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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

mom to 3 - Siobhan McAfee

I have featured many moms  on the blog over the years who are first-time parents and also written lots about my own experience going from one to two children, but I haven't featured many families with more than two children.

This new series mom to 3, 4, 5, etc. is about the moms who are taking care of multiple babies, twins, or otherwise. Hope you enjoy learning from them! I sure do! I think there is something to be said for all moms, but those with more than two kids are super heroes in my book. They are strong, dedicated, and oh-so-loving.

Thanks to Sibohan McAfee for being our first mom to 3, sharing her experience going from one baby to three after she had twins this past spring! Such a sweet and honest mama. I appreciate her sharing this story, as I know other moms will relate.

I teared up reading her last response... seeing her babies for the first time she knew that she was meant to be a  mom of a bigger family than she had planned. Isn't life sweet like that?! :)

All images from Sibohan McAfee

1. How many children do you have, and what are the age span between them? Sharing their names is optional.
I have three children. Declan is 5 years old. The twins, Robin and Julie, are 2 1/2 months old.

2. When did you know you wanted a larger family?
I can't say I ever did want a larger family.

3. Why did you want to have the number of kids you have?
As I said above, I did not want a larger family. Having the twins was not planned; we were going to stop at 2 children…and after years of trying to have the second one, had resigned ourselves to life with just one child. I had a miscarriage one year before the twins were born and that was when I really gave up hoping for another baby. My husband is approaching 40 and we were thinking it was really actually pretty nice to be getting our independence back since Declan was almost school aged…by September we had to really change our tune!!!

4. What are the best parts about having this number of children?
I envision the girls as wonderful playmates for each other with an older brother to look out for them down the road.

5. What are some challenges you face having this number of kids?
Having two infants at once has left my son feeling somewhat pushed aside, despite our best efforts. He acts out to get attention. My biggest challenge is fulfilling his needs without neglecting the babies, and vice versa.  

Also, I hate that I have to drive a minivan and my husband gets to drive whatever the heck he wants.
6. Would you have anymore? Why or why not?
Not even if you paid me. I already feel that my attention is stretched too thin, and that I am not able to give any one child what they really need…not to mention the fact that financially, it would be irresponsible of us to have more children.

7. What was it like going from 1 to 2, 2 to 3? Give us examples of what was harder or easier than the previous transition. Give us a 1-3 words to describe each addition of a child. 
Going from one child to three was like night and day. With just Declan, my husband and I could give each other a break from child care when we were at our wits' end. Now, there are no breaks!

8. How did you know you wanted a third one? fourth one? When did you know the timing was right?
As I said, having a third was not planned and the timing is very tricky because we must move halfway across the globe when the girls are only 4 months old due to my husband's career.

9. What do you think most people don't understand or perhaps even judge about the size of your family?
I think people may not understand why we waited so long to have subsequent children, or judge me because they think that I used fertility drugs to have the twins. If Declan ever misbehaves, I think people may believe it's because his parents don't give him enough attention because they spend all their time caring for his sisters.

10. What do you wish you could say to those people who seem to not understand your family?
Nothing, but if someone was dying for an explanation I would just tell them that we were trying to have a second child for years, and that I did not have any medical help conceiving the twins, and that I spend most of my time trying to come up with ways to make Declan feel special, important, and included.

11. What is a typical day like for your family?
Wake up for the day around 6 a.m when hubby is headed out the door to work… feed dress and load all 3 kids into the car to drive Declan to pre-school. Come home and try to incorporate fitness and a shower, feed girls again, try and nap if they both fall asleep, wake and do some chores before picking up Declan…more feedings, changings, food preparation, bath time, and then bed around 8 pm. I try to make it under the covers by 11, after checking e mail and maybe watching a couple of tv shows with my husband.

12. How do you keep your family and life in order, organized? How do you keep track of everyone's needs, play dates, doctors visits, etc.? Or does all of that go out the window with a bigger family?
I use my phone's calendar to keep track of anything I think I will forget. Most things are regular by the day of the week…Declan has playdates pre-arranged every Thursday, swim lessons are every Saturday, etc…when the girls are old enough for this I think it may go out the window somewhat.

13. Do you work at home as a mom, or outside the home in another job? How does this make it harder or easier to care for the number of kids you have?
I work only at home as a mom. When I found out that I was having twins I gave up all of my other obligations, knowing that for awhile I would be consumed with them.

14. Have you changed as a mom from having the first to the second, third, etc. children? In which ways, positive or negative?
I have been forced to become more proactive and organized. I can't leave the laundry for another day, can't put the dishes off on my husband, can't "get to it later." It's now or never, do or die at the moment.

15. What are your go-to : a) meals b) bath routines c) bed time routine d) rules in the house e) method for getting them in the car f) suggestions for outings with the kids

a) spinach stuffed puff pastry b) dad takes Declan and I bathe the girls just before bed c) bath, pjs, clean up rooms, brush teeth, story and song, drink of water, potty & warm up snuggle animal, kisses goodnight
d)no hurting, no yelling, use manners e) don't put the girls in the car seats until the last second!
f) I am a big fan of just going for a drive, letting my son be the navigator and seeing sights we never knew were just around the corner.

16. How has having this many children impacted your relationship with your partner? Does it make you stronger in some ways? 
Besides the obvious zero intimacy factor, it has made us stronger in that we admire each other for pulling together and working as a team to make this new life work, even though we both have to make a lot of sacrifices.

17. What is your advice to a mom considering having her third, fourth, fifth, etc. child? 
My advice? If you're ready to have one more child, make sure you are also ready to have TWO more… it can happen to you!!! lol
18. Anything else you want to share about your family?
I didn't know I wanted a big family until I looked into the eyes of my two baby girls. In an instant, it was clear to me that I was capable of greater things than I imagined for myself. The thought of only having one of them is inconceivable at this point. When all five of us are in one room, even if there is commotion, disorder, chaos, or general anarchy, I am proud. Proud of what my husband and I have created together, and I look forward to the future of being the best mother I can be to all three of them.

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