Nothing can really prepare you to take care of three tiny humans 4 years old and younger, but my goal with this post is to at least try! Honestly, that time of my life is a bit like a blur, but I’ve sorted and organized my memories and here are 3 helpful tips to survive 3 kids 4 and under.
1. LET THINGS GO
This season of your life is not the time to try to be Martha Stewart. It’s not the time to have a Pinterest perfect house. It’s not the time to try to implement some new schedule in your family. It’s not the time to start something new. It’s not the time to do anything much beyond keeping everyone alive for that first little while.
AND THAT’S OK!
If you’re living out of a laundry hamper instead of drawers/closets, that’s ok.
If you have to use paper plates and plastic cups and utensils so that you’re sink isn’t constantly overflowing, that’s ok.
If your kids are eating their weight in goldfish and peanut butter crackers, that’s ok.
If you constantly smell slightly (or not so slightly) of soured milk, that’s ok.
If your older kids watch all 3,983 episodes of Bluey in one day, that’s ok.
If your older kids want to be around Dad/Grandpa/Grandma a little more than you and baby sometimes, that’s ok.
If you can’t get back to all of the texts/phone calls/messages of congratulations, that’s ok.
If you have to pay extra to have groceries delivered even though it’s eating into your goldfish and peanut butter cracker budget, it’s ok.
If the weight isn’t falling off like you hoped it would or it did the first two times, that’s ok.
Do you get the gist?
Whatever is happening those first few months is just fine. It’s all ok. It’s a season and it won’t be forever. Sure, there will come a day when you’ve got to change habits that are build during this time, but wait to do that until you’ve got your feet back under you.
Until then, don’t reject help. Don’t reject meals being brought to your house, even if it’s baked spaghetti for the 58th time. Don’t apologize for the way your house looks. Don’t make excuses for what your big kids are eating or doing. Don’t speak negatively about your body.
Just let it all go and you’ll have much more peace!
2. INVOLVE YOUR BIG KIDS
Your life isn’t the only one impacted by this new baby. The previous baby of the family has no become a big sibling and *gasp* a middle child. Your oldest has yet another kid to share mama and daddy with. Their worlds are turned upside down almost as much as yours is. While you’re giving yourself extra grace (hello tip #1!), don’t forget to give your kids heaps of it, too.
One of the best ways I found to get our big kids connecting with the baby was to get them involved. My new “middle” was freshly 2 when our baby was born and the biggest brother was right around 4.5. Sure, they’re not going to be able to deep clean the house for you, but they can help.
They can help fetch diapers/wipes.
They can help get you a glass of water.
They can sit and play with the baby on the floor while you get something to eat.
They can pick out something for the baby to wear.
They can take dirty diapers to the trash can.
They can help brush the baby’s hair after bathtime.
They can put clothes in their hamper at bedtime.
They can “read” their favorite book to the baby.
They can gently pat the baby’s back while you hold them to help with burping.
They can cover the baby up with a blanket in their swing or rocker.
There are SO many other ways big brothers/sisters can be involved. Now, sometimes having them help is inconvenient or slower than you doing it yourself, but sibling bonds start forming day one and I’ve seen the rewards of the efforts I put in those first few months, even years later.
3. BE A LAZY GENIUS
If you’ve not heard of The Lazy Genius, you’ve missed out! Her entire theory can be summed up as “Be a genius about what matters to you and lazy about what doesn’t.”
So let’s think about it. What really matters to you are your house? An empty sink? Clean kitchen counters? Laundry totally done? Floors cleared? Clutter put away? Everything dusted? Home cooked meals every night?
Whatever it is, name it and figure out a way to make it happen in this season. And listen, I don’t think this goes against Tip #1. I think that there are some things you really care about that you can get creative and take care of in this season.
If you really care about having an empty sink at night, maybe you use disposable kitchenware whenever possible. When that’s not possible, have your oldest help you put stuff in the dishwasher. Will it look like it does when you do it? Nope. But will your kids be involved and your sink be empty? Yep. Win.
If your laundry being totally done really matters, recruit a friend. When people say “Let me know if you need anything,” they’re opening themselves up to actually helping you. Call a friend and see if they’re willing to spend an afternoon at your house, helping with laundry. Turn on a kid movie, break out a cup of coffee or a mimosa, and enjoy some girl talk while the machines are running. Grown up interaction and your laundry being done? Win.
If your floors being cleared every day is important to you, it sounds like a great time to make a new family routine! Turn on some fun music and tell your kids to dance while they put away all of the stuff on the floor. Or maybe challenge them to get it all done in a certain time. Or tell them you’ll time them and if they get it done within ___ minutes, they can get a treat. If they’re trying hard, turn the timer off and give them a treat anyways! Kids learning responsibility and clear floors before bed? Win.
Whatever matters to you, make it happen in a way that doesn’t involve YOU doing it. You’re healing from birth. You’re running on too little sleep (if I had a 4th tip, it would be to take care of yourself and get as much sleep as possible, just sayin’!). You’re feeding a baby, be it by boob or bottle. You’re keeping a tiny human alive.
Other people can take care of your house.
So there you’ve got it, my three biggest tips for surviving the first few months being a parent of 3 kids 4 years old and younger. In all honesty, those days are a blur to me. Writing this came from looking at a lot of pictures from those days and it sparking memories.
But you know what?
YOU’RE GONNA GET THROUGH IT.
Let it go.
Involve your kids.
Become a Lazy Genius.
YOU CAN DO THIS
Let me know in the comments—which tip clicks the most for you? What are you excited about implementing in your house?
And don’t forget to connect with me on instagram and facebook! I love learning more about you and creating a community of people making real mom life simpler!