We certainly don't claim to be parenting experts (far from it!), but here are a few things I've been thinking about lately that I think are good tips for parents of multiples. Really, they probably apply to all parents of newborns, but to the Nth degree for parents of multiples!
1. Get comfortable with crying. Face it, crying happens. And when you have three babies, sometimes there's no way around it. Waiting is hard whether it's waiting to be picked up or waiting to eat and since newborns can't be rationalized with, they're going to cry. Unless you're an octopus with incredible multitasking skills, sometimes you just can't make everyone happy at the same time! And in those moments where the crying is getting to you and making you feel a good dose of mommy guilt, just remember that kids are resilient and as long as they are safe, a little crying is really okay and will not do irreparable harm! And sometimes we all just need a good cry don't we? (And yes, that applies to mommies too!)
2. Chocolate & wine! (Or whatever your favorite treat is) Do NOT run out of these things! We've found that just a small glass of wine &/or bit of chocolate to be a necessity some evenings to help settle frayed nerves after a couple of "bad naps." If you have triplets and have to ask "what's a bad nap?" You should be very thankful & pray that your luck holds out. (I know that for some moms chocolate seems to have a noticeable affect on the babies & I'm so thankful that doesn't seem to be the case for us!)
3. Pandora or your favorite tunes that you can turn on to help drown out the crying (see #2) when you can just tell they need a few minutes to "work it out" before any settling techniques will be effective. Others have recommended ear plugs, which I'm sure works too. But I think there's an added therapeutic bonus to belting out your favorite tunes. Playing your favorite music also provides a nice opportunity for impromptu dance parties in the kitchen with your spouse. :) (Try it! You'll be glad you did!)
4. Indulge in a long hot shower. When inevitably you find yourself debating what's more important, ten extra minutes of sleep or a shower, choose the shower. I don't think I've ever regretted that choice. A nice hot shower is rejuvenating and, at least in our experience, really helps when the sleep deprivation is getting to you.
5. Set realistic expectations. This goes for both the babies and yourself! I'm not saying you shouldn't have goals, but expecting too much too soon will just leave you feeling sad/frustrated/hopeless when whatever it is doesn't happen. When you're caring for three babies there isn't a lot of extra time in the day, even when you have an extra set of hands! On a "good nap" where all babies go down smoothly and sleep for an hour plus, you maybe have half an hour to get something accomplished. And likely, not all naps will be good so sometimes you might have just enough time to pee and grab a snack before it's time to start the next feeding/diapering/playtime/nap routine. So, sure, sometimes you can get a load of laundry in, make a quick meal, sweep the floors, or catch up on an email or two, but some days just one of those tasks might take you all day to actually finish. I think this is really important for spouses who aren't home all day to remember too!
I guess if you boil it down, what we've learned over these first few months is that being a mom is hard work and being a mom to three little babies at once is really hard work. It is important to remember that and give yourself credit for everything you are doing when the things you're not doing (dishes, cleaning, laundry, calling someone back, doing schoolwork, working out, etc) seem overwhelming. Do what you can do and remember to take little moments here and there to take care of yourself too! And soak up all the positive baby energy you can (smiles, cuddles, etc) to help you through the tough times!