Ways to survive two under two, three under three, four kids five and under… Heck! How to survive YOUR tiny herd of kids. You’ve all read the fancy blog posts about surviving young kids. I’m here to tell you the REAL ways to make it. What you’ll really deal with out in the wild with your little homemade munchkins.
A line that I hear a lot is, “Wow, I don’t know how you do it…”
“You’re right, Nancy. I don’t know either. Grace, baby wipes, and that crap coffee I burn in the microwave. But hey. I’m doing it”
I remember preparing to welcome my second baby to the family. I always read the informational pieces about easy transitions, top ten products I NEEDED to have, how to make each child feel special, etc. Those were great but didn’t quite prepare me. I went on to have a third and a fourth, and here I am bumpin’ with number five. Five kids in six years. I am ready to spill some truth.
- Always have baby wipes. Even the most seasoned mom gets “comfortable” and thinks she can run a quick errand on a whim. When you have little kids, there’s always a chance for a mess. My two year old once smeared an ice cream cone all over her body in two seconds flat and then fell face first into a sandbox. Didn’t have my wipes. First mistake.
- Be prepared to sweat. Truly. Everywhere I go, I sweat. I wear Capri yoga pants in the winter because I KNOW I will be carrying two kids at some point while ripping open a snack with my teeth and hauling a stroller on my back. Multiple little kids means extra sweaty. You’re always moving, chasing, wrangling, and carrying. Breathable active wear is now your favorite clothing option. Throw a sweater in your diaper bag in case you need it to wipe a nose, but besides that, wear clothes that can breathe!
- Laugh. Having lots of little ones around the house is fun! Smile! It’s also SO chaotic at times, so laugh. They’re all yours, your little circus. Dang! They’re so cute, too. Find a way to laugh at yourself. Walking through the store with three kids yelling so loud, dropping everything out of the cart, blowing out a diaper…it’s funny. Chaotic and hilarious. A go-to mantra is “I could lose my cool… or I could laugh it off.” Always laugh it off.
- Perfect your angry silent mom face. It might never work, but I promise you, you’ll flash it when you’re using the bathroom at Target holding a baby, and the toddler threatens to open the door mid-pee. You sit there vulnerable and silently scolding him “DON’T. YOU. DARE.” Furrow the brow, squint the eyes, and practice lowly whispering “Mama, is NOT joking around.”
- Always have snacks. Maybe you have a strict snacking schedule or don’t allow snacks in between meals, yet here I am baiting my 3, 2, and 1 year old with off-brand goldfish if they “just get in the car!” Sometimes, it works like magic. If you say it in a songy rhythmic way, any snack sounds appealing: “Maaaammmaaa has some yummy yummy goldfishies!”
- Get ready for the comments. These comments are usually given when you’re sweating, laughing, dropping snacks, wrangling three kids, pulling out your wallet, and flashing a mom glare. It’s always something about your hands, too: “Your hands are full…,” “You need more hands!,” “What a handful!,” “Good job catching spit up in your hands!,” etc.
- Lastly, have fun with it. Yes, children close in age are, at times, chaotic, unpredictable, and hard work, yet it’s still so sweet. Such a cliche, but time passes SO quickly. I am convinced it passes even more quickly with many children moving through milestones paced together. I wish I had some miracle tips or products to run out and buy immediately. Yet, that’s the thing with having lots of little kids: you realize you don’t need much. You need a good sense of humor, the ability to go with the flow, and a heart to understand that time slips through our fingers. And you simply do what you need to do to survive. Upon surviving though, you realize you’re actually thriving.