gut told me.
So sleep train, or don’t. Your kid will turn out just fine either way. Promise!
Resist the Urge to Buy Buy Buy!
Having a baby sometimes feels like falling into a never-ending cycle of need need need.
As in, “I need ten packs of newborn diapers!” (You don’t.)
“I need that cute little lace onesie in every color!” (You don’t. Also, see previous point about babies growing SO. FAST. Which means, I promise, you won’t have time for her to wear every cute thing in her closet as it is.)
Or, “I need that fancy $1500 rocker-music-player-vibrating thingy that promises to lull my baby to sleep!” (I promise he will find a way to sleep without that.)
And for older kids? It’s also hard to resist the temptation to buy. But in my experience, fewer toys = less mess and more creativity.
Try to purge your toy closet every quarter, or twice a year, and notice how much more the kids play with what they already have. I know it’s hard to set aside the time, but it’s always worth it.
Another tip I regularly use myself is to leave an empty box near the toy bin, and when I notice the kids aren’t playing with a certain toy, I toss it in there and leave it out of their sight for a couple weeks. If they don’t ask about it, I give it away. If they do, it goes back into the pile.
Again, you’d be shocked at how infrequently they notice a missing toy, and therefore open up to playing more creatively with what they already have.
FEWER, BETTER TOYS
So, did I miss anything? What’s the one thing you learned from having multiple kids? Let me know in Comments below!