Nine years ago, Kerry Lyon’s shared her journey and become a mother to three brand new Irish baby boys along with her two other children. Ten years on she’s sharing her wisdom with the IrishCentral community.

Our babies are turning ten. We went for our third child and we got three, four and five. Identical triplets. They said the odds of naturally conceiving them were one in a hundred million. We won the baby lottery and for a while, we had five children under the age of five. Four of them were in diapers.

Those early years were a blur of sleepless nights and busy days. As they turn ten, our days are no less busy but I’m more keenly aware of how lucky we are; of what wonders they are; and of how glad I am to have my Irish gift of gab, so I can share our “top 10 tips and quips” with you… 

This too shall pass

Dirty diapers. Spit up on everything you own. Car seats. Strollers. Cutting grapes into 8 pieces. It will all pass. In the blink of an eye. Remind me of this when they are all teenagers. Please!

Read more: The pros and cons of marrying an Irishman

Much of what passes will come back again

Like lice. Do your kids got to school? Camp? If so, it’s inevitable - one of them will get lice. If you’re lucky, that lice lightening will only strike once. If you’re us, it will strike twice. So far…

Three little cubs!

Three little cubs!

Have a plan

Being prepared helped us survive those early days with “5 under 5.” Schedule nap time, bath time, bedtime – and schedule time for yourself too; couple time, downtime and time with friends are all important. Put it on the calendar and make it happen.

Let go of perfectionism

This is a tough one for me. I struggle with it daily. I can’t resist picking up after the kids, tidying up the house, making it look like I’ve got it all under control to hide the fact that some days I just don’t. But then there’s the minivan. A perfectionist-free zone littered with goldfish, books, water bottles, sand, and dog fur. So much for perfectionism!

And suddenly there were five!

And suddenly there were five!

You’re going to do a lot “wrong.” And it will be ok

There’s photographic evidence of many of the “mistakes” we’ve made. We didn’t always put our babies “back to sleep.” Because they wouldn’t sleep -- and we needed to. Sometimes they napped together on our bed. Which was a sleigh bed about four feet off the floor? With no railings. They say today’s parents are woefully risk averse. Not us!

Make the photo album

Not just for you. For them. Kids love to see what they were like as babies. Sadly, that’s all our kids will ever see unless they look at my phone; I ran out of photo album stamina about the time they learned to walk. Coincidence? I think not. But really, if you can commit to an annual album you should. And let me know how you found the time to do so!

This growing up stuff is tiring!

This growing up stuff is tiring!

Always have snacks available

Here’s the deal. “Hanger” (hungry + anger) is real. And in our house, it’s really ugly. And it’s not just the kids I’m talking about! I am one snarly witch when my blood sugar plummets and the kids are no different. If all else fails, there is always the goldfish on the floor of the minivan!

Master the art of fake sleeping

When the kids were little, my husband was the master of this. He claims they “needed” me most and I was best equipped to manage the 4am wailing. For the brief period, I was breastfeeding that was true. Ever since, the reality is we’re equally equipped to manage the midnight barfing, bad dream sobbing or even four-legged whimpering. Yes, we have two big dogs in addition to our 5 ever-bigger children. And no, I won’t wake up to walk them for the 2am whimper. Been there, done that!

On the way to preschool with matching bags.

On the way to preschool with matching bags.

Sometimes the tooth fairy goes on vacation

For a long time. The sooner your kids realize that even the tooth fairy needs a break, the less stress you’ll have about finding cash in the middle of the night and tip-toeing into a tiny tot’s room without waking them up. Also, it’s ok to throw away those teeth. I saved them for our firstborn. And our second. There were teeth in my jewelry box, my night table drawer, the medicine cabinet in the bathroom… then the triplets’ teeth started falling out. Do the math. In all, 5 kids = 100 teeth. No way am I saving them all!

Remember your spouse, your friends and yourself

You’ll talk about date nights. And book clubs. And a much-needed spa day. But it shouldn’t be just talk… make it happen. Heaven knows that if I can do it with our crazy clan, you can too. And you – and your crew – will be the better for it.

Are you the parent of a large Irish brood? Any good advice for fellow parents and guardians? Let us know in the comment section below.