We have 3 children currently in our pond. They are 2.5, 1.5, and 0.5. In other words, 3 under 3. Just because I know people are curious about our lives, here's a few of my "mommy tricks."
This is my main strategy for survival. Herding means keeping the children near me throughout the day. If I'm in the living room, they're in the living room. If I'm leaving the bathroom, everyone is leaving the bathroom (and the door is getting shut). This greatly cuts down on the amount of mess and meanness that can occur from minute to minute. I picture myself as a mother hen, guiding her children through the world.
No, we don't ration love or food or affection. But, we do ration toys. All of the kids' toys are in a "toy closet." They're sorted by type (blocks, dublos, etc) and contained in plastic bins that the kids can't open. I have pictures of the toys on a "menu" by the toy closet. Every time the kids want to get a toy box out, they can either tell me the name or point to it on the menu. My favorite part about the system is that the kids are responsible to pick up all of one set of toys before we get out another box. We also have "pick up" times throughout the day, like an hour before daddy gets home with the incentive of getting to watch a movie. The other thing I like about the system is that the toys are stored together so it's easy to put away a stray piece if something gets left out. I highly recommend this trick.
Many assume that a mom of many little ones would have a huge diaper bag. I've given up on that chore. Instead, I try to plan ahead and stash things in strategic places so that I don't need to carry as much. After all, I need my hands for carrying kids. I carry 1 diaper for each child in my purse and a ziplock bag of wipes. I bring a formula dispenser instead of a can of formula. I pack a water bottle for making bottles (8 oz) but leave the toddlers' sippy cups in the car. I also keep diapers and wipes in the car, refilling those bags as necessary. There's a pack of diapers at the church nursery with our last name on it, since the kids are in there at least two times a week. Etc. Anytime I can chose to leave something where I'll use it or bring a smaller amount of something, I will. I'll talk more about this when I write about car organization.
It's my plan to make a series of these "mommy tricks." I hope you enjoy them.