The last four months have been absolutely insane, and it’s not just because of obvious circumstances. The events leading up to becoming a mom of three were a whole ‘nother kind of crazy — the kind of crazy that molds and shapes you into something you never expected.
Four months ago, I was nine months pregnant with our third daughter when my husband walked himself into the ER — in the middle of a pandemic — with his second lung collapse.
Looking back, I don’t know how I didn’t have a mental breakdown. We had been sequestered from people for a month and at 37 weeks along, we changed our plans to have a home birth. When my husband was admitted to the hospital a week and a half before our daughter was due, it goes without saying that we were anxious.
When he came home, we were relieved — until he started showing symptoms again later that night. After another x-ray and several texts to our doctor (technology, man), he was admitted again four days later with another lung collapse less than a week before my due date. He underwent surgery and was in the hospital for three more days.
THREE. MORE. DAYS.
Our daughter was due any day, and we have two other girls who, at the time, were both under 3 years old. Not to mention my husband’s final text before his surgery never made it to my phone, and the doctor didn’t call me to say he was beginning the two-hour-long surgery.
Y’all, it was crazy.
After going through all of that all at once, I honestly felt as if I could tackle anything, and in this case, that was being a mom of three, all under age 3.
Everyone — and I mean everyone — told me adjusting to having three kids is the hardest, so I was mentally prepared. After surviving such chaotic events leading up to becoming a mom of three, I felt even more mentally prepared.
If I could handle all that, surely I can handle this!
So here’s three things I’ve learned and implemented in my day-to-day living since becoming a mom of three under 3.
1. Give Yourself Extra Time
“Marginless [living] is being 30 minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were 20 minutes late getting out of the bank because you were 10 minutes late dropping the kids off at school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from the gas station — and you forgot your wallet.”
— “Margin,” by Richard Swenson
I feel that quote on a personal level. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve rushed my kids and sprinted out the door only to make it somewhere 15 minutes late. Life happens, and surely you all can sympathize with the amount of work and effort that goes into getting kids out the door. Even doing the dishes takes five times as long as it should when you have children.
So one of the things I began implementing when our daughter was born is “margin” — basically giving myself mounds of extra time to accomplish literally anything I have to do. If that’s getting the kids loaded into the car to go pick up groceries, I start getting ready two hours early. If that’s folding the laundry, I allot literally the entire day to accomplish the task.
This mindset provides me with a few things. First, it gives me the ability to not have to rush — do you ever feel like a broken record when you’re getting your kids out the door?
“Put your shoes on. Put your shoes on! PUT YOUR SHOES ON!”
Giving myself that extra window of time keeps me sane, so if my child doesn’t stop playing right away to go put their shoes on, it’s not the end of the world. Besides, kids are hardwired to push back with the same intensity with which you ask them to do something. Fact.
Second, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. If I get my kids in the car without yelling at them or working up a sweat, that’s an accomplishment. If I finish folding the clothes before the end of the day like I had actually planned, that’s an accomplishment. If I was able to fold the laundry AND shower? That’s an even greater accomplishment!
By allowing myself an excess amount of time to do what I need to, I’m guaranteed to feel a whole lot better about myself and my day.
2. Give Yourself Grace
The one thing that goes hand-in-hand with adding a bit of margin in your life is making sure to add a little grace, too.
If you start getting ready to leave two hours early, then you may not have time to sweep the floor before you go — and that’s okay. If you have to allot the entire day to fold laundry, then you may not have time to do the dishes, too — and that’s okay.
Focus on accomplishing something — anything — and I promise you’ll feel so much better about what you do accomplish!
3. Get a Hobby (or Two)
When all you do all day is clean, take care of the kids, and/or work, it can feel like you’re trapped in a hamster wheel. The one thing I’ve found that takes me out of that spinning wheel feeling is when I work on a hobby.
One of my favorite hobbies is deal searching and sharing via my NEOhio Frugal Living platform. Maybe that’s a weird hobby to have, but if you’re a frugal living enthusiast (AKA: cheapskate) like me, you understand! Finding a good deal is ridiculously exciting for me, and being able to share it with other people is just as, if not more, exciting! Again, you could probably consider me a weirdo for that, but I’ll proudly own that title.
My second favorite (and more normal) hobby is baking. I love experimenting in the kitchen, and, just like I love to share deals, I love to share what I make. I just started this venture, but what it’s given me is the opportunity to look forward to something, which ultimately puts a little spring in my step throughout the day.
If you’d like to follow along in my baking journey — and maybe spend a little more time drooling over pictures of desserts throughout your day — check out my Facebook page, Instagram or website, leahsbakedgoods.com.
It certainly took some chaotic life circumstances to bring me to the point where I realized that, in comparison, being a mom of three surely can’t be, nor does it need to be, as crazy as life was four months ago. By allowing myself time, a little bit of grace, and the opportunity to do something fun, I’m able to keep mounds of my sanity in tact, which is ever-so-important as a mother of three! These tips may not sound all that earth-shattering, but give ‘em a go. You might be surprised by the difference they make!