What’s One More? {On Deciding to Have a Third Baby}

Apparently we moms of 3 are the most stressed. I’m not going to argue for or against this study. Moms everywhere have their own struggles; we all go through hard times. Having three kids is the most challenging, most wonderful blessing I’ve been given. Would I hug your neck and cheer, “Go for it!” if you are questioning whether to have a third baby? ABSOLUTELY! But that’s not my intention. You’ve got to make the right decision for you and your family. 

I’ve had friends ask about the transition from 2 to 3 kids, and I can only answer honestly and say, well, it just happened. I’m sitting here writing about having 3 kids like I had a “choice” in the matter. I grew up, got married, and wanted 4 children. After fertility struggles we were blessed with our first son. And then our second. And then … our third.

What's One More? {On Deciding to Have a Third Baby} | Houston Moms Blog

Before we could pump the brakes and think about things, my body had decided it had this baby-making thing figured out. There was so much going on at the time to think through it. But looking back, perhaps I can offer an honest picture and sense of understanding of what it’s like to be mom to three young kids…

The Practical

  • Rethinking Bedtime :: There’s no more divide and conquer. Well, unless two share a room. The divide part is still very doable; divide the kids {and mom and dad} into respective sleeping spaces. Got it. But the conquer part? Just let it go. Eventually, they sleep. 
  • Calendar Flexibility :: If anyone gets sick, you better plan on scrapping your calendar for at least a week. After all, they need to time to pass that bug around to each other, and if you are lucky, to mom too. 
  • You are Now a Restaurant Game Changer :: Forgot the table for 4. You, mom of 3, pretty much require a booth or a table for 6. 
  • You Only Thought You had a lot of stuff :: Remember, three kids. Three phases. Action figures for the big boy. Cars, planes, trains, tracks, puzzles for the middle. And then bouncer, swing, playmat, blankets for the little. So. Many. Things. And that’s not to mention the mess an added human makes. 
  • The Carseat Situation :: Three across requires special narrow {read: expensive} carseats. 
  • Movie Night / TV Show / Car Songs :: Three ages, three different age-appropriate requests. 

The Emotional

So these aren’t experiences of moms having three or more kids. All moms can relate. Let’s just say that having 3 close together has highlighted the feelings. 

You Get to Feel Like Oprah EVERY Day

Breakfast:: You get a chewy vitamin … and you get a chewy vitamin … and you {4 and up} get TWO chewy vitamins!

Afternoon:: You get a sometimes healthy snack, but often goldfish … and you get a … and you … {You see where I’m going here.} 

The Witching Hour:: You get a screen … and you get a screen … and you get a screen!

Raising 3 Kids is Like Playing Twister

You’ve got a foot in several stages, and you don’t have that many feet. So you stick a hand to help here, or an arm to help there. Some days there is time to sort it all out and find the best spot and keep your balance, and other days, you fall … over and over again. 

On Mondays you attend play dates with your toddler mom friends where you talk about how many days they’ll attend preschool next year and the best potty training tips. By Saturday you are meeting up with elementary school friends and moms and talking about how your children are asking deep questions and how you explain heaven and religious diversity. 

Someone’s Going To Miss Out … and Sometimes It’s You

Everyone can’t be in everything. Heck, that’s too hard with just one kiddo. But the more kids you have, the more complicated the social calendar. And especially if your 3 kids are close together, making room for extracurriculars becomes tough. 1st grader interested in the monthly math club at 5:30? Sorry, a parent must be present, and goodness knows, those teachers don’t need your siblings’ versions of math. Middle child want to stay after preschool for the basketball activity? Sorry, kiddo. You might just do fine without a nap, but your younger brother needs at least an hour before we’ll wake him to pick up your older brother. 

Sure, these things will all tug on your heart strings, but it’s just life, and family means learning support and sacrifice, showing up and missing out. And the lessons won’t be lost on you. You won’t make your oldest son’s every baseball game. Someone will be sick, and you won’t attend your youngest son’s end of the year preschool program. Missing out is hard, but you’re a mom to three; you can do hard things. 

Less Is More

Talking … less talking … from you. There are three of them. And they’ve got a lot to say. I forgot sometimes just how important it is for people to listen to you, to really hear you. Kids needs that. Adding kid #3 multiplies relationships and conversations, and it’s a lesson in self-control to step back, talk less, and listen more. 

They May / May Not Look Alike, But It’s Certain that You Can’t Parent Them All Alike 

From potty training to approaching the first day of preschool to discipline {and the “big kid” topics to come}, moms of 3 get to really stretch their muscles in figuring out what makes each kid tick and how to be approach situations. For example, my oldest has always been a jump in type of kid. Sure, he’s not the most outgoing around, but he’s never hesitated when we’ve signed him up for things or transitioned to a new stage. He seems to trust our judgment that we are guiding him in the right direction. Our second has a bit more hesitation. We’ve got to navigate a little differently. And the third? Well, he’s got a go-for-it personality, wants to do everything his brothers do, but takes cues from both. So he’s figuring out just where he wants to be. He’s got his eyes on the willingness of the eldest, the hesitation of the middle, and his own personality to sift through. 

There are Phases for Everything

I just finished last year’s Shutterfly photobook. I decided last January to take out the big camera more and take pictures of the kids that included both daily life and big events. This year? Well, I’m documenting, let’s say, a little less intentionally. Maybe it’s just more of a survival year. Maybe I’m worn down by social media and its pressures to do all the things and share all the pictures. Some days, some years, some stages are more about being together than doing together. 

The takeaway? Adding a third child affects family dynamics, your pocketbook, and indeed, your sanity. I’m met often with, “Three boys? You have your hands full.”

I do.

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world, even if I could. I mean, who wouldn’t make the team? The oldest who made me a mom and teaches me to be a mom daily? The middle who gives an, “I love you, Mom” at least 15 times a day? Or the youngest whose smile is irreplaceable? There was a time I doubted I’d see the day where I’d be mom to one child, much less three. But that last one, the third baby, he’s the punctuation at the end of our family’s sentence: he completes one statement of our life so fully and holds us together as we move on to the next. 

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