I have three kids 17 months apart in age, and yes, it felt like I lived in a 24/7 daycare for a few years. After that, it started to feel like I ran a preschool. Now, we’ve reached the early elementary years, and I’m starting to feel the reality of “baby bunching.”
What is baby bunching, you ask? Well, it is precisely what it sounds like. All your kids come fast and close together. My husband and I started having children late in life, and we needed to have them quickly for health reasons (infertility, age etc.) So, here we are with three little ones under six.
Having our children very close in age is a blessing in so many ways. I love how close they’ve become and that they enjoy the same interests and toys developmentally. The challenging phases full of sleep deprivation and thousands of diapers went by in a whirlwind. We potty trained everyone at the same time, and my girls still share all their clothes.
But, we’ll never have an older sibling to teach and mentor the younger ones. And, they’ll likely all leave home around the same time. And sadly, I always feel like I’m saying goodbye to experiences I’ll never get to go through again.
Here’s what I’ve learned since my twins were born.
Live with low expectations.
No, I don’t mean you should expect everything you do to turn out badly. It won’t. I promise. But, if you go into your new experiences with high expectations, you’ll be disappointed. When you go everywhere with three or four or five tiny humans in tow, things are bound to go wrong.
Try to find the good, fun, and fantastic every day. Sometimes survival mode is the only mode for weeks or even months. That’s OK. But there’s usually something pretty special happening almost every day.
Don’t parent them in a group.
I just learned the importance of this idea recently. Of course, you know your kids are individuals. But, it is so easy to parent them as one. They’re so close in age, so it is easy to assume they need the same instruction and attention.
Here’s the thing, it can be almost impossible to get any one-on-one time when they’re little. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Help with a single coloring page or build a small playdoh sculpture. Trade bedtime duty with your husband, so you get some quality time. If one kiddo wakes up early, make the most of those moments. In other words, grab it when you’ve got it!
Try not to wish it all away.
A veteran mom told me that having a baby is like throwing a grenade in the middle of your life. So I guess having three all at once is like a nuclear bomb. In the beginning, I found myself wishing for phase after phase to pass, and I immediately missed each one when it did.
I still get asked if they’re triplets. And, we’re a spectacle everywhere we go, but I don’t apologize for my crazy crew anymore. Instead, I stop and cherish the craziness and remember to keep my expectations in check and my coffee strong.