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11 Things Only Parents With Three Kids Would Understand

11 Things Only Parents With Three Kids Would Understand

The decision to have three kids was an easy one for my husband and I. We decided after our first that we’d have one more and then see how we felt about adding more to the brood.

While I was still in the hospital after giving birth to my second, I decided that I wanted one more.  Maybe it was the hormones or the sheer exhaustion (I didn’t sleep well during the pregnancy), but I was sure that I wanted one more kid. And I’m here to tell you that life with three is good, and very, very crazy.

Here are some of the differences between having three kids versus one or two:

1. We drive minivans or SUV’s

Having three kids means saying goodbye to anything smaller than a minivan or SUV. It isn’t physically possible to squeeze three carseats (or even a combination of booster seats and car seats) across the back of a sedan. Not to mention that if you tried that, the kids would be within hitting distance of one another. You know what I mean.

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For some of us, this is a major life crisis. Somehow giving up the sporty hatchback or luxurious sedan means we are giving up our old life. As far as I’m concerned, owning a minivan opens up a whole new world. Do you know how many kids I can haul in that thing? I can handle nearly any playdate or carpool situation. Come on, admit it – you know you secretly think minivans are cool.

2. We always get asked how we manage everything

Everyone with less than three kids thinks we’re crazy. For a while, every time I ventured out of the house I’d inevitably hear the comment, “Wow, you really have your hands full!” This was usually after a kid ran away from me in the parking lot or pulled a row of cereal boxes off a grocery store shelf.

I’ve stood in line at the grocery store trying to corral my three and had well meaning people ask with slight disbelief “Are they all yours?” And don’t forget my personal favorite: “I don’t know how you do it!” I suspect what the person is really trying to say is, “WHY would you do that?”

3. We always have a playmate around

I come from a family of only two kids. I never much liked that if my brother wasn’t up for playing with me, I was on my own. For those of us with three kids, there is always a backup playmate. If your oldest and middle children get into a fight, they can always turn to the youngest for support. It’s a great backup system. Life is infinitely easier with playmates around that don’t require setting up a formal playdate.

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4. We are amazing with logistics

We are masters at organizing and scheduling. How else could we survive on a day to day basis? Someone has to know who ate and who didn’t. Someone has to know who needs a fresh diaper (although I suppose that one might become evident pretty quickly.) And once all three of your kids reach school age, every morning becomes a tactical operation. The days when all three kids get out the door on time, with what they need, with no melt-downs, I want to give myself a high-five.

5. We buy a lot more food

We can actually justify warehouse club memberships. I’m not exactly sure how the math checks out:  You now have three kids, but your food bill goes up five times. Now that all of my kids are school age, we burn through snacks at an amazing rate. It’s like a pack of ravenous wolves descends upon my house every day.

6. We always have a noisy house

About the only time the noise in our house dips to a safe decibel level is when the kids are at school or sleeping. It begins as soon as one child wakes up. I thought that having two kids was loud, but it turns out I was wrong.

7. We have toys everywhere

Just as the food bill has blossomed, the toys have too. With one or two kids, toys stay fairly contained. But with three kids, they just seem to show up everywhere. I find them on the kitchen counter, in my underwear drawer, and in the refrigerator. I have no idea where some of them come from. I actually don’t even recognize some of them!

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8. You get to be the “fun” house

Once you have three kids, your ability to tolerate noise and messes grows to an astonishing level. Combine that with the fact that there are three kids at your house to play with, and suddenly everyone wants to hang out with your family. It’s like a party all the time. Three kids + three sets of toys + parents who aren’t surprised by anything = a really fun place to hang out.

9. You get three times the help

We have three sets of hands to help with chores, cooking, and projects. There’s nearly always someone around who wants to help. Having three kids does mean more work to be done, but there are economies of scale. Cooking dinner for three kids doesn’t take any longer than cooking for two kids. The bathroom has to be cleaned whether there’s one kid or three. Sure, it might get a little dirtier, but the job goes faster with more hands. My kids also have guinea pigs. The cage must be cleaned at least once a week. There are three little people to share this job, which makes it that much easier to find someone to do the work.

10. We are outnumbered

The minute you get to three kids, you realize you’re outnumbered. It used to be that if one of you had the baby, the other parent could entertain the toddler. During storytime, you could have a kid on either side. With three kids, we have to be more creative. I have three “sides” now: left, right, and top (my littlest lies on top of me). My oldest and middle got really good at playing with each other and helping one another out when I had to nurse or change the baby.

We’re a team and our kids are much better at being independent. They have to be and that’s a wonderful thing.

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11. You get three times the love

We get three times the snuggles, three times the “I love you’s”, three times the firsts (which are just as sweet with the first as with the third). There are three little people who look up to you with wide eyes and trust you to teach them. There is simply more love to go around.

Featured photo credit: The Kids/Eric Fleming via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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