The morning after my 32nd birthday, I woke up and felt “off.” My husband and I had spent the night at the casino. As we sat at a cute hole-in-the-wall diner the next morning eating breakfast, we discussed how maybe we’d be able to start taking more trips for just the two of us now that our kids were 3 and 2 and a bit easier to care for and leave overnight.
On the drive home, I still didn’t feel right. I told my husband that I wanted to stop for a pregnancy test to have peace of mind. I truly didn’t believe I could be pregnant, but I really just needed to know. After a full day, I finally took the test later that evening, and much to my surprise, that second pink line popped up so fast!
My brain started going in a hundred different directions.
3 in daycare at the same time.
3 in college at the same time.
7 (or more) straight years of diapers.
3 car seats. We need a new car!
Do I even have enough sick days to cover a third maternity leave within four school years?!
As the months went on, I did not allow myself to become overwhelmed. I mean, I honestly had no idea how we would manage three kids so close in age, but it was coming, and we had no choice but to figure it out.
My third baby was born a week before Christmas; the winter that year was brutally cold, and those first 8 months of his life were the most isolating months of my life. Aside from my husband, who worked during the day, I had no one to relate to. Many of my friends had kids the same ages as my older two, and many had just one the same age as my baby; no one I worked directly with was in the same phase of life, very few people were willing to babysit 3 kids that young, and I was killing myself to be Super Mom and Super Co-Worker/Teacher.
My life became, and still is, a constant checklist. My days are scheduled from the minute I wake up to the minute my head hits the pillow at night.
I was not prepared for how much extra work a third child adds. Really, it is not something one can prepare for. I suppose it is so hard because you move from man to man to zone defense, and the days where it’s 1 on 3 – MAN, that’s tough!
My little guy is amazing, though. He was meant to be a part of our family. He is funny, lovable, and one of the friendliest people out there. It took me almost a year to figure this out, but I 1000% believe he was sent to me to teach me what is really important in life. There are so many things I cannot say yes to anymore; I can only stretch myself so thin. He also taught me that I can’t and shouldn’t have to “do it all.” He’s shown me who in my life is truly there for me and to accept help when it is offered.
Maybe I can’t get to that fifth load of laundry or the sink that’s full for the millionth time that day. Maybe we ate McDonald’s for dinner last night, and we’re having pizza tonight. Maybe I left work at school over the weekend, and it didn’t get graded. Maybe the family room is a mess, and we’re having guests. Maybe we only got two baths in this week. None of that matters.
What does matter is that we laugh together, that each kid goes to bed and wakes up with a smile (that I go to bed and wake up with a smile), that we play, we talk, we read, we go out for ice cream, run around for hours at the park, or hang out with some friends. Everything else will still be there tomorrow.
I thought I had life all figured out, but I clearly needed my world to be rocked. I’ll forever be grateful to my baby for saving me from myself.
Leanne is an inner-city high school English teacher with a Master’s degree in Special Education who was born, raised, and still lives in Stratford, CT. She married her husband, Chris, in 2012, and they have 3 children; Myles – born in 2013, Nora – 2015, and Bryce – 2017. Leanne and her family love to keep a busy schedule, and weekends are spent at the kids’ sporting events, dance classes, or with friends. When time allows, she loves to catch up with friends, watch anything on Bravo and write about her hectic life as a mom of 3!