Three sets of precious, sticky hands climbing all over me. Three different high-pitched voices asking me questions or squealing and pointing for something. Three mouths to feed with different dietary needs. Three bums to wipe, in one way or another… Three different little people who want mommy to play with them in their own form of play. Three beautiful little kids that need time and attention from me… One me.
Where I live, people tend to have around three or so kids. But outside of this area I often get questions about how I divide my time between my little ones… The answer is, I wing it.
By "wing it", I mean that I have become flexible and adaptable to their ever-changing needs. And by “ever -changing”, I mean it-all-depends-on-the-day. Some days one kid just needs more than the others... whether that be emotionally or physically, that kid may just need more of mom than the other two. Some days circumstances allow me to focus on a specific child while the others are taken care of or require less. But most days, they all have their needy moments and either they learn to be patient while waiting for my focus, or they learn to share attention with a sibling. No matter what, Scott and I do our best to make sure all three feel secure and loved.
As a mom with kids so close in age, I believe there is real value in teaching your kids to share mom-time with their siblings. They become more independent, they learn patience, and they learn that the world doesn’t revolve completely around them, all the while knowing they are valued and loved by their family… That is, if I'm doing it right. Most days, I think that I am.
Scarlett, Welles, and Ames are incredibly close for such little kids. They lean on one another, help one another, and need one another in such a beautiful and unique way. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I can’t be everywhere at once and often times, they rely on a sibling for entertainment and engagement. I can’t even tell you how priceless it is to observe your kids “needing" each other. It’s beautiful to see that strong bond between such young, little humans. It’s so reassuring to know that if for whatever reason, I can’t be there, they have each other AND they love each other.
While individual needs do change from day to day, there are a few constants…
Scarlett needs a lot of emotional attention. She thrives on one-on-one time and acts out when she isn’t getting enough.
Welles needs more physical and focused attention. He needs me to engage and work on therapies and cognitive learning exercises. I can’t just say “no throwing” when he hurls a car at his brother thinking they’re playing catch... I have to walk over, use the signs for “hurt” and “sad” while saying those words repeatedly and try to explain it in a way he can understand, until I see that it has registered with him.
Ames just needs the way any one-year-old needs. He needs me to feed him, carry him, and baby him... because he is, in fact, a baby!
While days get sticky and schedules get thrown off, I try to maintain balance with their three different personalities. I know that my day will go smoother if Scarlett gets ten good minutes of my undivided attention in the morning. She will be more helpful and much happier if we can start off with this little amount of one-on-one time. Until recently, that girl used to rise around 10:30 a.m. Now I wake her up before getting the boys, (who are already up jabbering from crib-to-crib) and talk to her about the day ahead. I snuggle and kiss her cheeks until I feel like her emotional piggy bank is full enough. Then she darts down the hall to see the boys and try to lift them from their cribs!
The boys don’t even give me a choice… right now their needs simply have to be met to survive. And Welles’ “extra needs” are pretty darn easy to handle. In reality, he is the lowest maintenance in this phase of life. Part of me thinks this might always be the case… he just rolls with the punches and demands cuddles when he knows it’s a good time. Something about his sweet nature is just so easy.
Being a mom to three kids with such specific and different needs keeps me from feeling spread thin. It can be quite draining, and some days, I feel like I failed one of the kids. Luckily for me, they are incredibly forgiving and resilient… So instead of feeling the ‘mom guilt’, I try and plan better for the next day. While having three kids is what makes me spread thin, I’m so glad that my kids have one another to make up where I lack throughout the day. It really works exactly the way it’s supposed to…