Dear Princess Kate,
Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy! We at "Good Morning America" are so excited to see the first photos of your new family member. George and Charlotte will no doubt be a great big brother and sister.
We know that you have more resources and more help than most moms. But like all mothers, you only have one heart. And sometimes, when you have more kids than hands, it can feel like your heart is being pulled in a lot of different directions.
So we asked some moms of three or more kids what advice they would give you about having a third (or fourth or fifth -- but hey, no pressure) child. We hope it helps you navigate the first few weeks and months of juggling your care of three children vying for your attention. Spoiler alert: It's a tricky balancing act at first, but in time it gets a lot easier, especially when the kids realize there's more than enough love to go around.
From Carly Snyder, M.D., mom of three children, ages 10, 8 and 3
"Having three kids is wonderful, and makes for a full, fun home. It’s an adjustment trying to find time for everyone plus yourself, but I found it became easier once I realized that things didn’t always have to be fair because things always equal out - one child will need more attention sometimes and can take a back seat to another child other times.
My husband and I try to make time alone with each child on most days - we both read to the kids alone each night, alternating between rooms each night so each kid always has one of us alone every night. We also make time for our marriage by having date nights and for friends by going out roughly once a week.
The one additional constant for me has been the importance of finding time for my passion - I need to run regularly and reconnect with myself quietly in nature. I return to my hectic, fun and chaotic family refreshed and renewed after every run.
I’ve also learned that perfection is impossible, nothing terrible happens if kids miss a bath on occasion, and it’s far more important to capitalize on the few found minutes of calm and enjoy them than to worry about cleaning up or doing busy work."
From Sandra Boyle, mom of three, ages 14, 2 and 7
"Know you're a pro by now. Enjoy them, they grow up so fast."
From Felissa Allard, mom of four, ages 4, 4, 2 and 1
"Adding a third kid definitely changes the dynamic. Now you're truly outnumbered (kids vs. parents) plus you've run out of hands to wrangle them on your own. First, never be afraid to ask for help. I'm sure Kate has plenty of help, but she also has to put on a brave face for the entire world. Hopefully, she has people she can rely on, vent to, and relax with.
Organization and planning are key but my best advice is multitasking. That saves my sanity. If I can kill two birds with one stone then I do it. I bathe my kids together and make it fun so while the big ones are splashing in the bath, I can get the baby ready for bed and down for the night. The big ones will distract and tickle the baby while I change her diaper so she doesn't squirm around and make a mess - this way they're all engaged and not off destroying the house.
It also helps to make things fun that normally wouldn't be - we sing while we clean up, have dance parties while I load the dishwasher, and play pretend when things start to get boring (there are a lot of hours between the end of the school day and bed.)
I think it's important to make all of the children feel like a team - what's good for one is good for all. Never play them against each other, you want them to get along, look out for each other, and keep each other occupied so you can get things done, even if it's a small thing like hitting the bathroom alone.
I've learned to let go of sleep (as most parents do) and just go with the flow for certain things. I'd say a big thing to let go of is keeping things always clean and organized, but I can't go to bed without putting everything away at night and making sure clothes are out for the next day, lunch bags are packed, and homework is done Kids aren't perfect, they make mistakes and so do we. I think it's important to embrace that and learn from that instead of getting frustrated.
There's nothing in this world better than seeing all of your children smiling, laughing, and loving each other. George was small when Charlotte was born, but now he's at such an amazing age to engage with the baby and help. Kids that age want to feel empowered and special. Letting George help bring diapers down, feed the baby, etc is a way to help George stand out when so much attention is on the baby. And for Charlotte, Kate can play girl days, like having tea, visiting a spa, or just walking in the garden pointing out the different flowers. Each kid is so different that to make sure they get enough attention focus on what they love, what makes them unique, and what brings them joy. One of my sons loves Target, so special time may be taking him there. The other just loves to climb in bed and cuddle, so we let him come in whenever he wants. When there are a lot of children in your house, you make your own rules and ignore the outside noise."
From Mindell Rethwisch, mom of 4, ages 2, 4, 6 and 8
"Having my third was a rude awakening, adding the third kind of turns your world upside down. We were outnumbered!! The one thing that kept my sanity was my schedule. And by my schedule I mean their schedule! My life did, and still does, move to the music of their life. Their nap times and meal times run like clockwork in our house. We don’t skip nap times or push lunch or dinner. I’m a stickler for sleep - mine and theirs. They need it. I need it. We are all much happier campers when we sleep.
The one thing I had to let go of was “everything in its place”. While I love a neat and tidy home, sometimes you just need to just let it be. Life will not end if your house isn’t photo-shoot ready. You can pick it up tomorrow, and no one will know any different. My husband, on the other hand, has a little bit more of an issue with this than I do.
All in all, life is great with more kids! You learn to pick your battles but stick to what makes your family run smoothly for YOU! I love our craziness.
My other piece of advice ... take pictures!"
From Angela Tran, mom of three, ages 13, 9 and 7
"My advice to Princess Kate would be to learn to 'let it go!' Please don't try to make things perfect for the children. Instead, stay positive and try to have fun in any situation!
Somebody throws up? Use their pants as a temporary shirt (leg holes make good arm holes in a pinch).
That one child that never smiles in pictures? Let them be. That is who they are. It makes the picture even better when everyone can be themselves and not forced into something "picture perfect."
Children who are constantly fighting with their siblings? Have Mommer-day or Dadder-day! Day out with a parent or both parents where it's just you and the one child. They'll feel so loved and special, even if it's just a day out grocery shopping."
From Catherine Hoang, mom of three, ages 4, 2 and 3 weeks
"My advice to her, as a fairly new mother of three, is to have Prince William focus on the two older kids and give them a lot of attention while she has to focus on the baby in the first weeks."