When I was younger…pre-kids era, I used to think that I would have three or four children that were spaced two to three years apart. Then life happened and before I knew it, I had three kids in three years. So much for my perfect little plan.
My first bundle of joy was only five months old when I found out I was pregnant again. At Kid 1’s first birthday party, I was balancing my baby boy on my seven month pregnant belly. No lie. I have pictures to prove it.
When Kid 1 was 14 months old, I popped out another baby boy. I brought Kid 2 home from the hospital, propped him up on my nursing pillow, and sat my 14-month-old next to him. And I just stared. How in the world was I going to take care of two babies that demanded so much of my attention but in very different ways?
I was so terrified to tell people I was pregnant with Kid 2. I braced myself for insensitive, thoughtless remarks. And it was a good thing I did. Thankfully must people responded positively, but there was a large handful of comments that were hurtful.
“Don’t you know how to prevent that from happening?!”
“Are you serious? One wasn’t enough?”
Those comments directed at my sweet baby (who is now five and the most thoughtful, caring child I have ever known) were painful. People can be cruel without even thinking sometimes.
And because we knew we wanted three (possibly four) kids, we decided to add a third kiddo to the mix two years later. Since our first two were so close in age and we didn’t know for sure if we’d be adding a fourth, we wanted all three of our kids to be close in age. Thus three kids in three years!
When we brought Kid 3 home from the hospital (after just one night stay because I was a “pro” by this time), I was greeted by a three-year-old and a two-year-old both clamoring for my attention…while holding a hungry newborn.
It was awesome.
No, not really. I still have vivid memories of pumping a bottle for Kid 3 while trying to yell at Kid 1 to stop sitting on Kid 2’s head. Or better yet having to explain my pump to two very curious toddlers.
Or the times when I spent 45 minutes getting lunch ready for everyone and forgetting to feed myself because I was so exhausted taking care of three little, needy people.
But my all-time favorite was when I had to go grocery shopping with three kids…to Costco. I left that giant warehouse with $200 worth of food, 2 boxes of diapers, 1 box of wipes, 1 giant tub of detergent, an economy size bag of dog food, 13 little plastic sample cups at the bottom of my cart, and a handful of obvious comments about how busy I must be. No kidding.
Having three kids in three years was never easy. And sometimes I look back on those days (my youngest will be four in July) and wonder how I survived…or at least ever left the house.
It was intense, exhausting, a blur, and the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I was constantly reminded of the world’s view of seeing me as crazy for having so many kids in such a short time frame. I always thought that was so sad. Aren’t children a blessing…not a curse? And if my husband and I are able to provide for them and take care of them (and, of course, love them), shouldn’t we also get to make the decision of how far apart or close together our children are spaced?
I have friends with all kinds of family dynamics. One friend has three kids and intentionally waited five years between each kid. I can’t imagine having my family set up that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s just different than my family.
Yes, I’m aware that lugging around a newborn and two toddlers probably made me look like an exhausted, overwhelmed crazy woman. And wearing my infant in a baby carrier while pushing my toddlers in a double stroller is no joke! And don’t even get me started on having to take them to the bathroom when we were out running errands.
But I love it. I really, really do. I mean, I definitely need my alone time, but when I’m not around my kiddos I miss them. And even though it wasn’t my original plan to have them so close together, I wouldn’t change it. God knew what He was doing when He took control of my family plans. And He made my plans even better.
And if you really think about, isn’t all parenting hard? Whether you have one child or seven, it’s all hard! And every single one of us mommas deserve an encouraging word––tell me I’m doing awesome…not that I look exhausted or that I have my hands full. So even if you think I’m crazy for growing three babies in three years, keep it to yourself. I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me. Deal? And let’s just go and enjoy these kids of ours instead of criticizing someone else’s family choices.