Menu

Dear 3rd child: These are the good (and bad) ways I will do things differently for you

I'm not saying you won't challenge me or that I will be perfect, but I will have more patience and a lot more experience than I did with your siblings

Dear 3rd child: These are the good (and bad) ways I will do things differently for you

To my third child,

I need to start with an apology. I'm sorry. I'm sorry there are things I cannot give you in the same way I gave our first two children...

Like peace and quiet.

I'm sorry I cannot guarantee that I can keep your siblings from running, playing, laughing, crying, and throwing tantrums at all hours of the day—especially when you're trying to sleep. A promise of silence just isn't realistic in our home right now. I hope you don't mind.

I'm sorry I cannot promise that your clothing isn't spaghetti-stained or mud-stained from that time your brother literally sat in a mud puddle for 20 minutes and played—I didn't have you in mind when I let him do that. (And if it makes you feel any better, he really had a lot of fun while he was doing it!) Who knows, maybe you'll play in that same mud puddle one day and we'll make those same memories together.

That being said, I don't get you as many new things as I did with the first two. You have inherited all the clothes your brother, our first boy, has outgrown. Though, I don't feel too bad, because they are pretty stylish (Mama has good taste).

I'm sorry I don't buy you new toys. We have so many buckets and bins of toys! It feels like there's been an explosion of toys in our house no matter how many times I purge them. So the toys you get to play with have been discarded by our other two children. I hope to surprise you once in a while with something new, but for the most part, you get the hand-me-downs.

And it's likely that the hand-me-down toys have some pieces missing, forever lost under a couch, behind a bookshelf or in a car somewhere. Still, I hope that these things bring you as much joy as it has brought your brother and sister over the years.

I'm sorry that I cannot give you the same attention I have given the other two. To be honest, they still require a lot of attention, too, and I do my best daily to give everyone as much of me as possible. But it will never quite be equal all around, at all times.

I cannot watch you grow without thinking of when and how the other two learned how to do certain things. I will—of course—accept your timeline and methods for walking, talking, and learning, but will wonder what I did differently this time to make your learning experience different or if it's just your nature.

Despite some of these shortcomings, there are also things I can give you that I didn't give your siblings.

I can give you a more well-rounded and understanding version of myself as a parent. All the kinks have been worked out for the most part—courtesy of your brother and sister.

All the mistakes I made with them will stay with me so I hope not to make those same mistakes with you.

I'm not saying you won't challenge me or that I will be perfect, but I will have more patience and a lot more experience than I did with your siblings.

I have given you playmates, companions for life (I hope) who understand what it's like to have siblings and what it's like to have me as a parent. I hope that they accept you as their third amigo when you get old enough to truly interact with them.

I will give you organized chaos. With three of you it will probably feel like we're constantly moving, and it's likely that we are, but in the most deliberate and orchestrated way. Without being organized we wouldn't be able to thrive. While you'd probably be fine without a little organization, Mommy would be a little more frazzled than I already am.

I can give you my presence because I realize—more than ever—how fast you grow up.

Rather than being buried in my phone or computer, I will be present more than ever. Thanks to your siblings, I know that I shouldn't miss a moment because these moments are fleeting. I don't want to blink and wonder where the time went, though I'm sure that's inevitable.

I can give you the most tender love. I've learned that while I didn't think I could possibly love another child as much as I loved my first and then my second, you showed me that I can. In many ways I owe you a thank you for showing me that I am capable of this kind of love.

Most of all, I'm going to give you my best and hope that I can foster love, respect, and drive in you. That's my mission for all my children. I want you and your siblings to be happy, fulfilled, and to be able to make your own way in the world.

So for all the things I can't give you, and all the things I can—I truly hope you come away with a life that you want.

With love,

Mama

You might also like:

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

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.

Keep reading Show less
Work + Money