How’s the transition from two to three kids?
I get this question a lot. From mothers gazing wistfully at my sweet baby to mothers eyeing me as if I’m insane. Maybe I am.
Because we did it. Added a third child to our brood of littles. And we now have three under the age of five.
I used to wonder about the transition myself. A lot. I could barely manage two, and was pregnant with another. I asked every mother of three I met whether the transition from one to two kids was more difficult, or the transition from two to three. I realize now that most of them skillfully evaded the question, instead smiling and saying something like “you’ll manage,” or “it’s the greatest gift.”
Doesn’t matter, because now I have the answer. IT. IS. HARD. I hate to be the bearer of bad news to any mother of two expecting a third, but going from two to three ROCKED me. Is STILL rocking me. For me, it was infinitely more difficult than going from one to two.
Someone is always waiting
With two, I could tend to one child and then promptly tend to the next. So Child A could be helped on the potty, and then Child B could be fed. With the addition of another child, someone is always third in line. And, unfortunately for my eldest, it’s usually him. So I can help Child A on the potty, nurse Child B, and only then feed Child C. I simply can’t do it all at once, so my life has become a never-ending to-do list of tasks: dress A, feed B, nurse C, brush A’s teeth, help B on the potty, change C’s diaper, etc. And although my children are adjusting, there is often someone who is none too happy about having to wait his turn.
Triple the laundry, triple the mess
Because I allow our laundry to accumulate, I now do a mountain of it every other day (I should probably be doing it daily). Three kids means three sets of clothes, blankets, sheets, washable toys, and everything else. Considering an average of one child will have some sort of mess or accident daily, there are even more outfits added to the mix. And speaking of mess, I’ve given up. Our home consistently looks like a tornado hit it. And someone is always spilling milk, dropping food, or leaking a diaper. So I pretty much spend my days cleaning up after everyone.
I clean up poop constantly
Change diaper, pick up after the dog, change pull-up, clean up poop that didn’t quite make it into the potty, and repeat. This is my day.
Our grocery bill has skyrocketed
And our youngest has only just started eating solids! Three kids eat A LOT, and I can hardly keep the house stocked. Our extra-large capacity fridge can barely hold everything we need to store, and we’re already looking into an extra freezer to keep in the garage. Our pantry overfloweth to the point where some food items permanently reside on the counter. I am in fear of what my kitchen will look like come the teenage years.
It takes strategy to get everyone successfully buckled into the car
I’m not joking when I say that it often takes more time getting everyone into the minivan and safely buckled into car seats than it does driving to our destination. I suppose on the plus side I’ve become super flexible what with having to climb in and out and contorting my body into awkward positions to reach and buckle all three into second rows, third rows, and both rear and forward facing.Nobody wants to babysit. Or, if they do, I probably can't afford them. #MomOfThree #Motherhood Click To Tweet
They refuse to all nap at the same time
With two, I worked hard to get them both to nap at the same time. And they finally did! It was pure bliss. Two to three hours of quiet. With three, this has proven impossible. Someone is ALWAYS awake. So sure, I may have just gotten the two older boys down for a rest – but then the baby starts wailing. I have constant company.
Nobody wants to babysit
Or if they do, I probably can’t afford them. One kid is easy-peasy; everyone’s got a sitter recommendation. Two kids aren’t much harder – maybe it costs a few bucks more an hour, but everyone is still willing to do it. Three kids are a game changer. Very few people will even agree to it and, if so, you better believe there is a pretty significant upcharge. Even if the stars aligned and I found someone, I’d probably be a nervous wreck my entire time away seeing as I can barely manage them as their mother!
Nobody is quite old enough to help
I keep reading articles purporting that going from three to four kids is actually easier than two to three. It seems counter-intuitive because four is obviously more than three. But if you think about it, by the time the fourth baby comes along there is at least one child old enough to help. With three, on the other hand, you’re not quite there unless there is a more significant age gap. The eldest still requires a lot of hands-on attention and is hardly ready to help with a newborn. So now you’re spread three ways.
We bring the party wherever we go
And this isn’t always a good thing. Let’s say a friendly neighborhood mom wants to schedule a playdate with my toddler. Since we’re a packaged deal (see: Nobody wants to babysit), we show up like party crashers with not only the invited toddler, but a rambunctious preschooler and crying baby to boot. Over time, the friendly neighborhood moms may find it’s simply not worth the trouble.
Double the preschool fun – I mean, fees
We will be paying two preschool tuitions for the next 300 years. Or close to it. And this is only a glimmer of the expense we will be faced with when all three are in college at the same time.
Apparently hotel rooms limit occupancy to four people
Who knew?? I mean, we all crammed into rooms like sardines when partying in our youth, right? I don’t know if it’s become more strict since then, or if a crying baby and fighting preschooler and toddler ruin the charade, but it seems that hotels are hip to the game. Which means no more hotel rooms for the foreseeable future.
There is no ideal airplane seating configuration
Seriously. What is the best way to corral three hooligans? A parent by the window and one across the aisle? Two rows, one behind the other? Or simply stick all three kids in the back by themselves and pretend you don’t know them? The sad thing is, it doesn’t really matter. Someone will have a meltdown no matter what you do, and you will always end up being “those people” you once despised pre-kids.
- I Hated Pregnancy But Now I Kinda Miss It
- Things I Thought I Would Never Do Until I Became a Parent
- And the Clock Keeps Ticking
- My Third Birth Story – Or, Why You Should Get an Epidural
- How My Life Changed After My First Child
I could go on. But I think you catch my drift. It’s HARD. The world that seemed to perfectly cater to our family of four now seems lopsided with the addition of a fifth member.
That said, the fifth member who seems to have thrown everything else off has made us complete. He was our family’s missing piece. He filled the gap and answered a question. And let’s face it – triple the kids means triple the cuddles, triple the hugs, triple the love.
So now when mothers ask me about the transition from two to three kids, I don’t hold any punches. I tell them it rocked my world. I tell them it’s been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I warn them to think through all the implications.
And then I tell them I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. That, despite the difficulty, it’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life. And when they look at me, questioning and wondering out loud if they should do it themselves, I give them my vote: a resounding YES.