Step by step guide to adding a fourth baby

Here is your handy-dandy guide to absolutely rocking it with your fourth baby and making it look effortless at the same time.  

Step one: Getting your looks back

The key component to returning to your pre-baby glory is to set the bar low to begin with. Go ahead and get those around you acquainted with the no makeup, unwashed hair, yoga-pants vibe before conceiving. Add a splash of sour milk under your neck to establish your signature fragrance, with the slight whisper of baby powder for a touch of elegance. 

Return to your original physique with these simple rules: start out "curvy." Wear flowy clothes. Bask in the amazement of others when your original burkas, kimonos, and ponchos cascade right over those extra 20 lbs. 

Step two: Keeping up with chores

To keep your house looking tidy, make sure to deliver the baby around Christmas time for some serious crap camouflage. The house will be so bedecked with macaroni ornaments, glitter trees, garlands of seizure-inducing lights, and more wrapping paper than Hobby Lobby that the assortment of socks, toys, and dog hair will coordinate with the rest of the festive accessories. 

Eliminate the growing mountain of laundry with a two-step system. First, leave laundry in the dryer for as long as possible and have family "shop" directly from the freshly (re)tumbled batch. Second, dump all remaining laundry on the floor and instruct the little "cheetahs" prowling about to put the laundry away in predatory fashion. Ignore the wrinkles, saliva, and bite marks. Mary Poppins would be proud.  

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 Step three: Punctuality

Nothing says "I have it together" more than showing up on time or early. To accomplish this, give a 10 minute warning to your children to get their shoes and coats on and get in the car before leaving. Do a quick verbal confirmation that everyone is buckled before skidding out of the driveway, but above all else DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR CHILDREN. This is crucial to your timeliness. When you arrive at your destination, stifle your gasp when you realize your toddler is in footie pajamas and sandals and has attempted to copy the Joker's signature look with your lipstick. Disregard that the older children are wearing flip flops and costumes in 30 degree weather.  

Step four: Time Management

In order to nurse the baby, maintain the home, prepare food, and supervise the children, you'll need a little help from your friends. These friends will become like family to you as you will see them more than your own flesh and blood. My dearest companions include the Wild Kratts, Daniel Tiger, two delightful boys named Phineas and Ferb, and a sweet princess named Sofia. Without them, showering would be impossible. 

Step five: Food Preparation

Since the Toddler's new favorite phrase is "I'm hungry," providing healthy food options for your children is a frequent and necessary task. Since the baby refuses to be put down, meal prep must now be done one-handed. Fear not, though, as "picnic" and "buffet" meals are a favorite among everyone. Simply open every available snack food and place on the table. Spread a blanket on the floor. Let the children select from a healthy variety of fruit snacks, crackers, and cereals and enjoy lunch with the aforementioned "friends". 

Step six: Keeping your sanity

Remember to live "momently." A dear friend coined this word, and it's the best gift I can give you. Remember that each of these moments, the sweet and the challenging, are fleeting.  Know that nothing lasts forever. You'll be able to get your routine, your house, and even your body back to a healthy place again, but you'll never get this day with your little ones back. Hold that baby and laugh at the kids. Call someone to tell them the toddler's latest stunt just to hear someone else laugh about it. Show up to church and school and play dates without feeling the need to look good, just to be around the people you love. Let people into your home in all its chaotic glory, and let them hold the baby if they ask (they really do want to).  

Just rest in the love you've been given and the knowledge that you were loved unconditionally as a Daughter long before you were ever a mother. And remember that your children are loved and cared for just the same. 

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