I have a few friends who are currently pregnant with their third child. This, of course, has spurred many-a-question about what this mystical/maniacal life with three children actually looks like. It’s hard to say exactly what life is like with three kids–it’s the most wonderful and most busy my life has ever been! Perhaps the best way to demonstrate what life is like with three kids is to SHOW you what life is like with three kids.
Here is a typical day for our family, with our three kids aged 1, 4, and 6:
6:00 Wake up to an alarm. Forget the days of getting to “sleep in” until the children wake up on their own, because now that you have three children at least one of them is old enough to be in REAL school (i.e. a school that takes attendance and administers tardies to late parents). Which means you have to get your tired bum out of bed before the true chaos begins so you can get a head start on the 1.3 million things that must be done before 8 AM.
6:02 Go to the bathroom in peace. Savor this moment, because it is the only time you will pee without an audience today.
6:05 Prepare coffee/tea/install IV line of caffeine
6:15 Get out the lunchboxes that you started packing last night. Finish filling them with the “fresh stuff” that you didn’t want to get moldy and/or soggy overnight.
6:20 Greet the early bird (Kid 2) and offer him a banana on the couch so you can start making breakfast.
6:21 Start making breakfast
6:22 Hear the baby (Kid 3) waking up on the baby monitor
6:23 Nurse baby, change diaper, dress baby. Make a mental note to savor these last few months with a baby who snuggles into your arms and can’t talk back.
6:35 Return to the kitchen to resume making breakfast. Pause briefly to scrub crayon off the couch where Kid 1 decided to practice his modern art skills while you were otherwise disposed with the baby.
6:39 Dog is whining at the door and crossing her legs. Grab the leash, put the baby in the stroller, and take the dog out for a quick walk around the block.
6:50 Warm your coffee back up in the microwave while you resume the breakfast preparations.
6:51 Realize you’re out of eggs, and scrap the breakfast preparations. Pour bowls of cereal instead and call it good.
6:55 As you’re carrying the cereal bowls to the breakfast table, you hear squeals of “Moooooooooom!” coming from the bathroom. Kid 1 did his business, and needs help cleaning up. The only problem is, he started trying to “clean up” himself, and now we need to scrub and disinfect a large portion of the bathroom and unclog the toilet that just had an entire roll of toilet paper flushed down in a single go. Do what needs to be done.
7:07 Wash hands. Thoroughly.
7:08 Re-heat your coffee in the microwave.
7:09 Pour milk into the cereal bowls on the table and call the kids over to eat. WHERE IS KID 1?!?!
7:10 Go wake up Kid 1, “The Teenager”, who likes to party with his stuffed animals all night and sleep all morning.
7:13 Rush Kid 1 to the breakfast table and tell him to shovel that cereal in his mouth as fast as he can, because we have to go, Go, GO!
7:15 Sneak back to your bedroom to finish getting ready while your kids are busy eating breakfast
7:23 Hear a loud crash coming from the general direction of the breakfast table. You don’t hear any crying, so just ignore it.
7:25 Re-heat your coffee in the microwave
7:30 Wash dishes from the failed breakfast preparation and encourage kids to PLEASE EAT FASTER BECAUSE WE STILL HAVE TO GET DRESSED.
7:35 Go change baby’s post-breakfast diaper.
7:38 Help kids clear the breakfast table and return to their bedroom to get dressed.
7:40 Argue with a 4-year old about not wearing shorts and a t-shirt when it’s 40 degrees outside. Tantrum ensues.
7:48 Start the shoe hunt. Find multiple sets of shoes that actually fit your children and have both shoes from the pair happily residing together. Celebrate this victory by throwing fictional confetti in your mind.
7:53 Re-heat coffee in the microwave, and transfer it to a travel mug for the remainder of the morning.
7:54 Kiss your husband goodbye.
7:55 Put on coats and backpacks and head out to the minivan (You have 3 kids. You definitely own a minivan.)
8:00 Strap baby into her car seat while the big kids whine about who touched who and why they can’t buckle their own seatbelts.
8:10 Bring Kid 1 to the elementary school. Chat with parents about the news of the day, or nothing at all…it doesn’t really matter what you talk about, you’re just excited to talk to an adult who doesn’t hold you captive while regaling you with stories about Angry Birds or PJ Masks.
8:25 Do your special handshake and kiss goodbye with Kid 1 (He’s still young enough to let you kiss him goodbye. Remind yourself to enjoy these moments.).
8:30 Drive Kid 2 to preschool.
8:45 Give Kid 2 his special handshake and a kiss goodbye, because you still have a solid 2 years where that will still fly.
9:00 Stop at a trail on the way home so you can squeeze in some much-needed exercise (And by exercise, I mean push your baby in the stroller for a few minutes while she screams and angrily throws Cheerios at you.)
9:45 Drive home and get baby ready for her nap
10:00 NAP TIME!!!!
Do 3 loads of laundry (This is only today’s laundry. There will be more tomorrow.), empty the dishwasher, prep dinner, vacuum, pay bills, return phone calls, contemplate cleaning the bathroom but decide to save that one for later. Pat yourself on the back.
11:30 Wake baby up early from her nap because it’s time to start school pick-ups.
11:45 Shove a sandwich in your purse to munch on in the car while you’re driving hither and yonder.
12:00 Pick up Kid 2 from preschool.
12:15 Stop at the grocery store to stock up…for the third time this week. Three kids eat all the food and no matter how much you buy, you are always out of something.
1:30 Drop off groceries at home and feed Kid 2 and baby a snack.
1:35 Change baby’s post-snack diaper.
1:40 Back in the car to pick up Kid 1 from school.
2:00 Pick up Kid 1 from school. Feed him a snack in the car while you drive to swimming lessons/soccer practice/dance class/science club.
3:30 Feed all 3 kids their post-swimming/soccer/dance/science snack and drive back home
3:31 Baby falls asleep in the car because this is supposed to be her nap time, but since she is the third child she never gets proper naps. She will probably develop life-long sleeping problems because of her erratic baby nap schedule.
3:59 Pull into the driveway and pull your key out of the ignition. Baby wakes up immediately, and she’s ANGRY. She will stay angry until bedtime, because car-naps ruin life.
4:00 Unload kids and one gajillion THINGS from the minivan. Things breed and multiply in the minivan/house/yard/laundry pile when you have 3 children.
4:30 Read and do homework with Kid 1 while Kid 2 runs circles around you and baby screams at your feet.
5:00 All the kids are totally losing their sanity and self-control. This is the perfect time to start cooking dinner, so do that.
5:30 Pour yourself a glass of wine so you can finish making dinner.
6:00 Dinner is served! Watch in exhaustion as all 3 of your children proclaim their utter disgust at what you have prepared and claim that they are not hungry. They don’t eat a single bite.
6:30 Clean up from dinner and wash dishes while the baby pulls out and licks all of your Tupperware.
7:00 Bath time! Your 3 kids will splash so much water out of the tub that you won’t need to scrub the walls or floors after all.
7:30 Make piles of pajamas on the floor and tell the big kids to get dressed while you get the baby ready for bed.
7:40 Come back from getting the baby ready for bed to find the big kids running around the living room partially dressed–they are wearing underwear. On their heads.
7:45 Wrestle the big kids into their pajamas and park them in front of the TV so you can put the baby to bed.
7:55 Muster up an ounce of energy to read a bedtime story to the big kids.
8:00 Lights out.
8:02 Fall onto the couch with a bar of chocolate and Netflix.
8:03 Pass out on the couch with a bar of chocolate and Netflix.
9:00 Feel your husband nudging you, and realize that you fell asleep on the couch again. Get up and finish your “night chores” (pack tomorrow’s lunches, run the dishwasher, fold the laundry from earlier today, sign the homework folder, re-stock the diaper bag).
10:00 Get into your real bed and call it a night.
10:01 Dream of a beautiful life that is full of joy and challenges and love.
6:00 AM Wake up for a new day, and realize that your dream is actually your reality with 3 kids.