6 Things I know from having three kids…

02 Jun
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So I have three kids now and I guess in a way that qualifies me to be able to talk about parenting generally? But every single time I have had a baby, the experience has been as unique as the individuals themselves. From pregnancy and birth to the newborn phase and beyond, my three have kept me on my toes keeping it different every time.

 

I’ve learned a few things though, particularly as my kids have shown me just how different things can be. Here’s my top six 😉

 

  1. They don’t give a shit about the ‘norms’…

 

Doesn’t matter if it’s sleep or growth or developmental stages or toilet training or anything else: your kids didn’t come knowing the milestones they were meant to be hitting. They all do it on their own time and in their own way. They sincerely do not give a shit about yours or anyone else’s graphs or expectations.

 

  1. They are as individual as you and I…

 

Novel concept I know, but our children, just like us as adults, are all individuals. We have different preferences, interests, dispositions.. We have different ways we cope with things and we conceptualise ideas like play and rest differently. As humans and individuals,regardless of age, we are all as different as we are the same.

 

I thought, way back when I only had one kid, that maybe I ‘got’ kids. That I ‘got’ babies. Turned out I only ‘got’ that baby. They are not a pre-fab mould, they don’t all come the same. The way one baby is or isn’t is as individual as you or I. You are definitely the expert on your child. No one gets your kid like you do. But that’s just your kid, that’s your dyad, that’s your thing. All our kids our different. Having three really emphasises that because despite genetics, despite the exact same conditions and situations in their environment, they are all so freaking different. Already. At this early age.

 

  1. They have their own schedule…

 

Some babies are keen to talk, some keen to move. Some babies pack on the pounds and grow rolls, others grow in length and aren’t as chunky… just like us as adults, they have their own individual interests. Some will move quicker than others, some vocalise more quickly but be happy staying stationary. Some might do it all, I dunno, maybe you have a genius baby…

 

The point is, they don’t give a shit what you want or expect or anything else… they are born with their own timeframe of things in mind.

 

  1. No one knows shit really…

 

It’s not until baby number three that I have a true appreciation for the fact we are all just muddling our way through this gig. Sincerely, all of us. At all stages and ages. No one ever really thinks, “I’ve got this sussed” and if you do, Murphy’s law says something is just about to change. It’s the cycle of life in this parenting gig I’m pretty sure, you struggle to get a handle on shit, just feel like you do, then it all changes again. I don’t know why anyone listens to anyone who would call themselves a ‘parenting expert’, cause how is it even possible to consider that such a role could even exist in this gig…

 

I studied Human Resources and International Business for five years at uni, all the while to later complete post graduate studies and realise the most complicated and unpredictable thing in the world is people and attempting to understand, formulate and categorise that is utter chaos. Trying to motivate them and encourage them in particular ways in a business sense is one thing that is challenging and unpredictable enough. Now imagine your employees are irrational preschoolers who also need you to change the shit from their arse while they scream at you unexpectedly because you unwittingly did some basic normal task wrong this time, even though it was exactly the same way as you did it last time. People are complicated and individuals, before I get too side tracked, that’s the take home message here, even as little people, no one is exactly the same…

 

  1. Self care is essential.

 

This is regardless of how many children you have obviously, but with three it’s really brought this home to me. If you don’t fit your own oxygen mask first, you are literally fucked and can’t help your kids.

 

If you don’t take care of you no one else will. No one is checking if you remembered a jacket or if you ate any breakfast, even if you are doing that exact thing for heaps of them. You need to nurture yourself too. It’s essential. Self care is not a luxury, but something you owe to your children to be the best you that you can be. You can’t function if you don’t fill your own tank.

 

  1. All those, ‘6 things I know from having multiple babies’ lists are bullshit.

 

To ignore the context, situation, ideas, beliefs, genetics and individual nature’s and dispositions in these contexts, make these generalisations, regardless how broad, is simply a reflection of an individual’s experience.

 

Just like everything else, our perception of things makes concepts so abstract and interpretation totally left up to the individual perspective. The things I learn from having three kids could be totally and utterly different to someone else’s. Or they could maybe be the same. That’s the beauty of the human experience. And kids, man, if trying to understand people was chaos, trying to understand children is insanity.

 

They experience so much growth and development and change in this early part of their lives, even they don’t have a strong concept over who they are or what they are doing most of the time! The more we socially recognize that children are people, albeit little often irrational ones, the better of we would be. We don’t expect that you and I would have the same bedtime, sleeping conditions and length of sleep without interruption so why do we it of these smaller people?

 

What did you learn from having more than one child? Did your subsequent experiences leave you feeling more of a handle over things as they arose? Or did your children and babies individuate themselves early on? How was your job with baby number two or three or four, the same as the first time round? What did you learn?

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