Having three kids under four can be "a zoo," according to Oz.
Daphne Oz has a very full schedule. She's writing cookbooks, changing the way we buy baby food, and showing the world that postpartum bodies should be celebrated—and not just when they are not shrinking.
She's also a mom of three trying to get some sleep.
"For the most part we're in a good sleeping place, but one child is always awake," Oz tells Motherly.
She was already mom to 4-year-old Philomena and Jovan, who will be three in October, when she and her husband John Jovanovic welcomed their third child, daughter Domenica, back in December.
Now raising three kids under four, Oz tells Motherly that adding Dominica to the family wasn't actually as challenging as making the first leap from bringing up a solo child to managing siblings.
"I think [going from] one to two is way harder," she explains. "The first one sends you into a tailspin, you're just completely prioritizing your whole life and learning how to be a parent. That's a big learning curve, but you have nothing to compare it to so you just kind of go with your gut."
"Inviting the second baby in, you'll finally have gotten to a good pattern, a good rhythm with the first, you've finally got nap times figured out so you get your work done or get your work out in—whatever you need to get done for the adult portion of your day while they're sleeping. Then you throw the second schedule in there and it's completely on its head."
She says Philomena and Jovan did not nap at the same time, and they didn't go to sleep at the same time, which made transitioning from one child to two pretty tough.
"There's just no breaks at all until my babysitter comes, or my sisters, or my mom," she says, noting that she'd take help from just about anybody she could enlist in those days.
By the time Dominica arrived, schedules still weren't exactly synced, but Oz says she's learned that happiness is all about how your expectations line up to reality, and as a mom of three, she just expects things to be crazy.
"The third, it's already a zoo," she says. "I think I'm an easier going parent this time around."
Luckily, Dominica is an "easy baby," according to Oz, and sleep hasn't been a big battle in her babyhood.
"I don't know if it's because she's a third child or because she's has a Sagittarius disposition, but literally, she puts herself to bed, she sleeps for 12 hours, she's just a dream child," Oz explains, adding that, unfortunately, that doesn't mean mama is getting a full night's rest.
"My oldest especially is going through this phase right now where she's desperate to sleep in the bed with me, which is hilarious and so sweet and cute but not something I want to encourage every night," she says. "My son for whatever reason wakes up every night at 2 in the morning for like two hours and just talks to himself, recites the whole Madeline movie, sings his songs, it's crazy."
It might be crazy, but it's also pretty common and something many moms can relate to. Many can also relate to the chaos that is life with three under four, and how important it is for parents to make time with each other and for themselves.
For Oz, once in a while that means sneaking out to dinner with her husband after the kids are in bed, but most of the time it means making the most of the 20 minutes of free time the couple gets before their own bedtime.
"I'll listen to podcasts, maybe if I'm lucky I'll get to take a bath for myself, we'll go for a quick walk," Oz explains, adding that unwinding is pretty crucial to her self-care as a mom.
"There are some days that are better than others and there are some days that I just literally crash into bed and that's the only thing that helps me is going to sleep."
Also very relatable.
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