Lately I've had a few people ask me how I stay sane with three little kids at home. My first response is, "You think I'm sane?! I knew I loved you." And then I tell them this,
Lower you expectations.
Like low, low, low expectations.
As in, last week Olivia could only find one of each of her sneakers. Fortunately for us they were a left and a right, so she wore mismatched shoes for a week!
Yesterday we went to the park and Abigail couldn't find her shoes. So she went barefoot. Nathan also had 4 blow out poopy nasty diapers and literally didn't have anymore clean pants. So he sported a onsie, sans pants. This is when I'm extremely grateful to be living in Arizona, so that this is an option in February. (Of course we usually aim to have shoes and pants on to leave the house, but sometimes afternoons are SO crazy it just doesn't matter).
Some moms don't let their kids watch more than 30 minutes of TV a day. Some moms make homemade snacks and organic lunches. Some moms take their kids to story time on Tuesdays and the museum on Fridays and they homeschool and teach their children the Gospel and they never yell... Some moms run 5 miles every morning, do their hair and make up every day and their houses are spotless. They do playschool groups and cute crafts with their kids. They sew their own clothes in their spare time. They cook gourmet dinners and always have fresh baked cookies in the cookie jar.
Don't put those expectations on yourself just because someone else seems to have it all together. Some days my kids don't watch TV at all, but some days they watch HOURS. Sometimes I make rockin' snacks and lunches. But most days they get cereal two times a day. Outings to museums and libraries are just starting to become more regular around here, now that Nathan is almost 14 months. But if you see me in public and I look like I have it all together, look a little closer. Odds are you will notice mismatched socks, unbrushed hair, and/or a stinky diaper.
See what I mean, LOW expectations! This also goes for sleep. If you go to bed with the expectation of getting 8 hours of sleep you are going to be one grumpy mama when a baby wakes up crying for whatever reason. I have found I can function on 5 straight hours. I aim for a bit more, but I don't get angry and grumpy anymore if it's less. I keep telling myself that all of this is so temporary. Before I know it these kids will be taking care of themselves and I will finally have a clean house and a decent nights sleep. Until then we'll stick with low expectations.
Another major key to my sanity is my husband. He really does take great care of me and our little zoo. Every Wednesday night I take off and he takes over bedtime. I go to a class where I'm spiritually nourished and I look forward to this all week. (And while I'm bragging about Aaron I should tell you about my amazing weekend. On the phone with my friend and my girls bring me roses and a paper that has an agenda on it. The agenda reads: Shop, Massage, Dinner, Hotel. I was so confused. Hung up and looked at Aaron. What? We are leaving right now?! You guys, you have no idea how much I needed that. So his wonderful, amazing sister took over and we took off. It was a great, recharging wonderful 24 hours.)
And my third piece of advice is to pray. I don't care who you pray to, but seriously there needs to be some divine intervention to make it through most days. I swear my kids just have a death wish. Sometimes I feel like my full time job is just keeping them alive! Or at least out of the emergency room. I can't tell you how many times I'm stopping one kid from sticking a fork in an electric socket and the other one is about to fall down the stairs. I really think my kids have angels around them that keep them safe when I can't. Because by some miracle that child doesn't fall down the stairs, he somehow manages to fall away from the stairs. And then I have enough time to grab him and put up the baby gate. Or some other similar situation. Prayer also just helps me have my own personal peace. I am more calm and happy when I say my prayers.
So I obviously don't have it all together, but I feel like I'm finally (14 months later) finding a bit of a groove. I feel like I can't do it all, but I'm okay with that because I can do something.