I’m a stay-at-home mom to 3-year-old triplets, identical boys and the feistiest little girl you’ll ever meet. My husband and I met in college and have been married for 11 years.
I’m a former teacher and can’t seem to stop myself from doing messy activities with my kids, but then the organizational freak in me needs to clean it up right away. I genuinely believe that active kids are happy kids, so we go on outdoor adventures daily, no matter what the weather is.
My biggest strength as a mom is my perspective. My husband and I tried for 5 years to have children and were blessed on our absolute final try with our last 2 embryos. And that perspective is a powerful thing because even when my kids are crying, or whining, or sick, or just plain loud and crazy, I still feel grateful for the noise.
Aside from going on a run, usually any time spent away from my children is spent running errands. It’s impossible to get anything done with three 3-year-olds, so it’s all hustle and bustle when I get the chance. That being said, my favorite time away is always a good ski day with my husband!
So you have three children. The same age. Can you describe what their sleeping schedule is like? My kids have always been REALLY good sleepers…and they have always slept at the same time. I’m a firm believer in sleep training, probably out of necessity, but up until recently they were still napping. All of them. When infants, they would sleep 12 hours through the night and then take 2 two-hour naps daily. Through their toddler years, I was able to transition all three of them into one nap, usually after lunch around 1pm. They would sleep anywhere from 2-3 hours. To be honest, they would still nap today but they were starting to wake up earlier than I like to start my day so we dropped the nap, initiated quiet time in their room, and put them down a little earlier at night. Currently, bedtime is around 7:30pm (sleeping by then) and they wake up between 7-7:30am.
What is the trickiest thing about the morning routine? What do you have down pat? In this aspect, I probably have it easier than most moms of multiple children. All of my kids are getting ready to go to the same place and their abilities are all the same. For example: I know they can all three get their own coats on and it’s an expectation that I put on them to help me out. While they are doing that, I can be doing something else to get us out the door, like packing their snacks or getting on my own shoes.
We also have some morning guidelines that are a must for us. For example, we clean up the playroom every night and lock the door. In the morning, the playroom only gets unlocked once the kids are ready to go. The key for us is that every single morning is the same. Once they wake up we brush our teeth, get dressed, breakfast, shoes, hair, coats, good-bye…always in that order. The consistency has always worked for us. Also, I get up before my kids. If I want to get a workout in, or pay the bills, or a shower, or get any blogging finished; it happens before they wake up. Period.
What are some usual morning home activities? Out in the world? We are typically up and out the door by 8:45am. If they don’t have preschool (they go 2 mornings/week), we are either heading to a playground, going on a hike, or taking our bikes to some trail to ride. If we do stay home, I usually try to do an activity with them. The TV generally stays off until I’m trying to cook dinner in the evening. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I wish they would just sit and watch TV, but they just aren’t into it and they never watch for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Can you describe one of your favorite afternoons with the kids? As mentioned earlier, up until last week, my kids were all still napping in the afternoons. And although I miss the quiet time in the house to get the laundry folded, or to go through the mail, or put the toys away, or just really get ANYTHING done, it has been nice to be able to go to the playground or on a bike ride after lunch.
In any given day with children many moms feel all the emotions: extreme love, extreme fatigue, extreme happy, extreme ______. Do you agree? Or is your world currently more even keel. When my kids were babies, my days were very even keeled. It wasn’t until their three-year-old gloriousness kicked in that my days also became an emotional rollercoaster. There are days where they are all playing together and love is in the air and then there are other days where they all three need me and I just can’t seem to make every happy. It’s stressful and beautiful, chaotic and joyful, exhausting and exhilarating – all at the same time.
Do you single task often? I happily take care of the “logistics” of our home: meal planning and prepping, the finances, cleaning, laundry, organization, etc. My husband works long hours during the week and I’m often with the kids solo through the day, as we do not live near our families (although I talk with them daily and I have some pretty amazing local friends in my life). That being said, it really is a team effort. My husband and I work well together, giving each other the breaks we need and there really is no other way we could do it. He will do any of the tasks on my to-do list (without me asking) so that we can spend some time together after the kids go down at night and/or enjoy our weekends together doing adventures with the kids. Oh, and he’s way better at keeping up with the laundry than I am!
What are some things that triplet moms face that most other moms don’t often need to think about? Here are a couple of things that I’ve had to face as a mom of triplets. I’m sure many are very similar to other parents who have three (or more) young children as well.
* No Say in the Birth Plan: Many moms will judge others because of their birth plan. I have to say, it’s been nice to be able to stay completely out of these arguments. Most of these decisions were made for me and to be honest, as long as my kids were healthy and happy, I was happy.
* Seldom One-on-One Time: I didn’t have an au pair, a nanny, or family living close by so my kids haven’t had a ton of one-on-one time with me. This is still something I have to work on, and it’s only getting harder and harder to set aside a separate time for each child. Although I’m sure this is also true for any second or third born children, all of my children have rarely felt my sole attention. This is constantly the cause for some pretty serious mom-guilt.
* The Playground: The swings at the park and the seesaw come in sets of two. One kid is always left out so someone is always upset. We have to have the discussion as to who gets the first turn before we even venture out.
* Logistics of Three Car Seats: For starters, we have to rotate who sits in the middle (our car seats fit three across in the back row). Our kids have also only ever been in one of our cars. Switching out the car seats to our other car is too labor intensive for us and owning 6 car sets seems excessive…so we either take the car with the three car seats, or we don’t go.
Another struggle with the car seats is at the airport. Taking three car seats in and out of the car, juggling them through the airport to the ticket counter while also balancing our luggage and our kids is always so hard.
* Strollers: As a runner, I was pretty limited at to what strollers I could run with. Most parents don’t have three small children who need to be in the stroller, one can usually ride or walk beside one. All of the strollers I found were about 40 lbs heavier than the normal stroller. Also, putting that thing in and out of the car was always a workout.
*Buying Three of Everything: We aren’t able to buy one of something and pass it down between our kids. For example: 3 cribs, 3 bouncy seats, 3 training potties, 3 high chairs, 3 Bumbo seats, 3 strider bikes, 3 three winter coats, snow boots, snow pants, 3 pairs of skis…this list could go on for a while.
*Grocery Store: Aside from Target, most grocery stores only have carts for two kids. With three kids, it was virtually impossible to go to the grocery store. I either went after they were down for the night or I hired a sitter. Now, I get my groceries delivered.
*Stares and Questions: People stare at us wherever we go. Often they will ask if they are triplets, but mostly we just get stares. We’ve even caught people trying to sneak photos of our kids, which always leads to an awkward conversation.
Jenna, I confess I just want to give mamas of multiples shoulder massages-no stares, just hugs! What a blessing after your fertility challenges. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your daily life.