Split Three Ways

 {I started this post a few months ago...}

I've been watching This is Us-- I'm about six episodes in (I know, I know. I'm behind the times!) and today's episode (I watch one while I eat lunch each day) was about meeting each of the triplet's needs, even if it meant things weren't fair for the other two siblings.
This spoke my heart.
Having had three boys in three years, a lot of my life revolves around buying, serving and doing three of something so that life is fair.

The fact is, though, that life's not fair.
And nothing I can do will make it so.  Nor would I want to make it fair all the time. Because that's not preparing them for life in this world of ours.

In addition to fighting unfairness like it's typhoid fever, I am always feeling like there are too many of them and too few of me.  It's hard to feel so split.  It took three months, for instance, to figure out a bedtime routine that made me feel less like a pizza whose slices are being yanked out of the box and more like a candy dispenser whose contents are slowly being depleted. Hah!

This year I have found myself (in no particular order) worrying about Logan's health, Jack's attitude (as well as putting too much responsibility on him) and Wyatt's adjustment to school after being at home and by my side his entire life.  At different times, I have definitely felt that one kid has taken up more of my time and emotional energy than the others.  Luckily, with hindsight, I can see that it usually evens out.  And even if it doesn't, my other kids (the ones being neglected in favor of whomever is in need) know I love them even if I'm not constantly available to them. (Speaking of which, serious shout out to single parents  as well as working parents-- I don't know how you do what you do!!!  I have all the time in the world as a stay-at-home mom & still don't get it all done.)

People always say that having older kids doesn't really get easier, it just gets different.  The things you worry about and the time you invest is... just... different. As the mom of three school-age kids, and one baby, I can attest to this.  Sure, taking care of Carly is, hands down, the most physically exhausting. But honestly, most days, I would take sleepless nights and up-the-back poopy diapers over birthday-party non-invites and kindergarten recess issues any day.  The emotional toll of my older kids' issues weighs far heavier than figuring out how to get the poopy onesie off without smearing it on the back of her head. (hint: pull it towards the feet; the neck is meant to stretch so you don't have to pull it over their heads. #yourewelcome)

Parenting them doesn't just require more thought and emotional investment, it also requires that I be the same person all the time. It requires I be the example of all the things I am constantly nagging them about.
"Get off the screens!"
"Don't say shut up!"
"Be nice!"
"No swearing!"
"No taking God's name in vain!" 
"Do a good job! Don't be lazy!"
It's all so much easier said than done!  But I have to keep trying to be the example they need because they are watching!  It requires constant vigilance.  It's exhausting!

Something about the dynamics of three, too, just makes it so hard. When Josh takes one with him to run errands, it changes things so drastically, I can't even put it into words.  But all three trying to play together, automatically ends up with one feeling left out.  And usually a fight.  And sometimes a broken pair of glasses.  Sigh.

Our three rules are:
1) Ignore
2) Use your words to tell your brother what you need/want
3) Tell your parents

In addition to these three rules, we have a rule that we consequence whoever retaliates.  For instance, if Wyatt name calls, and Logan hits him for name calling, Logan gets in trouble.  We can't stop the sibling that starts it, but we can encourage the offended party to tell on them so they get in trouble.  It's not perfect, and sometimes I wonder if it's fair (there's that word again!?!) but it definitely keeps the fights from escalating.

My hope, everyday that I am blessed to parent these three boys (and of course our darling girl as well) is that I would be enough.  That God would fill the gaps where I'm lacking and help me meet the needs of these beautiful souls I get to keep for a short period of time.


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