The truth about being a mom of 3: I finally believe in myself

A few weekends ago, my husband and I decided to do our weekend grocery shopping trip together as a family—our “activity” for the day, if you will. So that meant my husband, me, our preschooler, our toddler and our newborn were going to tackle our list of apples and oranges, seltzer and coffee, hummus and almonds—together.

So there I was, strolling through the frozen foods section of Trader Joe’s, pushing our stroller with newborn Natalie in her seat, and big girls Maggie and Lucy standing on the kickstand attachment—and a woman pushing her daughter in a cart came up to me.

Now, side note, I’m shy. I’m not always a “people person,” not really one for small talk. So I panicked at first as she approached me—was she going to say something weird about how my children were behaving? Was she going to give me one of those awkward, “Looks like you have your hands full!” comments?

She didn’t. Instead, she gave me a gift.

She said, “I’m in awe of you. Look at you with these three children at the grocery store. You’re doing it. Keep it up, mama. God bless you all.”

I didn’t even know what to say. I was sort of shocked. I was so ready to play defense, I hardly even gave her the chance to give me the assist.

Well, let me tell you—there was a pep in my step the rest of the day, and my husband joked that now I’d never shop at another grocery store again. (Which is probably true–I mean, the whole experience was very pleasant.)

So the gift this angel woman gave me was not just a super nice compliment. She gave me perspective. A new way to look at myself. I realized that the timing of this compliment from the angel woman was no coincidence—we had just recently welcomed baby number three into our family and while it can all be a lot to handle, it has also proven to me that I really am a strong, capable, confident mother.

It’s finally starting to sink in now that I’ve welcomed my third child into my life.

I don’t have to “fake it till I make it” (one of my favorite life mottos) anymore. I’ve made it. Despite the hardships, exhaustion, worry and frustration motherhood can bring, I feel comfortable in my role as a mother. I feel confident in what I’m doing.

I’m finding that I’m second guessing myself less.

I’m finding that I’m doubting myself less.

I’m finding that I’m beating myself up less.

This mom-of-three life is no joke. It has helped me cut through the negative and finally just believe in myself. With baby number three I can finally say, with confidence: I have a really good idea of what I’m doing. And I may not always do it ‘right’ or ‘perfect,’ but I know how to make sound decisions for my children and I know how to put my family’s needs first. I know how to be their mom.

It’s been a breath of fresh air.

There have been other revelations I’ve had since going from two to three children.

Like how my oldest somehow now looks like she’s about to turn 25, when she’s really only about to turn four.

Like how I’ve been craving individual time with each child more and more, and trying to figure out a way to squeeze that into our busy days.

Like how I’m thoroughly enjoying having a newborn around again, especially with this newfound confidence and calm. Dare I say, I feel a little more relaxed as a parent now. (Which is not exactly what I thought would happen.)

Like how it takes us roughly two hours to prepare to leave the house and then roughly one hour to actually get in the car to get where we’re going.

Like how I’m now completely used to someone either being in the shower with me every time I try to shower, someone crawling or sitting on me every time I plop down to relax, or someone always sneaking in my bed taking up about 95% of my spot.

Like how there’s always someone around to give me a hug or make me laugh or be inspired by. There’s always someone around to cuddle with, talk with and remind me how lucky I am.

All my life I’ve wanted to be more confident. Finally, I have that gift. And as it turns out, it’s my children who have given it to me. ?

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You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.


Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.


Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.


Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.


BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.


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


Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

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