A status came up on my Facebook Timehop this morning that reminded me just how tough I found having two children.
"Why is it both girls wake up at the same time needing totally different things from me? Either a sisterly bond or a sinister plot to split me in half. Reason #481 why not to have any more kids!"
I now have three children.
After I had my second baby I would look at people with three, four or even five with bewilderment. I was hardly coping to juggling two how on earth did people manage with more? I often felt like I was on a hamster wheel that was spinning too fast for my legs to keep up with, I felt out of control and overwhelmed. The biggest challenge I faced on a day-to-day basis was sleep deprivation. Each night I went to bed anxious unsure what the night would bring, incapable of relaxing properly. I would often wake up perplexed as to how I was going to get through the day without losing it, falling asleep standing up or crying.
Sometimes I did all three.
Gradually it got easier, the girls slept a little better but just as importantly I began to learn how to juggle. I grew into my role of mother of two and although the days (and nights) still had the potential to be challenging, I was more able to mentally cope.
I had cracked it; I was a managing to be a mother of two (mostly).
And then I found out I was pregnant.
When it actually came down to it though, I found the transition to three so much easier than the transition to two.
Here are my THREE reasons why having three children is easier than two...
1. We were ready for the shit storm
Having your first baby can be a massive shock to the system. You have spent 9 months (actually probably more like your whole lifetime) imagining what having a family would be like. You hear about sleepless nights, dirty nappies and leaking nipples but you're completely in the dark to the day to day realities of it.
You manage to get to grips with it and then have another baby. This time around you think you have it sussed; you know how to be a mother now, surely an extra child isn't going to make much difference?
In my experience, learning to be a mother of two was as big as a shock to the system as being a mother to one. Having to split yourself and to try to meet the different needs of children who want entirely different things is just as challenging as learning to be a mother to one.
My third baby was the only one that I wasn't naïve about. I knew how physically hard it was going to be and how potentially drained I would feel so it wasn't the same shock to the system. I had already mastered the art of juggling and yes, I needed to add an extra ball but once you're used to running around like a headless chicken it's not that hard to carry on.
2. My eldest is old enough for child labour
By chid labour I am obviously not referring to mining, I mean fetching the wet wipes or keeping an ear out for a sleeping baby while I'm having a quick bath. As small as these jobs are they are also genuinely helpful. By the time most families get to their third baby they usually have at least one who can be put to use in some way. The older kids also provide constant baby entertainment allowing me to get on with the bigger jobs. I almost feel sorry for my six year old, when she was little she only had her dad and I. For the third baby, it must be like living through the Royal Variety Performance every day. There is never a dull moment.
3. I knew it would end
By the time your third child is born you have been a mother long enough to know that any phase your child goes through, no matter how annoying, will end. I find this a comfort when I am cleaning the food off the walls but the flip side of this is that the cute little phases end too. Your child won't always nuzzle their face into your neck when they cuddle you or sing twinkle little star with a cute two year old lisp. I face each of the phases my third baby goes through with a different mind-set, whether it is good or bad I know it's only temporary. Every day they each get a little older and a little bit further away from you. The days may seem long but the time flies by. By baby number 3 I have learnt to savour each moment a little more and this makes the day to day grind more bearable.
Three children might be triple the trouble but they are triple the fun as well and certainly triple the love.
That said I will NOT be having any more, four kids must be a nightmare!
Read more from Lisa at the Contented Family as she strives for happiness in the everyday madness of motherhood.