You know those funny sayings about how moms care less about things as they have more children? Like this…
Well, it’s sort of true. I have never cared about the dirt thing, but I do care about nutrition, limited screen time, taking care of our things, safety, and of course much more. But, oh man. Let’s take a look at the things I just listed.
When my first child was little, I was so good with nutrition. I made healthy homemade cookies, muffins, granola bars, etc for snacks all the time. Now I rarely have time to bake and I find myself feeding them store bought granola bars and fruit snacks!
On the topic of nutrition, my 4 year old did not have any soda at all…not even a sip…until she was almost 4. She was at a birthday party and someone gave her some. She told us about it later in the car and we were kind of shocked and then laughed pretty hard. It was a good run. But my two year old? She has already had some several times. Of course we never just give either of them a glass of soda to drink, but I let them have sips on special occasions…which is pretty much only if we take them to a movie. We just started taking them to see movies once in a while in the last year and we’ll get popcorn and soda and let the girls each have some sips, although I bring water for them to really drink. I would never have let Big Sis have a sip of soda when she was two! But Little Sis wants to do whatever Big Sis does.
Limited Screen Time
When Big Sis was little, she really only watched things that were somewhat educational. But as Big Sis grew up and started to be able to watch shows a bit more often and to choose what she watched, Little Sis would watch these shows too and I started to realize that she was watching shows more often than I’d like a two year old to, and missing out on the sweet educational shows Big Sis loved so much. I am afraid it will be even worse for Little Bear. But I have started to limit screen time more and regulate what they are watching more since I noticed this.
Also, (this would have been really bad if it became a regular occurrence rather than it being a temporary fix…) the first two weeks I was home by myself with the kids after having Little Bear, I was so exhausted when the girls came into my room in the morning that I’d sign in to Netflix, hand them the iPad, and let them watch whatever they wanted while I slept! Now that Little Bear is sleeping through the night most nights, this is no longer happening. But it sure was helpful that first month transitioning on my own!
Taking Care of Our Things
Lately my basement carpet has been colored on, silly putty has been squished onto the playroom carpet, I found the kids playing with permanent markers, the wrong markers being used on the white board, toys are breaking, doll hair is getting tangled, little pieces to things are missing, and things are becoming toys that shouldn’t…like picture frames. I am trying, but I can’t be everywhere watching them all the time! I’ll be upstairs nursing Little Bear and the girls will be downstairs playing so nicely without fighting…giggling and giggling…so happy. And then I’ll go downstairs and discover they’ve been doing things that I didn’t want them to do. Most of the time they don’t even realize they were doing something wrong. With more kids with needs, it is harder to see everything and be everywhere and talk to them about every choice they make as they are doing it.
And last, but certainly not least…safety. When Big Sis was little I bonked her head on the tv as I was carrying her one time. That’s about it. When Little Sis was a baby, she rolled off the bed once…but we weren’t using a bed frame and the mattress was on a soft carpeted floor and she didn’t even seem to really notice she had fallen. She also got jostled a bit by Big Sis, but Big Sis was pretty gentle with her and was a pretty good listener and fast learner. Things are a little different with Little Bear. He has not been hurt but I am afraid for his safety daily! Little Sis a crazy toddler. She doesn’t really think as much about how people or things are affected by what she does (yeah, she’s two, that shouldn’t be a big shock I guess.) If she feels like sitting on my lap she’s going to take the quickest route to me, which might mean crawling on top of her brother. If she feels like jumping on the bed, she’s going to do that, even if brother is laying on the bed right next to her. If she is holding her brother and she decides she is done, she’s just going to get up…never mind telling me that she’s ready for me to take him back. The other day she was walking close to him as he lay on the floor on the play mat, her feet got tangled up on the play mat and she fell on him! Good thing he is sturdy 😉 She is so sweet and loving, but she just doesn’t think things through or realize the consequences. When I try to explain things to her she doesn’t seem to really fully grasp it…she often thinks it’s funny.
Then there’s Big Sis. She thinks she’s a very big girl now. I asked her to do something recently and she said to me that she doesn’t have to listen because she’s a big girl now. Yikes. A couple days ago I left Big Sis downstairs holding the baby. A friend was down there feeding her baby too. I had told Big Sis to stay down there until I had lunch ready. It was only going to take me five minutes max. But when my friend came upstairs two minutes later, she heard a little voice behind her, looked back and saw Big Sis coming up the stairs too. She was CARRYING her two month old brother. She was so proud of herself…but NO NO NO NO NO!!!!
It’s not that I’m choosing to let safety be less important for my third child, but again, I can’t be everywhere. I can’t always be holding him. I have to do my best to teach the girls how to treat the baby and then hope that they listen. I’m trying to give them more responsibilities that they CAN do, like give him a pacifier, throw a diaper away, etc. NOT carrying him 😉 Although I didn’t actually tell her that she couldn’t carry him at all, just that she needed to ask first so we could help. And NEVER up the stairs.
The meme is funny and it reminded me of what I wanted to talk about, but it’s not the perfect example. I think with dirt it’s funny because it’s not a big deal and we just realize as we get more experience what is worth freaking out about and what isn’t. But on a more serious note, I really do find myself not doing things that I initially put as higher priorities.
On one hand, I think that moms should not be too hard on themselves. Love and safety…helping them to become functioning, compassionate, responsible human beings…things like that are the most important and for everything else we just do the best we can and allow ourselves to receive grace for not being perfect.
On the other hand, it would be easy to choose to be lazy and use three kids as an excuse. I have chosen to be a bit more lenient with things like sips of soda at the movies…but I did get a little lazy with some things that I am now enforcing more boundaries on now that I’m feeling better (no longer hugely pregnant or recovering from childbirth!)
The transition between two and three kids has definitely been the most difficult for me but it’s not like that for everyone. It really depends on your circumstances…ages and temperaments of your other children, the support and help you have, etc. My husband was home quite a bit for the first couple months with my other two children because he is a teacher and my girls were born in the summer. That definitely made a big difference.
Do you have multiple children? What has been the hardest transition so far for you? What things have you become more lenient on…purposefully or not? What have you had to give yourself grace for and what have you had to work harder on to keep as a priority?