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One To-Do At A Time

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Life with three kids is crazy. Not as crazy as I’d imagined, but I expected the worst and was blessed with a super-easy baby and two older kiddos who, for the most part, have adjusted quite well to the littlest one. The hardest part has been that there is slightly more on my to-do list and slightly less time to do it. That math doesn’t add up, you know?

Before the baby came along, I had the kids in daycare two full days a week. I would work those days like a madwoman to get as much done as possible. Now, the kids are still in school those two days, but my “work days” consist of baby care and trying to fit in work. (The one thing about having your own business is that you don’t get a true maternity leave, something Jenn and I have figured out for all three of my kids and something we’re planning for for the birth of her baby!) Whereas before I’d get a solid 8 to 10 hours to myself to work, now I’m getting about half that much, if that. There are days when the baby sleeps a ton, and then there are days when the baby doesn’t sleep as well. Sometimes I have to strap the baby to myself in a carrier to get two free hands and some work done. Sometimes, like right now, I’m typing this with a baby draped over my arm because this is how she wanted to nap, and she’s the boss.

Emery

How is this comfortable?

With three kids, I’ve learned that sometimes, things just have to wait. Sometimes, Emery just has to wait to be picked up while I get the 2-year-old out of the Halloween candy and check that the 4-year-old is using toilet paper judiciously. Sometimes, the big kids have to wait for a snack because the baby is hungry and she’s the noisiest when she’s hungry (although she has stiff competition). Sometimes dinner clean-up has to wait because the laundry needs to be moved, spilled milk needs to be wiped up in the living room and the baby needs a bath after a massive spit-up. Sometimes, work just has to wait because there are three kids demanding attention, well-baby checkup visits, root canal follow-up appointments and precious sleep to be had.

One of the things I love most about the baby stage is that, particularly if you’re breastfeeding, you’re forced to sit down, feed the baby and just let the moment sink in. Even if it’s a crazy moment and the baby is spitting up while the 2-year-old is demolishing his train tracks in a fit of toddler rage — you’re forced to sit and take care of the littlest one. Those little moments make you forget your to-do list momentarily because the only thing that matters is the task at hand. And when a kiddo just needs a hug (see: toddler, post-rage), you take the time to give a hug. Emails, edits, posts, dishes, laundry, workouts — they can all wait. Sure, it can be overwhelming to get behind — especially when I like to be caught up at work and have the desk cleared of bills to pay and prefer to have laundry put away rather than stuffed in baskets all over my bedroom. But you just have to tackle the day one to-do at a time, one crisis at a time, one hug at a time. Babies are only little once — and particularly since this is likely my last baby, I’m really trying to slow down and truly enjoy it. All too soon she’ll be headed off to school, too, right behind the big kids.

How do you face your growing to-do list when you know it’s just not possible to get it all done? I battle the biggest, most in-your-face fires first! —Erin

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