I thought my fourth baby would be easier because I’m experienced. I was wrong.

by

Ashleigh Evans

posted in Parenting

Having my fourth child has been a wake-up call for me. I totally took for granted how self-sufficient my older kids are. At 8 and 6, my older three girls can do most basic things for themselves. I used to be able to get some work done while they played with their toys. Now, throwing a baby into the mix, I have to almost remember how to function with a little one who needs my undivided attention.

Real talk: life with older kids and a baby via @Babycenter

Making things harder: Never before have I had a baby who needs to be held constantly. Liam also eats so much! I’ve turned into a milk machine. My other kids were demanding — hello, I had twins — but this guy is truly testing my parenting skills. Even though I’ve raised three other kids, that doesn’t mean I’ve reached expert status. Every child brings their own unique challenges to the table.

I was so fortunate my husband had 4 weeks of paternity leave. It allowed us to get almost adjusted to our new normal. If I had to get something organized for the girls, Ricky was able to hold Liam. The baby carrier has been a lifesaver! Once he went back to work, I was faced with another adjustment period.

Real talk: life with older kids and a baby via @Babycenter

School started three weeks ago and it’s added an extra layer of struggle. The kids wake up crusty-eyed after a peaceful 10+ hour slumber and I’m a frazzled, puke-covered mess.

My Fitbit is so kindly tracking my (lack of) sleep for me: 4 hours tops. I quickly snap into motion to make sure the girls eat breakfast, have lunches made, and brush their teeth, while the baby needs to eat. Never fails: he either pukes or has a blowout 5 minutes before we have to leave. A clone of myself would be ah-mazing.

I recently had a revelation: slow down. The puzzle pieces are going to take time to come together as we all adjust. Juggling a million plates is not going to help our situation. For some reason I feel like I need to do it all. But in reality, I need to say “no” and ask for help. Self-care is essential to my survival now.

Real talk: life with older kids and a baby via @Babycenter

What are your tips for having older kids and a baby? I’d love to hear your secrets.

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