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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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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna

BUY

2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna

BUY

3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95

BUY

4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna

BUY

5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna

BUY


With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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Yesterday at Target I stood in line behind a Mom with two screaming kids. One clung to her leg while the other, a brand new baby, wailed from her arms.

I am not used to being the one who is not the parent of the screaming child.

This was uncharted territory.

I identified with her painfully and I wanted desperately to affirm her. I wasn't sure what to do except smile and look as nonjudgmental as possible. I tried to think of what I could say, like, should I shout above the screaming, “YOU'RE AMAZING!!" Or should I go in for a fist bump, “You got this!!"?

Before I could process what my awesome, pro-mom, non-judgey response was going to be the mom turned to me with desperate eyes, “I'm sorry, um, can you hold her?" She held out her crying infant towards me.

“YES!" I said eagerly. As I took her precious one in my arms, the little girl made eye contact and then wailed. I bounced her gently and put her pacifier back in her mouth, feeling such an intense solidarity with this mama.

“I have four," I offered, hoping to reassure her that she hadn't chosen a psychopath.

“Me too," she smiled.

“Target with kids is hard," I said, “how old is she?"

“Four weeks," she smiled with postpartum exhaustion in her eyes, “thank you so much," she took back her baby and I watched her walk away.

No…thank you. I thought.

I have been the woman in the checkout line more times than I can count.

I've stood sweating in this woman's exact position, barely commanding the tears to wait until I got to my car. I've felt my face grow red and hot as my toddler screamed and kicked, waking up my baby who was angry and ready to nurse. I've felt so alone and so out of control.

I've thought I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS. I AM DOING SOMETHING WRONG AND EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT IT IS EXCEPT FOR ME.

I've pretended to be calm and cool while inside I felt like I was suffocating. I've felt embarrassed and emotionally naked in front of an audience of spectators. In my mind people were waiting and expecting me to GET IT TOGETHER.

But as I rocked this baby I thought, in those moments, there were probably people just like me who were longing to lighten my load and whisper—hey, I get it, I've been here too—you're doing a great job.

This mama was brave.

She let her guard down and because of that, gave me a gift. She redeemed a thousand of my own frantic check-out moments by letting me be a part of hers. She let me join her village and reminded me that I'm not alone.

I am not the first one to walk this road and I will not be the last. There are grandmas, great grandmas and great great grandmas that have gone before me. There are mamas whose kids are older than mine and who are navigating junior high and high school. There are those who are right where I am and those who have brand new babies.

Whatever stage I find myself at, I will not find myself alone. This is a weathered road we travel.

I'm not the only parent whose kids have thrown tantrums in Target, I'm not the only one to have her kids tell a lie, I'm not the only Mom to lose her temper. I'm not the only one to have a son who struggles with reading, or the only one to have a child scream I HATE YOU. I am not the first and I will not be the last.

We really are a part of a village, a part of something much bigger than just ourselves and there are women all around us who simply get it.

Chance brought me one of my people, a sister I just hadn't met yet.

She is one of the ones in the ring with me, doing messy, but beautiful work. We are both knee deep in motherhood and for a moment our stories crossed and I am grateful.

To me she was beautiful and valiant, a mother holding everything together by a thread. I don't know how she felt. I don't know if she felt small, or if she felt tired. I don't know if she felt undone or defeated…but I hope she felt supported.

I hope that in that moment she did not feel alone.

I hope she felt like I was WITH her.

No judgement.

Just respect.

We are not the first moms and we will not be the last to have a “moment."

It is messy, it is hard, we will fail often…but we do none of it alone, and we are never, ever the “only one."

#Solidarity

Jessica writes at her blog Wonderoak. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

We all know that being a mother brings many joys, but a phenomenal sex life is not usually one of them. While parenting with a partner can be the most beautiful bonding experience, it can also be a breeding ground for resentment, romantic disconnect and unsatisfying sex.

But all is not lost to a life with little ones. As a mom of two, I attest to the fact that parenthood can actually improve your sex life; and as a relationship coach, I know I'm not alone in that. But here's the thing: you have to give it some attention. Great sex doesn't just happen on its own.

A truly satisfying sex life after kids requires education, communication, commitment and confidence. It asks that you shift your attitude from seeing sex as a chore to something pleasurable that you have the privilege of doing with the partner you love.

And I'm here to show you how.

Here are six elements to have a great sex life after kids.

1. Time

A great sex life requires time. I know what you're thinking: there's already too much on your to-do list. But you're just as important as everything else, and you need to make pleasure a priority. Maybe you put the kids to bed 30 minutes early or swap babysitting nights with your sister-in-law for a pre-planned date night. But you need to find the time to focus on yourself as a woman and as a lover.

2. Sleep

You need sleep to feel like a human, and you need to feel like a human to rekindle your sex life. A 2015 study found that with just one more hour of sleep a night, women were 14% more likely to engage in a sexual activity the next day. So do whatever it takes to get more sleep; take two 20-minute naps or promise yourself one early bedtime a week and see the difference it can make.

3. Ask for help

Between picking up after the kids and laundry and dishes, household responsibilities can put a toll on your relationship. After all, they provide the perfect breeding ground for resentment; and, let's face it, resentment is the opposite of attraction. So ask for help. Yes, from your partner (research shows that sharing household responsibilities increases the frequency of sex a couple has), but also from the reinforcements. Call your mom or your best friend and ask for help, or even splurge on an agency to help you get things back in order.

4. Attitude

When you want a happy and healthy sex life, you need the right attitude—one that doesn't treat sex and intimacy like a chore, but enthusiastically embraces sex positivity. Although it sounds difficult, it's really just four principles.

First, make sex a PRIORITY, which may mean giving up an evening playing Candy Crush to have a romantic night with your man. Then you need to do some PLANNING and put sex on your calendar. Planning intimacy does not have to take the fun out of it, but instead builds the rhythm we need for spontaneous lovemaking to occur.

But you also need FLEXIBILITY to make a great sex life work, especially with parenthood. Is one of the kids sick? Push back your special night until tomorrow. Babysitter cancelled? It's okay to settle for Netflix and a quickie. Go with the flow a little more and you may be surprised what fun you can have. Finally, FOLLOW-THROUGH and commit to these principles. If you throw in the towel after the first roadblock, you're telling yourself and your man that your sex life isn't important enough to fight for, which only leads to more disappointment and resentment.

5. Sex toys

Sex toys aren't only for solo play, they can add fun and excitement when used with your partner. A toy, whether a vibrator or silk blindfold, brings newness to the bedroom, which can turn you on and inspire you to explore. Beyond their aphrodisiac effect, sex toys can give you the extra stimulation you need and ensure that you get your happy ending, too.

6. Sense of humor

Parenting can bring MAJOR frustration to your sex life, and when it goes unaddressed, it drives a wedge in your relationship. Don't let it. Approach parenting's chaos with a sense of humor. Share your oh-my-god experiences together and laugh about them. Embrace the crazy joy parenthood offers and use it as a connection point, something that ties you together, not tears you apart.

Mamas, I know you're exhausted. And I know sex is often the last thing on your mind. But I promise, if you put in a little bit of effort and dedication in your sex life, it pays back tenfold. You get better sex. Your relationship improves. And your partner transforms, once more, into your lover.

The mental load of motherhood is heavy, but it can be difficult to explain what it really feels like to others. It's that never-ending to-do list that has to get done, but only seems to get longer. It's the constant worry of having to get all of those things done, from routine check-ins to managing the emotional balance of the household.

Simply put, it's invisible work that has to be done by someone—and that usually falls on mama.

If you're having trouble explaining that load to others, whether it be friends or your partner, Karen Kleiman, a well-known international maternal mental-health expert, put it into words. And Molly McIntyre, an illustrator and comic artist drew beautiful images.




Illustrated by Molly McIntyre. Molly McIntyre is an illustrator and comic artist with a background in traditional printmaking and book arts techniques. Her illustrations have been featured in Bitch magazine, Everyday Feminism, ScaryMommy, Psychology Today, and more. She is currently working on a collection of comics about new motherhood, called Momzines. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and young son.

Comics from Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts, an accessible collection of comics and resources, releasing March 1st from Familius and available at bookstores everywhere.

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