We just had our 3rd baby a week ago. Whether it’s your first baby or your third, bringing a new tiny human into your life is a huge adjustment. They completely disrupt your routine, throwing everything into a temporary chaos until a new balance can be found. It’s a stressful process, which I’m discovering gets more complicated with each child. For the older kids also feel the stress of change and don’t know how to process it. Although our 3 & 2 year old girls love their new sister, they miss Mom and Dad’s attention that just got divided to include the newest addition.
I ended up hemorrhaging with this birth and lost a liter and a half of blood. Two units of blood transfusions got my hemoglobin up to 8.9 (normal being 12), but it could take anywhere from 4-8 weeks for me to feel 100%. Until then, I’m going to be low energy and in need of rest. Which my 3 and 2 year olds don’t understand. “I need Mommy!” the 2 year old cries out all day. “But you’re not pregnant anymore Mom. Why can’t you run with me?” the 3 year old asks. It’s not that I don’t have help; my husband and extended family have been amazing. But sometimes the kids just want their Mom. So I push myself and try to do little things with them, even though all I have the energy to do is sit and watch Netflix. I make an extra trip up the stairs to be there for our bedtime story. But kids want ALL of you, and the little that I’m able to offer right now isn’t enough. They don’t understand that my whole body aches from the struggle of bringing a new life into this world. A painful process that almost killed me this time. And because they’re toddlers and are still learning how to express and process their emotions, their stress and frustration manifest into misbehavior and fits. Loud fits. Which is stressful, and makes you lose your temper because you’re exhausted, and in my case running off fumes.
Today there were a lot of fits. My dad had been staying with us, but had to go home today. So the kids were sad about that. My mom is flying out today to visit, but her flight got delayed so she won’t be getting in until after bedtime. Big fit about that. There were countless fights over what we were going to watch on TV and over toys that they both suddenly couldn’t live without because the other had it, making it instantly irresistible. Even though Dad took them outside to run off energy, they didn’t take a nap. Dance class got cancelled, so the world was over. The 2 year has started randomly crying over literally nothing, multiple times throughout the day. The house is a DISASTER. They are fighting us on every little thing because their little toddler worlds are upside down and they’re desperately trying to control something.
So on days like this when the kids are being a total nightmare and you’ve lost your temper with them more times than you can count, there’s only one way to handle it. Make cookies with your monsters. Even though they will make a mess. Even though the 2 year old will sneeze on the dough. Even though the last thing they need is sugar. Make the cookies. Put them on a plate, cuddle up with your kids in front of Cinderella III even though you hate that movie, and throw out your rules of not eating on the couch or eating dessert before dinner, and have cookies for dinner. Don’t stress about the crumbs; the dogs will take care of them. Chase it with a beer and leftover pizza and Chinese food and lots of GRACE.
Grace for your children who don’t know any better.
Grace for your spouse who is also stressed and doing the best they can.
Grace for YOURSELF. You’re only human and can only do so much. Give yourself a break.
Especially when the 3 year old accidentally spills an entire cup of orange juice all over the dinner table which happens to have your brand new laptop on it. Anyone would lose their shit. After you calm down and apologize to the 3 year old, remember to forgive yourself.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you.
Allow yourself to feel horribly flawed but not be defined by it. Everyone has bad days. This too shall pass.
And do your best to focus on the good, because it’s worth the struggle and the fight.