Monica and I tell our friends that we are former elite athletes that are seeking to become elite parents. Life with three young kids is simple (do no harm), but fatiguing. The constant noise has a big impact on me:
- reduced creativity
- increased fatigue
- impaired hearing
- reduced capacity to focus
Providing I get my exercise, and daily quiet time, it doesn’t seem to mess up my overall life experience. It does, however, have a productivity cost on my “external” life. I’m already thinking about what I’ll do with myself when our youngest goes into elementary school. I’ll need to start a fifth career!
As a writer, morning is most most creative time. Thing is… with a new baby in the house, 7-10am is a valuable parenting time for me to assist. Add some exercise, a meal, clearing urgent requests… and my work life has been significantly compressed. Productivity becomes key and I’m grateful that I reduced my consulting workload in advance of the birth of our third.
On our hard days, I joke to Monica that it is scientifically proven that we won’t remember much of this phase of our lives. Already, we both have zero recall of the first six months of our eldest daughter’s life – just a few photos remain!
If you are feeling overwhelmed by preschoolers then remember that this is a temporary phase and you’re unlikely to remember much. Hang onto your health, your marriage and your personal sanity.
Here’s a tip for those of you with multiple youngsters in the house: every other weekend, I take our most energetic kid away for the weekend. This lets me teach her and gives my wife a ‘break’ with ‘only’ two kids. When I started doing this, I would be wrecked afterwards. However, I’m getting used to the routine and my recovery times have shortened.
Coping with change is a personal strength but change is never easy. A coping mechanism that I’ve been using is seeking to optimize for what is best for the entire family, rather than myself. More about that next week.