Twelve weeks ago, our third child arrived and I am not coping.
There, I said it.
Friends and family keep asking how it’s going “now that you’ve got three” and the truth is, it’s tricky. The juggle is real.
The main thing I’ve learnt since having my third child is that it breaks the back on any pretense that I’ve got everything under control. Life is now undeniably chaotic and there is no hiding it!
It’s not the baby, Jesse, that’s the problem though. If anything, he’s my respite.
I almost get the opposite of PND when I have a baby – I fall into a ‘love bubble’ as I truly adore the newborn phase (sleep deprivation not withstanding). Anticipating his needs is simple: milk, sleep, cuddles, repeat. I enjoy sneaking of to my bedroom to settle him and cuddle and stare at his cute head for an hour, while I watch Real Housewives and ignore the rest of the world.
So when people ask how it’s going, I respond honestly – that the baby is wonderful. His requirements are so simple compared to his big sisters, aged almost-3 and 5, with their emotional and complex needs. Just sitting together on the couch to watch cartoons can devolve into a screaming match in a hot second, over something important like whose turn it is to have the yellow cushion.
Sarah's three children. Image supplied.
But, even that I can handle. It’s everything else I can’t cope with…
As in, everything else. How do you other mums do it? Who takes care of everything?
Things like getting quotes for home repairs (our roof recently got damaged in a storm), or organising to buy new car tyres?Or refilling the dog’s medication – then remembering to give the dog said medication every morning?
Booking in doctor’s appointments, or printing recent photos of the kids, or researching treatment for a much-needed root canal – which you’re dreading because although it’s necessary, it’s also the most evil appointment of all time (painful + expensive for the win!)
Or responding to emails from friends overseas, who have sent generous gifts for the baby? Or remembering to pack my preppy’s library bag on Mondays? Or finding 10 minutes of spare time to pay bills?
How do you get all of this stuff done?!
My husband is amazing and very hands on with our family, but he works full time and has about as much free time as I do.
Sarah and her family. Image supplied.
I feel like our days are full to the brim and I’m just covering the bare minimum: showering, preparing meals, doing laundry, herding cats looking after the kids. After an exhausting day of getting that essential life stuff done, I collapse into bed and barely make it through half an episode of The Walking Dead before I crash.
The next morning, after a night of stitched-together sleep in between tending to the baby every couple of hours, I’m up between 5 and 6am to do it all again.
I’m trying, in the midst of it, to enjoy time with my baby, rather than just giving him the bare minimum of affection and attention so I can put him down and get more stuff done. I’m so aware of how quickly they grow. There’s always more washing to do, more food to prepare, more emails to return, more bills to pay… it’s all unimportant in comparison to beautiful newborn smiles and koala cuddles, so I’m soaking in every moment with him.