In general I would describe myself as a positive person. I TRY to see the good in things, and while I can certainly spiral down a negative path, I do my best to avoid that as much as possible.
It’s hard to describe how it has been adjusting to a family of 5 without thinking through all the overwhelming and challenging parts of it. There has been overwhelmingly positive and joyful parts, full days of pure happiness and ease, but in general the last *almost* 3 months are best described as a mix of chaos and pure bliss.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Emily arrived riiiiiiiiiiiiight before preschool let out for the summertime. And riiiiiiiiiiiiiight at a really busy time for Justin’s business. And riiiiiiiiiiiight before a very full editorial calendar for me. I fully admit that I did not set myself up as well as I had hoped for maternity leave. So the work/motherhood/wife/stable human being balance imploded and I found myself extremely overwhelmed.
The bottom line is, newborns are tough. Her first 4 weeks since birth were fairly easy because she slept so much. Then at around 5 weeks or so she started staying awake more, expressing more opinions and feelings, and then the 6 week growrth spurt struck. And it was a completely full week of fussiness and crying. And since then, there are good days and hard days, and I think she’s just a normal baby that way. Even chill babies have fussy days. I certainly wouldn’t describe her as a high need baby at this point, and I have had one of those, but she’s not the most chill either.
The boys have been AMAZINGLY patient and kind during these past few months. Her crying in the car seat is starting to bother them a bit more now because girlfriend has got some pipes, but otherwise they are pretty understanding when I need to walk around and soothe her, or come inside from playing outside because she woke up from her nap. They are resilient, and I never ever want to forget how sweet and caring and wonderful they have been.
David, my 4.5 year old, is so responsible too. We’ll be heading out the door and he’ll say, “Mom! Get the paci!” or “Here is a burp cloth!” I’m like, “Dave. Thank you. What would I do without you!” All the while thinking, what 4.5 year old is this mature and responsible?! Shouldn’t he just be worried about which toy car he’s bringing with him in the van than his baby sisters’ pacifier!?
Luke is so loving and affectionate. He loves to rub his face and head all over her head. It’s both sweet and a little smothering, but I let him do it as much as I can because I know it’s his way to connect with her. He sings to her and helps calm her down when we are driving somewhere because he’s seated right next to her in the van.
Justin has spent more time caring for her in these early days than with either of the boys because he’s actually home! With the boys he worked outside the home at a job that required a good bit of traveling, so it’s funny to hear him talk about how hard a day can be with an infant and how he doesn’t understand how I did that while he was gone so much for work when I had little David and baby Luke at home. It’s all about perspective because in hindsight that seems like a walk in the park compared to 3 kids, but I know at the time I was very overwhelmed as well.
The hardest emotional challenge since bringing Emily home has been my mom guilt about not being able to play or be available for the boys like I was before. Newborns are hands on, so that means less hands for my boys. I wear her a lot, which she loves, but that makes going outside *hot* since it’s in the 90’s almost every day where we live.
I look forward to the days of a predictable nap routine with Emily so I can somewhat plan for those chunks of time to be available for the boys.
I’ve had to accept that this is a higher TV and tablet season for us. It certainly isn’t all day, but we used to limit the amount of TV to only the morning and then 1 time of day for playing on their tablets. Now I’m much more likely to flip on a show for them on a hard fussy day with Emily. I feel a little guilty about it, but also know that their brains aren’t going to melt and that this is just a season. If Emily is happy, we are outside playing or off to a park. But on a “house arrest” day of trying to help her nap, I’m accepting a little more help from the distraction of TV.
Emily is still an absolute dream. She is sleeping so great through the night and that is such a gift. The days are very full and very long but I’m so glad I am rested between each one. We’ve got nursing down and I’m so thankful for that. I’ll likely write a blog post about my experience with the boys and now her at some point but I’m not quite ready to yet. I’m very, very thankful that she’s gaining weight and nursing well.
Even though Justin is home, we still count on the evening when the boys are asleep to connect. We tag-team the kids all day depending on whose work day it is, so we rarely are doing things as a whole family during the daytime. In the evening we’ll try to eat dinner all together and then put the boys to bed together. Lately Emily has been going to bed about an hour or two after the boys go to bed, so it’s a gradual transition to quiet at the end of the day.
I’m tempted to run around the house and do laundry and organizing and go through the mail and put away clutter at the end of the day, but I’m restricting myself from doing that in order to have some quiet time on the couch with Justin. I’m so thankful that he is a hands on dad that the kids get to spend so much time with. So very grateful for that.
Trying to balance my work load with my “mom days” (days I do not work) is proving extremely difficult. There is never a feeling of accomplishment since the tasks for both roles are ongoing! I love that I get to do both, and am slowly learning where I can make changes to allow for better effectiveness at both roles, without as much overlap.
What I know for sure is multiple kids is a great deal of work. There is very little quiet during the day, and being able to multitask is absolutely essential. But nothing makes my heart as full as when I’m with my babies. They are the greatest part of my life.
I wanted to share a real look at what life has been like, and I hope it doesn’t read as too negative. It truly has been the happiest summer of my life, despite being spread very thin!