Some Thoughts on Life With Three Kids

I recently asked you guys what you wanted to read about if I ever got the chance to sit down and write. Resoundingly, many of you asked what life is like with three kids. Or -- if you already have three kids -- what our daily schedule is like. Basically, a good number of you want to know what life am I living right now with children who are ages 7.5, 3, and 9 months.

This is way too much to cover in just one post, so today I thought I'd focus on how I don't have myself together. Like, at all. A few of you asked for tips and tricks on how to make life easier or more organized with three. I don't have those answers, and I wish I did. A few months ago, I was able to clean my entire house to the point of it being magazine-worthy. Today, it's a mess. I'm a mess!

Here's what I've come to realize: We all only have so much energy. Only so much time. And we have a gazillion priorities and things that NEED to be done today. If not YESTERDAY. It goes without saying that we cannot do it all, right? In summer, my husband is home from teaching and I feel like we get less done than ever. Our days right now have some semblance of structure . . . but, overall, we're going nowhere and getting very little done.

It drives me insane.

That isn't to say that having time to rest and free ourselves from the hectic pace of life isn't good and worth dwelling in. I'm talented at saying no and freeing up our schedule if I feel like we're doing too much. But there's the great void that you can fall into if you're not careful. I'm a person who thrives on routine. Working from home the last eight years has made it difficult for me to feel a sense of accomplishment. The days all run into the next days. It's maddening at times.

Throwing three kids into the mix of this can make me feel like a failure of a mom. Sure, I'm taking care of basic needs. Sometimes just keeping the kids alive is enough to give myself a big pat on the back. Other times, I feel I fall short in addressing their more complicated needs. Or in just providing opportunities for them to grow and expand their horizons. I'm a big believer in letting kids be bored and not providing tons of planned out activities. However, sometimes I feel like I just use that sentiment as an excuse to be lazy.

I'm at a point of introspection right now. It happens every summer. I take stock of what's going on and I think of ways to improve. Sometimes things stick. Other times, we end up in the same place we were before. My advice to those of you who are looking to make life with three kids easier is not to listen to me. You have to examine your own family. What areas do you feel are going well? Where do you think things are feeling crazy or like they're just not working? What are our family goals? How are we working toward them . . . and how are we working against ourselves?

We're currently discussing these important questions and how to address them. For example, I try to keep activities limited. Ada only does like one major "sport" (gymnastics) at a time. Then she does an informal choir. She doesn't do anything organized or that meets weekly beyond that. If we find something else, like a random weekend class, we'll consider adding it in if things aren't too busy. Resist feeling like you're not providing enough if you just have your child in one activity. I have to remind myself of this, too, because it seems like everyone I know has their kids in something every day of the week. They spend their afternoons, evenings, and weekends shuttling one here and the other there -- quite literally everywhere.

Which brings me to self-care. This is an area I don't do well with at all. It's going to be the topic of my next post. I'm not talking getting manicures and pedicures either. Basic tasks like feeding yourself throughout the day, drinking water, getting sleep when you can, and getting enough exercise are so, so, so important. When we have kids -- especially three or more -- self-care can easily fall by the wayside without us even realizing it. I learned this the hard way, as I've been struggling with a cycle of starve/binge eating . . . and, again, I didn't even realize I was doing it until I took a step back and realized what was going on.

Life with three kids is wonderful at times. At others, it can be chaotic and make you question all your major decisions. It can make you feel insecure and depressed. I wish it were easier. I wish there were more universal tips and tricks that would lend to more simplicity. But as much as the Internet and social media might like us to believe, there's no filter to wash over the tough times and make them prettier to deal with. Hey, at least we're in good company!

Some Thoughts on Life With Three Kids