So last week I answered some of the frequent questions I've received surrounding pregnancy, postpartum diet, and my experience with our MilkyMomma supplement etc. If you missed it, check it out here. And today I'm answering the one question I've been asked a number of times since becoming a mom of three...
What's your secret to sanity?
Well now, where do I begin? For starters I never thought in a million years I would be doing the bump, birth, and boob thing back to back THREE times over within the span of three and a half years! That's right, mom of three here to ages three and under. Our new norm is the new crazy. But the most beautiful kind of crazy and I couldn't imagine life any other way. Now I'm not on some mission to paint roses and peaches all over the picture because let's face it, there's nothing pretty or fragrant (unless you enjoy the pungent smell of blowouts) about a screaming unhappy newborn in the middle of the night, bags under the eyes for days, and that thing you once called your brain that has turned into total mush.
Adding to the chaos of three under three is laundry, groceries, errands, scheduling doctors’ appointments, ballet and swim... oh and having to then buy everything associated with ballet and swim (not even trying to downplay my excitement) packing lunches, planning and preparing dinners, art projects and play dates....the list goes on. And that's right! There's also ME in there somewhere and the need, that seems to get overlooked, to take care of myself mentally, physically, and emotionally…first and foremost. Seriously? Which one of you mommas figured out the best and most time efficient way to do that because I’m only slowly getting the hang of it! Three was an adjustment…still is.
If I was truly devoted to my needs too, it means finding the time to shower since I guess that’s ‘kind of’ important. Then my workouts, stretching, yoga, and meditation when I can. And the list goes on with other things like blogging and marketing for MilkyMomma. Not to forget my hobbies as well—one month postpartum and have yet to find time for— including writing the trilogy that has been on pause at chapter 6 (for over a year now) or playing my guitar and singing…. painting for goodness sakes. I want to paint again! Oh I remember those days like it was just…oh yeah, four weeks ago…
And don’t even get me started on being an on-the-go milking-momma to a newborn who has the DEATH cry when she's ready to eat. You start to get really creative with ways to do it! Yeah, I don't even want to know what the man in the car next to me was thinking as he looked over to see a woman driving with one hand on the wheel while pumping away with the other on a handheld pump. I'm sure he was confused…to say the least.
The point is, in the process of ‘maintaining sanity’ while doing life with three little ones, you learn real quick how to cut corners and save time so life at least feels a ‘little’ easier. Yes, even when that means pumping a bottle while driving so your little fusser can finally eat, relax, and fall back asleep in her car seat or under your shirt in the luxury theatre (dripping milk all over yourself) over an outing to see the movie ‘Bad Moms’ –hands down most amazing movie ever— as you buzz-fully share a bottle of vino with one of your fellow Bad Mommas. I can only imagine what our server was thinking to collect a plastic water cup full of boobie liquid gold. Poor guy. Though I guess it would’ve been more kind of me to actually warn him so he could save it and make some cash! No joke my friends, there are some individuals (like athletes) who will pay top-dolla-fo-that shiz!
And with a potty-trained 3 yr old who finds the most in-opportune times to announce that she needs to go AND an almost ready to train two year old, you also get smart about the potty! You better believe I ‘figured it out’ and started putting a portable toilet in the trunk with a whole roll of paper towel, wipes, and hand sanitizer along with a bag full of plastic grocery bags to line the potty with. Paper towels in the bottom of the bag to absorb the waste. Tie up the bag and toss it when you get to a trash. VOILA! Potty-training on the go made easy and smart! How’ya like that for a play-by-play?
And sure it's chaos …almost all the time. BUT I wouldn't trade any of it! Not even the toughest days with exploding estrogen in the house and ‘drama-fo-yo-momma’ with the hub over working out a ‘fair’ way to co-tackle all the responsibilities of parenthood all the while maintaining time for ourselves and respective friendships. You can imagine (I’m sure) what that kind of disagreement might look like between two exhausted parents…which then makes the weekly date night-in (every Friday night) with take-out sushi, drinks, and a movie after all three kids are down so important! ….Well, if we can stay awake that is. Life is a tad different with a newborn involved. And we do our best to get out for date nights as well (when we can get a sitter and gather the energy that is) ideally at least once or twice a month. The bottom line is, we both maintain our sanity and love/respect for one another by making sure we take the time to really connect again every week, even if it’s staying in! We need to be a team for each other and our little pack and there’s no ‘I’ in We.
It's not easy. It's totally exhausting at times and a LOT of work...but it's the kind of crazy chaos that gives my life…our lives, purpose. They give our hearts more fulfillment than anything in the entire world. And having one more divine little miracle join us (by surprise) has only expanded and fulfilled our hearts that much more. My kids and husband—who (let’s be real) sometimes feels like my fourth child, have forced me to grow up in ways I may never have been able to without them. I am who I am today because of all of them. And the more the merrier if you ask me! Though my husband thinks I’m psycho for even considering a fourth after this last god-awful pregnancy!
But in all seriousness, one of the truest ways I maintain my sanity through the crazy and the chaos is by making sure I not only have time to connect with him but with my friends too. My married ‘bad’ mom friends and my single friends. And especially even if that means a mommy’s weekend away, I will not do the ‘mom-guilt’ thing over it. Why? Because I know that staying connected with and spending time with these precious women in my life is as equally important to maintaining the sense of self that I need in addition to the hats I wear as a wife, mother, and household manager.
So among my ‘secrets’ to sanity this one takes the cake! Motherhood isn't easy, but we were not meant to be alone in it...and every mother, every woman for that matter needs her tribe (big or small) of other women. If you've been struggling and feeling isolated as a new mom or mom to multiples, plan a night out with a girlfriend or a whole group of them and tell ask the hub to “figure it out”. Let me tell you, it's amazing what they are capable of when they have no other choice. Of course don’t forget to say it nicely as you bat your eyes and tell him how wonderful he is.
And if you’re new to the place you’re living and don’t have friends yet, get online and find meet up groups for something you’re interested in…join a book club for example! Find a way to make sure you are taking the time you need for you. To be you. To remember you. As in before there was your spouse and children. It’s so important! For men and women alike. And for us mommas, strong bonds (woman to woman) are especially important. We were meant to get through all the hurdles of momma-hood together and together we shall!