I like to call it my daily grind because that reminds me of coffee

Baby Thomas turned 11 weeks old this week, and in the past 11 weeks I’ve often wondered when life with three kids will feel “normal.” I keep waiting to get used to this new rhythm and pace of life, but I’ll be honest: things haven’t felt normal or manageable for a while.

Since Thomas was born, I constantly feel like I’m the kid running into class just as the bell rings. Then I slide my homework on the teacher’s desk just in time, and she looks at me over her glasses and says, “Oh, you did the work from page 57. The assignment was for page 68.”

dailygrind

Having a new baby has both slowed us down and sped us up. We’re slower because the baby needs to sleep or to be held, and everything stops when the baby needs to eat. But in the midst of that slowness there’s also more; there’s another child to consider and an extra set of needs to meet. I have to move faster, all day long.

All night long, too. Somehow three kids that don’t sleep is exponentially more than two.

Every day, every moment, is full of choices. There are immediate needs I have to take care of — the baby needs to eat, a bumped head that needs ice, a toddler walking straight toward my white couch with blackberry jam on her hands — and then there’s everything else. Once the immediate needs are taken care of, there are piles and lists and stacks of everything else, and each day feels like a giant choice. Should I let the baby fuss for a few minutes while I finish this load of laundry? Should I let that fight play out while I look for my coffee? Should I unload the dishwasher or draw with David? I know which is more important, but it all has to get done.

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Suddenly I have a to-do list that includes things that were never there before because they just happened on their own, but now I have to carve time out for them:

  1. brush my teeth
  2. feed the cat
  3. say hello to Tom

I realize this is still all very new. Again, Thomas is only 11 weeks old. Not only is this new, but Thomas is in a unique, high-need, fleeting stage. And then there’s my high-need two-year old who, wakes up every morning and asks me for milk, a vitamin, a Twizzler, to read a book, to play Play-Doh, and to hold baby Thomas all without pausing to take a breath.

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Every day we’re making our way and carving out a new normal for our family. I’m figuring out what normal means for our family, and I’m slowly realizing that the chaos that feels more manageable as I make peace with it. The laundry will never be completely done, there will always be more books to read to my children, and I will always be a lot behind on sleep; realistically, my house will only get dusted if I hire someone to do it. There is a lot to do and no matter how quickly I move it won’t all get done. Not in this season, anyway.

There’s a beauty to it all, though, isn’t there? In the exhausting rhythm of the days. There’s beauty in the time it takes to gather shoes before we go outside, the process of wiping sweet, sticky hands and mouths after meals, in the reminding, again, and again that we hold hands when we’re crossing the street. It’s wonderful because it’s not just mess and monotony it’s life. It would be easy to reduce my days to my to-do list, but if I did that I’d be missing the point. These long days so much more than something to get through; they’re my kids’ earliest memories. Everything is overdue and halfway done, but we are so very happy.

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When people ask how we’re doing, I answer honestly. We’re doing really, really well. We’re tired, but we’re making it, one day at a time. I just don’t want anyone to think that when I say we’re doing well I’m implying that I’m caught up on even one part of life.

We’re doing well because I’m enjoying my kids and my husband is amazing. My house might be falling down around us, but our family structure is strong and God is good.

I’m annoyed by the mess but I love the chaos and wildness of having three children. When I look at my living room, there are books all over the floor, doll toys scattered in the corner and bits of snacks all over the carpet. But I see my three, beautiful, thriving children and I feel so blessed and rich it’s otherworldly.

Things are undone and we are deliriously tired. I’m always busy, and when I’m not, I should be. But that’s the way it is. There are five of us.

It’s messy, but it’s supposed to be this way. Because there are five of us, and life is so very full.

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17 Comments

  1. Lynsie McD August 5, 2015

    I like your last sentence. That was my feeling with 3, things felt full. In an “I am about to explode and can’t possibly take any more and continue to live” way and in a “Things are busy and hands on and lively and right” way.

    I have one less kiddo at home this week, as my middle one went with Ryan to help his Mom as his Father passed away 2 weeks ago, and I am finally getting around to catching up on some to do list items. Probably not dusting or window cleaning though, those only happen when my mom comes to visit for 2 weeks after I have a baby. That’s why I have to keep having babies, so my house gets dusted and windows get cleaned every 2 years or so. 😉

    Reply
    • Mozey November 28, 2015

      LOL! I TOTALLY get where you are coming from!!! I feel the way that you feel about dusting about my kitchen floor! Since my fourth child was born, I think my floor has been mopped twice! And the second time was just two days ago before Thanksgiving! Now, I don’t want to mop it until Christmas–and yes, I think it is kinda gross, and I will have to do it more often when my daughter starts crawling and inevitably licking the floor, but for now…it can wait, by golly it can wait! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Katherine A. August 5, 2015

    Three kids! Way to go!!! Sweet post, hard and true, probably more true at some times than other.

    We’ve been in a “training” phase. One is being trained to stop sucking her thumb, one is being potty trained, and one is being trained to sleep through the night. I sometimes think the “never getting to your to-do list” is even more frustrating during these times b/c you think, I just need to make progress in these three areas, but we keep back sliding. There’s another potty mess on the floor, the baby keeps waking up, she’s still disobeying about her thumb. And so it feels like even though you keep doing the same things over and over again, there’s no progress, so what are you even spending your time doing?!?!

    For some reason, the concept of “training” has clicked in my mind this week. We are training our children to do things they don’t already know how to do. Training involves doing the same thing over and over again, showing again and again, explaining again and again. And the result comes not after the first or second or twentieth time, but really over time. This training takes years. Sigh. And it’s life. It’s what we’re doing.

    This has freed me up from getting (so easily) frustrated when they don’t remember the first time or when they seem to be deliberately ignoring all our little lessons. My job is to do it again and again. Until it’s learned.

    And like you said, it’s not chaos or monotony (well, it is), but it’s life.

    Just related thoughts I’ve been having, and blogging sure seems tiring. 🙂

    Reply
    • Amanda K. August 6, 2015

      yes TRAINING!! that occurred to me one day when i was ask mary virginia if she understood. i kept saying, “do you understand?” and she just looked at me. and then i realized she didn’t know how to respond, so i needed to tell her, “say, ‘i understand'” and then she did.
      or when we get frustrated with table manners. they literally have NO concept for politeness, we have to teach them. seems so obvious. but it’d be like taking one of us to a foreign country and getting mad because we weren’t fluent in the language after a week.

      ps. we’re potty training over here, too. pass the M&Ms.

      Reply
  3. Meredith August 5, 2015

    Thanks for sharing this. I loved the picture of happy and thriving kids and a family structure that is strong. THOSE are the things that matter! Thanks for blazing the 3-kids trail!! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Laura Kassner August 5, 2015

    I’m only 3 weeks out with a family of 5 and this PERFECTLY captures my sentiments. Thank you for articulating!

    Reply
  5. Annie @ Home of Malones August 6, 2015

    Very well said!! I’m fearing what it will be like in a month when we welcome our 2nd, so I really find it hard to fathom 3 kids at this point. It will certainly get easier for you as time goes on and you do fall into a rhythm, but it sure is tough some days. I always welcome September too because it comes with a little more structure than summertime. You’re doing awesome Mama! Thanks for linking up!

    Reply
  6. Katrina August 10, 2015

    Such wonderful pictures! I have more than you (pregnant with baby #11 right now) yet I can relate to everything. Been there, done that, still there, still doing that! LOL It truly IS “one day at a time” isn’t it? That’s how I survive the chaos. One day at a time. Thanks for sharing your beautiful family.

    Reply
    • Katrina August 10, 2015

      oooops my URL didn’t work in the first comment. This one should work.

      Reply
  7. Tara G August 10, 2015

    So well put, it is not the clean floors or windows that our children will remember when these years have passed us by. It is the time spent together doing things we enjoy. Which is a good thing because the state of my house some days/weeks is certainly evidence of that. Congrats on baby #3!

    Reply
  8. christina August 10, 2015

    Very nice post! Stopping in from Monday Funday hop.

    Reply
  9. Charlene Asay August 12, 2015

    Your babies are adorable. It’s a lot of work when they are younger, but so much fun!

    Reply
  10. Lisa B. August 12, 2015

    Amanda, you ROCK! I know that having three little ones can be overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been where you are AND I started the chaos all over again! My oldest children are 24, 20 & 19. My youngest are 9 & 4. My house will never be neat, I will forever have toys scattered all around as well, and don’t even ask about the candy I cannot seem to remove from the tile in the dining room (can’t get it to budge). Well all do our best and you seem to be rocking new mommy status. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Tracy Snyder August 12, 2015

    I remember these feelings when I had #3 and again with #4.
    Recently a friend posted that she just spent an afternoon with toddlers and now realizes why she didn’t have kids. I told her if the kids are alive she did just fine.
    The best part of being a family is doing this life together. Keep up the good work Momma!

    Reply
  12. Brittany @ DIY Just Cuz August 12, 2015

    Thanks so much for linking up at the Welcome Home Wednesdays link party! Babies are so demanding, it’s hard to figure out how to balance their needs and yours…but soon hopefully it will be your new normal 🙂 Thanks for sharing! We hope to see you again next week!

    Reply
  13. It sounds like your life is so full… but in a good way! One day the house will be clean and quiet and you will wish whole-heartily for those mess sleepless nights once more! Those babies look so sweet! Thanks for stopping by the Welcome Home Wednesday Link-Party today… I loved the opportunity to read your post! We’d love to see you next week!

    Reply
  14. Jackie August 15, 2015

    Oh man, I’m over here trying to figure out life with just ONE kid. Hats off to you and Tom! You guys are great and I’m so glad you’re doing well 🙂

    Reply

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