Friday, November 2, 2012

Adjusting to Life with 3 Children

My mom went home last Thursday, so we've been "on our own" with all three babies for over a week now. It's been an interesting week! We are definitely in "survival mode."

Joshua has proven to be my 'neediest' little one so far, refusing to sleep anywhere but mama's arms the vast majority of the time. Aside from one 2 hour stretch in his bassinet and a few 5-10 minute spurts here and there, and one afternoon when he happily napped in his carseat twice (a total of about 3 hours), he has spent the vast majority of the past 17 days in my arms.

I always thought babies who refused to sleep in their beds did so because they were spoiled. But Joshua was like this from Day 1 before I even had a chance to spoil him. So, I stand corrected.

I love snuggling my sweet baby boy. But, it has made the adjustment more challenging. Even with comfy baby-wearing options, it's just hard to get as much done. I think my biggest struggle has been the lack of focused time I've had with Katie and Benjamin. They're handling it pretty well for the most part, but both definitely have their moments.

By nature, I really thrive on predictability, routine, and being in control of the situation, so a needier baby is doing much to teach me how little control I actually have! I can't really plan out our days...and the five item to-do list I made myself on Monday still isn't all crossed off. Besides washing clothes and putting dishes in the dishwasher, I've really barely done any cleaning.

Ben has been so incredibly helpful. He's kept up with the essential cleaning tasks and the others are just on the back burner for now without a complaint from anyone. I can't imagine what life with three children 3 and under would look like without him--though I suppose it's true enough that without him, I wouldn't have these three beautiful children. ;)

We've been eating oatmeal for breakfast every day, pulling dinners out of the freezer (what will I do when they're gone?!), and having leftovers for lunch. And we've been eating on paper plates and putting everything we can in the dishwasher, which we've been running every day even if it's not completely full.

Survival mode to be sure.

Oh, but the days are sweet. There's just nothing in the world like snuggling a newborn babe. It's such a precious season, and if Joshua is anything like my other two, soon enough he'll be too busy for much snuggling. So, if I'm a little scarce around here in the coming weeks, it's because I'm busy snuggling the cutest newborn boy, reading books with big kids, and throwing in an occasional load of laundry in the 3.8 spare minutes I have each day.

Happy November!


  1. I think the "survival mode" period lasts a little longer with each baby. I remember starting to feel overwhelmed with an "unchecked" to do list, when one of ours was a newborn...Then, I started making reasonable to do lists that only included things like: feeding the children, changing diapers, rocking/snuggling with the little ones, getting dressed-- and completing the list in no particular order :) Please remember that we're happy to help with dishes/laundry/errands, or keeping the little ones for awhile, even if it's so you can get a nap.
    Becky Bennett

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Becky! I am trying to be more realistic about what I will be able to get done each day. If I manage to stay caught up on laundry and keep everyone fed (and get myself to drink enough water!), I suppose for now, that's good enough. ;) Thank you for your kind offer!

  2. Mary Jo,

    Just take it easy and remember the basics. Feeding your family, keeping up with laundry, nursing the baby and giving big brother and sister attention {I love reading while nursing} really are all you should be worried about these days!

    My Weston is a needy baby. From day one he was a loud, intense and demanding baby {and anything but laid back like his big brother}. We've done a lot of baby wearing and he's in my arms all the time. It's super, super hard but it's also sweet. Now at 10 months, he's starting to get more independent but there still are days that he just wants to be held....ALL day. He is a good night time sleeper but doesn't nap unless he's being held {or he's in the car!}

    I'm not telling you this about him to discourage you at all but I think it helps to know you are not the only mama who has a high needs baby. It just changes your way of thinking about motherhood and honestly, these past 10 months have drawn me closer to the Lord and have made me a better mama.

    I highly recommend The Fussy Baby Book by Dr. Sears, it has been an encouraging resource for me over these past few months.

    Praying for you as you begin to adjust to life with 3 {and I'll be completely honest, I'm still adjusting to life with 2 since Weston is high needs!}

    1. Rachel, thanks for sharing!

      Katie was by far my loudest baby, but she adjusted eventually and slept well in her bed. Joshua isn't quite as loud and I'm more of a softy than I was back then, so we're just learning how to manage with him in my arms most of the time.

      I haven't ever been "a babywearer" before (just wore my babies at the grocery store and church as newborns, mainly), but I think Joshua is turning me into one. So, I'm realizing what all I can do with a baby strapped to my person! He will go in the baby swing for a few minutes here and there, so I try to use those minutes as productively as I can.

      And I keep telling myself that one of these days I will *miss* cuddling with this little man and I'm trying to just enjoy him and not worry too much about what all isn't getting done.

      It helps that Ben is super involved with the older kids (he does what he can with Joshua, but at this point, he mostly just wants mama!) and really pitches in with stuff around the house. Our home is definitely more disheveled than it was pre-Joshua, but it really is okay for now.

      Thank you for your prayers and for the book recommendation. I'll have to look it up!

  3. I only have one, but I know that feeling off not having enough hands free, mainly when I'm trying to cook dinner right during fussy time. I am still figuring out the babywearing thing. I like the IDEA of it, but baby boy isn't so sure.

    No advice here...just that I came from a big family and there was always enough love to go around, and I loved having siblings. Though my mom may have been a bit stressed at times, and wishes she had accepted more help back in the day.

  4. I also was going to recommend The Fussy Baby Book by Dr. Sears! It has really helped me understand and cope with my very high needs baby! He is 3 months old, and naps only in my arms. I lay him down when I need to get something done, and he's awake in 5 to 10 minutes. I have learned to clean and cook and even homeschool in spurts! I have a Snuggy Baby linen ring sling, and it is wonderful! I wear it almost everywhere we go, but I find it hard to do chores/clean/cook wearing him. He wants stimulation constantly! I love your blog and encourage you to check mine out, although I just started one!