Saturday, February 4, 2012

Evenings

Weeknights tend to be less hectic when Rich and I are both able to take the "early" train home from work. If one of us takes a later train, someone needs to drive back to the train station to pick up whoever was on the later train. Thankfully, Grammy stays with us four nights a week so someone can stay at the house to watch the girls and they don't have to be loaded up into the van for train station pick-up.

The first order of business when we arrive home (after saying hello to the girls, of course) is to quickly change out of our work clothes. This can't come soon enough for me. I always feel so uncomfortable. We then have about 15 minutes or so to catch up the girls on their day before we begin The Bedtime Routine.

We bathe the girls every other night and we are pretty strict about sticking to that schedule for a variety of reasons. Have we skipped bath nights? Sure, it happens. In the summer, baths are often necessary on a non-bath night. Especially when someone dumps a shovel of sand over her head.

Rich usually caths Anna downstairs while I round up Allie, Em and buddies. The girls brush their teeth one at a time because they need to stand on a step stool in order to spit out toothpaste (big kid toothpaste.) The girls will brush by themselves to start and then an adult will finish. One girl is usually brushed before Rich and Anna arrive upstairs. Rich then takes over the teeth while I begin baths. We now bathe the girls one at a time.

Bath nights leave me with a back ache. One day the girls won't mind having a shower but, for now, I reach and bend with a sore back.

Teeth are brushed before tubs (side note - we sometimes call baths 'tubs') for a reason. We had too many incidents of spit water and toothpaste dumped on clean pajamas. Save the laundry!

Rich and Grammy (if she is here) will make sure the girls get dressed after their baths. They usually have the pleasant task of combing out the girls tangled hair. I use really good conditioner in it - the only kind that I can use. They have my hair and it is so long. I can't/won't wear my hair that long because of the tangles. It is nice how independent all three are now in terms of dressing themselves.

The girls are allowed to choose one book each for story time. It has taken a very long time for us to reach this point. There used to be a lot of tears when one (ahem, Emily) would plop down four books and insist that I had to read all of them (and sometimes I would.) We will read with them whenever they want during the day but at night, there simply isn't time for story hour. They need sleep.

And lately, someone has been picking Barbie Princess Charm School almost every night. That is the longest book EVER.

If I'm home, I am the one who reads while Rich either starts dinner or picks up the downstairs. The four of us read on one of their beds and then they all go to their separate rooms to be tucked in. I'd say that 50% of the time, I don't hear a peep out of them once I am back downstairs. 25% of the time, I do have to return for a "valid reason" - someone wants their hair up, someone has to go to the bathroom, someone needs more water, someone is done with their water, someone is missing a buddy. The other 25% of the returns are related to "Mommy, sleep in my bed with me."

On average, the girls are usually asleep around 7:15.

Some nights only one adult is here and when that's me, I find that the girls are fairly well-behaved. It just takes longer.


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35 comments:

Andrea said...

I don't want to sound like an ass, but what would you do if you and Rich maintained current jobs and your mom wasn't as willing/available to help? I plan on working full time once we have children and your blog makes me want to think twice about that choice. Monday-Friday the only time you have with your children is bath/bed time. It's really not enough (which I'm sure you appreciate)and I don't feel like it's fair to ask a grandparent to be a parent for the second time. I guess having a grandparent raise children is better than the "evil" of daycare/dayhome, but to what point to 401K's and job satisfaction out weigh the satisfaction of raising your children? You consistently blog about mountains of laundry, your inability to attend dance/gymnastic classes/doctors appointments/shop for your self/sew etc and I wonder: are you REALLY doing your family any favors by deciding to work full time? Not that I think it should be a woman's job to stay home with kids, but this blog is from Sarah's point of view after all. This comment isn't intended to start the whole SAHM vs working mom debate, but you seem SO SO SO conflicted about it all. on top of the fact that I personally don't feel like it's fair to even ask (never-mind accept) a grandparent to provide the level of childcare your mom provides. She freaking LIVES with you. I'm sure that's not what she expected to be doing with her retirement.

Margaret said...

wow, Grammy stays with your at night too? you guys are super fortunate to have that for free... it would cost a ton to have a nanny do that many hours! I know you've mentioned that both you and your husband come from large families. Just out of curiosity, what made Grammy (is she your mom, or your husband's?) available for all the full-time care? Does she watch other grandkids along with your girls?

Michelle said...

I am a little surprised at the comments. My mom would move in here with me in a heartbeat if I would let her.

Julia said...

I can hardly think of anything better to do with retirement than helping raise grandchildren. Plus, now the girls are in school and she probably has time for her other interests. I would find it more fulfilling than being at home bored, traveling all the time (considering I had money for that in the first place) or doing work for other people. I imagine she still does photography?

My mom still works full time, but if I needed or if it was possible, she would also do it without a blink. I don't view it as being a parent for the second time. She does not have to plan the stuff in the house, the budgeting, manage a relationship on top of the kids, or do all of the laundry.

Plus, Anna has special needs. And, raising triplets is a very special situation in itself! Even if I were not retired yet and were in a position to help a sister, let alone a daughter in that situation, I would.

Hope's Mama said...

I want to say again, I think you're doing a fabulous job.
xo

Samantha said...

Do you really read the whole book? I admit, sometimes I just gloss over lots of words ;)

And my mother in law comes over 3 days a week and my parents 3 days a week! They come over 2 week day nights and one weekend day.

Tracey's Life said...

Wow - the negative comments really surprised me this morning. While Sarah does put this out on the Internet for anyone to comment, is it really anyone's business what Grammy has chosen to do? The decision of how to raise the girls is ultimately Sarah and Rich's.

What a blessing to have a Grandmother so involved - can't it be looked at from that perspective?

Sarah has feelings, she is a living breathing mother who is trying to do the best she can and I don't get the negativity directed at her. Grammy is an adult and she makes choices too - why is it so wrong that she has chosen to help her daughter and grandchildren? Sarah shares her life and the pictures she takes of her beautiful girls with those of us who choose to read - why can't it be left at that? Shaking my head.....

Each of us makes choices for ourselves and our children and we make them hoping we are doing the best that we can - we aren't perfect. The key is that we make the choices for OUR families and OURselves with hopefully good intent. What looks right for me and my children may not look right for someone else. That doesn't make my choices right or wrong - they are simply my choices.

Becca said...

I admire that you both work and raise your children. It's wonderful that Grammy can help. Have your girls read the pinkalicious series?? Those are some long books but very cute!

Kari said...

Sarah~ You are doing a wonderful job raising your daughters. I think that most of us who read your blog, have a deep respect for You, Rich, and Grammy. Please don't let the negative people upset you. I enjoy EVERYONE of your posts. :)

Sarah said...

Andrea - I would LOVE to be a stay-at-home mom. While pregnant with the girls, I worked at a company where I was promised a reduced/work from home schedule. I can't discuss on the internet what happened with that job- let's just say attorneys were involved. I did look for a reduced/work from home job and in my field, they are very difficult to find. In most cases, you need to prove yourself before that will be discussed.

So yes, working full time isn't ideal but it's not a decision. It's real life and I know that I'm not the only mom out there who deals with this. There's other stuff going on regarding work that I either cannot blog about or don't want to throw out on the internet right now.

I never asked Grammy to watch my kids - that was her decision. She watched my niece for a year+ before my kids were born. My 2 SILs stay at home and Grammy does babysit and/or help out with her other grandkids as well.

She stays with us at night out of convenience - she's "off-duty" when we walk in the door.

Don't forget that I have a child with special needs. A child who needs to be catheterized throughout the day. If this is not done properly, she could end up with a UT/bladder/kidney infection.

Sarah said...

I want to thank those of you who are leaving supportive comments.

Samantha - I don't always read every word - lol. If there are only 3 books and they are normal length, I do.

Becca - the girls love the Pinkalicious books!

B. said...

I'm shocked at the judgmental comment about your working out side of the home and the help you receive from Granny. I love reading your blog for the honest look at family life you give. And it's obvious what a great mother you are, how very hard you work outside the home and in, and I'm so happy you have the support of your extended family. We're all doing the best we can.

lauratuesday said...

I'm pretty put off by Andrea's comment as well. I think what some people don't realize is that being a parent or a caregiver isn't a smooth sailing ordeal. You give up your ideals because things just aren't going to pan out EXACTLY how you want them all the time. Being a parent or a caregiver is essentially just making it work the best you can. You're a fool if you think you can have everything exactly how you want it. This is something that you just won't fully comprehend until you become a parent. Plain and simple.

Tiffany said...

Just because she doesn't stay at home doesn't mean that she doesn't want to. I have two young daughters and I work full time. As Sarah said, it's not a decision. It's reality and it's just what I have to do for my family in order to provide a decent life for my children. The comment was very critical. Wow. Sarah, I read every post, just don't comment much. I admire you! I can't imagine 3! I struggle with my 2. I would take help from my parents/in laws in a heartbeat!

Melissa said...

My jaw dropped reading Andrea's comment, shame on her. Sarah, I think you are an amazing mother to all of your girls. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful mother who can love and care for your girls when you and Rich are working.

Noelle said...

Andrea, I say this with sincerity and very personal experience. I hope you never are faced with a child with special needs and can have the opportunity to stay at home with your children.

Sarah, you handled the negativity with much more grace than I would have.

Eizabeth said...

Sarah,

Often times i think you must be super human, other times i think you just don't sleep. Either way i think you are doing an awesome job! Even though it's none of my business i really admire you for making the best of the time that you do have with the girls. I know it can't be easy to leave them in the mornings. I do wish you had more time...just time in general...time to play with the girls, sew, read a book, take a walk...just time, you know?

~Beth

Lisa said...

As a fellow triplet mom, all I can say is that triplet parents need all the help we can get!! My parents help us and we wouldn't be sane without them.

Olivia Grace said...

Sarah, I have read your blog for a long time now and have always thought of you as gracious, humble, and incredibly sincere. The way you handled the comment from Andrea confirms my perception.
Andrea, your comment makes me wonder what kind of family you come from. Speaking for myself, I come from a very large, close family where we all help each other and spend every waking minute together. My mother helps me with my children several times a week, not because she feels obligated to but because she WANTS to. That's what family does: they remain present with each other and function together.
Sarah, your girls are so blessed to have Grammy not only because she helps you with their care, but because she seems truly selfless and kind. Exactly what a grandparent should be.

Pearls & Flip Flops said...

It sounds like Andrea may not have the family support that you have Sarah. I can only imagine how challenging it must be to balance full time work with triplets, including one with special needs. I think it is wonderful that Grammy is so supportive and both willing and able to help you out so much. My inlaws and parents help us a lot too (and we only have one child so far!) Don't pay attention to the negative comments- you are doing what is right for your family and I really enjoy reading your blog. Hugs to you, your girls, and Grammy!

Amanda said...

You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

Nicole said...

Sarah,

I must say as a child that was cared for by a loving Grandma and Grandpa while my parents worked I have the fondest memories and the best relationships with them. I cherish the special bond that we have to this day as a 24yr old.
You and your girls are so blessed to have such a loving and wonderful Grammie. I'm sure as they grow older they too will cherish the special bond they have with Grammie.
(I stumbled upon your blog a while ago trying to gain more knowledge on raising triplets. I have the honor of helping a dear friend raise her triplets.)

Maye said...

Sarah, I read your blog consistently and all I can say is that you are a GREAT MOM. And your girls are so lucky to have grammy taking care of them. My mom does the same thing for my siblings' children and she does it because SHE WANTS TO (just like your mom). We don't live close to my parents otherwise I am sure my children would also be enjoying the great care from the people that can look after them like no body else can. I agree with everyone else that you handled these comments in a much more classy way than I would have! Good for you Sarah!!

KimB said...

Andrea, if you "don't want to sound like an ass," then don't. Keep your negativity to yourself.

Tommie said...

My mother retired when my second daughter was a year old and began much-needed in-home therapies. My mom wanted to be there for my daughter because I couldn't. I had to work in order to maintain insurance for our family. My husband is self-employed and insurance is VERY important when you have a child with medical issues, as I'm sure you know. I'm going to be forever indebted to my mom for what she's done and is still doing for us. I pay her but it's miniscule compared to what I'd pay a daycare. She does it because she loves us. Just as your mother loves you and helps because she can, not because you've asked it of her. The judgemental, hateful comments just astound me.

Miss Megan said...

Wow...I'm a little flustered by the negativity as well. You have every right to be offended - I am offended and she isn't even speaking directly to me! You handled this with such class - likely more class than I would have. You do a wonderful job with your girls - WONDERFUL - and unless anyone else is in YOUR EXACT SHOES I don't think they have any right to be judgmental toward you, your family, or your decisions.
I too HAVE to work full time. Period. We have a nanny 3 days a week, and my dad watches my girls one day a week. Like your mom, my dad watches the girls because he WANTS to, not because he has to. And until Andrea has children, I don't think she can speak at all to what the "right" choices are for herself, let alone for anyone else.
We too have limited time with our girls at night. A quick dinner, play time for maybe an hour (on a good night), then bath/bedtime...our time with our girls on the weekdays is very limited. But again, we don't have a choice in that. It's unfortunate that others can't understand the decisions that have to be made..I suspect because you can't understand until you are placed in that situation.
And it is fabulous that you have help and support from your family and Rich's family...my MIL would move in with us in a heartbeat if I would let her...and THAT is how it is supposed to be. Grandparents love their grandchildren THAT MUCH. They just do...it's in no way "evil" like daycare...ugh...okay, stepping down off my soapbox or I will be typing all afternoon...hopefully this isn't too long of a comment!
Keep up the GREAT work, and keep loving your girls and providing an amazing loving home life for them, okay?

Laura said...

Totally surprised by the rude commenter! I don't think anyone without kids is in any place to judge you. She obviously has no idea how much work raising a child is. (And I only have one daughter, so I can't even fathom what it is like to raise three daughters that are the same age.)

You're doing an amazing job as a mother and don't let the rude commenters get you down.

RachelW said...

I enjoy reading your blog and can't imagine how you do it all with triplets. I have one daughter and while I would LOVE to be able to stay home it is not a reality for me either. My in-laws watch my daughter 3-4 days a week and I am so grateful for this. Like Grammy they offered to do this for us and I thank them every day for it. I don't think anyone(especially someone who doesn't yet have kids) can pass judgement until they have walked in your shoes. I also find reading about Anna fascinating as my 19 year old BIL has spin a bifida and a shunt but is in a wheelchair.

Thank you for sharing your life with us!

Heather Sullivan said...

I'm behind on my blog reading, so I'm just catching this. OMG. REALLY? I cannot put into words how appalled I am. For the record, you are doing an excellent job from where I sit. I also let the grandmothers babysit my daughter and they LOOK FORWARD TO IT and ADORE EVERY MINUTE they get to spend with their grandchild. I am quite certain your mom wouldn't do what she does if she didn't WANT TO DO IT. Ugh. So sorry for the carelessness of others. Don't judge that which you do not know.

Mommy, Esq. said...

I've been a bit behind in my blog reading so catching up now. While Andrea presumed too much (like you are somehow forcing your mom to be there) I was actually curious about your arrangement myself but would never have asked! And all the other posts seem very supportive so I hope you weren't too hurt. I love my mom but she'd never be willing to take on any days to save us nanny costs so we have her come one afternoon a week which helps cut back on some overtime and gives her the more limited but regular interaction with my kids. Whatever your arrangement is with your mom I know you feel blessed about it - and that if you aren't paying her that you'd be there for her (with caring as she gets older) like she is for you now. Everyone's instinct is to get a bit jealous when someone has some benefit they don't - e.g., one spouse makes so much money that it easy for other spouse to stay home and they can still send kids to private school, take vacations, etc. We have to strike a balance between that jealous to help motivate ourselves and appreciating that we are more advantaged than others. At least I try to keep that in mind.

Kelli said...

I am totally shocked by the rude comments. I for one work full time and my MOTHER comes to our house T-F to watch our kids. We pay her, however we don't pay her near what we would pay a nanny. It's a huge help to us and she loves it. She collects her retirement and lives off of that and what we pay her. It works for all of us. I am able to work from home on Monday which I am grateful for. Like you Sarah I would love to stay home but it's simply not an option for both financial reasons and insurance reasons. We are also expecting #3. I think you are an amazing mother and I love to read about your family. I don't know how you do it with 3 (I have twins) and then on top of that with all the medical needs. You are amazing. Don't let people's negativity get you down.

Shannon said...

Sarah, I've been reading your blog for a while now and am totally inspired by you. As the mother of a 12 week old son, I am getting ready to go back to work. It is so easy for me to start a pity party, but I read about your life and how gracefully you conquer your struggles and it makes me realize how strong women can be.

And my mother would do the same as Grammy if we needed her to. In a heartbeat.. no hesitation, no compensation.. all for the love of her grandchild.

Brianna said...

Kudos to you! My MIL is at least 10 years out from retirement age, & is the "breadwinner" for her family (hubby has 2 adopted broothers still in high school). That being said, she would quit her job & move in w/ us to help if we needed her to... in a heartbeat! My hubby stays at home w/ our baby, but there have been a few times he's had to travel (free lance musician) and his mom comes to stay with baby while I work. She rearranges her schedule & drives 7 HOURS to be with us. She loves us. Negative commenter's mom/MIL must not be as kind, generous, or loving as ours are.

Love your blog!

Elizabeth said...

I'm a grandma to three and I would so love to be able to retire and take care of my grandkids rather than have them in their various forms of daycare. I take care of/spend time with/do whatever I can with my grandkids as often as I can and I love every minute of it! It's all well and good to feel someone is working to add to their lifestyle or 401K, but in reality just putting a roof over your familiy's head and food on the table can take two incomes.
I say Grammy, if you can do it then go for it! Nothing better than spending time with your grandchildren and Sarah shouldn't feel bad for working or letting her mom help. Sounds like a win-win for everyone to me.

Jennifer said...

I have one kid, and I can barely keep up. You're amazing. Your kids always look happy in the pictures, so you've got to be doing something right.