Wednesday, May 4, 2016

1 vs 2 vs 3

Whenever I'm talking to Mom friends who are still having babies, we always end up talking about the pros and cons of having multiple kids. Some say going from 1 to 2 was really hard, and others are so overwhelmed by 1 that the thought of 2 or more scares them. Just this morning Ryan mentioned something about "the 4th baby God is going to give us" and I did a double take. What?? The thought of adding a 4th completely terrifies me. I began thinking about my experiences of 1 vs 2 vs 3, and here are my reflections.....
Going from 0 to 1 for me was really really hard at first. Not only did I have no idea what motherhood would be like, but my first baby was a really challenging one. Ryan was grumpy, colicky, struggled to gain weight, and never slept. It was tough. I do sympathize with Moms who say having 1 child is difficult. Because I do remember it being that way. You are the sole source of everything for that child, and it can be overwhelming.

Going from 1 to 2 was much easier. Lucas was an easy happy baby, and by the time he came around I felt more confident as a Mom. There were definitely a few challenges with figuring out the logistics of handling a newborn with a 2-yr old. Issues like jealousy popped up, and eventually the fighting between the boys. But overall the transition to 2 kids wasn't bad. I found my new normal and still felt like I had some time to myself each day.

Going from 2 to 3 wasn't hard at first, because Jenna was a very sweet and easygoing baby. I had heard that once you have 2 children, adding any more after that doesn't really feel different. But honestly, now that Jenna is a little older and mobile? I feel like I am in survival mode every single day. The difference between 2 and 3 kids for me has been huge.

From the time I wake in the morning until I go to bed, I am rushing. With 3 kids I feel like there is always SO much to do, to clean, to pick up, to pack, to unpack......and if I don't run around in a rush, I will be so behind by the end of the day. I try to do as much as humanly possible in the mornings because once Ryan is home from school in the afternoon, all bets are off. I can't get anything done until they are in bed. I feel like I am pulled in 3 different directions and I wish I could multiply myself into 3 mommies.  One could argue that I'm trying to do too much. That I should let some things go and just relax. And trust me, I have definitely learned to let a lot of things go. But all I'm talking about here are the basic necessities. There are so many needs with little kids. One is tugging on me for a snack. One needs their diaper changed. And one just jumped off the table and hit their head. I satisfy all 3 and then 2 seconds later, two of them are punching each other while the other one is about to fall down the stairs. I get everyone safe and then one wants their cup refilled, one needs homework help, and the other just peed all over the floor. Their needs are constant, and I honestly don't remember it being this way with 2 kids.

Lately Ryan has been asking me if Lucas and Jenna can go somewhere so that we can just be alone. It makes me so sad! But unfortunately I can't just leave his siblings alone. Sometimes I try to sit down and do 10 minutes of homework with Ryan, but we are always interrupted by the little ones. And Ryan gets so frustrated that he sometimes throws his work down and gives up. Carving out individual time to spend with my kids sounds like such a good idea, but the actual logistics of doing it can be quite hard. With 3 kids, it feels like I can never be enough for any of them.

Sometimes I think back to what I was able to do with 1 or even 2 kids. I used to be able to sit down in the evening and watch TV most nights. The idea of that now is completely laughable. I used to take the boys to all sorts of places, go on walks or to the zoo or the farm. Now when I attempt these outings, I end up so behind on everything else that I have to stay up an extra hour or two at night. For me, the workload of 3 kids has at least doubled from 2 kids.

But there are also so many good things about having multiple kids! Our children will hopefully outlive us by many years, and I love thinking about them having each other as they get older. I want them to grow up as a team, the Nullmeyer kids. I want them to stick up for each other at school, and to consider each other their best friends. I want them to get together at holidays with their kids and laugh about their childhood together. (And laugh about their old parents!) Having 3 kids keeps me busy and makes me feel wanted and needed. It gives me purpose. The idea of fewer responsibilities can sometimes seem attractive, but I think I would feel lonely and a bit bored with less to do. These 3 kids are loud and crazy and messy, but I love them so very very much.

How about you? Which transition was hardest? If you have more than 3, did it get harder each time you added a child?

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