Tales of a 3rd time Mum


There are ways as a 3rd time that things are SO much better. You are more relaxed, you know that you pretty much won’t kill your baby and they will be OK. Ish. You tend not to give a shit about what people think and this can mean that you refuse to read any books on what babies “should” be doing at any given time. You run on pure adrenalin and whatever will do, make do, will be fine. You just have to fit in around whatever is happening, and it’s OK.

There are some things that never change first time round, third time and I imagine 8th time around. You worry. You worry about them being OK, especially with sickness or a strange cry. That worry never goes away, it’s just that it gets a little diluted the more kids you have as you have more other things to worry about. Oh it’s a business being a Mum.

This morning I had to drive up to Sydney to come to our Annual agency catch up and it’s been the first one I have been able to come to in about a year. I thought I had timed the drive with Maggie’s morning sleep and hoped and PRAYED that she would stay that way through the morning peak. It’s HOT today and the traffic was shithouse given the fact it was peak hour. And we managed to get through the first hour without any noise, and then around River Road on the M5, things started to go pear shaped. A grizzle that turned into a cry, that turned into a scream to about an hour later inconsolable tears from both her and I. My blood pressure was through the roof…stuck in peak hour traffic with no where to stop and nothing to do to console my baby who couldn’t see me. AWFUL.

That just never changes no matter how many times you have done this parenting business. The awful car cry.

Then we arrived like the Dukes of Hazard pulled into the Four Seasons as I did a handbrake into the valet parking, running around to her side of the car so I could grab her and soothe both our tears. I handed over our suitcases and then waited for Nikki and Vanessa to arrive jump in a cab to our destination today. We were both so traumatised it wasn’t until we arrived at our location and I was changing as stinking nappy that I realised, the nappies were in the suitcase. At the hotel. Away from where I was. Mags, pant less. SHIT.

See? Complacent. Unorganised. A little too carefree.

I made do, grabbed a bib and whacked it around her bottom as Kayte Hightailed it to the nearest convenience store to get me some nappies. About 15 minutes later, we were SORTED. Tick! Onwards.

Still flying by the seat of my pants, almost 9 years into this Mothering gig.

So tell me, is there anything more stressful that a screaming babe in a car that you can NOTHING about?
What are your most stressful parts of parenting?
What do you just not care about anymore?
Have you ever had to use a bib as a nappy before?


  1. As a foster mum I have had lots of babies pass through our home. I was usually pretty calm, had dealt with newborns detoxing & giving 6 hourly morphine liquid but I was still totally rattled by the car cry. I vividly remember my baby boy that arrived as a newborn & stayed for years. He was about 2 weeks old & I was still working as a nanny for a few weeks before I finished up. We had to fight Sydney Pacific highway peak hour traffic to get home. He was in an old style capsule so I couldn’t see him. He would start to cry, gradually ramping it up to full on scream then take a huge breath in & go totally silent ! It would terrify me every time. He was always asleep but the fear until I could pull in somewhere & check was horrible. No matter how many babies you have had I don’t think the car cry ever gets easier.

  2. oh Beth… Soooo appreciate your honesty. A crying baby in a car that you can’t help is awful!! My current struggle is watching my lovely 3 year old be pushy and aggressive with other kids rather than be the sweet kind and fun boy I know him to be. Tears galore for me and less play dates for a while I think.

    Here’s to easier days. Someone told me that once you have kids you never stop worrying. Even when they are fully grown.

    Life really is like a box of chocolates. Some you just really love and others you just want to spit out!


  3. We had a crying bubba on the M5 on our way into Sydney last Friday arvo, as the car display kindly informed us of the outside temperature of 52degrees, so I COMPLETELY hear your agony of being in the peak traffic, hot car stressed driver and distressed Bub and mum. Thank goodness for excellent friends who could help in your time of need ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Oh yeah, how well I remember that car scream.
    I was a total stress head with my own kids, but now I have grandkids, well I feel like I almost know what I am supposed to be doing and my daughter always comments how laid back I am dealing with her own 20 month old that I care for 3 days a week (overnight as well)

    If only we were that wise when we had our first bubs, but that’s life, all about learning as we go along, I think it really is a training ground for the time you become a grandmother!!

    I have learned not to care that granddaughter insists on wearing her Emma Wiggles pj’s out in 35c heat, refusing to take them off, no matter what. Who cares if she wants to wear them until they are grubby, covered in vegemite and yoghurt. She is loved and fed and she is a whole load of fun.That is all that matters.

    • Chose your battles…so wise! I wish I was like I am with Maggie with the other 2 girls…it’s just SO different. Sounds like you do an amazing job as a Grandma!

  5. I can totally relate to the car cry – my 6 month old baby boy was screaming while we were stationery on the Bolte Bridge in peak hour…. rear facing. A very horrible 45 minutes until I could hold him!!

  6. Yep! I can very much relate. I remember being caught on a freeway too and THAT cry starting. I was so stressed that I had to pull over in one of those emergency phone bay thingos and jump in the back seat to breastfeed and settle her. Cars where flying by and I felt completely out of control not to mention shit scared of the trucks whizzing past. Needed a stiff drink after that one.

    Another great time was bub having one of those pooplosions whilst out and about that went right up her back all over her onesie. Mother of the year forgot to take a change of clothes for her. Big fat WHOOPSIE.

    • I’ve done that too. Only to have it start up again 5 mins back down the road…sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and get on with it!

  7. Oh that car cry!! I know it all too well. My little guy cried every. Single. Time. We had to get in the car until just recently. He’s 4 months old now. I nearly lost my mind. I never left the house. It was so horrible. I’ve since stopped eating the top 8 allergens plus banana and avocado and we can now go placed. He even sleeps in the car now!!!
    I’ve never used a bib for a nappy but that’s some quick thinking xxx

  8. Oh yes. My second bub, now 5mths, is a hater of the car ๐Ÿ™ this is terribly unfortunate as we live an hour dive from the nearest large town for groceries etc. I have tried literally everything – a mirror, toys dangling above him, soothing music, a squishy seat insert, feeding him before and during trips, sitting in the back with him etc. etc. and nothing helped. I too have ended up in awful, stressed-out tears while listening to him. I eventually became hardened when I realised nothing helped, and just drove until I reached my destination. Fortunately he finally seems to be starting to grow out of it & things are slowly improving. It really is the worst. I am in absolute awe of how much you get out & about with Mags, you are a supermum!

    • Harps was like that too – it’s only been years later that we worked it out – she was car sick. She still gets motion sickness now. Not sure if you can do anything for it with babies but that might be it.

  9. Rowena / Vintagenobility says

    Totally agree – the car cry is THE WORST!
    When Bella was 9 months old she went from Loving the car to loathing it – we had several weeks of consistent screaming – the cry that included arm shaking, red face and dear god tears from me, her and anybody else who had the misfortune of listening to that heart aching distress!
    This morning we had our post birth big check up with my Dr/Ob; my hubby was holding Ruby and was sent to the nurses room to get her 1st round of injections done; looking at his face… I can safely assert that that is another cry/scream that reduces parents to tears!

    Here’s an admission: I have been known to sit at the back, while hubby drives, and lean over n across and stretch a boob in – just to settle the screams, so we could get to our destination on time!
    There is no job description that covers exactly what motherhood requires of us or what lengths we will go to!
    You are doing an awesome job and you’re always an inspiration for me Beautiful Beth! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. We are trying for a baby and I’m considering get a new job closer to home. My current commute is an average of 1 hour 15 minutes each way, not sure I could cope with that every day with a bub in the back!

  11. I had to drop my husband into Sydney cbd then the car at mechanics in Darlinghurst with my screaming newborn baby, in peak hour traffic of course. I’m an intensive care nurse and I have never felt so stressed in my life as that day . My husband had to direct me like Id never driven a car before as I could hardly function. I got out at the mechanics and cried and cried and cried.
    At 6 weeks I drove my baby and I from sydney to Brisbane and I had been dreading it. She woke and screamed once in the car about 45mins from the destination. Win!
    To this day I still can’t rationalise the stress I feel when my baby cries while I’m driving. I’m so glad other mums are talking about this too ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Amanda (Archie Lane) says

    This post made me smile. As a mum of four children my ways definitely relaxed along the way! I was reminiscing with a girlfriend the other day as she was recalling to me how stressed her sister was and is in the first 4 months with her new born.

    Our first born Ava had everything perfectly steralised, she was wrapped on each occasion for sleep and I sat and watched her sleep for hours! Joseph arrived next and whilst most things were still steralised and he was mostly wrapped, the occasions I sat and watched him sleep were limited. Amelia our third born was sharing dummy’s from the floor with her brother who would steal them from her and then put it back in her mouth, sterilisation of bottles etc was still happening on occasion and I was trying hard to wrap her for bed. This brings me to our sweet soulful boy Xavier. Xavier would constantly share his dummy with one of the dogs, went from breastfeeding to pretty much a sippy cup, napped where he fell asleep mostly throughout the day and usually on his playmat surrounded by toys and animals and was most certainly never watched as he slept!

    One thing I will agree with though is that regardless of the number of children you have, a baby screaming in the car is definately one of the worst feelings for all concerned!!

  13. You have to keep driving or you’d get nowhere.
    High five to Mrs Woog for doing the nappy run. How stressful!

  14. oh, how stressful beth! … good on mrs woog!
    and she looks adorable now!
    omg! she must love all of that attention at those women’s do’s!
    around the little finger! … love it!
    enjoy! … love m:)X

  15. So not quite as dramatic as no nappies but ice just got home from a shitty shopping experience! Grabbed 11mo inconsolable Sadie out of pram midshop to realise she had wee soaked clothes and pram. No spare set of clothes – yes this is my 3rd, I should know better!! Miles away from the 1 parent room in centre so go to multi toilet and change her standing up. So covered wet pram with her wrap, carried still upset baby into Target, purchased $10 dress, sat on bench, dressed and fed babe before carrying on! Oh I hate shopping lol!

  16. There is nothing more stressful than a screaming baby in a car. Nothing. I swear I didn’t leave the inner west of Sydney for the first year of Lily’s life because she was a screamer!
    I was having a chuckle to myself yesterday as I was reading back through some old blog posts from around 5 years ago and there was a comment from you that said something along the lines of you knew that you wouldn’t have any more kids after the first two. I wanted to share a little secret with Beth of five years agoโ€ฆ.

  17. Oh the car cry that you can do NOTHING about. It’s a doozy. I must admit I’ve never had it really whilst alone, only a few times whilst Matt was driving so I could do some dangerous illegal manouvres to try desperately to reach the screeching baby from my front seat. The infuriating thing I find is that dad just didn’t get it, he’s all like ‘she’ll be fine, we’re nearly there’ while I’m all like ‘DRIVE FASTER!!!!… BUT SAFER!!!’ I must also admit (as I have before on my blog and seen the mummy wrath come DOWN upon me, no apologies here, it’s my story, no point yakking on about ‘the struggle’ when I just don’t have it) that my mothering journey is so much different to lots of others. Of course because of the ‘type’ of child Eleanor is I’m sure, but also because I just don’t give a shit about much, I’ve never worried about ANYTHING, I’ve always figured Eleanor would just be ok! And they both go hand in hand I’m also sure. Eleanor will be fine BECAUSE I don’t worry, because I’m super casual and just do whatever works. I don’t question much, I believe in common sense, and listening to my baby. If you’ve got this confidence (and I know lots/most first time mums certainly don’t) then everything just bounces along fine. Because of this mentality I often dread to think of my poor neglected subsequent children – ha! Will I even remember their names?!!!

  18. Lisa Aherne says

    I cannot conceive how awful it was to have a screaming baby and be unable to tend to her. Bibs as nappies, meh, although it could get a bit messy! I love all your parenting blogs and have so much enjoyed your journey with Maggie, from early spewy days through birth and right up to now. You are a wonderful mother and should be told so often!

  19. Oh I can so relate. My twins screamed in the car ride every time the whole time until they were 1.5. It wouldn’t matter if it was 10 mins or 1 HR ride they never slept. And I can’t tell you the number of times I have forgotten to replenish the nappy bag and found myself awkwardly out without nappies. The first time was at Luna park and they had nappy dispensing machines except my baby was new born and these were for huge toddlers. Pretty funny!

  20. Oh wow! When I read this post, an awful memory came flooding back to me.

    I was heading home from work one afternoon. It was a stinking hot day, too much traffic and I had a screaming baby girl in a capsule with no where to pull over. While I was stopped at the lights, I’ve reached over to put the dummy back in her mouth because I knew that would solve the problem however I couldn’t understand why the screaming continued. The dummy always did the trick. It turned out that I was poking her in the eye with it. I couldn’t see what I was doing because I was going by feel. I felt sick when I realised. She’s 21 years old now, healthy, well adjusted and both eyes work.

  21. Gibbergunyah says

    Beth I found myself tensing up at the memory of all those awful M5 cries!!!!!

  22. Being on a plane with 40 minutes to go until landing, with a screaming nearly 2 year old, who had had enough!!!!! It is something that I will Never Forget. We are both traumatised for life. Screaming in a car is right up there too.

  23. There is nothing worse when you can’t do anything about “that cry” I feel for you Hun, I’ve cried rivers along with my buns too xx

Speak Your Mind