Survival Guide to 3 Under 3

Tonight I exchanged a few tweets with @multitaskingmomma, who it turns out is currently unable to get to her kitchen after a C-Section with her third baby and also has her hands full with an 18 month old (no doubt into everything) and a 3 year old (no doubt demanding everything).

I sympathise – really I do (luckily I never had to have a C-section but I did have 3 under 3). I remember the day I came home with my third to look at the 13 month old baby I had left at home. All of a sudden he had transformed into some sort of enormous, giant baby. Just 24 hours later that same giant baby came out in the worst case of chicken pox I have ever seen. That first week passed in blur of sheer exhaustion. The then 3 year old was amazing and gorgeous and tried to be ever so helpful, but it was hard – really hard! What did those early years teach me? Patience. Patience in aflippingbundance. Everything takes three times as long as it used to. For a very long time there was no such thing as…”I’ll just….” Because every just created three more jobs and the first job always took an eternity longer than anticipated – aaarrrrrgggghhhhh!

My diddlers are now 5, 6 and 8 and the words : “I’ll just…” have reappeared in my vocabulary but in homage to @multitaskingmomma it’s usually followed by ….put the washing in before I do the school run or …run the hoover round…only to discover a three week old apple core and a myriad of squirreled away sweet wrappers and I end up scolding myself for not being more vigilant and making note to self to put a lock on the goodie cupboard which they are now utterly adept at climbing up to unheard of and unseen to snaffle away a treat! Wow. That was a long sentence. I think I maybe unloading a little here? Anyway, one day perhaps my “I’ll just… may be followed by.. drink pink Prosecco in the sun-bathed garden while I finish my book in peace…”

So what I really wanted to do was provide my top ten tips for managing 3 under 3 or any other number of pre-school children that have unwittingly turned your life upside down…

  1. It’s ok to say you’re a having a visitor free day
  2. It’s ok to use kitchen paper or paper plates to save on washing up
  3. Entire days in your pyjamas are imperative
  4. Sleep when you can for as long as you can
  5. Iron as little as possible! Even better get someone else to do it.
  6. If someone offers to help – say yes!
  7. Try and get a pattern going on sleep. If your partner stays up till 12.30am – you can go to bed at 8 and try and get a decent block of sleep before getting up and down for the night shift (not always practical if your breastfeeding I know).
  8. Try and get out most days – playgroups are a godsend
  9. Prepare food for the family in advance. Big cook offs and frozen meals mean you can pull something healthy and nutritious out of the freezer for tea in the morning and not have to worry. Remember little ones will eat what you eat – just limit the salt. A chicken korma always makes for interesting nappy!
  10. Take the time to just enjoy them while they’re small – be sure to have lots of play days – do you want your children to remember the fun they had… or how clean the skirting boards were?

P.S. Do try and have a date night* with your other half regularly*! It’s an easy trap to fall into…but it’s essential you make time for your relationship, as it always gets thrown to the bottom of the to do list, you need to remind each other why you love each other and that you’re in this as a team…even when it’s tough going! Relationships are like a fire…if you don’t keep adding fuel, eventually it will go out!

*Date night – the pub quiz counts!

*regularly – at least once every couple of months!

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