When I was pregnant with my third, and I had a two and four year-old, I wasn’t worried about how I would adjust going from two kids to three. After all, I survived the intense and chronic sleep deprivation when I had my first kid. I survived the wrath of kid #1 when his nose was out of joint when kid #2 was born (and fortunately, kid #2 survived too). It wasn’t until a friend of mine said, “Going from two to three kids is a game-changer because now the parents are outnumbered!” I laughed. I doubted I had to prepare for being overtaken by an unruly child mob, but it did make me think. How would my husband and I fare going from ‘man-to-man’ to ‘zone defence’? Four years later, here are my top 10 tips when you are outnumbered by your kids.
- Breastfeed while on the move, playing or reading stories: One kid is happy and quiet… this is getting easier already.
- Wear your baby: Having two free hands is amazing for so many things… like putting toothpaste on your toothbrush after your kid tells you that you have coffee breath.
- Embrace the concept “good enough”: Toasted tomato sandwiches and yogurt for dinner – good enough. Kid decides to substitute shorts for underwear under his clothes – good enough. Flattening bread with a rolling pin when you realize you forgot to buy wraps at the grocery store – good enough.
- Promote independence in your children: High-five your three year old for getting herself dressed and reminding you of Punky Brewster.
- Find small ways to decrease your work-load: Put lunch containers in the top rack of the dishwasher rather than hand washing them; if pajamas pass the “smell test”, no need to wash them; bathe kids every other night instead of daily; buy pre-washed salad greens and ready-to-eat baby carrots.
- Have realistic expectations: Most people think they have realistic expectations until a situation arises and those expectations can’t be met. Being outnumbered by your kids will require you to adjust your expectations. For me, I had to adjust my notions of what I could accomplish in a day. On some days, having the basic needs of my family met trumped the need to change out of our pajamas. Added bonus is that kids love pajama days especially if you excitedly declare, “It’s a pajama day!”
- Savour those moments when things are running smoothly: At the dinner table when everyone likes the meal, no one is using toilet words and you have only had to get up from your chair 12 times.
- Have a sense of humour when things aren’t running smoothly: Grocery shopping with your family and you see your husband carrying your youngest kid (who is kicking and screaming) out of the store after she refused to apologize to your middle kid for biting him. Then eldest kid looks at you and says, “That’s embarrassing!”
- Don’t sweat the small stuff: Realizing your yoga pants have been inside out all day long; Grandma gives kids candy every time she sees them; kids devour a bag of pretzels at 6 am; toddler pulls your strapless sundress down during daycare pick-up.
- Give yourself credit where credit is due: Raising human beings is hard work!
We would love to hear from you. What are your tips when you’re outnumbered by your kids? Share with us:
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For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this blogger:
Devon Clarke, RN – I am a Public Health Nurse and mom to three, lively children. I have been supporting parents and families for over 14 years and I understand how challenging and rewarding parenting can be. My time away from work is focused on my family and savouring those rare, quiet moments.