I have heard it said that a third child is the “game changer”—the family addition that tips the tables upside down and throws the parents into a game of zone defense. But, as I jokingly reminded my mother-in-law one afternoon, I’ve been playing zone defense five days a week for the last three years!
“If you can survive three, it’s easy to keep going,” moms of many have told me.
And I don’t know if I just lucked out and got the sweetest baby on the face of the earth or if my character has been so overhauled by the last five years of parenting that the struggles of motherhood seem less daunting and draining, but I cannot describe the past month as “survival.”
It has been so much more.
We are thriving.
I have never had as much fun during the first month of a child’s life as I have with Abigail. She is a gift and a blessing in every way. All of my children have been. But, now I have the eyes to see it and the ears to hear.
So many fears have been allayed by half a decade of mothering and the joys and struggles of two children. Questions like, Am I making enough milk? and How will get the older child to accept the new baby? no longer send me running to the library for the latest “expert” advice. I know my children and my husband and myself. I know this family.
I do not need to panic at every little cry, because I am more adept and reading Abby’s needs. I hear her little screams as communication, not as some sort of personal admonition, “Mommy, you don’t know what I need, and you’re a bad Mommy!”
Not so much.
Not any more.
I have been a mother long enough to smile at my sobbing child, hug her to me, kiss her hair, and tell her, “Let it out. Mama’s here.”
Life is slower, yes, and clumsier these days. But, it is fuller, richer, sweeter for the stumbling.
Am I surviving as a mother of three?
And so much more.