The Head (Coach) of the Household

One Couple’s Perspective on Life with Triplets Part 2 of 2. – Lisa and John Melish each share their perspective of changes triplets brought to their family of three. John shares his story as a stay at home dad. Last month Lisa shared her story.

Two years ago if someone told me I would be a stay at home dad I would have furrowed my brow and laughed at them.  I was finishing my first year as a minor league strength coach in the Texas Rangers organization when I received some life changing news while sitting in a Denny’s somewhere between Bakersfield and Burbank, California. Triplets!

Dad_and_tripsI always strive for a life less ordinary and I would dare say I have achieved it for the most part.  I have held interesting jobs and met a variety of people, lived on both coasts briefly, but never did I think I would be in my current role of stay at home dad. In my adult life this is the first 9 to 5 job I have ever had. More like 24/7. This has truly been a job none of my education or life experiences prepared me for. I always admired my brother–in-law, Dave, who gave up a great career as an automotive engineer to stay at home with his daughter. I always said there is no way I could do that. Not a chance. Nevertheless when faced with certain choices and challenges you may be surprised what you are capable of doing. I really love coaching and I am not going to lie. I do miss it everyday. However, now I coach a different team, a team that every day takes me high and low. People used to want to talk to me because of my job. Now they want to know how I manage triplets, to which I reply, “Everyday is an adventure, but at least it wasn’t quads!”

Transitioning from coaching into Mr. Mom was not easy. I am used to people doing what I tell them. They trust in me that as a Strength and Conditioning Coach; my drills and exercises will help them obtain a higher level of athletic ability. Now my team trusts that I will deliver food and clean diapers in a timely manner or else they will surely get even with me. It was actually easier to get 30 minor league baseball players out on the field in time for practice than it is to get three kids in their shoes and into the van. I have worked 16 hour days and not been as tired as I am by the babies’ morning nap time. People ask, “What is a typical day?”  There is no such thing as typical. Some days just fly by, others last an eternity. I dream of the perfect day where everyone is happy and they all just go with the flow, but I have yet to live one.

As a strength coach we are typically the least-loved coach on the staff. I was in charge of getting the guys up in the morning to lift. I had them on the field early for conditioning and to stretch before practice then we stretched again before games. I was with them all day.  As a stay at home dad I feel the same way at times. I get them up in the morning after naps. I get them their meals. I discipline them. I seem to be around every corner in the house. I am always there and at times I feel like they are sick of seeing my face.

In coaching we try to develop every last bit of potential an athlete has. We push and push even when the athlete wants to stop. Our expectations are high on ourselves and the people we are working with each day. I want the same thing for my kids, but I often find they are the ones pushing me to the limits. They test me both physically and mentally and just when I want to quit I always find that little smile or cognitive breakthrough that re-energizes me and lifts my spirits. It was the same feeling I got when I was coaching when an athlete would break out of a slump or pick up a few stolen bases. In athletics it is easy to compare statistics and data on the athletes. I don’t usually have that luxury with the triplets. I constantly compare the triplets to our six-year-old, Megan, who from what I can tell seems to be ahead of most kids her age. I have to constantly remind myself they are only 18-months-old, not 72 months. They will most likely have a tougher road ahead of them than a singleton, but we will work hard to not let that be an excuse in any area. They will be loved just as much as Megan. They will have the same opportunities that Megan did. And they will have each other and Megan. So, all in all, they should have a leg up on other kids.

I prefer our days to be fairly free-flowing and without too much structure, nothing like in athletics where we lived by itineraries. Without our schedules we would never get to the ball game on time. Home life is completely different. I try not to be too bound up by what is the easiest way to do things. I like the challenge of taking four kids out into public and doing it by myself. I don’t mind people staring or tripping over things as I go cruising by with three kids in an obnoxiously long stroller and asking questions.  I always wonder what they would think if quads or more went strolling by. I guess some of the intrigue is if they are indeed triplets. None of them look anything like the other. Ryan is the big guy with deep blue eyes and blondish curly hair. Jackson is skinny with brown eyes and dark hair combed over like mine. Molly has stunning blue eyes and auburn hair. Their personalities are completely different too. Ryan is more laid back and agreeable, Jack is sweet and curious, and Molly is just a crazy

When the “trips” were able to be in their car carriers we could get in and out of places easily. I could also carry all three at once. It looked funny, I am sure, but they were so tiny and sometimes it was just easier to take care of them by myself. I always appreciated the offers of people to help but usually everything was under control. To the outsider it probably looked like chaos, and it was, but it was controlled chaos – the way I like it. Now that they are older it is more difficult to venture out and we do miss out on some of the things we did with Megan, like going to playgrounds and other events that are not stroller-friendly. Going out to dinner can also be tough.  We usually need all the highchairs a place owns or we have to hope that no other kids are there. The faces we get from hostesses when we roll in are much like the ones we got when the entire ball team would walk in to a restaurant. I would bet the mess we left was about the same and I guarantee it was equally noisy.

Nothing is ever easy with multiples, but with planning, organization, and a huge amount of flexibility, we are able to make it through each day. Every day is very much the same as the one before and drastically different at the same time. Our lives are truly unpredictable, kind of like a baseball game. As soon as you are ready for the fastball, someone comes and throws you a curve, oh, and we usually end up going extra innings.

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