There’s a moment when riding a roller coaster that your cart is being pulled ever so slowly up the incline, and you lose all concept of fear. The excitement has yet to kick in and there’s only emptiness coupled with a gnawing sense of anticipation/confusion. Anticipation because obviously, something is on the horizon but confusion because who knows if it’s gonna be any good. And why did you even stand in line for something called the Death Accelerator with no seat belts anyway? Weren’t you just looking for the funnel cake stand? That’s what being a mom of many is like emptiness, confusion, and wishing you’d just had a funnel cake.
There’s a scientific equation (and by scientific, I mean I worked out the math myself while cleaning spit-up from betwixt the couch cushions) that says when the number of children you care for exceeds the number of adults it took to create said children, chaotic results will follow.
In hindsight, I don’t remember thinking of 3 as a lot of children when I first married. It seemed cute and fun and like the exact number of people I’d need to come up with any kind of decent family Halloween card ideas.
It was manageable, I mean to say.
But there’s so very much that’s different from what I thought. Since I don’t want any other moms going into this blindly, I figured I’d drop a few nuggets of wisdom. If you’re already a mom to 2 children and are planning to make your uterus a timeshare anytime soon, there are things you need to know.
Anything over 2 is a LOT for people to take in.
The kids and I were in a post office one day. Surprisingly they were behaving (by that I mean no one was making someone else bleed or repeating rap music lyrics at an annoying volume for 9am) but a little old lady walked past, tapping me on the shoulder. “My, there are so many! You must have your hands full,” she said. Say what? I looked around and noted the teenagers beside us.
“Oh no,” I replied, “just these 3 are mine.” She nodded as if she’d known all along and kept walking.
What is it about 3+ kids that make people uneasy? I’ve been confronted at supermarkets, in parking lots and online by other parents who are in awe of my procreation choices. This is not Duggar-level progeny, by any means, people. It’s the Americana-standard 2 kids with a bonus tacked on
and that kid honestly only popped up because of mommy & daddy’s drunken Christmas party outing.
You will never be able to walk down a sidewalk the same again.
Not just a sidewalk either, in the mall, through a grocery store aisle, anywhere really with a narrow pathway. What starts out as a family cluster will result, more times than not, into a duck waddle with each of the littler ones falling into place behind the other. People will instinctively roll their eyes as you approach and hurry past for fear that your group will suddenly lose course and block all escape routes.
Which isn’t paranoia, I might add. My 2-year-old is known for falling down for no reason at all and tantrum-ing no matter how many eager speed walkers are waiting behind her. So yeah, whether you realize it now or not, there’s no real way to walk inconspicuously with a bunch of kids.
You will find yourself being responsible FOR your kids by passing off responsibilities TO your kids.
Our mornings are a crap shoot. Some days everyone is focused and on task and we’re out the door without mommy uttering obscenities, other days everyone’s crying and I’m blazing out of the driveway wondering if I remembered to let the dog out before we left (of note: we don’t own a dog).
You know what makes those smooth mornings go well, though? Delegation. The 2-year-old is worthless, I’ll be honest. She’s yet to exhibit any useful skills like a particular knack for making pancakes or perhaps running a vacuum now and then. But my 4 & 6-year-olds? They’re on their way to greatness.
In the mornings once I’ve jumped on their beds screaming bloody murder lovingly roused them from a peaceful slumber I’m able to direct them to the appropriate morning hygiene exercises and then leave them to it. The 6-year-old reminds the middle kid to make his bed and they then race downstairs to gather lunches and homework. After breakfast, the 4-year-old clears the table of the dishes (do not, I repeat do not, attempt this step if broken glass bothers you – we’re still working on coordination with him) and barring any meltdowns about someone’s eyelash itching “bad” or socks that don’t feel “right” we’re good to go!
But I honestly couldn’t do it without the kids’ help. Everyone has to pitch in and help someone else. Teamwork makes mommy’s wine-induced dreams work, I say!
You will somehow become the strictest AND possibly the most lenient parent you’ve ever imagined.
With all the kids running around this house on any given day, I don’t have time for a lot of foolishness. Oh, we’re supposed to be at little Marigold’s birthday party today? Everybody get your shoes! Doggonit, we don’t have a gift. Ah well, we’ll shoot Marigold’s mommy an Amazon e-card while I sit in the driveway of their house and change the baby’s diaper.
There are way too many important pieces of information pinball-ing around in my brain for me to be concerned with proper pre-school party etiquette, the age appropriateness of my daughter’s pink hair or whether they should be wearing that Ninja Turtle shirt twice in one week. Let’s just consider it recycling and call it a day.
On the other hand, when it comes to bedtime, I’m COMPLETELY anal. Lights are out at 8 p.m. at our house. I get that it doesn’t make sense to you, but my kids do better on a schedule. Aand mommy needs to know that quiet time (with no one touching me or asking for Pop Tarts) is forthcoming. It’s what gets me through the bewitching hour. So while I appreciate your “loose” 7-ish dinner invite, it ain’t gonna happen. We’ve got showers to take and pillows to hit.
Bottom line, whether you’re currently on the fence about adding to your brood or completely happy with your 1 (or 2), I hope you’ll keep some of my points in mind. Share them with friends who are blissfully unaware of what can happen when 2 turns to 3…and 3 turns into that weird hippie Volkswagon van that seats 16.
You’ve been warned!