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Adjusting to life with 3 kids is hard, but we're doing it

Beautiful, of course, but definitely hard.

Adjusting to life with 3 kids is hard, but we're doing it

I have a "blessing baby" as I like to call her. My husband endearingly calls her an "oops baby." My mom calls her a gift. But the reality is that although she most definitely is a blessing and a gift, she also was a complete and total unexpected surprise.


When I found out I was pregnant, our oldest was seven and our middle was nine. We were done. In total cruise control. Life was simple and easy. Finding out I was pregnant at 42 years old was the shock of all shocks.

Don't get me wrong, we felt very fortunate. We were excited. We knew it would be fun to go through all the sweet stages again. And we had lots of room to love one more. But we were still shocked nonetheless.

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When we told friends and family, and even complete strangers, we were met with the same response every single time—this time will be SO EASY. They said things like, "It's your third baby, you're a pro," and, "You have built in helpers. This will be a breeze." Every. Single. Time.

I bought into that myth. Hook, line, and sinker. How hard could it be? We had been there twice before. Our kids were so excited and couldn't wait to help.

And then came the arrival of my third baby. And it wasn't like they said. It wasn't like we thought.

It was nothing close to easy and if 'breeze' is the equivalent of hurricane force winds, then yes, she was a breeze.

To me, the newborn stage can be pretty rough. There is no way around it. Whether it is your first, your fifth, or your 10th. The baby does not sleep through the night. The baby cries and it's not always easy to console them. The baby needs to be held and bathed and changed and rocked continuously.

Newborns are non-stop. They need you—a lot of you.

In some small ways my oldest two were able to help. My daughter could get me a onesie when the baby pooped all over the one she was wearing. My son could run out to the car to get the pack of diapers I had left there. They could hold the baby for a moment while I ran to the bathroom. But beyond that, there wasn't much they could do at ages eight and 10.

They couldn't get up with her in the middle of the night. They couldn't calm her during her fussy time. They couldn't watch her while I ran to the grocery store. Heck, they couldn't even properly change a diaper!

Yes, they could care for themselves, which made that part easier. They could dress themselves, wipe themselves, bathe themselves, feed themselves, even get themselves to school. This was absent when my middle child was a newborn and my oldest was 19 months. So, yes, their physical care was easier, but the emotional piece? That has been one thousand times harder than my first go round.

You see, they are old enough to remember when Mama gave them all her attention. When Mama was the room mom. When Mama NEVER missed any of their activities. They remember when Mama read to them every night and never missed tucking them in. When Mama helped with homework. When Mama watched every Christmas special with them.

Since Baby #3's arrival, Mama only watched approximately three innings of her son's entire Fall Baseball Season and Mama has yet to watch her daughter's gymnastic practices. Mama has only been in to volunteer at the school one day for approximately 30 minutes. Mama can barely keep her eyes open during family movie night, which have been few and far between. And Mama is just now starting, three months into this whole baby thing, to be able to tuck each older kid in at night.

My middle child has cried over these changes on multiple occasions. And it breaks my heart into a million pieces. Because I know I need to be there for the baby, but I want to be back with my older kids in the worst way. The hurt in their eyes when I say "I can't help you right now because the baby needs me" is worse than any hardship I have ever experienced.

What gets me through is my children's resilience. They have written stories about how hard they know this is on ME. They will hug me tight and tell me what a great mother I am. They will accept any little bit I can give them as if it is the world. And they love our precious little baby more than I could have ever imagined they would. They find such joy in her, and that's what fills me up these days. Those are the things that keep me going and make me realize that I am actually doing alright.

I know this too shall pass. And I tell them that. Again and again and again. We remind each other. I know that very, very soon we will find a new rhythm and the baby will find her schedule and the world will return to a place where Mama can attempt to do it all. But for right now, it is hard. Beautiful, of course, but definitely hard.

Motherhood will always present us with emotional struggles, won't it? But it is the greatest thing I have ever done or ever will do. The love we are creating out of the struggle is making us an even stronger unit. I can feel it. The trials help us savor the smallest moments even more so.

And ultimately, we are blessed beyond measure to have the gift of our precious "oops baby" in our family. Life sure works in mysterious ways, and I am honored that my daughter is part of our story.

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My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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