How I Manage My Stress With Three Kids
It has been a while since I posted about managing three kids so close in age. My oldest is 7, my middle is 4, and my youngest 3. Our lives have become busier than ever. Each month I flip the calendar and see we have very few free days. Here it is May!
I posted about our daily routine a few months ago. Mornings are a blur and the rest of the day is basically the same trying to beat the clock for preschool pickup, waiting for Gabriella’s bus, cooking dinner, and getting to an activity. Then all of a sudden its 8pm and I’m ready for bed too!
Having looked back on when our family was first getting started my overall well-being wasn’t great. We moved a few times before we settled here in Connecticut and not having family and friends close by was a hard adjustment. Especially since I spent long days at home alone with very little kids. Most days I wanted to wish away because I just wanted a few minutes of peace alone to myself. I had no self-care whatsoever and my self esteem was non existent. I just felt very alone.
The only times I left the house was a few times a week for preschool drop-off and pickup or to go to the grocery store. It was such an ordeal to pack everyone up. One kid potty training and two in diapers. One still breastfeeding too.
Those days were hard and long. I felt like I was just barely making it through the day.
Fast forward to now and things have totally turned around for me. The kids are a bit older (bittersweet) and getting around with them is super easy. I remember forcing myself out with them when they were younger to Target or to get a coffee or to the library. As overwhelming as it was to pack everything up and load them all into the van I forced myself to do it. As long as it took to get us loaded up – I had to get myself out of the house, that was the first step in turning myself around.
So here are my tips as a seasoned Mom of three to managing my mood for the benefit of my kids and myself.
1. Get Out of the House
I don’t care how hard it may seem or daunting of a task you have to get out. If it is simply to hit up a drive through and get a coffee then do it. If the weather permits, grab the stroller and take the kids on a walk around the neighborhood. This can be especially beneficial during that window between dinner and bedtime. That time of day in our house is brutal sometimes and getting the kids outside for an hour before we get ready for bed can easily make all the difference. Being stuck inside day and night no matter how exhausted you are can honestly be depressing. There is always something to clean or something to do. Just leave and know those chores and to-do’s will still be there when you return. Who cares!
2. Take an Hour or Two Alone by Yourself
Husband home on the weekend or in the evening? Good, get in the car and leave. Don’t go grocery shopping or run errands. Go someone and window shop. Walk the mall or Target alone! Get yourself your favorite drink to sip in peace. Get your nails done or make a hair appointment. Make plans with a neighbor/girlfriend to get out for a bit. Go eat a giant ice cream sundae! Turn up the music in the car and sing at the top of your lungs. Drive somewhere like the park and just sit alone in the car. Do something simple and easy and do it alone or with a friend. There were a lot of years that I didn’t give myself anytime alone and I regret it. Now, my alone time is spent exercising at the Barre class, going to a paint and sip with some great Mom friends, and getting regular hair cuts. Some years I would get maybe two haircuts a year. I would feel anxious the entire time I was there thinking about what was going on at home. Now, I can relax. I had to LEARN to let go and tell myself everything at home would be ok.
3. Make Date Night a Regular Thing
When you are the one solo parenting during the week it can be a lonely place. Day after day and night after night it all feels like Groundhog Day. As exhausted as you may feel plan a date night with your spouse. Get a sitter and get yourself showered and into clothes that make you feel good and get out! If you don’t spend time alone with your spouse and you only focus on the kids that can easily lead to trouble. Trust me. Tension can run high and negative things only come out of all of it. Feeling like you are the only one keeping the ship afloat while someone else goes off to work each day can lead to hard feelings. Make plans and stick to them. Make reservations for a nice quiet hot meal at your favorite place and don’t cancel at the last minute when you are feeling totally spent. You”ll feel so much better once you are out with your spouse reconnecting and catching up about things without the interruption of kids.
4. Get Yourself Ready for the Day
I don’t have much time in the morning for myself after taking care of everyone else’s needs. But, I’ve found that in 10-20 minutes I can wash up, put on a bit of makeup, and jeans and a cute top and I am ready for anything. If that’s not your thing, then find something quick you can do in the morning for yourself after you’ve taken care of everyone else. I look back on when the kids were super little and thinking about how I could barely manage to brush my teeth and hair. There WAS time for me to get myself ready in the morning when I was convinced there was not. I often wish I could go back and shake myself silly, but being a new Mom isn’t EASY especially when you are stuck in your own head.
I hope after reading through this you might find a few things that help you manage those long days. What is that saying, “the days are long, but the years are short”. It is all true. When I look at my Timehop on my phone each morning and see those baby faces I often wish for one more day to snuggle a newborn.
If you are feeling good Mom, your day will be better and your kids will benefit. You have to do something for YOU as hard as it may seem and as many excuses as you may find. Fill up your tank first before filling everyone else’s.