I often get asked if the transition is harder going from one to two or two to three kids and my answer is always the same; it’s hardest to go from zero to one child! When you don’t have children, you have no frame of reference for what having children is like. You think you don’t sleep and that you’re so busy, but once you have a child those two things alone take on a whole new meaning.
Now with anything, the age and temperament of your children will play a big role on how easy or difficult the transition is. My first 2 kiddos are “strong willed” at best so I was terrified about what adding another tiny human to the mix might do. My children are also very close in age; at present they are 4, 2 and 8 months. There are 23 months between the first two and 19 months between my 2nd and 3rd… it’s bedlam!
Here’s what it’s really like having 3 kids:
Third time’s a random
Your third child will be different than your first two so don’t assume you know anything about parenting. This will be the child to do the exact opposite of what your first two did. For me, this was a blessing because Baby Bear was the calmest of my troop; he slept perfectly and gave me 0 trouble. However, if you found the first two relatively calm, prepare yourself for the wrath of the third child!
Patience is a pendulum
Either you will have all the patience in the world for the chaos that comes with 3 tiny humans or none at all; there is no in between.
Want to wrestle bear cubs?
That’s basically how I ask for babysitters these days. Prepare yourself for the possibility that your babysitter list will dwindle quite rapidly. The thought of babysitting 3 kids is daunting for people, hell it’s daunting for you! Sometimes we split the kiddos – Sister bear will go have some girl time with GG Bear while the boys hang with Nana Bear.
You are a mommy Jedi
Even though your third will be different, you’ll feel a sense of calm that comes with being a bit of a vetran mom. While you may not be perfect, you’ll have a better sense of your parenting style and be able to effectively mom the hell out of any day! My family often remarks how much calmer I am with 3 children than I was with 2. I think that’s because I feel like I know what I’m doing now vs. being shell shocked by just becoming a mom.
What’s old isn’t new again
You will likely need a few new things. We used and abused everything we had for Sister Bear so by the time that Baby Bear came along, we needed a lot of new things. Don’t assume you have everything for baby 3, you may need to start from scratch and invest in some new things.
You ARE a short order cook
Even when I make the same meal for my kids, they must be plated in different ways to ensure I’m not facing a dinner mutiny. Sister Bear doesn’t like sauce on anything so it all has to be put on the side so she can dip whatever it is; Brother Bear likes things extra saucy so he can paint my walls, floor, and himself in sauce; and Baby Bear needs just enough sauce to impart some flavour into his meal.
A hurricane, a tornado, and a tsunami
That’s what I’ve named the creatures who come rip-roaring through my house! Prepare for the mess… oh my goodness, the mess! This is the stage where mess reaches critical mass. There is absolutely no way to stay on top of the mess that comes with 3 little ones. We’re constantly chasing our kids around with a dust buster (which is probably why my 2-year-old runs screaming every time he sees it!) I never have a clean house and I’ve come to accept it.
Holy schedules batman
Prepare for ships passing in the night mode with your husband. You’ll have to start tag teaming lessons, meetups, and whatever else you have planned. Poor Baby Bear came to dance with Sister Bear and I every Saturday during dance season. He was only 3-weeks-old when he started tagging along; there was no time to stop and adjust. The nice thing is that he just kind of fell into place with our crazy busy schedules.
Pump up the volume
The noise level is akin to a concert in a stadium except you never quite develop that ringing in your ears that allows it to become background noise.
Everything takes 10 years
With two kids, you can pop them in a double stroller and be on your merry way. It may take a little longer but it’s doable. Trying to make it out of the house alone with 3 children is a daylong task especially if you have 2 or more in diapers.
It usually goes something like this:
Me: Sister Bear, help Brother Bear put on his shoes
Brother Bear: “Noooooo Sister, my shoes!”
*Baby Bear crying because diaper changes suck*
Sister Bear: Brother Bear won’t let me help him!
Me: I’m coming just hold on
Brother Bear and Sister Bear: Mommyyyyyyy
*inaudible crying, which usually means someone threw the shoe and it hit someone else*
*me entering the foyer carrying Baby Bear like a football*
Me: Can you please just get it together for 5 seconds so we can go?
*Sister Bear counting*
Me: Alright let’s go!
*Scoops up Brother Bear in the other arm (sans shoes) and carries him to the car*
The love, oh the LOVE!
It’s so cliché but I swear your heart grows 3 sizes! Seeing your children together and harmonious for 2.5 seconds is all you need sometimes to recharge your battery. The same way you were worried about loving your second is the same worry you’ll have before number 3 arrives but it’s all for not. You will be overwhelmed by the joy having a third brings to your life… just don’t forget to invest in some ear plugs!