Two’s company, three’s a crowd. We’ve all heard the saying. Is this true with children? Here’s my take on parenting three children…
Three children means there’s always someone to play with, especially if they’re close in age. It can make things a lot easier, I don’t have to spend loads of time entertaining my children, they have each other to play with, definitely a bonus.
The more children there are, the more potential there is for arguments. I once read ‘when you have one child you become a parent, when you have two children you become a referee and when you have three children, you become a bouncer!’ This makes me laugh every time I think about it, as it’s so true. You break up one fight, only to be refereeing again with another child two minutes later.
Children learn to share very quickly when there are three. Mine are no exception, they share everything without question. However, as a consequence, they often appear to lack the ability to take care of their things, we are forever losing and breaking toys and books.
Three children costs a lot. Yes, there is a lot of baby equipment to reuse and clothes that can be passed down, but essentially it can get very expensive.
I’d like to add here, to all those people who tell me it’s ‘buy one get one free’ with my twins…. no it certainly isn’t! I can’t use 1 car seat for 2 babies, I can’t use 1 dinner for 2 babies, I can’t use 1 high chair for 2 babies. Twins really do cost a lot more than having three children separately.
It is tricky splitting yourself between two children, but it becomes even more difficult to split yourself three ways. Reading three bedtime stories takes time. Ensuring children have quality individual time is very difficult to achieve. With two, a partner can take one out while you enjoy quality time with the other. With three, there is never the opportunity for this.
It is quite a juggling act listening to three children reading their school books (especially in the painful early days of learning to read), often by the third child I must admit I have been known to lose my patience. Helping children with their homework can be just as daunting, they frequently want to do it at the same time, but who do you help first? This is one area my children struggle with, waiting their turn.
Becoming an octopus
I need to become an octopus, it would make life so much easier. Two children can have a hand each, with three, there is always one left out. I cannot tell you how many arguments there have been, with children all wanting to hold my hand to school. I’m frequently seen walking down the road with a child on each hand and one child pulling on my coat squashed in-between! It’s quite a picture!
When you go out as a family with two parents and two children, it’s a nice 1:1 ratio. Add a third child and there’s always one left out. Then throw into that mix, seating arrangements on rides at fairs, when children must be accompanied by an adult, we often have to ride three times with individual children as we can’t all go on together. This can make for quite a sickening experience (quite literally, depending on the ride)!
Three children increases the noise in the house ten fold, they all fight for attention from you and from each other at the same time. I feel desperately sorry for my neighbours!
With every child you have, the mess increases and it becomes more and more difficult to keep on top of. Then comes the trying to persuade children to tidy up. It becomes more of a challenge too as they blame each other…”it’s her toy not mine” “She was playing with it” “I didn’t get it out”…you get the picture.
Most cars fit two car seats perfectly in the back, not three, as we discovered to our cost when our twins arrived. We had a big estate car, so naturally assumed three car seats would fit, oh how wrong we were. We had to go car shopping within days of giving birth to twins!
That is my ten point reality to parenting three children. However, there is also the side that cannot be described, the love of three children, the fun you can have with three and the support they can give each other is beyond words.
It is incredibly difficult and I frequently feel overwhelmed by it. It comes over me in a wave of insecurity and terror. I am outnumbered. I am not an octopus, I am only me, one person with a big heart trying to spread myself evenly. I am not super mum, I am not invincible, I often make mistakes and errors of judgement. I am not the only person to have three children or more.
I may be outnumbered, overwhelmed and terrified at times, but I love it. I am blessed and I wouldn’t change a thing. You get used to the noise and the mess, the car problem can be solved, squabbles can be refereed and homework gets done somehow. I am doing my best.