Long ago, when Austen was just a hope and a twinkling in my heart, someone told me the adjustment to three children is easier than the adjustment to two. So far, this has been true. I don't know if it's because my big kids are both older than River was when Austen was born, or because this is my third baby and I'm more laid back and go-with-the-flow about stuff, or because I'm just used to the newborn period by this time and not as stressed. Whatever the case, the transition has been really smooth and without stress, which is more than I can say about transitioning to two children.
Chase has so far been my easiest baby; but then again, I don't even know if I really know what an "easy" baby is. Easy to me means she doesn't have to nurse constantly (like my first) and except for a few weird days, doesn't cry for no reason (like my second) and she actually takes a pacifier. But I hold my babies a lot -- like, 90% of the time -- it's what comes naturally to me, and so yes, my babies love to be held. I don't let them cry for longer than a couple minutes which means a lot of my time during the first few months is spent sitting on the couch, holding a sleeping or nursing baby. If "easy" means I can put her down and she'll sit there for a couple hours without anyone holding her or bouncing her, if it means she sleeps the whole night without waking up to nurse, if it means she's quiet as a mouse and doesn't require much effort to keep her happy, then okay... maybe she's not "easy." But to me, she's the easiest baby I've had!
Emotionally, I have found the transition to three children easier. I had postpartum depression for over a year after Austen was born, and it saddens me that in the midst of having this sweet little girl that I prayed for, among the really wonderful moments, there are shadows of a pretty dark time. I am not stressed out (other than the normal stresses of having three small children) and thank God I am not struggling with depression, but physically it is more difficult. There is only so much of me to go around!
If before I felt it was hard to keep our home tidy, put a hot dinner on the table, and keep to a routine, now it's ten times more challenging. The moment I get on top of one thing and move onto the other, everything else that I worked on has just fallen apart all over again. Sometimes I feel like everything in my home is caving in on me. Sure, we are happy and fed and well-rested, but for God's sake the bathroom is a freakin' biohazard and the recycling has been piling up for three weeks and even though the laundry was all folded and put away two days ago, I literally have about five piles that need to be folded and put away, again. How that happens, I have no clue. It doesn't make logical sense in the world of laundry, but that's my reality. I think laundry is a entity all its own, the way it multiplies and sneaks up on you and never, never seems to be complete, even when it is.
Right now, this is my view. Oh, I know. The baby is adorable. That's about the only thing adorable about this photo. And you can't even see the kitchen from here. Oh yeah, you betcha that's a diaper behind the swing. And the pile on the piano -- my many carriers and wraps. I have no idea how to store them. So they just kind of get strewn around the house until I need to use one of them.
I'm not doing a very good job of telling myself that this is only temporary. I can't really see the light at the end of the tunnel, although I'm quite certain it's there. I am loving my time with my baby. I am soaking up every moment spent holding her, nursing her, staring at her. I don't regret those moments, and I don't think I should spend them cleaning. My kids are amazing big siblings, and lately my heart feels like it's going to burst with all the love I have for the three of them. But honestly, messes stress. me. dafuq. out. I can't function. No really... I cannot function! It's easy for me to maintain a clean home, and when I have a clean home it's easy for me to keep the kids on a routine and feel positive and good about my day... but it's so hard to get it to the point where I can actually say it's clean. I wish I was better at dealing with this, but the truth is I'm not. When the house is a mess, I just don't have the motivation to do anything. I feel completely overwhelmed.
Sigh. I wish I could snap my fingers and clean everything in an instant. Or a maid... a maid would be nice. Not even a nanny or a cook or a chauffeur. Just a maid. Heck, I don't even need a maid to clean the entire house, just clean my kitchen and I'll be happy!