The Therapist Takes Her Own Advice: Juggling After Baby Number Three

June 2014

Three months ago I was nine months pregnant and worried because I needed a c-section as the baby was breech. I had the c-section. It wasn’t all that bad. In fact, it was nice to know exactly when the baby was coming. We were able to plan rather than making frantic 3am calls to friends who agreed to help with our older sons. There is a scar, but its in a place that won’t show even in a bikini…not that I plan on wearing one any time soon. The real difficulty for me is juggling the baby with the other two boys.

The baby is at an age where he wants to be held all the time, and he usually wants to eat while he’s being held. My 3 year old wants the same amount of attention he’s always had. He’s understandably frustrated that his baby brother gets so much of mommy’s time. He’s become defiant…his favorite word is no, he flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. In my sleep deprived emotionally overwhelmed state, I find myself losing patience with him regularly.

My 9 year old has said he wishes he could have me all to himself. He’s also heartbroken that we are moving this summer. He will leave the school and friends he’s known all his life. He’s able to verbalize the frustration that his 3-year-old brother is acting out.

I really try to make time everyday for each of them individually, but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, when I have a minute, my older one can’t be interrupted as he’s in the middle of building a world in Minecraft. Then at bedtime he wants to snuggle, but the baby is screaming to be fed.

It’s maddening because I simply cannot meet all their needs. I’m leaving them feeling shortchanged, and I’m feeling like a lousy mother. This is not the parent I want to be.

Fast forward 17 months:

It is amazing to see how life has changed since June 2014. At the time, I was nursing a 3 month old, potty training a 3 year old, selling a house and soothing a 9 year old who didn’t want to move so I forgot to post it. It’s pretty interesting to look back on a struggle that felt so overwhelming at the time, but is only memory now.

My tiny infant is now a walking talking toddler, my middle son is a confident pre-k student taking the bus to school and my grieving nine year old is now a thriving 5th grader who loves his new house, new school and new friends. The kid has a much more active social life than I do.

This flashback serves as a reminder that for better or worse nothing is permanent. There were many changes going on in our lives back in the summer of 2014. Not to mention the big unknown of where we were going to live in a few short months. It’s no wonder we were all so overwhelmed and afraid. But, life moves forward and we humans, it turns out, have an uncanny ability to adapt.