A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {Mom of three: 5, 3, and 2-week-old}

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer

If you read my title, you might be thinking:;of course;it’s an overwhelming day. She has a 2-week-old baby!! Was she thinking it would be otherwise!?

And you’re right! When Stephanie told us that September would be the “day in the life” posts again, I thought about taking the month off, as I knew I’d have a little one. But I remembered how much I enjoyed Erin’s post from a few years ago with a newborn. I figured my post would be at least slightly entertaining, and besides, I liked the idea of having something to look back on and remember from these chaotic days.

I guess I wasn’t prepared for exactly how chaotic things would feel, and that it would be the kind of day I wasn’t sure I wanted to broadcast to an audience!

As I said, I have a 2-week old baby. We are thrilled to the moon and back to have sweet Ellie Marie .. .her birthday was an incredibly crazy day. We’re so glad to have her home with us. But of course,;she’s a baby, so our nights and days are busy.

Start of the day

2:30 a.m.

My “day” started in the early morning hours for a 2:30 a.m. feeding.

5:30 a.m.

The sweetie woke again and, despite my best snuggling and swaddlingA Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {Mom of three: 5, 3, and 2-week-old} efforts, decided she was wide awake. (Why are they always cute and perky at night?!)

7:30 a.m.

I nurse her again and just when the two of us finally settle into sleep, I hear the boys waking up. Even in my exhaustion, I have to smile as I hear the older one ask, “Ty, what’d ya dream about last night?” So cute.

My husband (the kind soul) went to manage the two boys (who are 5;and 3) so I could sleep a little longer.

8:00 a.m.

I shower while the boys watch “Wild KrattsA Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {Mom of three: 5, 3, and 2-week-old}” (one of the few shows we let our kids watch). TV is not a usual part of our mornings, but since having Ellie, it has allowed me some margin in my mornings, and I’ve decided I’m okay with it for a time. Before the shower I grab a fistful of Cheerios so I don’t faint from hunger. Breastfeeding makes me starving.

8:20 a.m.

I’m out of the shower, and Ellie is still sleeping, so I start making breakfast. It’s oatmeal day. Peaches and raisins for the boys, and berries and cinnamon for me. Those of us with food allergies have a side of all-natural sausage, and the rest have eggs.

While I’m stirring oatmeal, frying eggs, filling water bottles, and making hubby’s sandwich, I hear Ellie starting to fuss. Fortunately the 3-year-old comes over to soothe her.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Moments like these are joy to my sleep-deprived soul.

8:45 a.m.

I’m blow-drying my hair when I see a slug crawling across the bathroom floor. Yes, disgusting. But also, a teaching moment.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

The boys examine him squish him a little too hard. When we’re done in the bathroom, I tidy up a little, stopping briefly to chat with the boys about discussing their body parts in public. (Sigh.)

9:00 a.m.

My sister (who lives in our neighborhood) arrives with her kids for a play date. I am so grateful to have my sisters – both of them – and some wonderful friends in our neighborhood. Really makes the days better!

Usually the play time is a smattering of semi-unsupervised rough and tumble boy-play, but today my sister is ambitious, and brought along the supplies for cornstarch painting.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

The kids are thoroughly entertained for a good 23 minutes. Not bad, right?

9:45 a.m.

The baby is hungry again, so I nurse her outside, in the driveway. I wouldn’t have ever done that with my first, but now? Why not.

10:00 a.m.

A family friend drops by with some games her older kids don’t use anymore. Do we want to look through them? The kids rifle through old YahtzeeA Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {Mom of three: 5, 3, and 2-week-old} pieces on the sidewalk while the moms chat.

10:45 a.m.

Our company is gone, and I’m starving again. I feel like I eat three lunches and two dinners while I’m nursing. The baby’s starting to fuss, and the boys are starting to wrestle, but I manage to shovel in a few spoonfuls of chicken salad on pita chips before things get completely crazy.

11:00 a.m.

I can’t believe it’s only 11:00. I’m already daydreaming about nap time and the chance to close my eyes for a bit. The 3-year-old has been beckoning me to see his little project upstairs, so I go admire the “bed” he’s created with his stuffed animals.

Meanwhile the baby, who seems to have her days and nights thoroughly confused, has settled into a nice deep sleep. The boys and I work on a puzzle, then Snap Circuits, and then we all play a game of “TroubleA Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {Mom of three: 5, 3, and 2-week-old},” which goes nicely for about seventeen minutes, and then erupts in pushing and tears. Ironic, no?

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

12:00 p.m.

Around noon, I start making lunches.

As the boys start eating, I hear the baby awake … with a dirty diaper. I change it and put her in the Ergo carrierA Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {Mom of three: 5, 3, and 2-week-old}. Suddenly, I can’t stand the the sticky, crumbly, gritty mess on the kitchen floor for another second. With the baby in the wrap, I sweep and mop the floor.

When I finish, the baby has fallen asleep in the wrap, and the 3-year-old is having a meltdown. Seems like a good breaking point for the whole house to enjoy some rest time. Besides, my eyes are starting to feel that deep, glazed-over sort of fatigue.

I put the sleeping baby down and take the boys upstairs. We read two stories, they collect their stuffed “friends” (all 874 of them) and head to their respective spaces to rest. The older one won’t sleep but entertains himself with lots of independent “rest time” activities.

I’m heading back downstairs for – finally – the chance to close my eyes. My feet land on the final step when I hear little Ellie waking up. Big sigh.

I feed her. I change her. I shush her. She’s crying. Repeat, times about 4.5. She’s still crying.

Okay, I’ll be honest. We’re both crying. Me, sort of begging the baby and God for just 20;minutes of rest. I try her in all the various sleep-inducing baby swings and devices we have, to no luck.

Finally, I give up hope that either of us are going to nap. It’s been about an hour, so Sam, the oldest, is done his rest time. I call him downstairs, and we work on some coloring pages. After about 30;minutes, my younger son’s rest is over, too.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

The boys start making a “fort” with the kitchen chairs. It’s all cute and fun until one of them informs me that a chair rail has splintered apart.

And then I’m suddenly thankful for two things about my sweet husband: One, that he does not get all upset about things like broken chairs, and two, that he can fix about anything with super glue. I make a mental note to put the broken chair pieces away before they’re used as daggers.

As I clean up some of the pieces, I notice that ants have invaded the trash can. “It’s ant day!” the kids announce. They get way too excited about mounds of indoor ants.

2:30 p.m.

By now the boys are hungry, so they enjoy a snack of bacon and homemade granola bars. Not a typical snack, but sort of seems fitting for the day we’re having.

After snack, Sam asks me for the 157th time today if he can watch “Mighty MachinesA Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {Mom of three: 5, 3, and 2-week-old},” the one with a tow truck. My resolve has weakened, and I agree. Yes, if you’re counting, this is the second time in six hours my kids are watching TV. But if the baby stays asleep, maybe I can close my eyes for just a few seconds…

I put the show on, lay my head on a sofa pillow, and just like clockwork, the baby stirs and starts to cry.

At this point it almost seems cruel. I pick her up to feed her, and the tears start falling. Call it the hormones, or the lack of sleep, or whatever, but I’m starting to feel really overwhelmed. I call my mom. She commiserates with me, and we decide a cup of coffee would make the afternoon a little brighter.

3:00 p.m.

The doorbell rings. It’s my aunt, who’s in town and wants to meet the baby. I answer the door looking like the stereotypical mom of a newborn: I’m crying, holding a snotty wad of toilet paper, balancing a nursing baby under a receiving blanket, and the TV’s blaring a kids’ show in the background. We share a good laugh.

What a help my aunt is: rocking the baby to sleep, chatting with the two boys, telling me that, why, no, I don’t look like a garbage truck just ran me over four times.

But I’ll be honest – the rest of the day is kind of a blur. My notes sort of fade off, and I think I stopped taking pictures.

The boys spent the afternoon playing out in the sandbox, my aunt held the baby, and I …;well, I’m not exactly sure what I was doing. Probably wandering around the house like a sleep-deprived zombie, pretending to clean house.

4:30 p.m.

A;friend arrived with dinner: a gorgeous salad with grilled chicken and berries. Bless the dear souls who bring meals for new mothers. I never want to forget how helpful it is. (I even came up with a list of suggestions for my friends. How helpful of me, right?!)

A Day in the Life {Keeper of the Home}

6:00 p.m.

The heavens opened, and my husband arrived home. I honestly cannot remember if we all ate together, or if we had already eaten before he got there. But I do remember shortly after, I said to him, “I’m going to faint if I don’t lay down for a little.” And – what a real man I married – he snuggled our daughter in the driveway while admiring the boys’ fishing tackle boxes.

After 20;minutes, I feel a little more like a human and less like a dish rag. We bathe the boys and put them to bed, I nurse the baby, and then I ask my husband if he minds if I take a little walk around the neighborhood for some fresh air. Of course, he agrees.

As I walk around, I’m grateful for the solitude, the perfect weather, and the chance to stretch my legs.

As I think about my day, I’m humbled that something so wonderful as a newborn baby can stretch me and stress me so much. It seems every time I log onto Facebook or listen to the news, I see so many serious, tragic, difficult things happening.

It’s so humbling that my “breaking points” are silly things like missed naps and toddler tantrums.

Still, the truth remains – His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

It sounds like a cliche phrase. But it’s not to me. It’s very real. It was made very real during those difficult moments of Ellie’s birth a few weeks ago. And I find it to be still true in these days of new-motherhood, when I wonder how in the world I’ll balance the fatigue and the hormones and manage to home school and somehow still enjoy this stage…His strength is right there!

How do you deal with fatigue as a mom?

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  1. What a beautifully honest post! This will bless so many new Mamas! I remember those days so well, my kids are now 24 and 21. Praise the Lord you have family nearby, it’s such a blessing! Xx

  2. I loved reading this, Jessica – a great reminder that God graciously gave us young moms the support of one another, of our husbands, and of our families to get through this wild and wonderful season of life! I’ve loved the depth of humility in my own heart and the depth of relationship with others that has resulted from that uncomfortable truth. I pray the Lord gives you strength and rest today, sister!

  3. Awww Jessica, I feel like I could have written this post about 3 years ago. It does get better as they get older but then it becomes chaotic for other reasons. Hang in there, that first month is tough! But with God’s help you will get through.

    And perhaps get on the ride all over again like I did 27 months later! What a wonderful gift from God that these little blessings are.

  4. Missed naps are not silly. Sleep deprivation is a recognized torture technique in POW settings. The big difference is it’s not being done deliberately to break us (at least not by the baby!).

  5. I don’t remember! My youngest is 2 years old now. I had all 4 kids in 4 years and I just don’t remember… it’s all a blur. I do remember I utilized the tv when I needed to nap. I still do! We are surprise pregnant with a 5th baby and when I just can’t keep my eyes open, I turn on Curious George or Wild Kratts (popular here too) and tell them to wake me up when it’s over! I don’t even know what I’m gonna do with a newborn… it’s been so long!

  6. As a stay-at-home mom to a 3 children ages 6, 3, & 1 not only did I enjoy reading this, but I needed to read this. I often times get frustrated and overwhelmed and count down the seconds waiting for Daddy to come home. I forget that things could be much worse. I forget that this season in my life will fly by. We must cherish every moment.

  7. Jessica, I feel you from beginning to end of your day! My boys are almost 5 & 3 and I have a 5 month old. Life is still crazy! I just try to do the besy that I can with food & housework. And try to keep my focus on yhe boys & not the house etc. It is more important to spend time with them (especially spiritual time) than to dust. I still am sleep deprived. My babies are always bad sleepers. I got up with him like 4 times last night, not to mention the in between wakings where I just put him in bed with me. It is tough.I know what it feels like to be literally about to faint from lack of sleep. Hang in there. Take it day by day, moment by moment. Love your husband and babies. Don’t stress about all the other stuff. And remember His strength is perfect when our strength is gone. Sing it to your baby lol. God bless!

  8. I have a 15 month old and a 3 month old. The difference is that I work full time with my kids in a daycare. But my days are just as hectic as those of a SAHM. I’m glad that you took your walk! I think that is the key to dealing with having small children. We simply must take some time each day to do something that has nothing to do with being a mom – exercising alone, reading something enriching, working on a grown-up hobby, doing some kind of paid work…something that is not kid-related that stimulates your mind or your body just to have that break from the non-stop kid craziness.

  9. Love this! With toddler triplets running around, trying to blog, start a new book, serve the church, make real food, serve my husband and adjust to a new city…life is just always crazy. And I don’t have a newborn in the mix! I’m so grateful for friends, husbands(!!!) and the reminders of the Holy Spirit to let go of things that are on *my* to-do list but not His.

  10. This is so beautiful, seriously! Thank you for sharing this part of yourself Jessica 🙂 I love your conclusion… His strength truly is made perfect in our weakness… humbling, but such a wonderful picture of this truth! I only have ONE toddler, and I still wonder how I make it through the day some days, lol, kudos to you!!

  11. I am in the exact same shoes as you right now. I have an 11 week old and a fresh 3 and fresh 5 year old. My 11 week old still likes to feed 2 to 3 times a night. It’s a lot different with number three since there’s no room for naps, but I am so thankful to have my three week girls to care for. I am reminding myself a million times a day to rejoice in the toils of motherhood and be thankful for the sweet chaos. It will be gone all too soon and I will look back on these days and miss them….and my 45 minute napper is done napping. I’m off!

  12. This was me one year ago…except with a newborn baby boy, a 4 year old and a 2 year old. So similar. Take pictures, you’ll love to see your boys grow into their roles as big brothers for your little baby. But I can tell you that every moment has not been happy. It has been hard. But blessed. And I love how your husband sounds so much like my own. Taking the kids outside. Telling you to go for your walk. I should’ve taken more walks alone and let my boys watch [a little] more TV. It’s worth it to not be angry that you have no time to be alone.

  13. So appreciated reading this! I have a three day old along with a 2 and 6 year old, and am also homeschooling and wondering how in the world I will do it all, especially on so little sleep! I dread being at the two week mark when my husband returns to work and my days look more like your day in the life. Thanks for the reminder that He will get us through and provide for our needs, one day at a time.

  14. Jessica, I feel your pain. I have one-yr-old twins, a 4 yr-old, and a 6 yr old. When I had my first I learned how to nurse while sleeping on my side. It was great for naps. Sounds like you really need a break. Get your sister or your aunt to take care of the big kids and you focus on baby and yourself! You need rest! I am blessed my mother-in-law lives nearby and helps with the big kids. God bless you!

  15. I absolutely love this post, Jessica. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I remember those newborn days and feeling like “a truck ran over me four times” and I’m sure I looked like one did too. LOL! Your sweet humor and honesty, as well as your love for, and reliance upon God is such an inspiration! I am certain this post is going to be a huge encouragement to many moms who are experiencing those sleep-deprived newborn days. Hang in there, as you know, they fly by quickly (although when you’re right in the middle of them, it doesn’t seem that way). Prayers and love to you! xo

  16. Missed naps and tantrums are NOT silly things – they are very real frustrations when you are exhausted and there seems to be no end to the day. Very real!

  17. So much of this resonates with me! I have a 8-month old daughter and two sons (4 & 2). I clearly remember being in tears begging the Lord to let the baby sleep so I could rest a little. It is so hard being that tired, but you’re right– His strength is sufficient and He will get you through it. I’m glad to read that you are giving yourself extra grace and not worrying about an extra video (or two!). It’s just for a season and taking advantage of the little pockets of rest will help you to better serve and love everyone anyway.

    I think one thing that is helpful for me when I am really struggling with fatigue is to get everyone outside. Even if it is just going outside and sitting while the boys run around, the fresh air and sunshine do us all good. I almost always come back in with a better attitude and a clearer mind.

    Congratulations on your new baby girl! I hope it’s not too trite to say that it does go by so fast. (I feel like I can say this because I am thinking it everyday since my baby is just leaving the little baby stage). This third time around I stressed so much less about sleep schedules and locations and just tried to enjoy the new baby days. I wrote a little about it a few months ago and share it just in case it is encouraging. (http://www.thispilgrimlife.com/third-times-the-charm

  18. Thank you for this honest post! I’ve lived this day more times that I wish to count. But it DOES get better (says the mom of a 5, 3 1/2, 2, and 10 month old)!

  19. Hi Jessica

    Very encouraging to read. I am 37 weeks and ready to pop with my second child. I currently have a 3 year old who thinks she is already 16. I thought life was hard with just one and I am nervous about this new adventure with two. I agree that it is in our weaknesses that we are made strong, but sometimes it can feel so debilitating. You seem to be doing everything you can possibly do. Praise the Lord for godly husbands that can help up during these tough seasons. Thanks for your transparency especially as a godly women. You inspire many!

  20. Coffee is so wonderful, isn’t it? I’m always amazed at how much better I feel after I drink even a few sips (or gulps…whatever). I have so many fuzzy memories of “sleeping” while my kids are running around the house doing I-don’t-know-what while I try to catch a few zzzz’s on the couch. I feel your pain, and your joy. My husband and I are fully in the throes of kid-life. We have 6, and our oldest is 8. Makes for busy, gloriously exhausting days.

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