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Surviving the Third Baby

parenting

I took a pregnancy test on a whim late in July of 2011. It immediately turned negative, so I breathed a sigh of relief and tossed it in the garbage. A minute later, I had one of those hmmmmm moments, so I pulled the test out of the garbage to reveal a plus sign.

This is why you buy pregnancy tests in two-packs.

An hour later, I took another one, and it said GIRL DID I LOOK LIKE I WAS JOKING? YOU ARE PREGNANT, FOOL.

I ran through about five emotions in the next 30 seconds. Disbelief, fear, despair, surprise … but I immediately knew that Jack would be thrilled. I am always grateful for new life and beautiful gifts, so I would never want Minnie to think that she was ever – even for a moment — unwanted. I just had a lot of processing to go through. Remmy wasn’t even three yet, and Sophie only 17 months. There were the asthma issues (all of the allergies had not yet been diagnosed) and the kidney issues and the parenting-two-little-kids-is-hard issues and the this-is-expensive issues. Could I handle another kid?

Guess what, y’all, Minnie’s going to be a year old in 43 days, and I’m not dead yet. I’ve got three children, and my oldest is four, and somehow no one’s threatened to throw me in a room with padded walls. I’m a little premature in saying this because Minnie’s not quite one … but I’ve survived the first year.

surviving-the-third-baby

A couple thoughts from a not-so-seasoned veteran:

GET HELP. A month after Minnie was born, Jack needed major knee surgery and was in bed for a solid two weeks, with me to care for all three girls all day and all night. A friend organized a few allergy-friendly meal deliveries. A wonderful woman in our community organized a diaper drop-off. A friend came to watch Sophie while I took Remmy and the baby to dance class. All of that collective help within the first month of Minnie being born was a total sanity saver. The new baby + husband surgery recovery stage was intense. (PS Jack, you’re never playing soccer again).

I wrote this blog post about helping new moms, and I’ve been really thrilled every time I get a note from someone who tells me how helpful it was. If you’re pregnant, send it along to your BFF, and I promise she won’t think you’re being shady or self-serving. (IF SHE DOES, send me her email address so I can chat with her. Or subscribe her to Cat Facts.)

If you don’t have any family or friends near you, poke around online for a local parenting group. Find an affordable babysitter, and get drastic if you have to. (For example: We have a television, but we don’t ‘get’ television. We’d rather put the $100 towards something else – like a babysitter!, and are skating by fine with our $8/month Netflix subscription.)

LET GO OF GUILT. ALL OF THE GUILT. You know how when you’re on an airplane, and the flight attendant instructs you to put on your oxygen mask before helping others? I feel that way about the sanity of a mother. Don’t feel guilty about letting the kids watch an episode or two of SuperWhy or serving cereal and a piece of fruit for dinner. Don’t feel guilty about not ending every night with a warm, relaxing bath for the children and four softly read stories. Don’t feel guilty about the laundry piling up.

You’re in transition, and it’s the craziest kind of transition.

– Little kids watching TV is not the end of the world. It really isn’t! I know we read studies and worry that our children will end up to be ____, but trust me on this one. If you’re fighting a cold and the baby is teething and your other kids are having a rough day, put on a show, sit them in front of it, and get a little peace. A little TV time is worth your sanity, truly. I’ll even shove Remmy and Sophie’s toddler beds together, set up an hour long show on Jack’s iPad, and let them watch it in their room while Minnie is sleeping so I can clean in the living room/kitchen without hearing any obnoxious music for awhile. [Editing to add: a clean house makes me feel good.  I will utilize Netflix if that means I can make my house cleaner.]

It’s fine, guys.

I simplified like crazy this last year, and I will not let myself feel guilty over it. Pinterest is awesome … and awful, in that sense.

– I did not make one handmade gift at Christmas time.
– I bought everything online, and teachers got a gift card. (Not a gift card in a handmade globe made out of a mason jar and glitter either. Love the idea. Didn’t sacrifice the time or effort.)
– I haven’t thrown an ornate birthday party in … ever. Sophie turned three last month, and I invited exactly five little girls over for a Saturday morning playdate. We baked a cake, put out juice boxes, fruit, gluten-free Cheerios, and apple pouches.  We bought bagels and cream cheese from a bakery, and made coffee in the French press. I didn’t have a single activity or craft prepared.  I put on a kid friendly CD, and the girls danced and played dress up.

It was great fun, without any added stress or guilt for not doing anything grander.

sophies-party

– You need sleep. If you need to let your baby cry it out so the whole family gets rest, do so without guilt. If you physically cannot stand hearing your baby cry and you need to co-sleep so the whole family gets rest, do so without guilt. If you need to pass out on the couch exactly 90 seconds after putting your kids to bed, do it to it, boo.

LET YOUR KIDS HELP. I know it seems completely “unhelpful,” from the beginning I told Remmy + Sophie that Minnie is their baby sister so they have to help because she is theirs. Sure, it’s a little weird, but even a two year old can fetch a clean diaper from the basket or retrieve a paci from across the room. I was afraid that there would be a lot of jealousy, and while there was an adjustment period, Remmy + Sophie dote on Minnie in the sweetest ways. If Minnie wakes up from a nap, Sophie will run to me with “Mommy, come quick! My baby is crying.” That melts even my cold, hard heart.

Get them to fold their blankets on their bed and put their shoes in the shoe basket. (More on toddlers and preschoolers doing chores here.) Tell them they can’t watch that episode of SuperWhy until their Legos are back in the Lego basket. Hand them each a baby wipe and tell them to go wipe down all of the door knobs in the house.

Be honest with them. I’ve said, “Mommy’s really tired and Minnie’s not feeling so well. I know you want to do a painting project right now, but how about we pretend that you’re a doctor, and I’ll lie down on the couch with Minnie while you give us a check up?” We want to teach them that family isn’t about Mom + Dad catering to their every needs (okay, we do when they’re babies), but family is about being a team.  :)

UGHHHH I’m SO SORRYYYY this is such a long post. I’ll stop for the sake of your sanity, but I’m happy to continue the conversation in the comments, if anyone has any thoughts or questions or wants to flame me for anything I’ve said here. I’ve got my beekeeper’s suit on. And if you’ve got tips, we love tips. Leave ’em for me, please.  :)

A note: This post got a lot of great feedback and I’m grateful for it!  I’ve written a follow-up called 7 Game Changers for Parents – a compilation of practices and products that have helped me.  Hopefully it helps you, too!

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124 Comments

  • Reply Kelly February 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I survived four, and I love your advice. My husband and I like to say that we parent for the long haul, so the occasional not so awesome moment or collapsing on the couch exhausted for a night isn’t going to make or break our kids.

    I’m now in the next phase of parenting with kids in high school and elementary school, and I have to say I need this post for those years since it’s soooooo much harder than I thought it would be. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but while sleep deprivation and tantrums suck, tweens and teens are tough, yo. They do have their benefits too though like getting to watch the Daily Show with my 15 year old, and being able to take them to a restaurant without fear of injury, my public humiliation, or a meltdown (usually mine!). ;)

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Oh noooo. I’m hoping that I can weather the tween/teen storm well enough. o_O The idea of sleeping solid hours is really appealing.

  • Reply Kirby February 25, 2013 at 11:32 am

    You know…all those studies that say watching TV is BAD, BAD, BAD…..can SUCK it! Really, are these people REAL parents? I have to shower….Oh look Doc McStuffins is on.

    Oh, your baby is crying why don’t you pick her up? WHAT? She’s feed, had a diaper change, and has been cuddled a little…she doesn’t cry blood and I have to pee….so she can cry and you know what….no you can not pick her up.

    Also….TEACH ME TO DO THAT PARTY THING….for Diva#1….b/c seriously….I’m too far into Diva#2’s 1st Birthday party to do less grander! Is there like a help group for that and if not, can you start up that group…you know via skype or something b/c I need help. Step 1: admiting you go overboard on party throwing!

    • Reply dee February 25, 2013 at 11:41 am

      The answer here is to keep having babies… lol – you’ll get over the party throwing thing quick :)

      • Reply Kirby February 25, 2013 at 11:45 am

        Dee….I think I’m good with the two divas….they are enough drama for me. I actually think that I’m just gonna take the oldest to the nail salon with 4 friends to get their nails painted and to have icecream. All the friends are actually cousins. We already do dinner the night of her birthday at her restaurant of choice….NOT McDonalds…

        • Reply Jessi February 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

          As much as I love Roo’s birthday party idea, I also love the nail salon or McDonalds ice cream party. So far my son is young enough that its just been family lunches.

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Haha, I don’t know if I’ll ever throw a huuuuuge party again. Three a year is a lot. If they were all born in the same month, then I’d probably do one big bash a year. :)

      • Reply Whitney October 25, 2013 at 10:59 am

        I love that you have stressed that birthdays do not have to be grand. I am pregnant with my third, so this post has really made me feel better about changes that I am putting in to place. As far as birthdays go, I have a huge family! Our parties consist of having a party somewhere free, having snacks, cake, and goodies bags, with a few activities thrown in. I have to admit I love planning the parties, but it gets expensive to do simple with that much family and a handful of friends to invite. I decided I will do birthday parties like I have been doing up to 5 years old for every child (my son just turned 5 this year). After that, they will be able to pick a handful of friends and choose something fun to do (camping, movie theater, salon, sleepover, trip to the zoo, etc) for their birthday, and we will have an easy dinner with close family to celebrate. Also, I have already put in place that my husband and I will not buy birthday presents for them anymore. They get to much from everyone else, not to mention Christmas gifts. We will use that money for “experiences” instead. We will go somewhere and do something fun as their gift, instead a toy that will be thrown aside in a month or two.

        • Reply Heidi April 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm

          When I read that y’all won’t buy them presents anymore, I was a little shocked, but then BAM! That is an AWESOME idea! Teaching them to be adventurous, creative, and to value time with family over stuffs! Man. That’s a great idea.

          • Erin May 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm

            Agreed! I totally love that idea! I saw something on pinterest about the “four gift” rule for christmas: 1 thing they want, 1 thing they need, 1 thing they wear, 1 thing they read… thought it was a good idea for structure at christmas to keep from going overboard.

  • Reply amy volk February 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

    this is so excellent, Roo. I love your posts and even though my twins are now 14, I spend so much of my organizing and blog time writing to moms about similar topics. Us moms are so good about adding to our plate and never taking away. And the guilt. Oh Lord, don’t get me started. And we don’t expect our kids to contribute to the house, which doesn’t help them become grown ups that make good roommates.
    Anyway, love this post. And congrats on Minnie turning 1 and surviving 3 girls for a year:)

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:27 am

      Thanks so much, Amy! Wow, 14. That age seems so far away, but I’m sure (and am scared) that it’ll go by quickly.

  • Reply Kim February 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

    You have more than survived, you’ve kicked the first year’s butt! Ninja style! When my (now almost 2 year old) was 9 months old I found out that I was pregnant with baby number 2. Note to self: breastfeeding and rarely ummmm….”fornicating” is not good enough birth control. I was so upset when I found out. Was so worried about not having enough alone time with my firstborn before the baby came. Now we have a 6 month old and almost 2 year old. Not gonna lie…shizz gets cray-cray up in here most days. House is always a disaster but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. These girls melt my heart!

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:27 am

      Totally crazy, wouldn’t change it. I’m with you, Kim!

  • Reply Kayla February 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Love this post!

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:27 am

      Thank you so much, Kayla! :D

  • Reply Kandyce February 25, 2013 at 11:38 am

    It doesn’t hurt that your kids are just too cute, right? When my daughter is keeping me up all night long, and then she just gives me that grin, well, it helps.

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Yes! Cute kids with big hugs are such a gift.

  • Reply catherine February 25, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I am expecting #2 & #3 at the same time in the next few weeks. I am going on a wild outing today to buy four new pairs of yoga pants (when you are 33 weeks with twins you do not get out much). I figure if I am going to live in them for this indefinite period of time, I might as well get some that are actually still black and are not quite so bag like. ;) Love that list for new moms!!

    • Reply Kirby February 25, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Best of Luck Catherine and Congrats!

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Whooooaaa!! Congratulations and good luck to you!

  • Reply Jenna February 25, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Roo…you are amazeballs. I think that EVERYONE should read this. The way you are raising your kids helps everyone out. There are too many children being brought up with the idea that the world revolves around them and I LOVE that you give your toddlers high expectations and expect them to reach them. You da bomb, gurrrrl!

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Awww Jenna, thank you so much!! :D

  • Reply Leah Butler February 25, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I bow to you – oh awesome mama of 3. You corral 3 energetic babies and haven’t snatched yourself bald. That makes you a superhero in my book. Do you have a cape? Seriously, someone should buy you a cape. With sparkles on it.

    There are days when the 1 I have seems like way way way too much. I love her dearly – but I have absolutely NO guilt setting her up in her room with a movie on the IPad, because she’s decided it’s a “SCREAMING” day and mamma can’t take it anymore.

    Elmo, take me AWAY!!! (seriously, I would love to never hear that annoying voice again, but Podlette and Elmo are like [this] right now. So I will grit my teeth and slip on the noise cancelling earphones.)

    She’s happy as a clam and SILENT for an hour or so and I can check/answer my emails without feeling like my head will implode from the decibels at any moment.

    Win. Win.

  • Reply Jenny February 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

    PERFECT.
    I just survived my first year as a mom to two. I started the year with a 2 year old and on bedrest with pregnancy complications then moved on to one emergency move (gas leaks are no joke, y’all–especially if you had a c-section 10 days earlier), two major moves (170 miles away for work… then back again), and a hit-and-run T-bone accident with both kids in the car (everyone’s fine!). I have to agree 110% with Ditch the Guilt!! You gotta do what you gotta do. If you do it with love and integrity you’ve got nothing to apologize for.

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Oh.. my… gosh… that’s so insane, Jenny! I’m glad you’re okay, and I hope things are settling down for you.

  • Reply Tessa February 25, 2013 at 11:43 am

    We are coming up on our #3’s first birthday in two weeks, so your post is most timely :) I am also happy to say that I’ve survived the first year with 3 and it has actually been…wonderful. Great advice on doing what works for you and ditching the guilt. Be ready to roll with the punches. What worked with your first one (or two) might not work with #3. Loved this post.

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

      Yayyyy! Happy birthday! And you’re totally right about what worked for #1 or #2 might not work for #3. Each baby comes with a learning curve.

  • Reply Jenn Gould February 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Just wanted to say that you are a breath of fresh air. Being a single mom to one, was difficult….but GAP! (God Always Provides) and He helped me in so many ways to somewhat keep my sanity during those early years. My son is a wonderful, caring, God fearing human at 13 years old. I sat him in front of the t.v. when he was an infant and he watched those Mozart videos, when I needed to take a shower or eat. :) He’s fine. One last thing…..you rock.

    • Reply Kirby February 25, 2013 at 11:51 am

      See studies….here’s some PROOF…..no guilt and you are clean and fed.

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

      Girl, taking a shower and eating is totally important. So glad to hear you’ve raised such a good kid. Way to go, Jenn!

      • Reply Whitney October 25, 2013 at 11:08 am

        I have to say that showers are important, but mine usually involve my soon to 2 year daughter taking one with me while my 5 year old son watches cartoons. Mainly because she has curly, tangled hair, that always has food or something suck in it, and after an 8 hour day at work and providing dinner and help with homework, I cannot mustard the strength to give her one at night before bed. I just get up in the morning and set her in the bottom of the shower with me with a few bath toys. She plays while I shower, then I shower her. So much easier, and faster! I don’t feel bad about it at all. I did it with my son until I thought he was at an age he no longer needed to be in there with me. Now he usually get in with my husband.

  • Reply Ri February 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Awesome post! 8 months through our first year with two and I couldn’t agree more. Not yet ready for three….but I find my mind (heart) often visiting that place. Guilt still creeps its way in, but advise like yours helps me push it away. Thanks Girl!

  • Reply Mindy Harris February 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    super super post. our third is due in 9 weeks and i’m terrified.
    thank you for all of this encouragement!

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

      You’re welcome, Mindy! I hope it helps!

  • Reply Mama Melch February 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Little helpers can be the best and we definitely ALL help out around our house too. BTW: We also LOVE Netflix’s new Kid’s Only section AND the fact that our kids aren’t inundated with commercials while they watch their favorite shows. We just had to explain to the 4 1/2 year old what a commercial was and she was all, “Oh, well I don’t like them.” Neither do we honey, Yay Netflix!!!

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Haha, yeah, that’s definitely a plus! I like that they’re not bombarded with product pushing, either.

  • Reply Erin February 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I think you’re a great mom.

    • Reply Roo February 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Aw, thanks, Erin!!

  • Reply Ruth February 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for not writing another one of those guilt riddled articles on how I should have set aside the chores and cherished more time with my children! There is a time for everything — quality moments, chores and watching TV. My kids (now 20, 18 and 16 years of age) have fond memories of me pulling out the sleeper sofa, popping popcorn, and playing kid friendly movies for them. In fact rainy days were a particularly good time to do this activity. My daughter still declares “rainy day schedule” whenever the weather is overcast. In addition, my children are straight “A” students and college bound with scholarship offers. Controlled TV viewing didn’t stunt them. Doing chores taught them responsibility even if it was watching me do the majority of them when they were little. Quality time was all that more special when we managed to squeeze some in between feedings, diaper changing, play dates, bathing, laundry, housecleaning…and well, you get the idea…you are living it, too!

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:36 am

      Yeah, for real.. I cannot break out crafts every day… I wish I could… I just try not to feel guilty about it. :)

  • Reply Christy February 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Congrats on surviving another year! While I don’t have kids, I really appreciate your honesty about doing what you have to do. Because let’s face it, that’s life. Another tip under the get help section is to use the neighborhood kids. I remember when I was 11 or 12 I wasn’t old enough to be left for infant triplets and a 4 year old for an evening, but I was old enough to entertain the 4 year old and keep an eye on the sleeping triplets for a couple of hours while their mom was working on a deadline, trying to tackle some household items, or just relishing some quiet time in another room. And as a bonus, someone who is 11 or 12 isn’t going to charge as much as someone in high school with a car or in college for that matter. And sometimes, kids just think babies are cool and just want to hangout with, so let them and get done what you need to get done while they are occupied.

    • Reply Katherine February 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      this is a great tip! we’ve paid a “mommy’s helper” to play with our kids before. i am upstairs with my door locked and our 9 year old neighbor is playing candyland (worst game ever). win/win. the college students we hire aren’t as into candyland.

      i just wrote about our “do it yo’self” movement here at home, in which i make my kids pull a little more of their own weight at home. it takes work up front (because it’s faster to just do it myself) but then i don’t feel like a martyr all day. so that is a big plus for getting kids to do their own chores.

  • Reply Elizabeth February 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Oh, this post is so timely!!!! Thank you!! I’m pregnant with my third, due in three weeks. We were quite surprised when I found out I was preggers (found out at 15 weeks!!!). My oldest is 3 1/2 and my second is 17 months. I don’t feel all that ready to have a third and for my current baby not to be my “baby” anymore. It’s nice to know that it’s survivable. :)

  • Reply melissa February 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    super happy that you made it and it makes me feel like i can do it! #2 due in a few weeks and while im not at the #3 stage, it still gives me hope, warm fuzzies, confidence boosters, you know the drill! I remember when my son turned one there was a whole lot of high fiving in the parenting department :) we made it!!!
    and congrats to getting Minnie to 1! (almost, but who’s really counting? )
    A+ girl! you make it look easy! honesty appreciated!!!!!!!!
    u rule and your how i feel posts- KILL ME :)
    love them- please do them more while im on maternity leave- im gonna need the laughs! haha

  • Reply Heather Groves February 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I needed this. I nanny in my home so it’s like I have 2. Often feeling like a bad mom/nanny when I put on a show or ask my diva to put my kicks in the basket. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone.

  • Reply Patti February 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    WOW! I have no kids of my own yet, but reading this post made me a little exhausted. I have to give it up to all the parents out there trying to keep sane. I had a coworker who had a kid almost every year. Right before he left the company (in 2011), his wife was pregnant with their 5th kid and the eldest was like 7-years-old. OMG. I’m not sure how they managed, but they did just fine and the kids were well-behaved.

    I enjoy reading about other people’s kid-filled lives. It lets me see what I can look forward to in the future…

  • Reply Kelly February 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I loved this post…we have had many a TV/sick day and waffle dinner over here, too. BUT, I would caution against endorsing Cry It Out, studies have now shown that letting a baby cry it out damages synapses, the effects of which are not known on their future development. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201112/dangers-crying-it-out

    • Reply Roo February 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      I clicked on it and skimmed, but I haven’t read through the whole thing. I’ve read many, many studies on both sides, and I think any person could drive himself/herself absolutely crazy if they try to weigh all the research for it and against it. I think all we can do is whatever we feel is best for ourselves and our children, and try to do that without any attached guilt. Whether it’s co-sleeping or crying it out or breastfeeding or formula feeding, staying at home or working, etc.

  • Reply Missy February 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Oh hey, I know just how that pregnancy test thing goes. I had #4 when #3 was only 16 months old. Only with mine the positive is what happened immediately. That ain’t no etch-a-sketch. This is one doodle can’t be undid, home skillet.
    The first few months were brutal and sometimes it’s still brutal – HELLO TERRIBLE TWOS, but I give a solid AMEN to everything in this post. I DID have a big party for #4s first birthday (since it was my last first birthday party) but I haven’t had a single birthday party for any of my others since he was born. They have way more fun doing exactly what you did anyway.
    I also LOVE putting my kids to work. My 9 year old unloads the dishwasher. The other day she asked if it could be J’s job when he got bigger (he’s the 2 year old). I said, “Sure, he can do this and you can start doing the laundry.” Ha!

  • Reply Stephanie February 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    You seem to be raising your girls beautifully and it reminds me so much of how my mom raised my sister and I. There are so many parents nowadays who have no idea what they are doing and allow their children to call all the shots. You guys are so awesome to be teaching your kids responsibility and respect!

  • Reply Lauren February 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Your advice is 100% on target. I have three boys who were all born in the span of less than 3.5 years. I think moms have an incredible amount of pressure to be perfect, lose the baby weight and look like a supermodel, raise kids who never watch TV and can solve a rubik’s cube by age 3, make all organic/healthy meals for kids and never allow them to eat a cookie, throw celebrity type kids’ birthday parties with ponies and a photo booth, and have a house like Martha Stewart. I’ve tried my best to ignore those pressures and have surrounded myself with friends (who are moms) who don’t buy into that and accept me in my sweat pants. And teaching kids to help is an investment that doesn’t always pay off right away. I’ve always told my boys that we live in a “helper house” and we can do fun things together because I don’t have to spend as much time taking care of their mess. Now that they are older, I can see it working and it makes life at home more fun for everybody . . . especially me:)

  • Reply Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution February 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    My fiance’s mom was really worried that his sister would have jealousy issues when he was born, so she made sure to point out that he was HER baby as much as he was THEIR baby, and to this day, his sister credits their awesome/amazing brother-sister bond to that. They have a relationship I wish I had with my sister (love her to death, but we’ve never been BFF’s, just sisters!). It’s an amazing way to bond siblings.

  • Reply Kristen February 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I really enjoyed this article. When my youngest was born, I had three kids age 3 and under. Now they are 4, 20 months and 4 months. It is a little easier now but at first, I felt like I was trying to “doggy paddle” in the deep end and was barely staying above water. My MIL described it like this: you’re drowning and someone throws you a…baby. Yes, the survival has been a little rough but I am so thankful for each of my little blessings. Your tips are great. I need a reality check sometimes…not every birthday celebration has to come straight out of a Martha Stewart magazine. If Roo doesn’t, why should I ;-)

    • Reply Danae' August 7, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Your oldest two are close in age to my two. Was #3 planned and were you scared when you found out you were pregnant? I have been struggling with the idea of having a third child. I think it’s just my fear that holds me back. Things like will one child feel left out since they out number us? Can I handle it? But then I think since it’s always on my mind then I might regret it if we didn’t try for our third. I just need some advice from moms of three. To those who planned their third, how did you make the decision so easily?

  • Reply Lauren February 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    This is great to read, as I’m 15 weeks into my first pregnancy. It’s nice to hear your “stay cool, loves” approach to parenting when all I’m getting from others is “IS YOUR CRIB A DEATH TRAP?” “NO TV EVER EVER NEVER!” and “MY PARENTING IS PERFECT, NO WAY YOU CAN LIVE UP.” Yes, they are all screaming. Loudly.
    Keep it up, Super Mom.

  • Reply Kirsten February 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I’m 13 weeks pregnant with my first (congrats, Lauren!), so while it isn’t all relevant, it sure is good to remember. I’ve also pinned it for later use. :) Love your blog, though I don’t speak up much.

  • Reply Emily February 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    This is amazing. I read a few favorite blogs while the munchkin falls asleep for his nap, also known as ‘mommy time,’ before I clean. He is currently shouting at me, ‘I don’t want to take a nap. Can I get up now?’ I am guiltlessly shouting back. ‘no! Go to bed! Mommy needs a few minutes!’ LOL! Good grief.

  • Reply Nicole February 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Great post! My first will be 1 in 7 days (woohooo!) and I’ve had #2 on my mind for awhile… reading this has given my hope that I can indeed survive parenting multiple children.

  • Reply Corinne A. February 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Yes, I love this post. The party thing was my fav – I’ve killed myself the last few years throwing big parties for my 3 year old and guess what? Totally NOT worth it time/money when he just wanted to feel special for his day and that could’ve been done for so much cheaper/easier. We are considering a 3rd baby at some point (our youngest is 14 months), but yikes – it seems crazy.

  • Reply Lindsay Durrenberger February 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Just had my first 7 months ago. You are my mom-hero.

  • Reply Liz February 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I only have one little nugget and while we want more, the thought of three seems so overwhelming. But, I feel more prepared now than I did before. I’m almost to the point of being like “bring it on! I want a house full of babies!” but I’m pretty sure that’s the wine, er, my ovaries talking. ;)

  • Reply Meagan B. February 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I have I think thirteen different levels of guilt I operate on and so anytime someone reminds me to let it go, it’s helpful! I only have two sweet boys but I watch my niece and nephew as well! This time last year I had a 3 year old, a 2 year old, a 3 month old, and a newborn. Granted it was only during the day that I had all four, but it was intense! I always felt like not enough and thankfully its much easier now with no babies but it’s still no cakewalk! My advice to all momma’s: love your kids as much as you can each day, beyond that they won’t care if you haven’t showered or fed them anything but pb&j all week. They really really won’t. And take time for yourself, whatever that may look like :)

  • Reply Natasha February 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    YES YES YES AND YES. Adding #3 to the mix has been crazy, hard, and WONDERFUL. Great advice Roo :)

  • Reply Robin Dini February 25, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    this is awesome and some much needed “no guilt” advice that I needed to hear. I totally feel ya on the “holy crap” moment when you find out your unexpectedly pregnant. You nailed the emotions! I felt the same way when we found out about Sam (the day of Harrison’s first birthday party) and I had to take four tests before I would believe it, then sobbed, then had to shake it off because we were entertaining 40 close friends and relatives for the birthday party. And i’m so with you on the TV thing. So many people like to judge, but unless you’ve been there, sometimes it’s a necessary evil. It helps their imagination! It’s not going to hurt them! Just check out what they are watching. We’re all about Bob the Builder, Reading Rainbow, and Blues Clues in this home. Netflix is stellar!

  • Reply Sara February 25, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I’ve got one 4 year old stepson, but he’s only been “mine” for about two years and living with us full-time for less than one now. I am constantly battling the voice in my head that says “You’re going to ruin him! You need to do crafts every day, and make sure you spend X amount of time on educational toys, and he watches too much TV, and you only read him two books tonight, and…” It makes me crazy, and the husband even crazier, since he’s the one that actually stays home with him. So, thank you for this post, because I’m trying to remember that I don’t have play with him ALL the time, it’s okay if he cries because he lost at the matching game, and it won’t kill him if all he’ll eat is ravioli and applesauce for a day or two.

  • Reply VivaLaCottage February 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    One more Roo for President vote right here. This was a great post! And you’re such an awesome mamacita.
    So really appreciated the let go of guilt part especailly since it’s nice to know we’re not alone. That this cross of guilt is something many matriarchs do bare. When we’re extra busy sometimes, we let Lucy watch 2.5 hrs of Olivia (.5 past the recommended time for her age) and feel horrible. Granted this is after girlfriend’s been taken to her creative class, the library, and the park. But once we reflect and come to our senses, we make peace with it all.
    And we’ve also tried to loosen up on what we think good parenting is. We use to think it was so inappropriate to breastfeed once the child had teeth and also thought the child belonged in their own room no ifs, what, where’s or buts. I breastfed Lucy until she was 2.75 and she still sleeps with us. Booyah in our face!

  • Reply Kim of The Made Thing February 26, 2013 at 9:34 am

    This is exactly how I was raised–we did our share around the house. Caper charts to the rescue! However, boyfriend was NOT raised this way. His mom cleaned everything for him and his dad. Same with his grandfathers… and so on. We’re, or rather I, am working on changing this aspect of what he deems right.

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  • Reply Monique February 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Amazing, as always. Officially my favorite Blogger!

  • Reply Heidi February 26, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Love this post, Roo :)

  • Reply shannon February 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    yup yup yup.
    not gonna lie–#3 was tough. tougher than 2. i had 3 under 4 also.
    then the memories fade and you’re all “hey…4 is only one more than 3”. so you have #4.
    and then…whoops. here comes #5.
    and #5 threw me for a loop. it took a solid year for us to find our footing again as a family. she’s now 3 months shy of 2, and i’m finally–FINALLY–feeling like we’re there. we can do things. i can (somewhat) handle things. don’t get me wrong–i have weekly (daily?) breakdowns.
    but i wouldn’t trade it for the world.
    great post, roo.

  • Reply Lauren February 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    My mom, grandma and I are all teachers and I just have to say that gift cards are probably my favorite and most used gifts. Also food. And chocolate. But I cant tell you the number of times we’ve recieved an adorable, pinterest-y, hand made gift that really doesnt do anything and just gets thrown away. There’s only so many handmade things and worlds best teacher ornaments you can get before it just becomes clutter and you have to throw it all away. Probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever recieved was just a few oranges tied in ribbon.

  • Reply Aya Amurjuev February 27, 2013 at 1:54 am

    LOVED THIS POST. I think one of the reasons I got hooked on your blog is that I, too, have three teeny humans living in my home… and my oldest is turning three this Friday! I read the part about letting go of the TV guilt…. guiltily :) I am not sure I am ready to turn in my anti-TV crusader sword, but you have definitely given me some food for thought. I bow in awe at your awesome courage in creating that awesome, kid-and-mom friendly birthday party which your girls clearly loved. I made a whole pinterest board of things I wanted to do for ny daughter`s party on Friday, but alas, I have NO TIME for any of them. I may still make a half-hearted attempt at a balloon garland. I so, so want to make the balloon garland, which no one will notice or care about, but will go some way to assuaging my pent-up mommy guilt :) I miss my stay-at-home mom days, when theoretically I was free to make as many amazing super mommy crafts as I wanted…. but never did because I was too overwhelmed by taking care of the kids 24-7. Oh well at least now I have a decent excuse :) I will wrap up by saying…. why do I not live in Connecticut or you not live in Ontario so our kids can be friends and attend each others birthday parties? This is very, very unfair. Also….. what is Superwhy and why have I never heard of it? (I know, I know, going to google it right now….)

  • Reply Brittany February 27, 2013 at 8:13 am

    You know I know this drill and what the hell is wrong with me that I want one more? Here’e the thing I love, you love a clean house too! The internet was starting to make me feel like chaos was the norm and I can say that having a plan for keeping the house in some state of cleanish makes a big difference in managing the kids and teaches them that it is important.

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Totally, Brittany! Plus I think it does a lot of good for my soul.

  • Reply Keva February 27, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Roo-
    Funny enough, my oldest daughter (who will be 5 in April) we call her Roo. Her name is Aurora, but a “Roo” she is! My sister sent this to me since we are due with our 3rd in 3 months. GOD LOVE YA SISTER for this blog and this post! I completely agree with everything you’ve said! My middle daughter’s name is Sophia. LOL! And supposedly we are going to have another little girl here on Memorial day. Still trying to figure out a name for her. It just might have to wait till she arrives.
    Thank you for the smiles and the great advice!
    xoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxox
    Keva

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:33 am

      Oh gosh, Keva! You’re going to do great! Having three girls is wooooonderful! :D

  • Reply Trav February 27, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I went from 1 to 3kids in less than a year and I completely agree with wha you wrote!

    • Reply Roo February 28, 2013 at 12:32 am

      Whoaaaaaa, Trav, that is intense! Glad you made/you’re making it through it!

  • Reply Linnae February 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Before I had kids, I used to think I had the whole parenting thing figured out: what I would do, would I would NEVER do.. Then along came kids (we have 3 as well, with baby turning one in a few months.) It’s amazing what you will do to a) get some sleep and be) keep your sanity. I’ve become a lot less critical of other parenting choices. Now I tend to think, if that was my kid, or my situation, maybe I would be choosing the exact same thing! I have tried to ease up on myself, too. It’s all good. Really.

  • Reply Tara February 28, 2013 at 6:00 am

    You are on my pedestal roo! I just had my first baby girl last Friday and am trying to get used to new mommy hood! I love your tips for first time moms! Even though I’ve only got the one 5day old baby there are SOOOO many things written here I can apply to my situation:) keep doing what you’re doing roo – you rock:)

  • Reply Sarah February 28, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Ah, Roo, this was great. So, so, so good, and very much what I needed to hear right now. Thank you for being so smart and down to earth–I feel like if I can find another mom who doesn’t do the mom-guilt thing, I can refuse to give in to it, too. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post.

  • Reply tanya February 28, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    My third baby was due yesterday. Nothing happening and I’m getting impatient but also freaking out a little. Thanks for your advice and confidence that I can do this!

  • Reply Tina @ Life Without Pink March 1, 2013 at 9:32 am

    OMG I did that with my second. I took the test and even though it had two lines I thought it was negative. So I had dinner with hubby, glass of wine and then all of a sudden it hit me! I pulled the test out of the trash and yep positive!

  • Reply Beth March 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Not to mention that you don’t look like you even had ONE kid… whatever. XO

  • Reply Jessica @FoundtheMarbles March 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    The sleep part is so important. I’m a much better mother after a good night’s sleep with a whole different kind of tolerance.

  • Reply sherry March 1, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Sleep is king and letting go of the guilt are the big ones for me

  • Reply MichelleLG March 2, 2013 at 1:11 am

    duuude, the plague of the clothing website emails- you bad. :) :) also, you are a genius and a super trooper mama. and for real, “my baby is crying” – i am mush. and now i want more babies. this was probably not the reaction you were going for… :) :)

  • Reply Janna March 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I found your website and formed an instant kinship with you because I also have three girls… Although mine are one stage ahead of yours. I have an 8,6 and 2.5 year old. Every day feels like I’m just trying to keep afloat! The laundry is crazy. Seriously. The gluten free diet is ridiculous. And the amount of seconds it takes them to bring every toy into the living room is amazing. It feels like we’ve been in this little girl stage of our lives for a reallllly long time! But then a kitchen dance party can make it all worth it!

  • Reply Shana D March 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Wait how is Minnie almost a year old already, I swear you just had her! My first year having three was so much fun, I look back on it now and wonder how the heck I did it and I kind of wish sometimes that I could go back to it. Not meant to contradict myself but dude it’s so much harder now lol

  • Reply Catherine March 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I just had a baby last June. the thought of three freaks me out a bit, actually a lot. Although I am sure everything would be fine.

  • Reply Nicki March 4, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Congratulations! You should check out momalom.com which is written by two sisters who have three each.

  • Reply Michelle @ Crazy Running Legs March 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for this post — I needed to read this! I am due with #3 in May and while it was planned, it’s now kind of hitting me — like Holy hell, what did I get myself into?? My kids will be 4 and almost 7 when this baby arrives and I am already letting them know they are going to be my little helpers. I keep telling myself I’ve met people who have had 12 kids, so I can make it with 3, right??

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  • Reply Abby March 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Just found your site through the This is How I Feel, BTW right on the money every time, but wandering around the site I found myself laughing more often than not! Thanks. Sure you get this all the time but we are on similar life paths girl. I just celebrated my identical twin boys’ 1st birthday on February 18th. Getting through that year, with my oldest, just turned three, was incredibly humbling. Good on ya for getting through yours with love and laughter cuz that’s what matters. And your girls are gorgeous, and my boys are total Baldwins, maybe arranged marriages….we’ll talk later…??!! ;)

  • Reply Savanna March 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I LOVE THIS POST. I think it’s so true for ALL moms- even if you’ve only got 1 kid. Mommy guilt is awful and the sooner you can just let it go, the happier your household will be!

  • Reply Sam March 20, 2013 at 7:39 am

    i loved your post! We’re going back and forth about having #3, and im excited and scared to death at the same time….makes me feel “normal” for like a second! lol

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  • Reply Nicole April 9, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    I’m right there with ya! In 7 more days I will have survived the first year…. Of the third child ;). My kids are 3 1/2, 2 & 1! And I’m exhausted lol. Your posts are hilarious and help get me through it all. Thanks Roo ;)

  • Reply Carissa May 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Thank you, I am pregnant with number #3 and freaking out a little (maybe a lot)… When this baby is born I will have a boy that is 3 years 2 months, a girl that is 1 year 4 months… I know it will be chaos… but u made me feel a little better!

  • Reply Elizabeth May 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

    This is great stuff! I have a two year old girl, a one year old girl, and a baby on the way. Thank you for posting this! Also, I agree with the tv and the cry it out bit whole heartedly. Super why and veggie tales are a common occurrence in our home. Otherwise, when would the kitchen get cleaned or the laundry done or dinner made? Never, that’s when! Also, my two year old knows almost all of her letters, which I think has a bit to do with super why. People need to calm down. Thanks again! Your girls are beautiful!

  • Reply Kelly @ IdealistMom.com June 30, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Love this. Thank you!

    I just had #2 and these are such good reminders. My favorite: “We want to teach them that family isn’t about Mom + Dad catering to their every needs (okay, we do when they’re babies), but family is about being a team.”

    I am probably more of a pain in the ass on the TV thing. My 5yo girl watches a fair amount of movies but I try not to let babies under 2 watch the TV. We gots some bad eyesight in this family and I don’t think screen time in the early years does us any favors!

    Pinning this and stumbling it too!

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  • Reply Natalie July 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Just want to say that as a teacher, gift cards are WAY preferred anyway.

    • Reply Heidi April 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Hahaha, I bet so! I know I would!

  • Reply Aasiah August 26, 2013 at 8:37 am

    On my 2nd baby now… Trying to hold onto to my sanity and get sleep while trying to keep my house clean! Coz a clean house makes me feel good too :) thanks for this piece of writing made me realise I really do need to let of the guilt and preserve my sanity!

  • Reply Bennet January 28, 2014 at 4:47 am

    I’ve never commented on a blog before, but this one really made me think. We have two boys (4 and 20 months) and are considering trying for #3 (hubby is more convinced than I am). What scares me is this… I’m all for minimizing the parties and crafts and so forth, if that stuff stresses you out. However, that is the stuff I really enjoy, and I’m afraid I won’t have time/energy for it. Getting crafty and planning big parties with decorations, a fancy homemade cake, fun themes, etc – that’s FUN for me… and I worry that I won’t be able to manage to do those things that are fun. I love to get out the paints/feathers/foamies/markers and let the boys make things, but then the little one starts eating them, or coloring the wall, or whatever, and the fun gets lost in the chaos. 3 seems like it would make those kinds of activities nearly obsolete.

  • Reply Lea February 13, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I’m pregnant with our 4th right now and I had the same response to that pregnancy test being positive and I think I’m still adjusting but I loved reading this! Sometimes we are really hard on ourselves as mothers and I’m especially bad about it. Reading this made me year up a little (silly pregnancy hormones!) cause to know that I’m not the only imperfect mother in the world or the only one who does these things makes me feel so much better! So thank you so much for this wonderful post! I really enjoyed reading it!

  • Reply zg February 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Thanks for this post. I have an 8mo old daughter and my husband and I are already plotting for #2 end of the year. I have days where I think this is so easy we can do 4 more and then there are moments that are polar opposite. This is inspiring to know that while it will be challenging – simplifying where it counts – will make it rewarding. You have a new sub fo life!

  • Reply Kat March 5, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I needed to hear this. Ive been feeling so guilty lately because I feel just terribly exhausted 3rd time around with two toddlers and my morning sickness-all day sickness is not being nice to me. Thank you again.

  • Reply corinne a. March 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I am amused that this is the second time I’ve commented on this, but here’s why: I just had my 3rd baby, via c-section and I just needed to read this again. My kids are watching too much TV and the transition time is tough. I actually had the stomach flu the day before I gave birth (all the barfing put me into labor) and I just feel like a huge wreck. I know my kids are going to be fine and child services is not going to take away my Netflix subscription, but there’s still some guilt happening for not being able to do really anything “normal” with them right now!

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  • Reply Jaclyn April 6, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Thank you for posting this. I’m currently pregnant with number 3 and have been so sick that I can hardly get out of bed. In the mean time my husband has been playing mom and dad and his version of cooking is take out. I’ve been pretty much freaking out on how I’m going handle three. Thank you for the encouragement.

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  • Reply Ali April 25, 2014 at 1:41 am

    Loving this post! Im 17 weeks prego with number three and my oldest wont be three until a month after im due! Ahh!!

  • Reply Christina October 9, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Just have to say that I just discovered your blog and now I have some catching up to do! I am pregnant with my third … My two girls are almost 4, and 2.5 … God was really looking out for me with my firstborn, because she is already showing that she loves to take care of not only her little sister but even me with my first trimester sickness. Anywho, thank you for this post, it helps me feel a little better about stuff I’m already doing ;) And I’ve heard that the transition from 1 to 2 children is actually tougher than going from 2 to 3. I can only hope!

  • Reply Kira January 20, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I have 2 daughters and i may be pregnant with my 3rd xhild. Money is already so tight. I just had my oldests 3rd birthday party. My youngest turns 2 at the end of march. I am stressing a bit but your post is amazing and heled me stay calm. Thank you!!

    • Reply Roo January 26, 2015 at 12:30 am

      Thanks for your nice comment, Kira! I’m sure you’re doing great.

  • Reply Cher B January 28, 2015 at 11:50 am

    My head is spinning. I just got the positive pregnancy test for baby number three about a week ago. My kids are ages 3 yr and 1 yr. I am so excited! I do however have a question. Has anyone had issues with “the middle child syndrome?” Or is this just another worthless case study where college grad students need to write a paper to pass?

  • Reply Jacqueline July 27, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I’m pregnant with baby #3. My boys are 8 and 2. I enjoyed reading this. My question is, how did you deal with being pregnant and taking care of the kids? All I can do is sleep and I feel awful for my boys not having the ME they need right now :(

    • Reply Roo July 29, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      It was reeeaally hard. I would lie down on the couch while they played in the living room, that sort of thing. Utilized babysitters when I could. Can 8 y.o. help occupy 2 y.o.? Give him some incentive to read him some books so you can take a fifteen minute breather?

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