My previous article on bringing 3 kids out alone went viral. And many readers have expressed admiration that we have 3 kids.
We didn’t really set out for 3. Actually my wife wanted to stop at one.
The interruptions from every few hours of sleep was seriously compromising on our quality of life. We became office zombies and the cycle to repeat itself every single day.
But I was really adamant we have more than 2.
I guess it was due to my personal relationship with my sister, which is non-existent.
My naivety tells me that if I have 3, the worse case scenario is that two of them might become close and one become a lone ranger. But if you have two and they are not on talking terms, there would be two isolation.
Oh did I mention you get more money from the government too?
Just kidding. No amount of money can compensate the long term commitment. But it helps to pay for an OSIM uCosy 3D to relieve the associated stress.
Insanity kicks in
Today.com did a survey with 7,000 mothers in U.S. and apparently having 3 kids is the most stressful.
I can fully understand.
You only have a pair of hands and it is just sufficient to handle two differing needs at the same time.
When the third one comes along, you really need to multitask.
You could probably still take a phone call while on the treadmill. Now throw in taking notes. You get the picture.
How to find balance?
I believe it is possible to strike a balance and restore sanity. Here is what I do:
1. Create a bedtime routine
I have a friend from UK and I learned that his daughter goes to bed around 7pm every day.
But that is what they do back in UK since not every countries have so much distractions at night.
On the other hand I hear of local parents still struggling with their young ones at 1am.
Our oldest 6 year-old is sent to bed by 9:30pm. My 2 year-old usually will linger around a bit longer and head to her room no later than 10pm. I only have trouble with my 1 year-old. He sleeps around 10:30pm.
Setting a bedtime routine is paramount to finding time for yourself.
Parents must understand that we are the authority figure in the household, not the children. And children are the easiest to train because they begin their life as a blank piece of paper.
But if you refuse to write your rules on that piece of paper, they will smudge it with their own rules.
Once you have that, you are assured of your own time once they go to bed.
My wife and I have gone to the movies, gone for supper and even go for a night jog together.
2. Make sure they nap
Although it sounds tempting to keep them awake during the day so they will crash even earlier for bed time, we also realized it doesn’t really work that way.
Their body might not be able to take so much activities front loading.
With low battery by late afternoon, you will be dealing with very grouchy kids. For us it is magnified 3 times.
So during weekends when the first two isn’t at school, I make it a point to really tire them out as early as possible.
This was one of my Sunday schedule and it happened during my helper’s day off:
- Playground from 9:30am to 12:00pm (I have football game next to the playground)
- Car washing from 1pm to 1:30pm
- Swimming from 1:30pm to 2:30pm (Kylie would KO after this)
- Do dishes from 2:30pm to 3:00pm
Kyan will then come to me on his accord and tell me he wants to go to bed.
Is it tough for me? Sure it is. No one said parenting is easy.
But with coffee to sustain me ( I don’t do naps), I have 3 – 4 extra hours of time to do my own stuffs.
3. Personal sacrifices
I don’t do gaming that much. Gamers would know that is a big time sucker.
For someone who used to play into 3am, I barely clock 1 hour of game time per month. I saved at least 21 hours per week.
Neither do I go clubbing, although that is something I stopped even before kids. That saved at least 4 hours a week.
I am cutting down on my speaking engagements and will turn down any of them that are not paid or do not appeal to my interest.
I try not to meet up with acquaintance if a phone call is suffice.
So you have to figure out what’s important and ruthlessly weed out anything else that isn’t.
It can be done
So start putting in these serious measures and gain back hours of lost time.
All these will make parenting much easier and the whole process more enjoyable.