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11 Things Only Parents With Three Kids Would Understand

11 Things Only Parents With Three Kids Would Understand

The decision to have three kids was an easy one for my husband and I. We decided after our first that we’d have one more and then see how we felt about adding more to the brood.

While I was still in the hospital after giving birth to my second, I decided that I wanted one more.  Maybe it was the hormones or the sheer exhaustion (I didn’t sleep well during the pregnancy), but I was sure that I wanted one more kid. And I’m here to tell you that life with three is good, and very, very crazy.

Here are some of the differences between having three kids versus one or two:

1. We drive minivans or SUV’s

Having three kids means saying goodbye to anything smaller than a minivan or SUV. It isn’t physically possible to squeeze three carseats (or even a combination of booster seats and car seats) across the back of a sedan. Not to mention that if you tried that, the kids would be within hitting distance of one another. You know what I mean.

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For some of us, this is a major life crisis. Somehow giving up the sporty hatchback or luxurious sedan means we are giving up our old life. As far as I’m concerned, owning a minivan opens up a whole new world. Do you know how many kids I can haul in that thing? I can handle nearly any playdate or carpool situation. Come on, admit it – you know you secretly think minivans are cool.

2. We always get asked how we manage everything

Everyone with less than three kids thinks we’re crazy. For a while, every time I ventured out of the house I’d inevitably hear the comment, “Wow, you really have your hands full!” This was usually after a kid ran away from me in the parking lot or pulled a row of cereal boxes off a grocery store shelf.

I’ve stood in line at the grocery store trying to corral my three and had well meaning people ask with slight disbelief “Are they all yours?” And don’t forget my personal favorite: “I don’t know how you do it!” I suspect what the person is really trying to say is, “WHY would you do that?”

3. We always have a playmate around

I come from a family of only two kids. I never much liked that if my brother wasn’t up for playing with me, I was on my own. For those of us with three kids, there is always a backup playmate. If your oldest and middle children get into a fight, they can always turn to the youngest for support. It’s a great backup system. Life is infinitely easier with playmates around that don’t require setting up a formal playdate.

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4. We are amazing with logistics

We are masters at organizing and scheduling. How else could we survive on a day to day basis? Someone has to know who ate and who didn’t. Someone has to know who needs a fresh diaper (although I suppose that one might become evident pretty quickly.) And once all three of your kids reach school age, every morning becomes a tactical operation. The days when all three kids get out the door on time, with what they need, with no melt-downs, I want to give myself a high-five.

5. We buy a lot more food

We can actually justify warehouse club memberships. I’m not exactly sure how the math checks out:  You now have three kids, but your food bill goes up five times. Now that all of my kids are school age, we burn through snacks at an amazing rate. It’s like a pack of ravenous wolves descends upon my house every day.

6. We always have a noisy house

About the only time the noise in our house dips to a safe decibel level is when the kids are at school or sleeping. It begins as soon as one child wakes up. I thought that having two kids was loud, but it turns out I was wrong.

7. We have toys everywhere

Just as the food bill has blossomed, the toys have too. With one or two kids, toys stay fairly contained. But with three kids, they just seem to show up everywhere. I find them on the kitchen counter, in my underwear drawer, and in the refrigerator. I have no idea where some of them come from. I actually don’t even recognize some of them!

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8. You get to be the “fun” house

Once you have three kids, your ability to tolerate noise and messes grows to an astonishing level. Combine that with the fact that there are three kids at your house to play with, and suddenly everyone wants to hang out with your family. It’s like a party all the time. Three kids + three sets of toys + parents who aren’t surprised by anything = a really fun place to hang out.

9. You get three times the help

We have three sets of hands to help with chores, cooking, and projects. There’s nearly always someone around who wants to help. Having three kids does mean more work to be done, but there are economies of scale. Cooking dinner for three kids doesn’t take any longer than cooking for two kids. The bathroom has to be cleaned whether there’s one kid or three. Sure, it might get a little dirtier, but the job goes faster with more hands. My kids also have guinea pigs. The cage must be cleaned at least once a week. There are three little people to share this job, which makes it that much easier to find someone to do the work.

10. We are outnumbered

The minute you get to three kids, you realize you’re outnumbered. It used to be that if one of you had the baby, the other parent could entertain the toddler. During storytime, you could have a kid on either side. With three kids, we have to be more creative. I have three “sides” now: left, right, and top (my littlest lies on top of me). My oldest and middle got really good at playing with each other and helping one another out when I had to nurse or change the baby.

We’re a team and our kids are much better at being independent. They have to be and that’s a wonderful thing.

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11. You get three times the love

We get three times the snuggles, three times the “I love you’s”, three times the firsts (which are just as sweet with the first as with the third). There are three little people who look up to you with wide eyes and trust you to teach them. There is simply more love to go around.

Featured photo credit: The Kids/Eric Fleming via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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