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The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever.

Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, travelingthey just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another.

RELATED: Isn’t Parenting Supposed to Be Easier the Second Time Around?

Then, the second one comes, and nothing works for this baby like it did for their older sibling. They don’t like to be held the same, they need to be fed differently, sleep patterns are so different, and going out?  Oh no! Now you have a newborn and a toddlergoing out is like an Olympic sport even just to the grocery store. But somehow you stumble through and figure it out.

You may stop here and stick with two or maybe you figure Eh, we figured out two, how hard can three be? Ha, well now you’re outnumbered, it’s no longer two kids and two parents, or two hands and two kids. And everything that worked for child one and maybe two never works for child three. There are all new surprises, new sleep regressions, new weird eating habits, or not eating anything, new tantrums, basically new everything to the point you feel like it’s all brand new again.

RELATED: Siblings Can Be Vastly Different—And Equally Wonderful

Every day is new, every day is different, every day is hard, but every day is amazing, it’s full of love. The thing is when you stumble and fall through the first and maybe even the second, you find new ways to love, to slow down, to appreciate all of your childrenindividually. Even though all three are different, they’re you and they’re your husband, and usually the best parts of you both.

The best realization is when you recognize how different they are. Then you can appreciate them as individuals and not smaller versions of one another. These little people you created. They will act differently, learn differently, react differently, do everything differently, maybe even look differently, and yes, even love differently and how special this is . . . even on the hardest days.

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Heather Elrod

I am a stay-at-home boy mama of three. I live with my husband, our three boys, and two dogs in Ohio. 

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