Mieke’s officially over seven weeks hold, which means I officially have seven weeks of learning to be a mom of three under my belt. Of those seven weeks, I was blessed to have Ryan with me for three, and my mother was here with me for another two. That was five solid weeks of love, solidarity, and support, and for that, I’m endlessly grateful because I know I’ve said it quite a few times already. This mom of three thing is absolutely no joke. I’ve never been more tired, more flustered, or more fulfilled in my entire life. The only thing that would make it better would be having Ryan home with us.
Learning to be a mom of three has been a process for me, much like I knew it would be. Each of my kiddos has a very distinct personality, and I’ve had to take the time to really acknowledge and understand their individual needs one by one. When Ryan was deployed last time, I only had to balance Spencer and Porter’s needs. Now, we’ve added a new little babe, and that’s another level of exhaustion and patience that I didn’t know I had. So, how am I doing it? Honestly, I’m faking it till I make it. Beyond that, it’s just a day by day thing.
I love a big adventure as much as the next person, but half the battle of learning to be a mom of three is simply acknowledging that simple is often better. That’s meant a lot of weekend days at home. It means a lot of bike rides, cartoons, water games in the backyard, aimless trips to the store just for a reason to get out of the house. My little ones don’t know any better and, honestly, they’re doing really well with it.
Asking for Help
I’ve never been the best at asking for help. I like to think I can do it all on my own, but I’ve learned through the TDYs and deployments that I can’t, and I shouldn’t. More people want to help than I knew, and I’m learning to both accept that help and ask for it when I’m absolutely losing it. Last week, Mieke was in the ER after aspirating on her spit-up, and for about four hours, I had all three in there with me. We were waiting on answers, the boys were overtired, and I reached my breaking point. A sweet friend offered help, and rather than being prideful, I accepted that help with immense gratitude – both for me and for my boys.
Taking the Chaos in Stride
Bath and bedtime here are an absolute nightmare right now. Each child has their own set of needs, and each wants their own individual attention. I’ve had to become comfortable with the chaos. Mieke wants to be held during the boys’ bath time, but once her needs are addressed, I’m learning to be comfortable with letting her cry while I turn my full focus on the boys. It’s sucked some nights, but I know that it’s the best way to do it all.
Tears Are Ok
I wish I was joking. I’m not. Tears are to be expected in this gig. I’m not just talking about the kids though. I’m talking about myself. Yes, I’m capable of doing a lot, but I don’t always hold it all together. There have been evenings crying in the shower, little moments crying in the car while Mieke snoozes and the boys are at school. There have been tears of frustration when things beyond my control seem to spiral violently. But I like to think of those tears as a sort of catharsis. You don’t have to be strong all the time.
Learning to be a mom of three is a process. It’s exhausting, it’s trying…hell, it’s a mental case half the time, but it’s also a wonderful adventure that’s teaching me that I’m more resilient than I knew. Motherhood is crazy. Solo parenting is insane. Doing it all while working full time is absolutely ridiculous, but I’m doing it. We’re doing it.