Monday, 19 September 2016

The Struggle With Three

Three children.

I always thought of families with 3 children as being kind of middle ground in the family size stakes - not exactly a "big family" but not small either.

But lately...three children has felt like a lot...and I feel guilty for saying those words, because I'm worried incase it sounds ungrateful or as though I'm not enjoying having them - I am enjoying it. I am grateful for them.

But it doesn't change the fact...three children is a lot.

Perhaps it's also to do with their ages.

A 3 year old - Testing his boundaries, loud, emotional and extremely active.

A 1 year old - With new found independence and no fear of anything, constantly trying to out run us or put himself into dangerous situations.

A 7 month old - teething, grouchy, and about to start crawling.

Three children of any age is a lot of responsibility I am sure, but with 3 this young all at once...our hands are extremely full (as passersby so often like to point out, as if I wasn't already aware!)

I like, of course, to focus mostly on the positive parts of having 3 children so close in age - and there are a lot of positives (Their close bonds and the friendships they could have growing up, their similar interests in toys and days out, holidays being easier as their interests and stages are so similar, getting all of the "stages" done at once...potty training, nappies, etc...and many many more)  - but I feel as though I wouldn't be being truthful if I didn't admit that there are days when it all feels like way too much. 

Days when I find my stress levels rising way too early on in the day, when my head is pounding and I feel like I can't take any more, days when I hide in the loo and have a little cry because I just can't stand the chaos today.

Days when we wonder what we've let ourselves in for.

Days when I feel like I'm not up to this...when I feel like I'm not enough "Mum" to go around them all equally....days when I feel like I'm failing one or all of them.

Thankfully, those occasions are few and far between - in fact I can count the times that it's gotten that bad on one hand, which I'm very thankful for.

But when those days do come around, they can really knock the wind out of my sails.

Today was one of those days.

It started off well enough - the children all slept in until around 9 am - unheard of! Happy days!, Sailor had his afternoon nap and actually slept well for a change, Tyne was in a nice mood and playing happily with Noah...

But come dinner time, for some reason, it all went wrong.

Tyne suddenly became hyper and on a mission to destroy the entire living room - throwing his toys around, hitting the babies with them accidentally and making them cry, climbing on the sofa and promptly falling off resulting in a huge conk on his head and lots of tears.

While trying to settle to him (which no amount of coaxing, comforting, or bartering was doing), Sailor decided he had to have his bottle RIGHT NOW  and he would SCREAM until he got it...

Sailor's screaming frightened Noah like it always does and set him off crying too...Noah doesn't have the quietest of cries, and so the noise levels - between the three of them - were high!

So there I was, with 1 child on my knee, 1 trying to climb up onto it too and another in his baby chair holding his arms up to me - all of them crying as loudly as you can possibly imagine.

And my stress levels were through the roof.

What are you supposed to do in that situation?

When there are 3 children...essentially 3 babies...all upset, all crying, all wanting you to pick them up and comfort them all at once...when you don't have enough arms or knees to be able to tend to them all.

How do you prioritise it?

How do you stay calm when it's all so stressful and noisy and your head is pounding from it all, and you feel like joining them by bursting into tears yourself but you can't because you're the mum and you're supposed to be in control.

You're supposed to know what to do and exactly how to do it.

You're supposed to fix it all and make everything better again.

But right in that moment, you feel like you're out of answers.

The struggle with 3 is that it's more arms than you have when they all want cuddles.

It's more knees than you have when they're all upset.

It's more eyes than you have when you're trying to watch them all at once and make sure they're staying out of danger (Don't even mention the word "Park" to me right now, trying to look in 3 different places at once is my current biggest nightmare!)

It's more hands than you have when you need to safely walk them across the road.

And even when there are two parents there, you're always outnumbered..

How mothers of 4, 5, 6 + children or single parents of multiple kids manage to stay sane I will never know, because some days having 3 children feels like it will finish me off.

The situation today resolved itself in the end of course, it always does somehow.

Somehow they all got a cuddle, and they all calmed down - Tyne's sore head was rubbed better, Sailor was fed his bottle and Noah was cuddled until he felt happy again - and eventually bedtime was here, and after a stressful bathtime involving a lot of defiant splashing from Tyne and voices (mine) far more raised than I like them to be....they went to bed. 

And thank goodness the Sleep Gods were smiling on us tonight, and *touch wood* there've been no wake ups so far.

Because tonight, I really need some quiet.

Silence is something I miss on days like today.

Sometimes I just need to hear nothing.

Sometimes I just need a few hours of not being constantly touched, constantly pawed at, constantly tugged on.

Sometimes I just need an hour or two where the space around my legs is free and I can walk without tripping over little bodies wrapped around them.

Sometimes I need some space to just be.

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes...

Sometimes it's a struggle with three.

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