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.
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.
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!
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.
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