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Monday, July 1, 2013

Mom of the Month - Anna McCarthy

July is here! That means another wonderful Mom of the Month on the Mommy Stories! Beautiful Anna McCarthy is up next! She is one spectacular mom, totally devoted to her little ones, I can just tell. She seems to be living it up in the chaos, she referred to, and loving every moment. What a deserving Mom of the Month. Someone should take you out for dessert soon! :) And funniest account of her day below, and scariest third pregnancy experience EVER. Read below for some smiles and awe. at this mother of 3.

(all photos from Anna McCarthy)
1. Describe your children in 3-5 words.
Owen (6 yrs old): competitive, creative, sensitive, athletic, very loving
Charles, aka Charlie (22 months): cheeky, energetic, extreme, loud, funny
Harriet (5 months): beautiful, smiley, curious, mellow, strong
2. When were your children born and where?
Owen: March 2007, Seattle
Charlie: August 2011, Seattle
Harriet: January 2013, Seattle
3. How would you describe your pregnancies?
Owen and Harriet's pregnancy's were very similar. I had lots of energy, no sickness and felt glowing. I worked out during the pregnancies, in particular Harriet's and didn't put much weight on. I carried high and out front like a basketball. We didn't find out the sex of the baby with Owen or Harriet and it made for an amazing surprise at the end! Well worth the wait.

Charlie was my yucky pregnancy. I carried low from the very beginning and was sick the whole way through. I had no energy and couldn't wait for my baby to arrive so I could be done! I also had a little health scare whilst pregnant and at 16 weeks had to have abdominal surgery with Charlie in utero. He had his own nurse solely for him, looking after him the whole way through. My Doctor said they talked to him the whole time which I thought was amazing. I was terrified, but everything turned out OK, thank goodness and our amazing Charlie was born 2 weeks ahead of schedule, fighting fit and the heaviest of all my babies. We were blessed.
4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words.
Committed, loving, enthusiastic, energetic, organized

5. What type of mom do you hope your child thinks you were someday when he's old enough to tell you?
I hope all my children know how much I love them, no questions asked. That I will always be there for them, unconditionally. I hope they feel they can talk to me freely, knowing I will always listen and I hope they know I will always be proud of them. I hope I can create a happy home that they always want to come home to, where they feel safe and like they belong.
6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?
I am proud of building a home where family comes first. Always! Where we try to laugh, sing, dance and snuggle as often as possible. I am proud of myself for getting through every day, sometimes one step at a time, and remembering to be thankful for our blessings, even on the tough days. Especially on the tough days!
7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
Endless patience has been a difficult thing for me to learn, particularly with three kiddos. That, and trying to find calm amongst all the chaos. Going from one to two children was tough. Going from two to three in a matter of months (there is only 16 months between my youngest two) has been a constant learning curve for me. 

I have to remind myself, often, that I don't have to be perfect. 

My kids will remember the laughs and the hugs we shared, not how clean our house was!
8. What is your favorite baby product(s) that makes your mom job easier?
My breast pump!!!!!!!!!!!!! It allows me a bit of 'ME' time and allows my husband some bonding time with the babies. I invested in a good one with my first baby, Owen, and have been using the same one for all three.

9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mother?
Be kind to yourself and take one day at a time. Don't make the mistake of comparing yourself to anyone else as we are all different. Trust your instincts and don't try to be perfect.
10. What is a typical day like for you?
CRAZY!!! lol...
Honestly, at the moment, with a 5 month old baby that I am nursing and a hyper 22 month old things are a little hectic. Owen, my 6 year old is normally in school but we are now on summer break so he is home too. The day starts early... any where between 6 and 7am depending on who wakes first. 

Breakfast is a mad dash as my children are hungry children. It is then a race to get everyone dressed and organized for the day. That includes at best, two diaper changes, at worst, four, depending how fast breakfast moves!!! I try to make everyone's beds although, Owen is great at doing his own. He is my super helper!! 

I then get to clean myself and try to make myself presentable. Fingers crossed this all happens before lunchtime.. lol... when the feeding begins again, 

I sometimes feel like I am on a conveyor belt consisting of feeding mini people and changing diapers!!! 

After lunch is NAP TIME. My favorite time of the day. Where possible, I try to protect this time. It is my only free time. If all things go well I can usually manage to get at least an hour where both babies (Charlie & Harriet) are sleeping at the same time. 

Somewhere along the way, I throw in a couple of loads of laundry and pick up toys. I try to get the kids outside as often as possible and maintain some semblance of order, before the last feed of the day begins, which I like to refer to as 'Feeding time at the Zoo'!!!! 

My wonderful husband, Tom, joins us for this last stretch of madness which often feels like a sprint to the finish line, more commonly know as bedtime! Dinner, bath Jammies, bottles/milk, a Cailliou episode, bedtime stories, snuggles, lots of kisses...... and relax!!!! 

If all goes well and there are no hiccups we are usually sat down around 8.30pm. I then finish the day by pumping while watching our favorite programs on TV, before we have to rinse and repeat. 

It is A LOT of work and at times, very chaotic, but it is my chaos and I wouldn't change a thing. I love every giggle, every tear, every kiss, every scream... well at least when they are happily snoring the night away I do... until tomorrow when it all begins again.....

11. What was it like going from 2 to 3 kids? What advice would you have for a mom going 2 to 3 kids? What do you do that makes things work ? 
It was a HUGE change going from two to three kids. Way more than I expected.. You are only one person with one set of hands but now you need more hands or at least a system that allows you to keep everyone safe using the only hands you have got!! 

I have to take my double stroller everywhere as there is only 16 months between my youngest two and Charlie (22mths old) poses a constant flight risk.  Something simple such as a Diaper bag is now difficult for me to carry as my hands are full and so I had to switch to backpack style! 

We are lucky that we haven't had to switch to a bigger car so far but often people do have to which is a cost that often is overlooked. 

Life as you know it, definitely changes. Simple things are no longer simple.. for example, who of your youngest two sits in the single seated shopping cart? How do you 'pop' in to Starbucks now with no hands free.. obviously there are ways, you just have to find them and adapt!! 

Some sort of organization is key to getting anywhere alive and on time. I am not going to lie, it is not easy but my mother in-law, who has 6 children assures me that it is worth it! Lol..

12. What is your advice to moms who want a bigger family of 3 or more kids? 
It is a wonderful thing, a big family and I am so glad that we went for it and have three children but something I would recommend to anyone considering it, is make sure you are certain that both you AND your partner are willing. You are going to need each other in a way you never have before.. Get your finances in order because even though I believe money isn't everything, realistically it has a huge impact on how easy/difficult things can be. Maybe you will need a little help if you don't have family locally and of course, the all important date nights that are so important now. Precious even.

Honestly, it's a rollercoaster.. at times scary as hell, but over all exhilarating and exciting and you want to do it over and over again, regardless!

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