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Congrats—you have 3 kids! Or maybe you’re a mom of two who just popped positive on a home pregnancy test (?) and are wondering what exactly you’ve gotten yourself into.


As moms of three, we’re here to spill some secrets: It. Is. Amazing.

Don’t let scary articles on the Internet or strangers’ unsolicited comments worry you: having a trio of tiny people is totally awesome.

As moms of three, here are 20 reasons why this life rocks—

1. Newborns don’t scare you

Remember when your firstborn came along and you had no clue what you were doing? But now, late night feedings feel like old hat and you’ve got a lactation consultant’s number already saved in your phone. You’ve already built up incredible muscles in this momlife, so you have the confidence to deal with newborns like a pro.

2. You learn to accept your amazing body

With three kids, there’s little time to fret about love handles or silvery stretch marks. You want to model self-empowerment for your (many!) kids and decide that the three humans you made are proof enough that you = amazing hotness.

3. You can actually enjoy what’s precious about each stage

By the time you have three kids, you realize just how fast it all goes. Your third baby brings so much pure joy—unlike the first time around when that joy was mixed with nervousness and worry about if you were doing it right. (You were, you just didn’t realize it, mama.) By the third baby, it’s all joy.

4. You get the most out of your hand-me-downs

Kids products and clothes can get expensive, but the budget goes a LOT further if you pass those items down to multiple children. Plus you don’t mind investing in a nicer version of an outfit or piece of gear because you know you’ll get real use out of it—making more room in the budget for mom + baby items you adore.

5. You become a master of efficiency

Give a mom-of-three 30 minutes and she’ll vacuum the house, answer 4 work emails, pinch her husband’s butt and squeeze in a power shower. And take several very deep, long breaths while alone in her closet.

6. Your children become more independent—by necessity

Ever try to breastfeed your baby while getting your older kids out the door for school? You quickly learn that tots need to dress themselves and take some responsibility around here for once! ? Because a mama-of-three’s attention is (understandably) divided and she can’t possibly do everything for everyone, kids learn to care for their basic needs sooner. And they can actually do it! Even preschoolers can do things like pour themselves water, put their shoes on and brush their teeth with some coaching. (Psst, this is really good for them, too!)

7. You become open-hearted

By the time you have three kids, your sense of control is gone—in a good way. Your heart opens to the stray cat who needs a home, the friend who needs a place to crash for a few days, and the little old lady who needs visitors. You know you can’t do everything, but realize that this season of your life is full of people and service and sacrifice. Your heart opens up to it.

8. You learn how to simplify

With three kids, the “stuff” can really pile up. Moms-of-three learn that life is better with less, and we choose to let it GOOOOO (sing it Elsa.) And P.S., learn how we do it with The Simplified Home, Motherly’s 48 hour decluttering class. Seriously, life-changing.

9. You cook in bulk like a pro

Give a mom of three two hours on Sunday night and she’ll make oatmeal for the week, Instapot enough frozen chicken to last until Super Bowl Sunday, and pack lunch for three. She’s got this.

10. You know where to get the best deal on everything

Bulk coffee? Amazon. Bulk diapers? Walmart. Bulk. . . vacations (can that be a thing?). . . Airbnb?

11. But you only spend money on what really matters

Like OMG bonnets. Yes, three kids can get pricey. But with a budget to stretch, moms-of-three say “bye bye!” to wasting money on needless activities, cheap junk, or overpriced clothes. You learn to spend money on what really matters: simple, high quality toys—and a babysitter for date night out.

12. Your negotiation skills are on point

Used car salesmen know better than to try to out-negotiate a mom of three. You just dealt with your oldest’s Peppa-pig related meltdown, while convincing your toddler to eat her broccoli, while shushing a baby back to sleep over the video monitor. Hostage negotiators have nothing on these mamas.

13. Your friends see you as their motherhood guru

“Share your sleeping-through-the-night secrets with me, oh wise one.” You are the all-knowing one of your mom squad, and your friends have nothing but respect. (Smart ladies.)

14. You get really creative about sex

“Hey, the baby’s asleep, our preschooler is at a playdate and I think our oldest is working on a coloring book. We’ve got 9 minutes. . . meet me upstairs?”

15. 3 across car seats: IT CAN BE DONE

Yes, it can be done. By squeezing your three into the back seat, you’re a one-woman HOV lane. You don’t need to upgrade to a bigger car (yet!) if you don’t want to. You make energy efficiency look so good.

16. You rock babywearing

You know those amazingly-cool-looking, Boho-chic Instagram mamas wearing their babies all wrapped up while sipping Tumeric tea as a Spring breeze floats by? THIS IS YOU. With two other kids to keep track of, babywearing becomes a way of life. (Ahem: free hands, FTW!) You trendy thang, you.

17. You’ve got the whole birth order thing down

Wth a trio of kids, birth order becomes super real to you. Your oldest aims to please, your middle is adaptive, and your baby is, well—he’s your baby. Many of the insights around birth order apply—and help you understand what each of your children needs.

18. No child left behind

When you have three kids you’ve entered constant-child-counting land, making sure nobody gets left behind at Chuck E. Cheese. One-two-three, one-two-three might sound like a dance move, but it’s the rhythm of counting that moms do to make sure everyone is A-OKAY.

19. Your littles love on each other

There’s nothing cuter than your older kids fawning over the “widdle bay-bee.” Watching your kids develop a bond with each other is one of the most life-affirming things to witness—knowing they’re going to get to be buds for the rest of their lives.

20. You actually make time for self care

With 3 kids, self-care is not optional—in fact, it becomes a way to make sure you are up to the daily challenge. Whether it’s rising up early to drink coffee in silence, finding a gym with built-in childcare (score!) or handing off the Saturday morning shift to dad, moms-of-three know that self-care is essential. If only we could have known that as first-time-mamas!

Psst—get more inspiration for daily life with three kids—Join Motherly + rock that #momlife!

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas

www.pinterest.com

Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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