"What's it like to have three kids?" is a question I get asked a lot.
Or I get a statement along the lines of 'wow, you've got your hands full haven't you?'. Yes. Yes I do, they are full of a buggy, a bribe, a nappy and some of my hair which I am currently tearing out so if you could be so kind as to open that door for me instead of standing around spouting cliches we'll all be much happier.
Anyway I thought I'd share with you a few facts that I have learnt since I have had total disregard to overpopulation problems and bred three humans:
They are all different
This seems obvious right? but babies, toddlers and children are COMPLETELY different beings to one another. It's a bit annoying as just as you get the hang of the one hour rocking and blasting hoover noise into your babies face to get it to sleep then BAM here comes another baby with a morbid fear of hoovers.
Every single time you have a baby it is all different; the labour, the delivery, the baby and the post natal period. You are a new mum each time and people don't really remember that. This is directly related to number of Facebook likes on pregnancy announcements BTW -
First time: 236 likes
Comments: 'SO happy for you guys'
Third time: 2 likes
Comments: 'Is this a timehop status?'
Things take time
Remember when you could scoop up one child having a tantrum and exit a public place sharpish? Me neither. Quick exits/entrances/toilet trips are a thing of the past. No sooner have you left a public place with a suitable toilet will someone need the toilet. You get everyone back to said toilet, leave and then someone else will need the toilet, you go back again, leave and then someone fills their nappy. You go back to change them and leave and the whole cycle may well start again. I am deadly serious when I say I once went shopping for an hour and we spent the entire time going to and from the toilets. I've had better hours.
When things go wrong they go WRONG
You have new tolerance for a 'bad' day - one child crying? background noise. Two children crying? form an alliance with the happy one sharpish. Three children crying and kicking off? MAYDAY.
We have had some shockers recently. Writing down an example seems almost farcical but lets just say it involved leaving children unattended for two minutes, an unprecedented attack on said children by a peacock, a spilt cup of coffee, a piece of cake left in situ and an incredibly unhelpful stranger taking a photo of me punching a peacock in the face with a pack of baby wipes. UNBELIEVABLY I am not making that up. I know. FYI Peacocks are actually VERY difficult to scare, they are not scared of baby wipes even if they are the super value frighteningly ineffective ones.
BUT even when things go super wrong it's not all bad my friend, because...
You give WAY less f&*ks. About everything.
And I mean everything. You know how worried you were about weaning your first? Yeah. Your third weans themselves... on stuff from the garden. And those outfits you painstakingly bought and hung in your child's wardrobe? Your third wears babygros until they start being called onesies. You don't care about what anyone else thinks anymore, you filter out anyone's opinions on your parenting style effortlessly because a hum of child noise follows you round like your own personal theme tune. Do I care about how someone is parenting? Too busy taking a mental role call and thinking about why I can only see two children... oh and one peacock, OMG - has it eaten the small one?
So in summary having three kids is just like having one but two more times. You still don't have any idea what you're doing but you do the same things - they are just louder and take longer.
For me personally, the leap from having no kids to having one was the biggest change to date. My house has been full of plastic and questions about dinner's whereabouts since 2010. People say that three children is harder than two or that two is harder than one. Or how they know what the ideal family size is blah blah blah. As stated above I don't have an opinion on whether someone should use a dummy or not, let alone what constitutes the 'perfect' amount of children, or an 'ideal' family size.
I think the most important thing, if you are asking whether you should have a third child or not is to acknowledge how lucky you are to have the choice. And then I'd say - in my opinion, three is no harder than two and two is no harder than one. Being a parent has its moments of intense difficulty and it's moments of sheer unadulterated joy whether it is radiating from one human being or three. And yes, my cliched friend, as parents we all, always, have our hands full.
Now could you get that door please? Many thanks.
You can read the full blogpost here
You can find 'That Mum', her 3 children and possibly a rogue peacock over on Facebook here