Being pregnant with a toddler in tow AND working a job? That’s one of the hardest parts of early motherhood…
A friend of mine messaged me recently asking how in the world I made it through a fourth pregnancy with three other kids to keep up with, too.
Before answering I blinked several times thinking…
Did I survive it???
Because my gosh those first years of mothering a child is HARD…
And doing it while growing another human inside you? Well, that deserves bestowment of the highest award, complete with red carpet stretched out for you daily leading straight to the coffee maker, sister!
So…after shaking my head and realizing that I had, indeed, made it through that stage of life, I took to the keyboard and gave her the answers she was looking for.
Our conversation was full of so many #truthbombs that I haven’t ever dropped on the blog…
So, naturally, I asked if I could share it with y’all, too.
Because being pregnant while juggling the responsibilities of parenting toddlers and working a job is a huge struggle for so many moms…
So, if you’ve been wondering how the heck you’re supposed to get through this stage of life, then keep reading…
And if you’ve never been to my little corner of the internet, let me just say that I’m so glad you stopped by.
I’m Alicia and I spend my time
Back to it…Here’s what my friend asked…
Hoooooow did you survive your fourth pregnancy with three other kiddos to keep up with? My husband works nights and I feel like I’m doing it all on my own and I’m exhausted. The baby’s not sleeping and I’m working a few hours during the day then coming home to a sleeping husband because my husband is on nights… I’m losing it.
Reading her question zapped me back in time to when I worked full-time and Matt worked evenings…I felt all the familiar stressors…the same overwhelm…
I swallowed hard and attempted to shape my words…
The only thing I could think to write for several minutes was, Oh, sister!! That is
I sat staring at the blinking cursor…
Then, in a crazy rush of mom wisdom, the words flowed from my brain, down through my fingertips to the keyboard as I remembered just how I made it through those chaotic days…
So I typed…
this is going to sound crazy…but the first thing you need to do is lower your expectations.
Most of our stress comes from trying to do and be everything to everyone!
So if you’re going to make it through with your sanity
And let harmless chaos be.
The next thing you can do right now to make your life easier is to say what you mean.
Here’s what I mean by that…If you need help, ask for it.
Sometimes we can have entire conversations inside our heads regarding what our families (especially our spouses) are thinking…
It’s often the conversation where we think they think that we are being lazy if we rest…
And then we feel guilty…
…Then we feel angry and unappreciated.
It spirals out of control from there.
But the thing that plays out in our head? It’s normally not the case. #rememberyoudidntmarryajerk
And all of that stress can often be avoided by saying what we mean.
If you need help, ask for it.
Don’t refuse it.
Don’t say, “It’s okay. I’ve got it.”
Don’t do everything and then get resentful that you’re doing it all. Just ask for help.
AND MEMORIZE THIS PHRASE…“Hey babe, I need you. Can you help me with something?”
Because here’s the thing…Most men are happy to help when you when you need it.
Those words (when not sandwiched between a passive-aggressive jab or accompanied by an emasculating tone) trigger something inside of them…They want to help you.
So just say what you mean and make your life easier.
Remember that these days call for a slower pace, so do what you can to make that happen.
You are building a human right now and that’s your priority numero uno.
Now, so far I’ve hit on the big picture things that will help make this stage smoother sailing…the MACROS if you will…
But Now I want to share THE MICROS…The daily life stuff that will make things WAAAAAAAAAY Easier on you…
I think that afternoons and evenings produce the highest stress level of the day…
That’s when the kids are getting home, when you have to feed everyone dinner, and when everyone seems to need you all at once!
Here’s what you can do…
Restructure your day.
Remove every responsibility you can from the evening “witching hour” when everyone’s whining at your feet at the same time.
If you’re like me, the biggest struggle is getting dinner cooked without losing my ever-
Now, I’m not suggesting that you order take-out every night (though, I’m not going to lie…That sounds like a freaking great idea, IMO), but there is a secret weapon you can use.
Move meal prep to is the time of day when you have the most energy and time available!
You can even do it in the morning and mark it off your list for the whole day.
Or if you live close enough to home (and you don’t need that extra catnap), you can swing by on your lunch hour and get the prep done.
Depending on what’s on your menu, you can cook the whole meal and reheat it at dinner time, or you can prep everything and have it ready to toss in the oven or Instantpot when you get home. (sidenote…get an Instantpot. They’re heavenly.)
This will free up SOOOOOO much time and relieve SOOOOOO much stress during those crazy evening hours.
And remember that say what you mean tip from earlier? Well, that applies here, too. If you need help with household chores, just say you need help.
Make the older kids fold their own clothes.
At our house, everyone has a basket. Each person’s clean clothes get put in their respective basket.
My oldest two are responsible for folding and putting away their own clothes from start to finish.
The younger two have a ways to go in the art of folding, but they help put it away like champs.
Now, is it always perfect? Heck. To. The. No.
Consider this is one of those lowering your expectations practices that I was talking about…They haven’t practiced enough to be what I’d call “great” yet, but it seriously reduces your chore load while handing off a healthy dose of responsibility to them.
Less Bath time…
Okay, REAL TALK…
Some people may think I’m a dirty hick for saying this, but bathing 4 kids every single day is just the worst.
I mean, the laundry from the towels alone makes me want to force my family into full-time nudism…
So when I was pregnant with #4, I decided that baths didn’t have to happen every day.
Unless they just get sweaty and nasty, we bathe them every other day…most of the time. 😉
And TBH, my girls’ long hair is better for it!
It’s like I said…
Most of your stress comes from thinking you have to do everything.
Making it through pregnancy while having other kids is just a matter of modifying what you do and working to delegate overwhelming tasks.
Everything else? Well, everything else can wait.
Believe me… I know it feels like this stage is going to last forever, but I promise it won’t…
One day soon you’re going to look up and realize that they are brushing their own teeth and washing their own hair and tying their own shoes, and you’ll notice that it has all gotten easier.
But until then, take a deep breath, and realize that you were created for this. You can do it, momma.
And on the days when you feel like you can’t do it, come back here and let me love on you and lift you up.
Because I’m sitting on this side wearing my “been there, done that” t-shirt, and I’m cheering you on.
Want some more encouragement during this stage of life? SUBSCRIBE HERE NOW and let’s be pals.