Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts


the hardest part

I've had friends recently ask me, "Is it hard?"
"Is what hard?" I would respond.
"Having three kids" they would say, as if it was so obvious they couldn't possibly mean anything else.

And for me, the answer was always the same. It wasn't so much "hard" as it was tiring. And I think as the weeks went on and the deeper in a sleep debt I crept, the more tiring it became. By week 5 after having our third baby, I found myself unable to crack an egg without getting shell in the bowl and stumbling over my own two feet going up the stairs carrying laundry; simple tasks I once did effortlessly had now become a challenge because my brain and body weren't getting adequate rest. I even convinced myself I could fall asleep standing up if I just had 5 minutes and no one at my feet asking for water or a snack. The other day I overheard my oldest daughter, Olivia, saying, "Mama, you need a massage and a vacation!"

"Girl, you are so right!" I thought to myself. 

So...hard? Not necessarily the first word I would choose. But completely and utterly exhausting? In every single way.

When I think of experiences that are hard, I most often think of the loss of my Grandma Bea, just weeks before we welcomed our second baby girl into our family in the Fall of 2015. The combination of grieving the loss of perhaps the most significant person in my life up to that point while simultaneously basking in the joy of a brand new baby and fresh new life had my head -- and heart -- spinning. I think of challenges I faced growing up, including battling a severe eating disorder in high school -- suffering silently and without the support of a single friend -- as being hard. I think of certain experiences in my life that shook my world in a way I never could have anticipated. And then other things come to mind that I haven't experienced personally but know so many who have...infertility, the death of a child, the loss of a spouse, cancer and other terminal illnesses, fatal car accidents, suicide. That stuff is hard. In fact, "hard" doesn't even begin to cover it.

But as my littlest baby girl was falling asleep on my chest after her middle-of-the-night feeding a few weeks ago, I sat in the darkness of the room, soaking in the silence that filled it, listening to her calm, quiet breathing in rhythm with my own, and I realized what actually has been the hardest part of having three. Perhaps the hardest part of motherhood in general, no matter how many children you have: letting them grow up. 

With three children, ages 4, 18 months and 1 month, you start to realize (if you haven't already), just how fast it really goes. I look at my oldest daughter and am still unsure how I have had the privilege of being a Mom for nearly four whole years. Where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday Dustin and I were bringing her home from the hospital and completely clueless as to what we were doing? I watch now as she unloads the dishwasher unprompted, makes her bed in the morning or asks if she can help me fold the laundry. I see her taking care of her baby sisters, putting a bib on Penelope before dinner and tucking Adaline in with a blanket, then kissing her forehead and saying, "Oh Della you are so sweet!" in her perfect little voice.

Was she really once a tiny little baby that fit in the crook of my arm and depended on me to meet her every need? Even as I type this, I find myself tearing up at the thought of her -- or any of my babies -- being that small again. They seem so grown up now. Were each of my daughters once without a voice? An option? An attitude? Independence? Was there really a time when I was their favorite sleeping spot, when their head fit perfectly on my shoulder or when their whole hand just needed a single finger of mine to hold on to?

The growing up part of motherhood is incredibly bittersweet. We can't stop our babies from growing up no matter how hard we try. Believe me, I have. I've even prayed that God would keep Adaline a baby, just for a little longer than my last two babies were. Somehow if He could just slow down the time I spent with her as a newborn. Or just to help me not to miss a thing. And to appreciate every second I spend with her in these early days and weeks. Because oh how quickly it goes by and slips away.

I found myself regularly in tears as my 3rd daughter outgrew clothing, looked differently than when I put her to bed the night before or someone commented on how much she's grown since they last saw her. Even more so than the first two times I watched my babies grow, it was so hard for me this time around. It was exciting and wonderful but equally painful. "An emotional rollercoaster" as I often explained to my husband after a particularly long day at home. It's exciting to see them grow and change but heartbreaking at the same time.

Why does it have to happen this way? That this perfect and tiny baby has to grow up to become her own person, with her own personality and preferences, one day having a tone, or throwing a tantrum, slamming a door or screaming in my face. How can the same person go from completely needing me from Day One to one day, perhaps thinking they don't need me at all?

I regularly found myself crawling into bed at the end of the day during those first weeks of being a Mom of 3 and looking over at my husband, as he looked back and saw the exhaustion written all over my face and in the dark circles under my eyes. As we listened to the hum of our baby girl breathing loudly in our bedroom and our two older daughters settling into sleep in the rooms beside ours, often with singing and giggles, I would whisper to him, "We're going to miss this, you know. One day our babies will be grown and our home will be empty and quiet. And I will cry because I'll want these days back." Bless Dustin's heart; I cry now because I'm so tired from being so needed yet admit one day I'll cry when I'm not. How's that for an emotional rollercoaster?! 

All too soon my children will be in school; my days at home will no longer be filled with bubble baths and untangling curls, changing diapers and folding little clothes, matching up tiny socks and making muffins, holding small hands and cutting up food, reading books at bedtime and rocking to sleep, sticker books and teddy bears, tea parties and bows. One day there won't be a baby in my arms or a toddler at my feet; the daughters that once asked to do everything with me -- or needed me to do everything for them -- will be learning to do things for themselves and others, and little by little, becoming who they were always meant to be. One day they will be too big to carry; I'll no longer be "mama" but instead "Mom"; they won't ask me to crawl into bed next to them to snuggle or want to hold my hand wherever we go like they do now. And the reality that was my world for so long as a mom of babies and young children will be replaced with things that seem so foreign to me now.

But as each day passes, I'm learning that it's okay to be sad that they are growing up. Because they are my babies. My truest treasures. The three greatest gifts I've ever been given. And that in and of itself carries a weight unlike anything else in the world. We all know that with each stage comes new joys, new heartache, new experiences, new emotion. With each new season comes excitement, but also some sadness that the season prior has come to a close. It goes by so fast and I know even in the hardest moments, I will never look back and regret the time I gave to my children -- whether in the middle of the night, early in the morning, all day long...I was present and there for them and they will grow up knowing I always will be. And I think as a Mom it's our unending love for our children that makes it all so bittersweet. I love my three little girls so much that it truly makes my heart ache to let them grow...because I know that means one day letting them go. 

So the next time someone asks me, "Is it hard?"
Perhaps my answer will be, "Yes. Letting my babies grow up is the hardest thing I've ever done."

Thankfully, it's up to me what I do with the time I've been given with them. I have the opportunity to wake up and make every single day count. I can make that choice. To cherish every age, every season. To be present. To live in the moment. To laugh a lot. And to let them be little. To stay up way later than I should while my baby girl sleeps on me, just because I can. To treasure these days. To appreciate it all...and to embrace every single messy, imperfect moment, even the sad ones as they grow. And most of all, to love them better than anyone else can. Because I'm their Mom. And no matter what, I always will be.


adaline's sip & see

Happy Thursday! I'm so excited to share a few details about the Sip & See we hosted for Adaline this past weekend for all our friends and family to come meet our newest addition and enjoy some yummy food and drinks. I had so much fun putting it together and pouring my heart into all the tiny details for my baby girl. We hosted a Sip & See for Penelope when she was about this same age, 5-6 weeks, and had such a great time I knew I wanted to do it again with our next baby!

The theme for Della's Sip & See was inspired by the very first book I bought for her, You Belong Here by M.H. Clark. I stumbled across it in a tiny boutique early in my pregnancy and the gorgeous cover is what initially caught my eye, but reading it brought me to tears, it is just so sweet. It summed up so beautifully exactly what I felt for our tiny baby girl even before I had met her and since then it has been close to my heart.

For the Sip & See, I knew I wanted to incorporate lots of fresh greens and stick with a really natural, neutral palette, with some golds and browns like those prominent in the book's illustrations. I found the perfect invitations from Minted of two birds sitting in a little nest and then chose coordinating birth announcements with gold foil to tie in the colors.

And perhaps the best part of it all, other than having our home filled with so many dear friends and family to welcome and celebrate our little girl, was being able to serve the most delicious desserts from Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique, located in Edina, MN. The weekend before Adaline was born, Dustin and I were out with the girls on a lunch date and had the opportunity to try cake balls (think cake pop without the stick!) and couldn't believe how delicious they were. I have never really been a big cake pop fan, as all the ones I've tried have been quite dry and boring. How's that for honesty?! But these were so fresh and full of flavor, I'm pretty sure we ate more than our fair share ;) Of course we had to know where they were from and when we were pointed to Sweet Retreat, I knew they would be the perfect addition to our upcoming party.

Everyone at Sweet Retreat was so wonderful to work with, which is exactly what I needed in my sleep deprived state after welcoming a newborn! In addition to providing all the cake balls -- in our 3 favorite flavors of birthday cake, cookie dough and chocolate -- they whipped up the most beautiful tree shaped sugar cookies and gold macarons. They decorated the cake balls to match my decor, with edible gold glitter on top of the chocolate ones and green frosting on the birthday cake. In the past for the girls' birthday parties, we've always served full cakes but I loved that these were bite size, didn't require anyone in the kitchen slicing and serving the way a traditional cake does, and were kid-friendly, since so many of our closest friends have young kids, like we do, who were at the party.

In addition to their cake balls and cookies, Sweet Retreat makes stunning cakes for all occasions, including weddings, showers, graduations and more and was voted #1 Cupcake in the Twin Cities via City Pages; owner and chef Robin Johnson was also on Cupcake Wars in 2011 featuring her strawberry balsamic cupcake. I absolutely love the location of Sweet Retreat, in the heart of Edina off 50th and France, surrounded by so many of our favorite shops and restaurants. We are looking forward to many more visits as the weather warms with our girls and having Sweet Retreat desserts at all of our upcoming events.

Seeing my vision come to life with the decor, food and desserts was so rewarding, and I absolutely love opening our home and entertaining. It just leaves my heart feeling so full at the end of the day.

I set the Sip & See up as open-house style, so people were encouraged to stop in anytime it worked well with their schedule throughout the afternoon, grab something to eat and drink, and meet sweet Della. Hosting it this way was absolutely perfect, as it allowed everyone to come at their convenience, work around nap schedules, etc. We had a wonderful turnout and Adaline got lots of love.

If you're having a second or third baby (or know someone who is) and don't want a traditional baby shower, a Sip & See is seriously the perfect way to go. Whether you host it in your own home or someone hosts it for you, you can keep the food and decor super simple and still have a wonderful excuse to get everyone you love together to meet your little babe and celebrate the gift they are. I think a brunch time Sip & See would be so sweet, with a pancake bar and fresh squeezed orange juice! Who knows, maybe someday I'll be writing a post about that! ;) 


the beauty of motherhood & what I've learned so far

Even though I've been a Mom for nearly 3.5 years, I'm certainly not an expert but I think the beauty of motherhood is that you learn as you go. Every day is a new opportunity for growth and thankfully, there is grace for it all. Motherhood is life's greatest learning curve. Some days it feels like motherhood comes so naturally for me, maybe because I know I was always meant to be one; I found my purpose in life when Olivia was born and I became a Mama. For the first time in my life, as I held her in my arms, I felt fully and completely alive and understood so clearly why I had been created. Other days as a Stay at Home Mom I feel like a hot mess and just want to hide in the bathroom eating peanut butter cups until Dustin comes home from work and rescues me ;) Ever been there?!

As we prepare for our third baby girl in just 3 short months, I have been reflecting on the past 3 years and how I've grown, changed, what I've learned, what I've let go of and the beauty of it all. I thought I'd share a few things I've learned for those of you reading -- no matter the season of motherhood you are in, and even if you aren't a Mom yet but hope to one day be one.

|| one || 
Every day is a little different. 

I am a creature of habit and I thrive on routine. I see this in Olivia as well, she is happiest and most well-behaved when we are in a solid routine. This may seem obvious, but I still catch myself forgetting that every day is going to be a little different than the day before as a Stay at Home Mom. Some mornings the girls sleep in late (and I do too, seriously sleeping in is one of life's greatest pleasures), and some mornings they are up before the sun (and I'm thinking about what time I can go to bed before the day even starts). Some days we stay home all day, I cook delicious meals, offer healthy snacks and get a lot of quality time with both of them. Others are spent running around, eating on the go and racing home by nap time to get them down. Some nights they are in bed earlier (way earlier) than usual and some nights they are up much later. Some days are smooth, where everything just goes according to plan and it feels so easy I start thinking to myself I could have 10 babies. Others? Lots of tears and meltdowns, myself included. I often find myself expecting each day to be the way yesterday was or the day before that, and that tends to set me up for disappointment or frustration. When I go to bed I try to remind myself that tomorrow will be different than today, maybe in just a few small ways or maybe in every possible way, but knowing that & starting my day with that in mind has helped me a lot. And that's also what makes each day exciting, fresh and new. New joys, new possibilities, new experiences & new memories.

|| two || 
You will miss them when they sleep. No matter how good or bad of a day you had.

The other night I was sitting on the couch and Dustin asked what I was doing, of course I explained I was scrolling through my camera roll looking at pictures of the girls I had taken throughout the day. He just laughed. I said, "No really, every Mom does this. There is even a hashtag on instagram for photos posted from late night camera roll scrolls." Motherhood is this beautiful dichotomy where you have moments all day long of aching for bedtime so you can finally step away and get a break, take a deep breath with no one around you, at your feet or asking for a snack for the 1839 time that day. But the moment you pull the door closed behind you, part of you wants to run back in and give them one more kiss, one more hug or just 5 more minutes of snuggling.

Perhaps its because as Moms we watch firsthand how quickly they grow up, how time slips out of our hands in the blink of an eye and before we know it we have years of motherhood under our belt and the first days and weeks of being a Mom feel like a lifetime ago. Or perhaps its because even as exhausted as we are during the day, even as much as we long for a break, we love them more than life itself and want to soak up every chance we can to be present with them, just taking in their every feature, every word and every movement, basking in their beauty -- in awe over the fact that they are ours. Perhaps its because those little people that nearly push us to the brink of insanity are also the ones that give our lives the most meaning, purpose and joy. That make us who we are and shape us to become the best possible version of ourselves. Perhaps its a mix of all of the above. Either way, I guarantee you will miss them when they are sleeping, sometimes even so much so that you can't sleep yourself.

|| three ||
Getting out of the house is always good for the soul. Even when it feels like more work than its worth.

Some days, especially early in my 3rd pregnancy this past summer, the last thing I felt like doing was leaving the house. Or doing anything for that matter. We were in the middle of a major kitchen renovation (aka living in a dusty construction zone, not exactly ideal for anyone pregnant, organized + totally Type A), I was taking care of both girls all day long and most nights + weekends on my own (while Dustin worked on the reno) and had nausea that seemed to last 24/7; the summer heat + humidity certainly didn't make those long days any easier. In fact, I don't think I have ever been more exhausted in my life. It was a long, hot, hard summer, to put it lightly. BUT we soon got through it. Summer ended, we finished our renovation, I could start enjoying my dream kitchen and before I knew it my second trimester arrived and I felt like a whole new person. I finally had energy to get out of the house and take the girls on special errands, little day trips and out for fresh air when we needed it most.

All this to say, when that new season of life started in August and we approached Fall, I was way way happier than I was during the summer. Just getting out of the house, packing the girls up and doing something out of the ordinary did wonders for all of us. Maybe it's a walk at a local park or nature reserve instead of just around your neighborhood, maybe it's a half-day trip to the zoo or children's museum that you can conquer solo, maybe it's a picnic at the park or grocery shopping + errands you turn into a treasure hunt with little treats or stickers along the way. Maybe it's having a long slow breakfast in the backyard to breath in fresh morning air, going to the bookstore to browse and read new books or heck, maybe it's going to the carwash down the street for 10 minutes so your kids can oooh and aaah over all the soap colors while you close your eyes and pretend you're on a tropical island on vacation. Not like I'm speaking from experience or anything.... ;)
Ultimately, I find that the days I get the girls out of the house doing more than just preschool pick up and drop off, we are all happier. Even when I may not "feel" like it, I just do it anyway and notice it makes a huge difference.

|| four ||
It's so important to take time for yourself as a Mom without feeling guilty

Dustin and I try to go on dates a few times each month (seriously, date nights have been instrumental in us staying so connected and growing even closer as our family has grown instead of growing apart) and we also make it a priority to schedule time for ourselves (by ourselves) regularly. We are so grateful to have my family so close by to sit anytime, and the help they constantly offer us is unsurpassed. When I do things for myself (run errands alone, plan a Saturday morning coffee date with a girlfriend, get a pedicure, etc) it feels so good to be "off the clock" for those few hours I'm away and just be Megan instead of operating in "Mom Mode," which let's be honest, I tend to be in 24/7. 

When I initially plan things, I notice sometimes I find myself feeling guilty, even though I totally know I need those times away. What is it about motherhood that makes us Moms feel guilty when we take time for ourselves or put ourselves first? Somewhere along the lines we must have been told or taught that once we become Moms that's all we are. But that couldn't be further from the truth. 

Even though being a Mom is one of the greatest parts of my life and a calling I truly believe I born to fulfill, I am still so much more than that and it's so important not to totally lose who we are when we have children. To regularly take that time for ourselves to nourish our mind, body, spirit and soul in the ways we did before we had children and in new ways too. To do the things we enjoyed doing when we had all that time to do them. To spend time with people that build us up and to spend time away from our children so that when we are with them again, we are even better Moms than we were before. I am continually learning that the more I fill my own cup (take care of myself and find opportunities to put myself first or do the things I truly enjoy that fill my soul and give me life), the more I have to pour into my children. The better I feel, the better care I give to them. And I can absolutely do that without feeling guilty!! Because when I invest in myself, I am also investing in my little girls.

|| five ||

Being in community makes a world of difference. 

I have really found I am the happiest and the best mom when I have regular opportunities to connect with other Moms in similar seasons of life. I am so thankful to be a part of a few different mom groups that are held weekly or every other week, as well as a leader alongside Dustin in a marriage small group through our church, with a lot of other couples in similar life seasons with children close in age to our own. 

Connecting with other moms who have kids the same age as mine or just slightly older (and have been through whatever it is I am going through) has been one of the best things I've done for myself over the past three years. Whether it's a bible study through your church, MOPS (an International organization held in communities all around the country), a small group you meet with regularly in your neighborhood, or something totally different, it's amazing what a difference having those friendships and building those connections makes. It feels so good knowing I have so many women I can depend on -- women that understand the challenges that come with being a Mom, raising kids, staying at home, being pregnant, etc. and can not only walk alongside me through it, but also help me as I reach new seasons with my daughters...sharing recommendations for preschools, how to handle the transition from 2 to 3, kid-friendly indoor activities during winter, favorite pediatric dentists, etc. Yes!! These (and more) are all topics I've sought insight and wisdom on from all the Moms who I have met in these groups over the past several years. And to be totally honest, sometimes getting myself and both girls out of the house in the morning when I'm tired does not sound appealing at all, but every time I make the choice to show up, I am so blessed by the relationships that God has put in my life with these other Moms. I walk away feeling so fulfilled, joyful and encouraged, knowing whatever I'm facing, I'm not alone. I have women that encourage me through the challenges and celebrate in the victories with me, who pray for me and our 3 girls, and who just totally and completely get it.

What have you learned through motherhood? Has anything stood out to you that you'd love to share with other Moms? I'd love to hear from you below! Hope you're having a wonderful week!


sibling spacing + age gaps

As adding baby girl #3 into our family nears, I have been thinking a lot lately about the spacing between my girls and the family dynamic it creates. I thought in addition to posting about my own experiences with the age gaps in our family, it would be fun to ask a handful of my favorite Mamas to share theirs as well, including what they've found to be the biggest advantages and toughest challenges when it comes to how their little ones are spaced. 

I think a lot of what we've chosen to do personally has been influenced by how we grew up. Obviously, when it comes to pregnancy and having a family, there are a lot of factors beyond a person's control. But overall when I look at how we've spaced our girls, I can definitely see we were influenced by our own childhood. I grew up as an only child and while part of me enjoyed it, I really just longed for siblings. I wanted a sister so badly, a built in best friend who was always around to play with. Dustin was the middle child of three boys. When we got married, our hope was to have at least 2 kids, but deep down desired 4-6. With #3 on the way, we go back and forth if we'll have more or not after she arrives, that's still undecided and for now, I like it that way ;)

Olivia turns 3.5 this month, Penelope is 14 months (tomorrow) and Baby Girl #3 is due in early February, making her 17 months apart from Poppy and roughly 4 years apart from Olivia. I knew I wanted to space my first two out quite a bit, just to experience motherhood with one, to soak up every "first" and give her a taste of being an only child like I was. Our hope was to have our third closer to our second than our first two were, for something different and new and it ended up working out that way. Ultimately, no matter how you space out your babies or how big or small your family is, it's perfect for you and finding the positive in it is what matters. There is no right or wrong way to space your kids and certainly nothing wrong with only having one (or maybe none!). That being said, this post is just for fun to give you a look at others' experiences and hopefully find a family (or a few) similar to your own that you can gain some insight from.

The biggest advantages in our own family with the spacing between Olivia and Penelope (27 months apart) is that Olivia is so helpful and very independent. She was 2.5 when Poppy was born and potty trained shortly after, which made life 100x easier once she was out of diapers. Having her more than two years older than Poppy has allowed her to be independent in many areas (able to dress herself, make her own lunch, brush her teeth, pack her backpack, get buckled into her carseat without help, etc), and help me with everything I'm doing (even folding her own laundry and helping Poppy eat with a spoon and fork). They are still close enough in age that they enjoy similar toys and activities, read the same books and play together really well, which gives me more free moments to just sit back while they have fun together and stay engaged.

The biggest disadvantage I've experienced with their gap of 27 months is that as of this Fall, Olivia is in school and I am toting Poppy with to drop her off and pick her up, often having to wake Penelope from her morning naps to pick O up, one of the hardest things for me to do (never wake a sleeping baby, right?!). Also, being she's not fully walking yet, having to lift her in and out of her carseat and carry her up and down flights of stairs to drop Olivia off while 6+ months pregnant is tiring. 

Below are a few ideas of advantages and challenges that come with both smaller and larger age gaps, as well as insight from a handful of other mamas with more than one.

(Less than 2 Years): 

+ If you want a larger family, having them closer together allows you to finish having kids at a younger age

+ With a smaller gap, your children are going through similar stages all at the same time, so while you may have 2-3 in diapers (which undoubtedly presents its own challenges), they will also be potty training around the same time and all out of diapers within a small span of each other. Oh happy day.

+ They enjoy the same activities, books and toys because of their ages, which allows them to (hopefully) play really well together and keep each other entertained

+ They grow close to one another in friendship because they are always together, in similar stages and enjoying the same things

+ You can often reuse clothing, bedding, swings, baby gear, etc. without having to store it for years and then you can also get rid of all of it at the same time!

+ Children spaced closer together often create a very unified family. You have a sense of we are all in it together as you are going through the day to day routines, meeting similar needs and doing similar activities as a whole family. No one is being left out, the outings you plan allow all children to participate and siblings bond as they are all navigating similar tasks and learning similar skills.

(Less than 2 Years):

+ Lack of self sufficiency. This is probably the one I've thought most about when I think about the 17 month age gap between Poppy and her baby sister. I will still be helping Penelope dress herself, put shoes on, buckling her in a carseat, lifting her, etc. while also caring for a newborn.

+ During my first trimester this past summer, Penelope was only 8-10 months old, getting her first teeth and going through a developmental leap and sleep regression. It left me very exhausted, being nauseous and getting up at 3am to feed and comfort her. I never experienced that the first time around because Olivia was older when we got pregnant with Penelope, sleeping 12 hours a night without waking and already through 90% of her teething.

+ Exhaustion and lack of sleep -- especially for us Moms who are carrying, delivering, nursing and caring for multiple babies close in age one after another.

+ Being so close in age may mean you are less able to enjoy your babies as individuals or give them regular one on one time

+ You are more likely to need a second crib, second highchair, etc. if they are close enough in age that you haven't transitioned one out of something before the new baby arrives. Olivia was in a twin bed by the time Poppy was born, so we reused her crib but we will be getting a 2nd crib for our new baby because Poppy won't have transitioned out of hers until closer to 2 years.

+ You may just be entering the "terrible twos" and dealing with toddler tantrums, separation anxiety or misbehavior while taking care of a young baby who is still very dependent on you. 

(More than 2 Years): 

+ If your children are 2-3 years apart, you'll still remember how to care for a newborn while also having the confidence that comes with 2+ years of motherhood under your belt, knowing much more about how to handle each situation that comes up than you did with your first.

+ Your body is able to better recover from pregnancy and childbirth before getting pregnant again, nursing and being up all hours of the night

+ You're most likely more rested when you enter into the newborn phase, because your older child(ren) is/are no longer waking up in the night

+ Your first born (or older children) are more capable of waiting and practicing patience before having their needs met, understanding their baby sister or brother can't wait as easily when they need something

+ You'll have one on one time with your baby (or youngest children) while your older child is at preschool or evening activities

+ Your first born (or older children) are mature enough to enjoy the new baby, participate and help while also being able to enjoy time away from you without seeing it as a threat

(More than 2 Years):

+ Having children further apart most likely means they are in different stages and seasons. You may be toting your older child around to sports practices and spend the evenings helping them with homework while your younger child is interested in completely different things or unable to participate in what their older sibling is doing

+ Possible regression of your preschooler's skills (potty training, sleeping, etc) when a new baby comes into the picture because they see the baby getting attention in those areas and they desire it

+ Your preschooler or school-aged child can bring home illnesses from school or their extracurricular activities that they pass on to their younger siblings (this happened when Poppy was only 2 weeks old...Olivia caught a cold from her ECFE class and gave it to Penelope immediately; obviously it's going to happen at some point but it made the first few weeks with a newborn that much harder for me)

+ Having a gap of 4-5 years may present challenges when you are faced with caring for a newborn again -- nursing, sleep training, etc. -- things you haven't done in many years and possibly forgot a lot about or find to be difficult because it's been so long since you were in that stage

+ Depending on the gap, your children may be less likely to play together because their abilities, interests and toys are so different

Below are a few thoughts from Mamas I adore.

Erin / @helloerinv /
Children: Lex (4.5) & K (1.5)
Age Gap: 3 years apart

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
We based our spacing off of me. pregnancy is not a happy fun time for me. i gain a LOT of weight, and toss my cookies each and every day of the 40 weeks of pregnancy. mike and i needed to be ready to hop on that train again. i always knew i wanted a larger age gap- and we just kinda looked at each other when lex was 2 something and realized we were ready to hop back on the train. 

Advantages? What do you love most?
Lex is currently in her helpful stage of life. She wants to help with EVERYTHING, including her little sister. She wants to do things for her- get her water, teach her to talk, potty train her (she takes her diaper off and puts her on the toilet!). It's so sweet to see her want to be helpful and it makes her feel SO special and big. On the flip side- K has an awesome role model to look up to. 

Also, having a big age gap makes it almost impossible to compare the two kids. After three years my memory about milestones is a little hazy. I never, ever, ever want to compare the two girls- and this makes it even harder! They are each unique and different and I want to celebrate that instead of figuring out who was doing what when. I also love that well only have to pay one year of overlapping college education ;) 

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
We had a ROUGH start to sisterhood over here. Three was a hard age for us in general and Lex didnt take to big sisterhood well. She refused to acknowledge her sister even existed. It took TEN months -- and now they have the cutest and best relationship. I think lex being older gave her a lot more awareness of the alone time and attention she was missing out on when her little sister came along. 

When it comes to a challenge, I’d say schedules! Lex dropped her nap a year ago and has all sorts of activities. But the trick is still to schedule her activities around k’s schedule. which is sometimes hard when activities start right in the middle of nap time. Even school pick up is tricky because of k’s nap schedule. 


Paige / @thelovedesignedlife /
Children: Adriano (5.5), Alessandra, (almost 3), Diego, (14 months)
Age Gaps: 2.5 years between Adriano and Alessandra; 21 months between Alessandra and Diego

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
My husband and I always knew we wanted two or three kids and that we wanted to have them relatively close together. Our first two babes were very intentionally spaced. When we first had Adriano, we both thought maybe we'd start trying for #2 around when he turned one. However when that time came, we were still recovering from the new baby-ness stage and decided neither of us were quite ready yet. We started trying when he was around 16 months. We didn't get pregnant right away which actually was kind of stressful. (Although I know so many families who have a MUCH harder time, so I'm not complaining!) Still, it made me realize a bit of what those families go through and how hard it can be. 

After about five months of trying, we had a successful pregnancy and that made them 2.5 years apart. During the time that we were trying I think part of what made it stressful for me was that I had this idea in my head that then needed to be 2 years apart. But when baby Alessandra arrived, it was actually perfect. Adriano was potty trained, and could more easily be distracted with things like the iPad, and was just generally more self-sufficient. Of course there were still trying times just generally juggling two. But I felt the transition from 1-2 babes was easier in a lot of ways than from 0-1.

When Alessandra was 11 months old, she had basically weaned herself from breastfeeding. I was sad because I was so close to making it to a year! (You can read my breastfeeding story with her here) I had one period after that and on my next cycle we got pregnant. Ooops! Again, we both knew we were open to the idea of a third, but we hadn't really planned it all that well AT ALL. haha. This made our third little babe 21 months younger than his sister.

Advantages? What do you love most? Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
For me the less than two year gap was a lot harder than the over two year gap. In so many ways, Alessandra was still my baby and I felt she was very much still needy of my time and affection. On top of that, I had a preschooler! To be perfectly honest, the first year of having three babes was probably the most challenging of my life and certainly of motherhood. However even though this moment of motherhood is quite challenging, I know in my heart this is how our family was meant to be. I also know it will get better because it already has! I am so happy our children are close in age and will get to experience a lot of the same things at around the same times in their lives. It is truly a blessing to have them spaced just the way they are!


Ashley / @_ashley_noel_ /
Children: Karis (almost 2.5) & Bexley (3.5 months)
Age Gap: 26 months

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
 I wish I could say we thought long and hard about this one. We didn't, not at all really! We were just ready for some more babies in our life!! And honestly, I think you can't rack your brain too hard about it! You can sit there and think about how old everyone will be and what month would be perfect to be pregnant, but honestly a family is a family no matter what the size, age, genders! Heck, my sister is ten years older then me and I love her just the same as I would if she was 10 months older then me!!! 

Advantages? What do you love most?
I know when they are just a tag but older the advantages will be their ability to play and have so much fun together!! I can NOT wait until they are able to play house and dress up and I just pray every night that they will be the best of friends!!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
Well, I have a TWO year old and a newborn. Need I say more?? And of course it's the two year old that tests mamas patience! 


Kacey / @kaceyjane_

Children: Avery (5), Emmie (3) & Will (8 weeks)

Age Gap: 26 month gap between Avery and Emmie; 3 year gap between Emmie and Will; 5 year gap between Avery and Will

What did you primarily base your spacing on?

We had always envisioned having all of our children about 2 years apart. It was important to me that they were close enough in age that they are in school together at the same time and could easily have close relationships due to the fact that they were close in age and experiences. Will is by no means way younger than his sisters, but he will be four years behind Emmie in school, and to me that's a much bigger gap than I thought we would have.  

The reason our sibling spacing did not go according to our original plan is because shortly after Emmie (our second) was born, my husband and I came to a really hard time in our marriage. We were in a place in which we had no friendship, intimacy, and found no enjoyment together or in our family life. I struggled to find joy as a wife and a mother and I was carefully maintaining a facade that everything was a-okay when it was not. We were both not talking about how evident it was that we needed help. There were many factors for this, and even though it was HARD, we decided to fight for something better and focus on our marriage above all else. After seven years of marriage, with Jesus and professional therapy, a whole lot of hard work and prayer and guidance, our marriage is an entirely new, healed, healthy and joyful gift in our life. We spent a year piecing it back together. And at the end of that year we decided it was time for another baby. Now we've got this family and home life that brings us so much joy. We've got this marriage that is an unspeakable blessing we hadn't actually experienced fully in the seven years before. I never realized how much healthy communication and trust and friendship between spouses affected parenting until this third time around. I thought I understood Grace, but it turns out He had more to give me and more to teach me in that regard. I think that will make me a better, more humble mother. 

I believe without a doubt that a healthy marriage and home life is the most important thing we will ever do for our kids no matter their ages or number. I can't imagine what would have happened had we decided to stick to our original schedule and throw another kid into the mess that was us. We are not perfect now, but I know with certainty that I can trust Him to bring us through ANYTHING. I didn't really believe that before. God had better plans for our family and I'm so thankful for the dark, painful road that he used to bring us where we are today. I am happier than I've ever been. I am able to find joy and thankfulness even on the hard mama days (wine and Netflix help). I look forward to the minute my husband gets home. These four humans God has given me and are my greatest treasures and Will being the baby of the family with a larger gap will always be a reminder of God's Grace.

Advantages? What do you love most?
The current advantages of having a 5 and 3 year old with a newborn is that he has three mamas! They are pretty helpful with the baby when they can actually help, but I've found their independence as a result of their ages is a huge differentiating factor this time around that has made baby #3 a lot easier than when we had our second.  They can dress themselves, use the bathroom, play independently or together, etc. Also, Avery is in kindergarten five days a week and Emmie is in day school for three of those days, so I have large chunks of time during the week to work from home, run errands, or just spend one on one time with the baby!  

I also love that the girls are old enough to understand how special it is to have a baby and that they will remember him like this. They absolutely adore him. They tell him stories and hold him and brag about him. I suspect if he could communicate he would tell us they also drive him crazy... I think sometimes this kid gets way more mothering than he signed up for. There's also something so sweet about the combinations of ages and genders we have in our family. I think two older sisters and a baby brother is absolutely darling!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
I think the biggest disadvantage is that the current newborn stage we are still in plus the fact that they are both in school, means the girls get A LOT less mom time. There are many hours spent nursing or tending to the baby while they are at home that used to be time spent outdoors with them or on the go. While we have by no means halted life and activities because of the baby, it naturally follows that a large portion of my attention is given to the baby and I find myself missing the girls. For example, night time is hard and while my husband does bedtime with the girls, I'm usually holding/nursing/comforting the baby because its his fussy period and I'm focused on getting him down for the night. I miss my night time cuddles with my girls!

So far the challenges have been few. The baby nurses and sleeps mostly now, but I anticipate difficulty when he gets older and his nap times are disrupted when we need to pick up sisters from school and things like that. I highly value nap time at home for my growing babies/ toddlers, but I know that I will have to be creative and flexible at times as he gets older since the age gap is much bigger with him than with the girls -- he's just simply in an entirely different stage than them and always will be! There are more seasoned mamas out there I look to for support on this! Aren't mom friends great?!


Makelle / @makelleahlin.and.thelostboys /
Children: Cooper (4) & Boone (20 months)
Age Gap: 29 months

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
So when I had Cooper (our first) he was totally unplanned. My husband and I were trying to finish up our schooling before the thought of kids ever crossed our mind, but someone had other plans for us. Cooper came into this world and it was quite the life changer! I took 6 months off school and then dove back into it. Jared and I had always discussed we wanted our children to be close in age; Jared wanted them to be less than two years or no more than two years apart. I was all for that gap pre-kids because I loved growing up with my siblings (we are all 1.5 years apart.) but as as time went one I still wasn't ready for a second child, Cooper just seemed so small and was my baby...a very hard baby at that!! And I had since began going back to school. Cooper had just turned three when we found out we were pregnant with our Boonie boy. The age Cooper was in during my pregnancy was awesome. He was old enough he could entertain himself but young enough he would still come take naps with me -- I was/am a huge pregnancy napper!

Advantages? What do you love most? Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
Once Boone was born Cooper (3 1/2) really didn't know what was going on. He just really paid no attention to the new baby, but continued to entertain himself with toys, books, playing in our fenced in backyard, getting into his own car seat etc. For sibling spacing purposes this rocked for ME! But I didn't feel that it was good for THEM! The bonding I was hoping to witness just wasn't happening. They were so spaced out that Cooper just ignored Boone and even as Boone got older the ignoring continued. 

I feel like the gap of friendship and wanting to do things together has just barely started to begin right now, but Boone is almost 2 now and Cooper 4. Now Cooper will come grab Boone by the hand and ask him to play, and Boone is old enough that they can share toys now. 

That being said, I decided I would like to space my next babies closer in age, but to my surprise I am already almost hitting that spacing gap again, but Boone still seems like a baby to me! I do like having a larger gap to allow your body to heal, to become (somewhat) emotionally stable, and to get your routines down...yes it really has taken us almost two years to get the routines down with having two kids and we are still learning. I still really wish for a smaller gap in age for sibling bonding purposes. I mean I am already home with the kids so a smaller gap in age wouldn't have caused any conflict anyway. 


Morgan / @laughinglatte /
Children: Annabelle (3) & Betty (1)
Age Gap: 2 years (almost to the day!) between them

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
I’m not sure why my husband and I decided that we wanted a two year gap, but we were definitely unified in that decision! It was probably because that is the gap that we both grew up with. 

Advantages? What do you love most?
What I love about this gap is that we were really able to get through some of the tough teething stages and set a solid routine for our first baby before the second arrived! We co-slept with Anabelle and she really loved it. But by the time Betty arrived, we were able to transition Anabelle into her own big girl room. We got through the nights of never knowing what that night’s sleep was going to be and had a solid routine in place. This helped ease the transition into two babies as well. 

I love the two year age gap because they are far enough apart to give us time to breathe and actually get some good rest, but close enough together that they can be best friends. I’d love to have them even closer together, but I do value my sanity and just can’t imagine being ready to give up a couple months to fatigue and nausea any sooner!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
We plan on having more -- and now would be the time to get pregnant to have that 2 year age gap again -- but I am spending some time in between nursing Betty and getting pregnant with baby #3 to work on some health factors. Each baby takes so much out of a woman's body, and my gut has sacrificed a bit. I think it’s important and crucial as a mom to recognize when to prioritize yourself. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer though! 


I hope this gave you a good look into the many factors that go into sibling spacing and a few tips for age gaps in your own family. I love stumbling upon blogs and reading about other moms' experiences and hope you enjoyed it as well!! XO


Our 10 must-haves for baby #3

Being that we're having our third little girl, there aren't many "essentials" that we need before she arrives. She'll be able to wear all of Poppy and Olivia's clothing and we have the basics for bedding, gear, decor, accessories & more. 

BUT because nesting + collecting tiny treasures for a new baby is still such a special process (no matter how many babies you've had), I thought it would be so much fun to share the must-have pieces that I've collected for her, all of which come from incredible handmade shops + US-based brands that we love, including dear friends of mine (many of which are mamas like me) who pour their hearts into each piece they make. 

This list is perfect if you're looking to get something extra special for your own little one on the way or trying to find a one-of-a-kind gift for a new mama. 

one // an heirloom doll from dainty cheeks

Run by beautiful mama Chrissy, Dainty Cheeks Boutique is our absolute favorite doll shop out there. Poppy has a darling unicorn & the softest unicorn lovey from Dainty Cheeks and this custom bird doll was made for our sweet baby girl on the way. Chrissy's dolls are easily recognized by their unique, whimsical look -- created by combining both new & upcycled fabrics (the bird's wings are made from the coziest old sweater), bold patterns with neutral accents, layering a variety of textures, and finishing with classic round cheeks and delicate vintage details. Chrissy is most well known for her unicorns but also makes lions, birds, sloths and more. She has been widely recognized in magazines around the country for her work and recently had the opportunity to design a collection for Anthropologie. Her pieces are unmistakably stunning and so much care goes into each one -- every stitch and the process of creating her dolls start to finish by hand is incredible.

If you're looking to get your own DCB doll, Chrissy offers both ready to ship pieces (restocked once a week in her Etsy shop here) and custom slot listings (typically once a month), where Chrissy works with you to create the perfect piece for your little one, complete with initials, quote tags, name personalization & more. Her work never ceases to amaze me and her pieces are something my girls will cherish forever, a beautiful heirloom they will hopefully someday pass down to their little girls.

two // a lovey from rise & kind

Every little baby loves having something just their size to snuggle and Rise & Kind hand makes beautiful lace loveys. They are the perfect size for tiny hands, made of the softest fabric and so so pretty. I love the floral one (to the left) and the charcoal one. I wish one came in my size! ;)

three // freshly picked (crib) moccasins

We have loved FP moccasins since Olivia was just a tiny baby back in 2013, and at that time the crib moccasins (Size 0) hadn't yet been released. They are the sweetest, tiniest little leather moccasins for fresh new baby feet and not only make a perfect shoe for the first weeks and months (Poppy wore her Size 0 pair until about 4 months old), but also a beautiful keepsake as your child grows. I love that they are soft-soled, especially as your baby's feet are growing, because they have just the right amount of give for comfort without being restrictive or stretching too much.

Olivia wore them as a baby up until about age 2.5 and they were just as functional when she started walking as they were when all she did was sit and play around the house. At 13 months, Poppy is currently in Size 2 and they are my go-to shoe on our way out the door because they keep her feet perfectly toasty even without socks, ideal as the temps drop. They are easy to get on and off and most importantly, stay on once they're put on. Poppy loves to pull her shoes off, so I love that these stay on so well. A few favorites of ours are the gold, rose gold, green camo & weathered brown (the perfect neutral!)

four // a solly baby wrap

If you haven't yet heard of Solly Baby, it's a company founded in 2011 by Elle (Mama to 3 and named after her 2nd child, Solomon) which specializes in the comfiest functional infant wraps and coordinating swaddles. These saved me after I had Penelope because it allowed me to be hands free with Olivia, and thinking about adding #3 in to the mix, I can pretty much guarantee I will be wrapping her daily. Now living in San Diego, California, Solly Baby works with a small manufacturer to produce their sought-after wraps, overseeing every step of production and keeping everything United States based. Their wraps are not only beautiful but work so well to carry your baby closely and comfortable, from newborn up to age 1. We also love their stretchy soft swaddles, which you can get in sets of two and select your favorite colors and patterns. A few favorites are the Rifle Paper Co wrap (above), Natural & Grey Stripe wrap and the Solly Swaddle Set.

five // a mobile from petite pehr

Petite Pehr is one of our favorite brands for all things baby, child, nursery & home and their mobiles are no exception. This new Swan Lake mobile (above) is my absolute favorite for our girls but I also love this gender neutral Sparrows one. We never purchased a mobile when Olivia was a baby but then were gifted several for Penelope. I have a large one hanging over her crib and then the sparrows one over her changing pad. I love the detail and movement they add to a space, the perfect finishing touch. Not to mention they capture a baby's attention and (hopefully) soothe them in the process. We also love their pom pom bins for storage of toys, blankets, dolls & more around the house.

After trying just about every diaper & wipe out there since Olivia was born in 2013, I've finally found a brand I absolutely love, Parasol Co. They are my go-to diapers for Penelope and wipes that our whole family uses because they're so soft but still durable and they smell like cucumbers and aloe, so refreshing! They're perfect for wiping hands, faces, our highchair, carts, you name it. I keep them in my diaper bag and our car in addition to being stocked in our nursery & bathrooms. With modern hand-drawn artist designs on the diapers and created for comfort while still maintaining superior absorbency, Parasol diapers and wipes are a must have for our little lady on the way and a monthly subscription makes a beautiful and practical gift for a new mom. You can save 20% off your first subscription using the code BLESSEDNEST at checkout here. You can also try the diapers & wipes before subscribing with their free trial. The best part? The diapers are not only luxuriously soft but they are safe for your baby -- hypoallergenic, chlorine-free, fragrance-, lotion-, and latex-free. Their subscriptions deliver diaper bundles + wipes to your door every month, a must for busy moms and a convenience I'll definitely be taking advantage of when our 3rd baby arrives!

seven // blankets & bedding essentials from stella & lu

If you're looking for the coziest blankets, loveys, boppy covers and more, Stella & Lu is your shop. With hundreds (literally: hundreds) of patterns to choose from, Stella & Lu offers coordinating bedding, changing pad covers, crib sheets and more, all available in the softest minky fabric and backed in their signature faux furs. Now, to be totally honest I have never been a huge faux fur person (because what I'd felt had never been super soft or it shed a ton) but when Poppy's blanket arrived many months ago in the mail, I was tempted to keep it for myself it was that soft. If I put it in her crib for nap time, she is pretty much guaranteed to bury herself in it and fall asleep immediately. This vintage rose pattern is so feminine and dainty, perfect for our third little babe on the way. Whitney loves working with each customer to create the perfect blanket or bedding item for your little ones and also designing a nursery using coordinating pieces. I also love this mustard gold lace boppy cover and this navy and pink wholecloth baby blanket as well as this chartreuse cross lovey, a great gender neutral option for gifting!

eight // a wild creek co. rattle

You can bet if something is made of wood, it's probably my jam. We have more toys made of wood than any other material. There is just something so timeless and classic about them. Wild Creek Co makes beautiful wood rattles, teethers and pacifier clips I just adore. Their round rattle (below) is the perfect new baby gift and equally beautiful sitting in a nursery once a baby has grown or passed down to your next little one.

nine // a swaddle from coveted things

There is no such thing as having too many swaddles. Am I right?! We use them for everything under the sun around here, and Olivia still sleeps with the ones she had as a baby. Coveted Things makes incredibly beautiful swaddle blankets that are not only so soft but make for beautiful photo backdrops as well. A few favorites of mine are the black and white Dream Together swaddle, the blue Wings Swaddle and the blush Life Grows Lovely swaddle (pictured above).

ten // a bodomint diaper bag

I've been using my Bodomint diaper bag for about a month now and every time I go somewhere I discover something new I love about it. I shared a sneak peek of it a few weeks ago on the blog here in a Friday Favorites post shortly after it arrived, as well as the story on how it was created. Of all the incredible features it boasts, my favorite is just how spacious it is. With baby #3 on the way, I'll be carrying things for three little girls...and myself. That requires plenty of space and this bag has that and more. I feel like I can fit so much inside but because of the many pockets, I still stay totally organized. Another feature I love are the two outer pockets, something my previous diaper bag didn't have. If you have a little one, they're ideal for bottles (there are also two interior bottle pockets) but I love them for my own water bottle and sippy cups for the girls. The back has an additional pocket which snaps shut and is the perfect spot for my wallet and phone or anything I'm carrying that I want to stay within close reach and secure. There is also two side by side pockets inside, perfect for a handful of diapers and a pack of wipes as well as a pocket which holds a portable changing pad...and for us, pouches & extra snacks.

I also love the versatility of the Bodomint design, allowing the bag to be used in 3 ways -- messenger style across your body, worn as a backpack (so nice with full hands!!) and clipped to your stroller using stroller hooks (best invention ever). There is also a heavy duty handle that allows you to carry it as a purse, which I find myself doing a lot when I'm bringing the girls in from the car and don't want to swing it over my body because I already have Poppy in my arms. Of course the stripes are such a fun feature but Bodomint bags also come in solid black. It's durable & wipeable (must-haves with toddlers) and multi-functional but doesn't sacrifice in style. Both styles of Bodomint diaper bags are available for preorder here and will ship in early December.


So there you have it! Our Top 10 favorites for our third little lady. Are any of these your must-haves as well?! Be sure to follow along on instagram @blessednestblog to see more of the pieces I've been collecting for her and our favorite shops for each! Hope you are having the best week!! XO

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