I don't know how many people told me, "Just get through the newborn phase; then it gets easier." I loved the newborn phase. I exceeded my own expectations and life was more than manageable. We had great routines, lots of help, and an overall peace of mind.
Four months old? Not so much. It feels like everything has gotten so much harder over the past few months. Here's why:
These things are very specific to our family and not general to having three 4.5 month olds.
Schedules-All three babies were so synchronized. You could have set a clock to their schedule. Now the alert time has significantly increased, but their schedules don't always correlate. James needs a longer morning nap, whereas Amelia takes a longer afternoon nap. Maddie cat naps all day with alert times in between more frequent feedings. The last two weeks have been a real struggle finding a schedule that works for all three and keeps me sane.
Feeding-I miss the days where 6-9 oz of breastmilk was enough for an entire feeding for all three. I had an oversupply, but now that the babies are eating 32 oz each, I am having a harder time meeting their needs. It's also more difficult to find time to pump.
Sleeping-Even though I woke up more frequently at night to feed, I slept significantly more during the first few weeks. Our whole family took naps every single day together. Now, it's a rare treat when all three babies take a long nap at the same time. And Jackson almost never naps anymore. I'm lucky if he has "quiet time" upstairs for an hour.
Cooking-We had hot, home cooked meals delivered at least three days a week for the first six weeks. There were always enough for leftovers, so I literally cooked dinner twice in six weeks. Adding menu planning and cooking dinner is just one more thing I have to find time to do.
School-I love being able to take Jackson to preschool, but it's not the grand solution I thought it would be. Getting everyone dressed, fed, and out the door on time continues to be stressful. I feel like I'm sprinting against the clock. I then try to cram all errands (aka waiting in line at doctor's offices or DSS) into a short window of time. Most Tuesdays and Thursdays I don't even eat lunch until after 1:30.
Diapers-I hesitate to include this because I love cloth diapering. However, it's undeniable that my laundry loads have increased significantly after using all the disposable diapers we received.
Cleaning-The babies slept so much in the early weeks that I always had time to sweep, mop, and do dishes and laundry each day. That's no longer the case.
Healthcare-When the babies were newborns, we took them to the pediatrician for well checks and weight checks and had prescriptions called in. No big deal. Now that the whole Medicaid issues have snowballed, we don't even have a pediatrician. Maddie has been out of Prevacid for two weeks now and we just found out today (from the pharmacist, not the pediatrician) that they won't refill it "because we haven't been in since August". Everything to do with medical treatment has been a huge stress these past few months.
I still wouldn't say raising triplets and a toddler is hard or unmanageable, but there seems to be a lot more challenges than there used to be. In isolation, nothing is particularly difficult. It's the combination of making sure dinner is ready, bottles are always full of freshly pumped milk, Jackson is dropped off and picked up on time, the house is clean, the babies are entertained, etc that make it exhausting.