Baby No. 3 arrived about 8 weeks ago, so I‘m now in throes of round-the-clock feedings, never-ending diaper changes, crying fits and lots of swaying and cuddling.
I forgot how physically demanding motherhood could be – and now that I have three kids aged six and under, my body is definitely feeling the stress. In fact, I have to believe I’m in the most back-breaking phase (please, please, please tell me it gets easier).
Of course I know every stage of parenthood has its challenges. I’m sure when my kids start hitting the tween and teen years they will push my patience to all-new levels. Still, I think with three little ones, infinite amounts of energy are required. Oh yeah, and since I’m nursing, I don’t even get to turn to caffeine for some extra help.
So I know any mom knows about the obvious physical exertions (sleep deprivation, endless carpools and headaches) that come with the job, but here is a sampling of a few we forget:
For those with a baby:
Bjornitis – With a new baby, and two other kids to care for, I turn to my Baby Bjorn all the time. Especially during the “witching hour,” this carrier is the only way I can get my little one to calm down. Still, while the carrier of your choice can help quiet a newborn, it wreaks havoc on your shoulders and back. I think I am becoming a permanent hunchback, but if it means a quiet baby, I’ll turn to a chiropractor later in life to correct the damage.
Muscle Lopsidedness – My husband commented the other night that my left arm and shoulder are getting ripped. Turn your attention to my right side, however, and everything is a little smaller and softer. If you’re like me, you probably have one arm that carries your baby or toddler, keeping the other hand free for cooking dinner, talking on the phone, writing, etc. I guess the only solution is to do some extra bicep curls on my weak side and let baby do the work on my other.
For those with a toddler:
Tantrum Spasms – I also have a high-energy three-year-old. He is the ultimate charmer when he’s at his best, but as my strong-willed second-born, he can also turn on me in an instant. There are moments when he doesn’t get what he wants, or battles me about going to the bathroom, and before I know it, my sweet little boy turns into a tantrum-induced terror. Not only do these moments make my head pound, I also find my blood boiling and my body starting to collapse. I’m sure this will all be over when he turns four, right?!
For those with an elementary kid:
Brain Fade – My first-grader can dress himself, pour his own drinks, brush his teeth … in general he is pretty self-sufficient. But, now that he is in elementary school, he has homework, and permission slips to turn in, fundraisers and too many after-school activities to count. And guess who is responsible for keeping track of everything … the schedules, the paperwork, the reading log and when to bring something special along to church group. Not dad! Usually mom is the one handling all of these details. Sure, I have my lists and calendars and crazy organization system to fool me into thinking I have it all covered, but really, there are days when things slip.
Now if you’re managing any of these physical ailments at one time, you probably can keep it together. However, at the moment, I find myself straddled in all three worlds with each child testing me in different ways. Will I survive? Sure. Will there be some battle scars? Yes. Just look for the hunchbacked, large left-sided bicep woman who may have a toddler screaming in the vicinity while trying to load all of the kids in the car to drive my eldest to somewhere … if only I could remember where.
Wish me luck!