In general, no matter how many children you have, parents tend to think that having one less child is SO easy.
If you have two kids, you start to wonder how you ever thought one was difficult. When you have three little ones, going out with two kids suddenly seems like a total breeze. Four or more? What are all these three-children families complaining about? Three is a cake-walk!
But for the most part, I’ve found that three is the tipping point.
Having your first kid is shocking to the system. It’s a whole new lifestyle and world you have to navigate and get used to. Going from one kid to two kids seems a little less staggering because you’ve been through it all once. You’ve got more knowledge under your belt. You’re a bit more confident. You’re more relaxed about them starting to move and sit up and walk and talk.
But for some inexplicable reason, having your third seems to create complete and utter chaos. At least, that’s been my personal experience. Suddenly you don’t have a babysitter willing to watch three little kids for a night. You can no longer easily go on vacation because most hotels are made for families of four. You likely have to get a new vehicle.
Basically, you’re outnumbered.
If you find yourself in my situation, here are a few tips I’ve found helpful while trying to navigate the insanity that is life with three kids:
Get Yourself an Entourage
When we first went out anywhere with our kids, my husband and I brought my mom along with us everywhere. Outings. Activities. The older kids’ school events. Grandma was there. And if it was a bigger event, like a day trip to the beach or a special outing, we brought Grandpa, uncles, and aunts too. Of course, I realize this isn’t always an option for everyone. But if you want to ensure someone always has eyes on each kid, bring MANY people. (When we’re able to, of course).
Get Comfortable With Noise
My experience has been that the noise level seems to increase at an unnatural rate when you introduce a third child into the house. Suddenly the middle kid gets MUCH louder. There’s always someone crying or yelling or laughing or telling you every detail about their day in a VERY LOUD MANNER.
Find Creative Ways to Vacation
When family vacations become regular again, and if you loved family vacations before three kids, you’ll still want to go on a bunch once you have a trio. It really is possible, but unless you’re okay with always having to book an extra hotel room just for your wee baby that isn’t even eating food yet, you may need to get a bit creative. Try googling ‘best vacations for families of 5’. Or get yourself a big tent and do a lot of camping. Cottage vacations are our personal favourite. Even though we loved dining out and staying in hotels, flights and rooms and all that for five of us can get ridiculously pricey. So we find other ways to get our family time in.
Keep Your Youngest in the Crib for AS LONG as Possible
When my third was two and a half, I vowed she was never getting out of her crib. She was happy there. She would go to bed and sing to herself and roll around a little here and there and before I knew it, she went to sleep on her own. My husband and I had to divide ourselves up and put the other two to bed separately—so it was a little sanity-saver for us to be able to put our third into her crib and know she’s confined, she’s not getting out and she’s also quite happy. Now that she’s older and in a bed, bedtime is pretty easy. Very few trips to the bathroom. Or breaks to get a glass of water. Or coming out of her room to tell us she needs one more song. Stalling is limited.
Life with three kids really is fantastic—even though it definitely feels chaotic and crazy at times. But with a little planning and a lot of help, you never know—you may just be ready for number four.