Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have 3 kids? Or wondered if you could handle adding a third child to your family? Two children is societally acceptable, and four means you have officially crossed into large family territory, but three? Well, with three you’re basically straddling the fence. Now the question on everyone’s mind is if you’ll keep up the balancing act or fall right over into the large family abyss. Here are 6 ways having 3 kids changes your life:
1. It’s challenging, but not impossible
I’m not gonna lie; going from 2 to 3 is hard. Then again, so is the transition from 0 to 1 or from 1 to 2. I think any time you add a new person into the mix there’s going to be a learning curve and a time of adjustment for the whole family. Ages and temperaments play a bigger role in how challenging it is than the actual number of children does. I personally felt it was hardest going from 1 to 2, and probably because our oldest was not yet two years old when he became a big brother, and our second child was/is high maintenance. Number 3 came along when the other two kids were almost 4 and almost 2 years old. (There’s 22 months between them all.) The older kids are best friends and had each other to play (and fight) with while I was caring for the baby.
2. Your standards will change
With 3 young children competing for your attention 24/7 you soon learn what really needs your attention and what you can slack on. Another “pajama day”? Sounds good to me! Less laundry! Screen time? Great! Allows you to feed the baby uninterrupted. (Bonus mom points if it’s an educational show. LeapFrog, anyone?) Kids snacking all morning? Well, now you don’t have to make a big lunch. And remember, this is just a season and won’t last forever. Kids are amazing at offering grace, and it’s time we offer ourselves the same.
3. Someone will always be crying
Or talking. Or laughing. Or screaming. Or playing with some “super-annoying-what was grandma thinking” toy. Basically, it’s going to be loud. Accept it, embrace it, and if all else fails follow my husband’s lead and invest in a pair of headphones. But crying won’t bother you as much as it did with your first. By now you can differentiate between cries and know which cries need immediate attention and which ones don’t.
4. Leaving the house is scary and requires detail planning
Eventually you’ll have to leave the house-alone-with all 3 kids. Amazon Prime is wonderful, but it can only do so much. The first time you venture out with 3 kids under 4 can be overwhelming. But, like everything else, you find what works and just go for it. You learn what order you should get the kids in and out of the car seats (Baby first and placed directly in the stroller or carrier, then the oldest because they’re old enough not to wander off while you’re getting the middle child out.) Teaching older kids to hang on to the stroller or cart is literally a lifesaver as you now have more children than hands.
5. Schedules keep you sane
Whether you’re a strict scheduler or prefer a freestyle approach, having some sort of order to the day will help the day run more smoothly. You’ll learn when the best time is to run errands (typically mid-morning), and understand the importance of getting all kids to nap at the same time (trust me, it’s possible and so worth the struggle!)
6. Your heart will burst at the amount of love in your house
It’s true that love multiplies, and you’ve got a front row seat! You’ll watch as your children become best friends/protectors of one another. For every difficult moment there will be 50 amazing moments that will confirm your reasons for having 3 kids. It’s exhausting and stressful and wonderful and amazing. Just as babies 1 and 2 fit in so perfectly, so will number 3. You’ll never doubt the love you have for all your children and know in your heart that they are all 100% worth it.