In the interest of transparency and working against the internet’s uncanny ability to make the lives of strangers appear just peachy 100% of the time, I’d like to dispel any myths that might be floating around that I’m some kind of super mom who has everything together and all this extra time to do fun stuff and never gets stressed or sad or lonely or wishes she had more time to get things done. In general I’m a pretty positive person so I like to write about positive things, but after receiving a lot of very sweet comments about how “amazing” I am it’s occurred to me that I might be guilty of portraying just a fraction of my life. In case you ever had any idea of me this way, I’d like to tell you that I’m no super mom. Just a woman who still feels like she’s a girl who got pregnant with and gave birth to triplets by the grace of God and is doing her best to live an honorable (and fun) life that has a positive impact on others.
The main reasons I keep up this blog are to document the kids’ lives for our family’s own benefit, but I also know what a blessing it was to me to read other triplet blogs while I was pregnant and even now its still great to be able to read how other families are doing with their 1 year olds, 2 year olds, etc… I’m very aware when I post that there may be expectant triplet mothers reading what I write and that they are looking for encouragement and examples of families who are enjoying having three babies at once and aren’t completely overwhelmed with the whole thing. Being pregnant with triplets is scary for a million different reasons and the only thing other than prayer that helped me to feel prepared in any way was reading the experiences of other triplet families. I would literally count the archives of triplet blogs in the months immediately after their babies were born to see how often they were able to post and think, “Ok, they still have time to update their blog. It must not be too bad.” The last thing I want to do though is to inadvertently make another triplet mom (or any mom for that matter) feel like she’s not doing a good job because my posts make it seem like its so easy for us to have triplets. Its not, by the way.
Justin and I absolutely love having triplets. We say it every day. We laugh at these sweet little babies and kiss them all over and squeeze them tight every chance we get. We choose to have positive attitudes, even when they’re crying and its the middle of the night and he has work in 3 hours and I have to get up and start the seemingly never-ending day of feeding, diapering and playing. That being said, we still lose our patience and have snapped at each other or even a crying baby now and again. It happens, we take a deep breath, we find something to laugh at, and move on. Its hard, but we love our big little family so much sometimes it feels like we might burst. I mean, have you seen how cute these kids are?
Am I rambling? Sorry about that. My point is, we’re two happy parents to three happy babies. Things are still challenging and we’re not perfect, but we would rather focus on the positive than dwell on the negative and be an encouraging example for anyone who might be reading about our journey over the last year (its actually been just a little over a year since I first found out I was pregnant…at this time last year still only thought there was 1 little bean in there though).
Both of us make a lot of effort to try and do things that are important to us individually in addition to taking care of the babies and our other responsibilities like work and household stuff. I think it makes us enjoy our time with each other and the babies even more. When I talk about the stuff I do in addition to taking care of the babies I don’t want to give off a false impression of being able to get everything done and done right with time to spare. So, here’s a little “day in the life” of me, the Not-Super-Triplet-Mom:
The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is pump and it takes me an hour to get all of the milk out that builds up overnight. Its not fun. But during that time I can check my email, facebook, blogs, etc. and feel somewhat connected to the world outside of my house (I hear that it still exists). Sometimes I read, sometimes I work on a design project I might have that week. I might have another 10-15 minutes between the time I finish pumping and when the first baby wakes up, so I try to drink my coffee and prepare bottles or straighten up the living room. My outlook for the day is so much better when the space around me isn’t cluttered, but that being said, there is always a basket of laundry that needs to be put away and stacks of mail that I try to ignore on the coffee table or 5 pairs of shoes strewn about the room…so its a constant work in progress to keep things somewhat neat. Here’s a reality check though: I haven’t dusted in a year. The only reason there isn’t mold and fungus growing in our toilets is because my sweet mom cleans them a couple times a month.
Once the babies are up it takes around an hour to an hour and a half to feed everyone. While they eat I might watch some terrible reality tv on Bravo and sometimes I let them cry for their bottles for 30 extra seconds while I turn the tv on and change the channel. They kind of pay attention to the tv so I do my best to turn their boppies so they can’t see it. There should be a study on the long-term effects of secondhand consumption of The Real Housewives of New York City. Kids, if you’re reading this in the future after you’ve been denied acceptance into Mensa, I’m sorry, it’s all my fault. After they eat they play for a little bit on the playmat or bouncer and then are ready for their morning nap. If I can get them to all go down around the same time I might have an hour or hour and a half (sometimes even two if I’m lucky) to get some work done while they sleep.
Since I’m weaning myself from pumping this month I have this time free to do anything, but up until this month I pumped every 3 hours from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed, so my activity choices are either reading or working/playing on the computer. Most of the time I read blogs. So, now that I don’t have to pump at this time if I have a freelance design project that’s the first thing on my to-do list. If not I either clean, read blogs about what the babies should be doing this month (and feel bad about not doing all of the “right” activities with them or not bathing them more than once a week), or I work on a sewing project—I started making a quilt out of our old t-shirts from college and am hoping it will be done by the time the weather cools off enough for us to hang outside. The pieces have been sitting in a clothes basket by my kitchen table all summer.
Time to feed the babies again and this time since I feel guilty about having the tv on in the morning I leave it off, but I get bored so I surf facebook status updates and read posts on the triplet forums on my ipod. Then I feel guilty for not making direct eye contact with the babies every second they’re awake. This sounds crazy, but its true. Mothers feel guilty about everything.
We play again for an hour or so after they finish eating and in my head I’m: trying to figure out if I can get my projects done in time, how I’m going to come up with a new idea, how I’m going to execute it, wishing I could spend some time in the office, wishing I could have lunch with friends, wishing I would get an email or a text from friends, wishing I had friends who stayed at home with babies and could come play with us, wishing I could take the babies outside but its 110 degrees every day, wishing I could run errands with the babies but it takes 30 minutes just to load them in the car and by the time we feed them and get anywhere its time to feed them again, wishing we could go to church with the babies but they can’t go in the nursery until they turn 1 since they were 2 months premature, wishing Justin could work from home, remembering I need to make another appointment at the WIC office to update the type of formula Oliver gets because it changed for the 5th time and I’m about to run out and have to buy a can if I don’t do this soon, feeling guilty for stopping pumping at only 6 months when it should be a year, remembering that I forgot to put their vitamins in their bottles for the second day in a row, feeling guilty for putting them down for a nap even though they’re obviously tired because its a relief when they go down for a nap but I don’t want it to seem like I’m just trying to get them asleep so I don’t have to play with them because I like playing with them its just that I have a lot of other stuff I need to get done and I can only do it when they’re napping, worrying that I should be playing some sort of developmentally appropriate game with them that I read about in the stacks of parenting books on my bookshelf… then its back down for another nap and I eat lunch and continue working on whatever project I started in the morning.
Repeat these steps for the next two feedings of the day until Justin gets home from work. If I have a deadline for a project that I’m working on then you’re likely to find a pile of dirty cloth diapers piled up in the nursery waiting to be rinsed and put in the wash, which Justin does before he goes to bed. You’re also likely to find every used bottle from the day piled in the sink rather than clean and waiting to be used again, and you’ll find a half-folded basket of laundry in every room of the house.
Eventually everything gets put away and washed and I feel like we actually do a decent job of keeping up with chores, but these are the things I will put off until later in order to do things I love and enjoy when I can. The fact is we just can’t do it all every day. Things are sacrificed, jobs are halfway done. 90% of my thoughts are consumed with whether I’m doing what I should be doing in that moment; am I being a good mom, am I remaining a relevant creative professional, am I a good friend? There are things I forget to do and things I choose not to do so I have time to do the things I really want to do, but at the end of the day I smile because I know we have such great gifts to be able to parent these children and we are so so happy that we have a house full of joyful squeals and coos and stinky diapers and bottles and laundry and each other. We’re not super, we’re just us. If you read all of this babbling then you might be as crazy as I am. Welcome to the club!
Here’s a reward for all of your effort: