So yes, we were SUPER brave in saying “let’s have three kids, back to back, and raise them close together in age and just make this happen somehow” … our life is WILD here at this little condo in Kitty Hawk, NC…let me tell you! It’s the kind of day where by 9am I’ve been up for 2-3 hours, I’ve either got coffee spilled on me, spit up, some other baby bodily fluid and we’ve already sat down for breakfast together complete with giggles and occasional across-the-table-sister-punches. I’ve told Ellie to sit down 26 times in her seat at the table, told Cammy to stop getting butter from her toast all in her hair while she sloppily eats (sorry girl you take after me) and I’ve probably fed the baby 4 times by now WHILE cooking, cleaning up and taking care of the other girls. It-is-CHAOS…and I freaking love it.
With Cammy and Ellie, I had no idea how simple we had it in comparison — so I’m saying yes it’s hard with a two year old and four year old but ohhhh man, add in that new baby and your dynamic is bound to change! When you think you didn’t have time for things before, you REALLY did, it’s all about timing, hustling and scheduling! Let’s go over the three MAIN ways a third little one has changed the dynamic in our household and in running a small business!
**Can I just side note that Cammy JUST said to me from the coffee table with her breakfast where I’m letting her eat and watch CareBears this morning so I can blog (she’s excited about that!) “I just got butter in my hair, I didn’t meant to do that but I did it again” — hahaha, see? Butter in the hair. A passionate eater much like myself 🙂
1. Time for Business — time is this foreign concept to me now, I’m telling you..I’ve tried getting up at 4 and 5 in the morning to “get things done” on several occasions lately and by the time I finish taking care of myself, no matter how fast I move, someone is awake! And when a little human wakes up, they need a change of diaper, or clothes, they need a drink or a feeding, they need breakfast. They need some form of entertainment and if not, they need focused attention from someone else, so if Cammy is up and Ellie’s not or vice versa, I’m the distinguished attention giver which OF COURSE is fine but it eliminates any chance of me getting work done exclusively. Emails start to get answered and are interrupted a few times, blogging, etc.
This is why scheduling exclusive office time is imperative…something I have been telling mamas for SO long! The more children you have the harder it is to find windows of time to “squeeze work in” ..an email here, an email there. It also makes you feel really inconsistent to not be able to finish that email or project you started. You have to have time alone to work fast while someone else watches the kids. Lately, I have to admit (embarrassingly) that I have actually passed out cold during my office time, lol! From 9-10pm I have a window where Mike can get Ellie to sleep, Cammy’s already asleep and Autumn’s asleep BUT…while I get Autumn to sleep, I usually completely pass out like you wouldn’t believe. I’m just so physically exhausted by the end of the day during these first few weeks of new baby! We’re working on this, I promise…I’m still on maternity leave so I have time to figure it out! 🙂 We know we will have to shift my work schedule around to accommodate but that’s something that will be a constant with kids! When Cammy’s preschool schedule adds a day and another hour this Fall, it will change! When she goes to big girl school next year..things are REALLY gonna change with scheduling! The beauty of being a business owner is being able to continue to have your work revolve around the life you’re building with your family and for your children, not the other way around! Just don’t forget to schedule getting this stuff DONE! 🙂
2. Preparedness/Buffers — Before with just Cammy and Ellie, I knew if we were driving down the road, I needed a couple of diapers and wipes for Ellie just in case, drinks and snacks for both girls, and Ellie’s pacifier. I would leave with maybe a 5 minute buffer of time just in case I hit a lot of red lights or wanted to stop and get a quick coffee. So if I had to be in Nags Head by 9am, I would leave the house around 8:40am.
Now, there is a diaper bag packed with diapers, wipes, pacis, extra outfits, burp clothes/blankets, gripe water, gas drops, an extra shirt for me (in case I get thrown up on, etc)..and I have to leave around 8:20 to get 17 minutes down the bypass. It’s PRETTY crazy!!! The time buffers demand expansion when another little one arrives! I can have to pull over up to 10 times (last week it was MORE than that…I was losing my mind) in just one round trip to and from Nags Head. I hope this doesn’t stress any new moms out, it’s just part of the job! Here’s the deal…when my girls cry, I can’t listen. I just can’t. Maybe they’re spoiled but I physically feel sick if I hear them cry super hard so I fix it because I don’t want them to be stressed or sad so little. Things we pull over for are usually a diaper or being hungry (again, Autumn you little chunk) — but sometimes they cry because they don’t wanna be strapped in again..in which case I come prepared with that gripe water to dip on the end of the paci and buy myself some more time between the next meltdown!
No matter where we have to be, I leave PLENTY early but I also have alarms on my phone that go off to tell us to start scooting out the door, I highly recommend it that! And making them funny noises always makes the kids laugh 🙂 I think we have silly horns and ducks, hahaha!
3. I Can’t Live Without a Clean House — I am hoping there is some OCD soulmate of mine out there reading this. You guys, I know they say “it’s okay to let the laundry and dishes pile a little when you have a lot of kids and a new baby” etc, but…I can not at all function that way anymore. With Cammy and Ellie I was able to handle having a little of a mess around, and that is just GONE now..with a third around knowing time is so limited, I can’t let it pile hardly at all! It drives me crazy, it makes me so much less productive when I’m finally getting office time. When you have more physical space being taken up by little humans, it’s so hard to let messes build up. When it’s there, even if I can’t see it, I’m thinking of it! I have ALWAYS been like that! I’ve actually been on a shoot before thinking of how messy my room is when it’s been chaotic. I know, it sounds crazy, but some people are neat freaks and I’m just one of them! I am more CREATIVE, more ENERGETIC, more POSITIVE and optimistic and more PEACEFUL when my life of tangible things at home is in order, because I have a clear head to think and function better!
Sometimes our stuff still piles up, but we generally stay on top of four things…dishes, dirty laundry, clean laundry needing to be put away and the toy area in the living room. These are the four things that bug me the most and whenever they’ve been out of control, I’ve felt that way too, and I hate that! I feel like I can’t blog, edit, email or do ANYthing when life is too messy. Mike and I stay a team and stay on top of these things and it makes the chaos of having three children WAY less stressful! If you feel kind of out of control in your home environment with a new baby, try seeing if taking care of your surroundings (maybe simplifying and getting rid of things you don’t need? My url and hashtag isn’t #kittyhawksimplelife for nothing!) makes it better! Have your counters CLEAN and not cluttered! Get rid of a bunch of toys they aren’t using and donate them. Go through your own accessories and closet and donate things you don’t wear anymore that are just taking up hangers and space! The LESS you have, the LESS you have to clean up!
So the amount of time we had completely changed and got harder to find. Less showers, less quiet relaxing, and less “me” time..but that makes us more thankful when we get it, which we DO still make sure to get it in order to stay sane and to recharge to come back and better parent! We have to spend more time and effort into preparing to leave the house and creating a time buffer. We have to spend more effort on cleaning the house and keeping our sanity in tact. But you guys, there is never anything more rewarding than your children. Nothing.
A sweet friend of mine, Mischa and I were recently emailing about the dynamic changing adding another baby in and she quoted one of my favorite quotes around since becoming a mother and having times where I was struggling with find time to run the business the way I wanted to while trying to be a good mom…
“Children are not a distraction from the most important work, they are the most important work.”
– C.S. Lewis