So, You Would Like to Have Three Children…

I regularly speak with people who have zero children, or one child, or two children. And they tell me they might consider or would like to have three children. My first impulse, I will own, is to bark, “No, you don’t want three kids.” But that is not helpful, I know this.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I am not going to assume anything about you. I’m just going to tell you what having three kids is like for me. Especially three kids with not quite enough space between the last two.

Here is my disclaimer: I think each of my three children is wonderful. I am very glad I have each one of them. Every child is a blessing. Even when they kind of aren’t acting like blessings. I don’t need a gentle reminder of how precious they are. Because I really do know. But this is what it is like to live with three of them at once.

  • Having three kids is not “kind of like having two kids, but with more Christmas presents.” It is a whole other universe, a universe that is just as shocking as that transition to having your first child, only also a universe that’s kind of like running a marathon and hitting a wall and then being handed some bricks to carry while you run the last 7 miles. If you are lucky, you have at least two adults living in your house–but they still outnumber you. And even when you have two adults living in your house, there will be many times when you don’t even have a 2:3 ratio but a 1:3 ratio. There is no time when nobody needs anything. Ever. It does get a heck of a lot better once none of the children are infants that need to be fed every three hours or more, but it’s still very hard when any of them are toddlers intent on killing themselves or your pets, or even just preschoolers, who can’t quite be trusted.
See What Happens?
See What Happens?
  • It is so tiring, and yet you find yourself with less help than you have available when you have two kids. You see, many people cannot handle your three kids. They are either people who can’t handle groups of children, or they already have a group of children, and if they babysit your kids, you take their kid-count from three or four up to six or seven. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Youngish babysitters (and maybe oldish ones) will have trouble keeping the baby alive while the middle child tries to test their limits and the oldest child, in a bid for attention, acts just like the middle child. Grandparents are often too old to take care of the three kids–which makes sense, because I don’t really have enough energy for it either, and I’m 33.
Table Surfing Baby
Table Surfing Baby
  • None of them have the same needs at the same time, and what worked for one won’t work for another–these are three distinct people you are talking about, with different genders, ages, personality traits, and yes, birth order. And when there are this many, it frankly gets kind of hard to keep track of whose what is whose. My dad called me “Sarah” for most of my childhood. I found this terribly insulting. But now I get it. It’s not that you can’t tell them apart, it’s that you are exhausted and your brain has died, and there seems to be this multitude of people who all want the same thing, but need different things. I have a cryer, a bolter, and a climber, and they’re all different ages and capable of different things. And everybody needs one thing: attention from you, but you can’t deliver that to three people at once very often. So they will fight to get it.
Three-Person Brawl
Three-Person Brawl
  • The logistics become extremely difficult. When my third was born, my second was just over two. And he was an “explorer.” I had to preplan what to do for when the toddler bolted when I was carrying approximately 45 pounds of baby seat plus 20 pounds of diaper bag. I actually considered swinging the baby seat at him to knock him over until I could reach him. Because that would still be better than him getting hit by a car. I also will not be owning a car with fewer than three rows of seats again until our daughter weighs 60 pounds or more. Well, she’s seven, and she is still in the neighborhood of 50. In most vehicles, three car seats will not fit side-by-side. And there’s no way to fairly divide up bedrooms if you would like people to share. Our daughter got off easy, because she’s the girl, so we moved her on up to her own room eventually and put the boys together. Except she’s really the person who could have had the patience (and been thoughtful enough) to more easily share a room with the youngest. Most of the stuff you got when the first was a baby does not last until the third one is a baby, or it becomes evident that your first baby was lucky to survive those particular products without injury/therapy/other adverse consequences. So you basically have to start again in the baby-gear roundup. The box of unhealthy food product you should surely never serve your children always serves four people. Tickets come in twos and fours. And don’t get me started on the expensive medical bills/college tuitions/food/larger home to live in/gas for the larger vehicles/etc.
Hate Minivans? Yeah, Me Too.
Hate Minivans? Yeah, Me Too.
  • I know lots of people with more than three kids. And somehow it seems easier. Here’s my theory: when you have three, you have not yet reached that critical mass phase, where the children act as a group. Instead, it’s just lots of separate individuals, acting randomly. Someone is always left out. I don’t think it helps that there was also never a plan for one of us to be a full-time stay at home parent and a plan to have large numbers of children. Instead, I am a working mother of one to two children–already very difficult–but I have three. I have even heard from a few friends with more than three that the jump from two to three was the hardest.
  • More logistics. Let’s say you have three kids, who are seven, almost four, and not quite two. The oldest one goes to school. Let me tell you about school. It sounds like it’s all day, but that’s actually an outrageous lie. That child’s school might run from 8:05 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. That’s a little challenging, because if you work, you probably don’t get off by 2 p.m. Well, let’s throw in that in her district, Thursdays are early out days, and school closes at 1:15 p.m. Now let’s throw in a preschool. Preschool runs from nine to noon. So yes, there’s an hour or two at either end. Not quite enough time in which to get anything done. And then throw in the baby. He doesn’t even go to school yet, which is actually kind of easier, because you don’t know how in the world you would drive him somewhere, too. But when he’s a young baby, his naptime coincides with the preschool dropoff. And his afternoon nap (and the preschooler’s) both coincide with the 1:15 p.m./2:35 p.m. pickup. Awesome, right? You could solve the need for having to spend two to three hours a day loading three kids in and out of the car to take people to school by purchasing them all individualized child care, where everyone either stayed on-site where she or he was or was driven to or from school, for a mere two to six thousand more dollars a month, depending on which scenario you choose. No really, I’m not kidding. And guess how much it costs to have a nanny who is capable of handling not just three children, but the difficult load-up and drop-off scenarios that you yourself are basically incapable of handling?
  • If you have any children at all, or are close to some, you know that having babies is really hard, but the more other young children are around, in some ways the harder it gets. Nursing one baby is difficult at times for various reasons, but nursing one baby while managing two other children is nearly impossible. Noah got used to me bellowing over his head while he was just trying to eat, and then I felt guilty because none of my other babies were subjected to my shrieks while they were nursing.
  • If you are any kind of parent or caregiver, you have probably grown used to the public comment period that accompanies any excursion you take, and perhaps the occasional bout of despair. I cannot step out my door without someone informing me either that I am brave or that I have my hands full. And they either look pitying or they laugh. It’s super helpful. And I kind of can’t go anywhere without everything falling apart. (Coming soon: my essay, “She Needs Groceries,” written for the Listen to Your Mother show.) When my third child was brand new, my spouse came with the four of us to a party that was about fourteen feet from our house, and then left for a work obligation. Well, while I was alone there, I had to sit down to nurse the baby. The other two kids immediately started behaving badly, and there was very little I could do about it. I got the eyebrow from various people around, but my middle child was too young to give a darn. He was an unattended two year old. And then the baby spat up all over his clothes. So I took his clothes off, barking scolds at the other two, who were supposed to be carving pumpkins, but who were actually ruining the garden. As soon as I took the baby’s clothes off and resumed nursing, he did that baby party trick where they manage to pee straight out of their diaper without even getting the thing wet. He peed all over both of us. I knew I needed to go. But I looked at the naked, wet baby, my dirty two year old, who was digging, and my regular old five year old, who was not actively misbehaving but who was too young to really help me do anything. And I knew I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get back to my house, which was only two doors down. And I felt like a failure of a parent, because I couldn’t handle this many children, but they were going to require that I manage to handle them. I don’t say this as a pity party–now it’s finally funny–but I imagine that many of you have been in this spot at some point, and I can’t imagine that anyone with three or more kids would not end up in this spot at some point.
  • Noise. OMG, don’t get me started. Suffice it to say that the noise is probably the hardest thing for me, as as parent. I am sensitive to noises. And by sensitive, I mean that I get irritable and snappish when there is a constant din in the background. I think I have thus grown increasingly irritable and snappish over the past seven and a half years.
  • The mess is troublesome. My family generates more than one load of dishes a day, plus about one load of laundry per day, or more. Just doing those things would be a job, but there are also more toys and debris on the floor, more garbage, more random acts of destruction…I love having a clean house. But I can’t keep up. And I was historically so organized, so thoughtful, so together. I’m money ahead if I get a birthday card for my own mom or husband at this point, and I forgot to go to my daughter’s first parent-teacher conferences (see Signs of Subpar Parenting), because I was in the throes of new-baby exhaustion and dementia. Talk about guilt.

I would be remiss if I did not own up to the benefits that having three kids comes with. Such as the fact that you really do get better at babies. I can nurse a baby, change a diaper, or teach a baby to sleep like nothing. Also, people finally stop thinking they can give you advice, because most of them don’t have as many children as you do. When I was pregnant with Selah, strangers would admonish me, “It’s not going to be easy–just wait,” as if I had said it was easy. When I was pregnant with Asher, they would warn me that having two was no picnic. When I was pregnant with Noah, the commenters would approach, ready to dole it out, and would often start with, “Is it your first?” since I am a baby face. I started to feel this kind of sadistic glee in saying, “Oh, no, it’s my third,” and watching their expressions change from helpful know-it-all to horrified stumped person. I refrained from saying, “What do you want to say NOW? What’s your ADVICE?” but only narrowly. I’m sure there are many benefits, too, in being a jovial crowd, including the fact that each child brings funny new sayings, gifts, and ways of expressing affection to the table. But sometimes I’m so tired that I am missing out on what those are, and I cannot write them all down, photograph them, and document them the way I could when I just had one child.

So there it is. Make your own decisions. And if you have a third child, I can try to watch them for you. Though I might get kind of snappish or forget where one of them is.

All Three Kids Smiling at the Same Time, Captured on Film
All Three Kids Smiling at the Same Time, Captured on Film

If you’d like more about cherishing these blessed moments with three kids, read Worst Baptism Ever.

While I love nearly all of the comments I have received, I wrote another post meant to rebut the argument that parenting is or should be easy: Rebuttal and Train Museums.

And for those who are irritated by my venting (this clearly happens), I also honestly enjoy many of the other moments. Here are thoughts on trying to clean my daughter’s room: The Things She Carried.


After a number of people read this (thanks to all those who have affirmed me in my fatigue), Brian of i would be frail, wrote a good essay that doesn’t disagree with, but adds on to my story. His children are slightly older, and in some ways that gives me hope! Hopefully you enjoy reading both, and if you have three kids, find a little hope in his words of encouragement: So, You Would Like to Have Three Children: A Non-RebuttingΒ Counterpoint


960 responses to “So, You Would Like to Have Three Children…”

  1. Anne Parker Avatar
    Anne Parker

    Thank you for the laugh. And to think, part of my logic in wanting to have a third child was, “if the Meehan’s can do it, so can we.” Three may be a handful, but you have a beautiful family and great hearts and a wonderful sense of humor. Great job mommy of three!

    1. What made you think we can do it? Haha! Thank you, friend.

      1. I have four kids, but I have to admit that the transition from two to three was definitely the hardest. I wish I had had some insight like this blog prior to embarking upon it because I could have been better mentally prepared. So much chaos occurred during this transition that I would not relive those days for anything. One of the hardest hurdles was telling my own family (I came from a family with two kids)and hearing the response of “So you’re Catholic now!” I have felt by the fourth child, I have experienced so many different parenting moments that by this time it is practically a walk in the park, tongue-in-cheek. I agree with the comment of having more than three that a camaraderie begins to form. Everyone always seems to have a playmate, the older ones can pitch in to help out with the younger ones. Since I have two of each, the boys share a room and the girls share a room, although like mentioned, personalities would have dictated that otherwise. We have learned to function as a team because we feel like we’ve been around the block a few times now. I have taken all four to the store, to church, and other places by myself and have survived. I have to admit that these moments have made me feel courageous and proud. I feel better organized and focused because they are now all school-aged and can do most things independently. Keep your chin up! It is totally worth it! You will survive the chaos and triumph victoriously! Keep sharing!

    2. Thank you much for this blog, as a uk mum of three (aged 2, nearly 4 and nearly 8) I can really appreciate all you say especially the school run stress, worse now that we need hats, scarves and gloves x 3! I was beginning to come to the end if my tether after another hard week and thinking that perhaps it was my parenting at fault but your uplifting blog has made me realise that this is “just third child syndrome” and I should accept and maybe even embrace it. Xx

      1. It’s not you! It’s having kids!

    3. stacey murieen Avatar
      stacey murieen

      Great blog..cracked me up! I am also a mother of three, two girls and a boy. I can relate. My youngest is now four and everything gets soooo much easier, almost peaceful. Its easy now to truly enjoy every moment and well worth it. I laugh now at memories of everything falling apart at once. Guess what? We made it! Love your blog!

  2. Mariette Avatar

    One of the funniest articles I’ve read in awhile!! Officially subscribing to my first blog! As a single girl wanting babies- brilliant- appreciate the humor you find in this supposed amazing logistical nightmare!

    1. Thanks! Welcome aboard the roller coaster! And best of luck to you.

      1. Ann Tillman Avatar
        Ann Tillman

        I did laugh with you……not at you:) Just remembering what it was like raising our 5 children, all 18 months apart. I did survive and they are now all grown, married and having children of their own.

      2. Kristina Avatar

        I have four ,ages 10,6,2 and 4 months. people always ask the same question…How do you do it… My answer is..I have no choice ,you have to figure it out and hope that maybe in. A few years you can keep the house clean,or sleep or take the kids out in public . after my first two I thought I was a professional parent .they were so well behave and always dressed nice then the third came along and completely blind sighted me. Now I’m that mom running after the child that could care less that I’m holding an infant or that I left my purse and buggy behind to run after him…I dread gong to anyone’s house with him who has nice things because the minute I tell him to put something down he hurls it like a major league Player. But as crazy as things get,I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  3. Laura, You are right…three is…ummm…insane. You are out numbered and out gunned…and they know it. They know how to take you down and strike when you are least capable of defending yourself. (ex: nursing, talking on the phone, changing a diaper, etc.) I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “yes” to some question they asked while I was changing a diaper…only to realize later, when I find them feasting on an entire box of double stuffed oreo cookies and vanilla wafers, that I didn’t really hear what they asked but just gave them carte blanche on controlling their entire snacking destiny with my absentminded “yes” response. Fortunately, (for me at least) four is easier… Now, there is a buddy system and, for the most part, those crazy little beings line up together and start behaving in a somewhat predictable manner. So, in my opinion… it’s 2 or 4… but, you can’t stop at 3 or you will possibly never regain control of your life. πŸ™‚ Glad to have found your blog… a friend of mine shared it on Facebook. It’s a good read!


    1. Thanks, Shannon! I already wrote a blog post about the things that happen when I am not looking (i.e., spaced out), so I know what you mean! Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

      1. I have to say as a fellow mom of 3, I completely agree. I feel you’ve captured my life completely and written it down for me! I’ve experienced every one of the things that you’ve gone through! It’s absolute chaos all the time. I recall a recent trip to Costco where the whole family went. My hubby and I after 30 minutes got back in the car, exhausted and called off plans for the rest of the day. I sometimes jokingly refer to the expression losing my marbles, because I feel that having 3 kids is like having marbles rolling around on the floor, literally, losing marbles! πŸ™‚

        I have a girl nearly 9, and my boys, oh those boys, 16 months apart at 5 and 4! I’m so infinitely grateful to be out of the diaper/nursing /potty phase, but now we’re in the fighting screaming and yelling phase. “He looked at me, He’s lying, no I’m not, yes you are….” oh, the joy! And my daughter either stirs the pot, tries to control her minions, or stays out of it all together. It’s impossible to do something for all of them all the time. They all demand attention but different sorts. When my daughter gets frustrated that she can’t sit and do things with me she’ll say things like “I remember what it was like, mom, before the boys (she was only 3!!) It was just you me and dad, and we did so many things together”. My youngest wonders why there are no framed pics of him anywhere! poor kiddo.

        I find myself running around like a chicken with no head for a big portion of the day. 3 separate school schedules, and a husband who commutes every day and travels a lot!! I’m blessed to have my parents living with me, but that has it’s downside as well, with elderly parents not tolerating as much as they used to, and 2 sets of authority figures to deal with. (at least I can leave them home on my grocery runs!) Some of my friends tell me I should have 4 to even things out, but the thought of another nearly puts me in tears!! Don’t get me wrong, I, like you, love, adore and cherish every inch of my kids. And I couldn’t imagine life without my 3rd schmoozer cuddle bug, but as an older mom (I was 36 when I had my 3rd), the noise, chaos and sheer energy drain that I go through every day is about all I can handle.
        The upside is that In some regards life gets a little easier when they can dress themselves, etc But, in some ways things become more challenging. Explaining why, or how or what 3x’s is never effective. Helping 3 kids with homework/assignments, picking and dropping from activities, inevitably, someone is always left behind. It’s funny. I have 2 brothers but I don’t recall this kind of chaos, and neither does my mom. I don’t know what it is about our generation that makes life so much more complicated.

        At any rate, THANK YOU! for sharing this with the world. I genuinely enjoyed it! Thank you for making me feel like I’m not the only one who feels like a crazy psycho screaming banshee just trying to hold it together some days. You made me laugh, smile and remember some wonderfully funny times with my kiddos (they’re funny in retrospect, ofcourse!)

    2. Christina Avatar

      Thanks Shannon! I need to show this to my husband who feels he is definitely done at 3 and I would like to try for one more in a few years (we have 3 girls, 6, 4, & 1)!

    3. Ah, but in my case, after 3 with 18m gaps we waited 3 years and had number 4, except 4 was twins, giving me 5, aged 6, 4.5, 3 and a bit and two newborns. They’re now almost 2 years older. I wouldn’t call it easy!

    4. We’re in the process of building our family (have an 11 month old and one on the way) and we were contemplating 3 kids. After reading this and the comments, maybe we should up it to 4! It definitely sounds like 2 or 4 is best. Thanks for the insight!

  4. I have an almost 3.5 year old, a newly 2 year old and a 9 month old. Everything you wrote about sounds exactly like my life!! Having 3 kids is much more difficult than I ever thought and somehow, just reading what you wrote and knowing someone else is dealing with the exact same thing makes me feel a lot better. And don’t even get me started on the noise factor!! Almost daily by 8:30 pm I am ready for Tylenol, more wine and my body is rendered useless from exhaustion. Cheers to you!

  5. You had some time to get a blog post up, it can’t be all bad right? Luckily having children is usually a voluntary decision and you won’t need to try for number four!

    1. Haili G. Avatar
      Haili G.

      Yes, she had twenty whole minutes to herself and your point is? She’s not saying it’s all bad or looking for sympathy/empathy (which, by the way, it’s okay to do and also okay to HAVE for someone), she’s just sharing her experience in a humorous, exasperated way. And why is it “lucky” that she won’t be “voluntarily” having a fourth child? Exclamation points don’t quite take the snark out.

    2. Gina A. Avatar
      Gina A.

      I second Haili G.!!!

      1. Aw, thanks.

      2. Catherine Avatar

        No, I agree with Alice. I have four kids. Three was relatively easy. Four is hard, particularly when the younger two are 16 months apart. I’ve been a sole parent since the youngest was 12 months old and I work full time because I have to. I have no family nearby to help. I manage to hold the show together. I’m no hero. I’m just doing what I have to do. I chose to have four children, and now it’s up to me to do what has to be done to raise them well. Great article, but at the end of the day anyone who has multiple children has them because they chose to (unless they have naturally-conceived triplets or quads). No point in resenting or belittlng other people who have made different choices.

    3. She’s probably hiding in the bathroom and sporadically typing this post while pretending to crap.
      Another mother of 3

      1. Heather Avatar

        How do you think I’m reading this blog right now?
        Mom of a 5 yo and twin 2.75yos

    4. likely this was written just after bed time for the first two and in between feedings when mom probably should be sleeping but needed to so “just one thing today” for herself.

      -craig and his 3 kids…

    5. Yes exactly!! Wonder what she thinks of my almost 5. LOL!

    6. Lisa Smith Avatar
      Lisa Smith

      Ha ha Alice! If a person is having a really rough time parenting three then maybe they SHOULD be really careful with their birth control from here on out. My number four was way too close in age to my number three child because I didn’t count correctly. Laura, You made me laugh and you’re a wonderful writer. I have seven, two with special needs, one adoption, and I also write about our experiences. I don’t have nearly as much talent as you do but I’ve had some pretty funny experiences also. The toddlers and preschoolers always knew they could do really neat stuff when the baby needed to nurse. And…. I remember that I NEVER felt like I’d had enough sleep. Three of mine are in college now and the oldest is out and married. They were all here for Xmas and it was almost as wild as when they were all babies together. Talk about noise! I loved (almost) every minute of it. Thanks for reminding me of some of the things I’d forgotten about. When I was hearing, “You really will miss this one day” I thought folks were nuts but I do miss it. I really do!

    7. erin toensing Avatar
      erin toensing

      i went for number three and the fourth came along with it! i get everything that your saying and then some. mine are 5, 3, and 5 months going all boys and then my girl. my life is fun and exhausting. i can be crying my eyes out but still i wouldnt have it any other way. i dont know why anyone would belittle this story. to me it just tells me there is another person out there who totally gets it and that makes us stronger. and by the way, i have been on the computer for a record 16 minutes while having 4 kids so thanks alice, i must be a rockstar today!

    8. SoldierGrrrl Avatar

      Alice- Geeeeeze. Judgmental and rude much?

    9. What a bitchy comment. And yes, I said bitchy…I’m not gonna be underhandedly snarky like you, Alice. I’ll just come right out & say it. She didn’t say it was all bad. In fact, she said the opposite several times. I picture you, Alice, as one of those Mom’s at play dates that judges the other mothers for the occasional processed food or letting their kids watch TV.

      It’s okay to talk about the tough part of parenting. It keeps us all sane to know others have the same struggles that we do. And, if you don’t cop to the fact that parenting is damn hard, you’re either delusional or a liar.

      Here’s a tip for you – if you don’t like her blog, don’t read it anymore! (Like the exclamation point?!)

    10. Alice, try not being such a hag. Thanks so much for totally missing the point of the whole blog, sunshine! πŸ™‚

  6. As a mom of 3, with a stepdaughter (making it 4), I can totally relate. Mine are 16, 6, 2, and 9 months. They are all girls. And still all different! What works for one doesn’t work for another (the baby is too soon to tell). and the chaos, the noise, the insanity of all of it. You would be amazed at how many people think the 16 year old should help more (really, she didn’t have the kids), or assume she did have one!

    When I was pumping in a public restroom (you do what you got to do), I had many folks commenting on how calm I was. After finding out I was on round 4, they’d laugh and say, maybe not calm, maybe just shell-shocked.

    Some day, get on a plane with all of those kids and then marvel at what people say, think, glare!

    1. Haha! You do get better at at least not looking panicked, even when it may be that you’re more like permanently panicked.

  7. OGL – The moment my second daughter was mobile, my head began screaming “What the hell were we thinking?” — that is, between catching a perpetually nude toddler who thought it would be fun to take flight from the back of the sofa and going into a mad panic because my child was “missing” (she was hiding beneath the kitchen sink). My thoughts on a third child? Nevermore…

    1. That’s about how I was feeling already when we got pregnant with our third child. Hang in there!

      1. I have 3, I remember a bad day when I was about 3 months pregnant with the third. My husband found me crying in the sofa saying “What have we done?”. He laughed and replied “Too late now”. Lucky for us she was the easiest baby of the 3. Two are in college now. Hang on. But I would not change a thing, Eben the right days

        1. You know, my youngest was easiest too.

  8. Kelle Thomas Avatar
    Kelle Thomas

    I am not convinced. Despite your post I still want three. Keeping in mind that 1) we only have one now and she’s still a baby and 2) my husband only wants two. Guess we’ ll see what happens πŸ™‚

    1. Hey, I said you could make your own decision! πŸ™‚ Maybe you want three!

    2. That might be because you have one. Now that I have two I look at parents with one and think “they have NO idea”. I also used to want three (when my first was a baby). Yes. I had NO idea lol

      1. Carey Trachian Avatar
        Carey Trachian

        Ha Megan I used to say that to myself all the time too except I do have 3(they are all barely 2 years apart). My toughest adjustment though was definitely from 1 to 2 maybe because she was the hardest baby she also didn’t make it easy with her bolting after #3 came along either. I would look at those with 1 or 2 and say you have NO idea what its like.

    3. I have 3 kids under 3. I love it! It’s tiring but in my opinion not much worse than having 2. I wanted 3 or 4 kids and after having 3 I would still love to adopt our 4th one day.

      1. Oddly, I think I can imagine adopting or fostering another child some day. I really do love children. I think a lot of it is that it’s hard for me to be my best self with the hormones and physical fatigue that accompany having babies. I would happily have more children if they were born about four years old. πŸ™‚ I am glad the transition to three wasn’t too hard for you.

      2. Jolene Mason Avatar
        Jolene Mason

        I had three and wished I would have had 4. Just never really liked 3. Seemed like two would stick together and gang up on the one. Never really found it that hard, yes sometimes I would be tired but I’m that way now and they have all grown up and two now live on their own. Hope some day you do get to adopt another one.

      3. I agree with Clair. I had my third just before my first turned three and I was tired but didn’t find it hard. Now we have four and we homeschool them and we are hoping to have more.

    4. Zionjawa Sines Avatar
      Zionjawa Sines

      Wow kelle were the same! I want three but my husband wants two and our daughter will be two next month. This article is a little scary but we’ve already decided that the next baby’s gender will decide on the amount. If its a boy we’re done, but if its a girl we go for number three. I guess I’m hoping strategic spacing between babies will save me from the total chaos you’ve experienced lol

    5. Good for you Kelle Thomas, This blog keeps coming up and I hate it! I just want to say suck it up. As a mom of three I love it, and wouldn’t change it for the world. Even one child can drive you nuts some time they all know how to press the right buttons. I have three boys ages 5,4,and 2. I would have had the last one closer but I had to talk my husband into it. They are the best of friends and my little team. So if you want three do it. If you had three but its not what you wanted don’t share it with the world, some women can’t even have keep it to your shelf.

      1. Thanks for this I’m pregnant with my third I’m so early and I’m freaking out as wasn’t planned and I want to maybe go down the Rd of a termination and this post has made me feel worse to be honest I actually didn’t see any positives but thanks for your positive comment !

        1. Oh, hang in there. My third was not planned either, and now that he’s four and the older kids are in elementary school, it is SO MUCH EASIER! I swear. Not all the time, but enough of the time that I feel much better now.

  9. Laura – Great post! My wife and I only have a son who is eleven now (we lost two before he came along) and just reading about your experiences made me re-live some hilarious-now-but-not-so-much-then childrearing stories. All in all it seems like you are holding on, doing the best you can. Hopefully when your children get a little older they will come up to you in that magical moment and say, “Thanks, Mom, for everything you’ve done.” And hopefully that will be worth it! Blessings to you and your family.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement! Sometimes I think I will survive if I can just get everyone to be three or older. πŸ™‚ And I am very sorry to hear about your losses.

  10. […] LAURA MEEHAN AT THE SHORT-WINDED BLOG recently wrote a rather exasperated post about the ardors of having three children. […]

  11. Thanks for this. I have a lot of the same feelings you do.

    Have you read frailb’s response to your post?

    I thought it was interesting and gave me hope, as a parent of three, that as they get older it will maybe get easier.

    I didn’t choose to have three. That number was thrust upon me when #2 ended up being twins. We’ve just gotten through the first year of twin parentdom, and it’s been quite a ride. It’s been hard and amazing and exciting and defeating and full of love and wonder. But yeah. Hard.

    1. I also really liked his response, and I shared it on FB. Maybe I will link to it here too, once I have a minute. One reason I like blogging, even sometimes gripey posts, is because of the chorus of me toos. We all need to stick together and encourage each other. And I am fairly certain it will be easier for me once they are older and can somewhat function independently.

      Blessings to you.

  12. If you’re like me, maybe #2 will be twins, and you’ll get your three. πŸ˜€

  13. Yeah, I think baby and toddlerhood is just really rough. Of course, I hear that the teen stage is no bed of roses, either. πŸ˜‰

  14. […] previous post, inspired by Laura Meehan, seems to have stirred some interest. Β Enough to somehow end up on Reddit.Β  Some have mistaken […]

  15. Thank you so much for making me feel normal! I am the mom of three boys ages 9, 6 (7 in 2 weeks!), and 5. There are 2.5 years between my oldest and middle and 18 months between the middle and youngest. I thought I was going nuts sometimes and people with 1 or 2 kids just always had it together compared to me. Now I see the light! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I hope to read many more fun stories from you in the future!!

    1. You do have it together, because you have survived this long! πŸ™‚ Hang in there. We parents need each other’s encouragement.

  16. A friend posted this on Facebook. As a stepmom to a 9-year-old boy, and mom to 5 and 3 year old boys, a 16 month old girl and soon-to-be boy in August, I had to laugh at this article. I had a little bit of a softer transition from 2 to 3 of my own because I already had the 2 to 3 part-time experience (full-time in the summer), so I had a taste of it before I jumped in to the full-time. I’m actually terrified of this next baby. It was a bit of an accident and completely caught us by surprise. We were going to be done after our girl. I’m having to completely go back into infant-mode thinking. I’m so exhausted now; I just am praying every day for God to give me the energy, patience, sanity, etc… that I need.

    1. That’s how I felt during my last pregnancy. I will pray for you, too. Blessings to you.

  17. tedbohne Avatar

    i have no children. there are good reasons why this is the case, however perhaps you or your readers might be offended. i love children though. i wish my generation had left them with a better world than we did1

    1. I could not be less offended. Many people do not choose to have children, and that’s fine! πŸ™‚ Funnily, I am writing a post about ideals and trying to leave my kids with a good world.

  18. Kristen Avatar

    Hilarious! So true and makes me feel so much more normal! My three are just as active as your sound but I wouldn’t have it any other way, crazy or not…and I’ve grown to love my mini van!

  19. I. LOVE. THIS!!! As a mom to 3 age 3 and under (two of which are currently serenading me at the breakfast table), I can 1,000,000% relate! Great read. Thanks for the laugh!!! I will be following your blog from now on!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Hang in there (and I will too).

  20. Funny article. My wife and I have 4 kids that at one point were 5 and under. Once, while telling a daily story at work, a coworker suggested I travel the US and teach abstinence to high schools. I stinkin’ LOVE having 4 kids but we are now done! Granted there are many social functions that we currently decline due to numbers or naps but I’d rather have 2 more kids than attend half of them.

    Even though we have a full house of shorties I make sure that my wife has plenty of outings with her girlfriends while I take on all four kids and the bedtimes. Our family circus is a blast and I’d encourage anyone to dive into the challenge.

    1. We do arrange a lot of life around naps! And it’s funny, because we work with the young group at our church, and people (and we) constantly joke that we’re a pretty good birth control campaign.

      1. I am a mother of 4 too and I always felt that having children is hard no matter how many children you have. It is just a different kind of hard at each stage. I have never regretted having 4 children and have loved having a big family!! Of course I think only having one would be easier than 4 but I feel having 4 is very rewarding. I had my first 3 in 3 1/2 years. I knew I wanted a 4th and thought I would do it within 2 years but when that 2 yr mark came along I knew I couldn’t handle it at that time. So we waited and after having a little trouble getting pregnant and a miscarriage we were blessed with our 4th child 3 3/4 years after our 3rd was born. Giving ourselves a little gap between our 3rd & 4th helped with the craziness but it is still challenging. One thing I realized after having 3 was that I couldn’t do everything the way I used to do it. Something had to give and unfortunately it was usually keeping the house as neat as I used to. I would set a daily goal of trying to just get one thing done that day. If I got that one thing done I would feel like I won the lottery!! My husband and I had to work as a team and always made sure that we each got time for ourselves too. Now that my kids are 14 1/2, 13, 11 and 7 3/4 life is still hard but like I said it is just a different hard. I have always tried to not over schedule them. I think that is where people can really get overwhelmed because they have their kids doing every activity available and the kids get burnt out along with the parents!! My kids have always had the chance to be involved in plenty but they realized that they need some down time too. That has definitely helped our lives from getting out of control and my kids are happy easy going kids (most of the time)! I would say to anyone out there thinking of having a 3rd or 4th – Go for it!!! Whenever I would be out in public with my 4 small children I would always her comments but my favorite was when people would say “Oh…God Bless You!”(with pity). I would always respond with “Yes, he already has 4 times!!”

  21. Cherise South Avatar
    Cherise South

    This was AWESOME!!!! I have four so I can totally relate! πŸ˜€

    1. So is four still harder than three? Or is it easier with the even number?

      1. I have five within seven years. I miss the stress of having three because the stress of five is WAY worse! But you adjust, and kids grow (all too quickly). I promise you’ll live to tell the tale! πŸ™‚

      2. Four is harder Laura. Four is harder. When one is at a friends house the entire house seems so much more peaceful. Almost like having only one kid…

        1. Oh, I don’t really doubt it. Which is why I am seriously considering having my tubes tied.

      3. When I was having my 8 children, after the first 3, I remember going to the other mom’s with lot’s of small children and asking, “What am I missing? This isn’t going well. What do I need to be doing better?” They would chuckle and say it’s hard now but wait till the older ones can begin to help! Geez Louise! They were right. Grin and bear it and then reap the rewards! Three was THE HARDEST NUMBER I HAD. I mean it, hands down! The oldest couldn’t do squat and like you described, the different developmental stages is a KILLER. My home was FULL OF 3 STAGES OF BABYDOM! Yikes! When the oldest is able empty the dishwasher, buckle their own seatbelt, tie their own shoes, dress themselves, put away clothing, fetch most anything, entertain a sibling without putting their life at danger, the BALANCE TURNS THE OTHER WAY! I started getting a big head on #4 and then someone pointed out the efficiency factor…… Baby #5 was almost fun! I rang a bell for service and I had Two GO GETTER older siblings that felt like they’d gotten a promotion! And as far as I was concerned, they had. BTW, those two are the most successful kids to date! One is a top salesperson, married to a sweet school teacher with 2 girls and the other is traveling the world with her hubby and 3 year old! My last child was born when I was 48! The last 3 babies were the BEST. I had Five older siblings to do ANYTHING for them, dote on them and give them advice on how to fool me. The joke is that I learned all the pranks from the oldest ones so policy for the younger ones is STRICTER! I think baby #6 was my favorite because there was a 5 year gap and the 5 kids fought over holding him, bathing him, diapering him, … you get the picture. The older ones always give the younger one’s advice on THEIR take on things because they are more tech savy and such. When I am gone, most of my kids will feel like they still have someone to look up to and someone who is looking after them.

        My dining room table, when they are all eating seated all 10 of us. It would make me cry with joy almost every time. I still get choked up just thinking of how quiet it got for a few minutes….. then the soft MMMmmmm’s and the genuine smiles of appreciation that I had cooked for them. Hearing all the stories and day’s happenings was always a hoot!

        BTW, we weren’t rich or really poor. We recycled everything, shopped for luxeries at yard sales and wore hand me downs. The kids NEVER knew we could have qualified for every fed aid program available but didn’t take it. They knew we didn’t get name brand anything but they thought it was because it was a waste of money not because we couldn’t afford it. All worked before 18 and all say they had a great child hood.

        I wish I could say I’m a super mom or really talented. I just did what was next, laughed at myself and the kids and tried to adjust to the span of untidiness that came and went as different activities came through our home. I grew up faster during their childhood than I did my own.

        1. That is all wonderful to hear. Especially because sometimes I feel guilty about giving my oldest (now nearly 8) too much responsibility.

  22. I have a 10yr old girl, 8 yr old girl and almost 5 little boy. Certainly all rings true, made me smile! Good, funny and smart insight…I came from a family of 3 kids but was really more like an only child (me, the oldest) and then 2 kids (my younger brothers) because of age difference, so didn’t have all the mini battles for attention and time I struggle with…I’m fortunate though I don’t work much out of the home. Kudos to U πŸ™‚

    1. You know, I was in a similar situation–I was youngest of three, but by six and ten years, so it was sometimes like being an only. Maybe that’s why I was so surprised by how hard three was!

  23. I guess I just didn’t see this as funny. Mostly because the entire post is about how much your kids detract from your life, bookended by weak comments that “despite all this he’ll, I really do love my kids!”…added in so you can avoid looking completely selfish and a malcontent. I’ve noticed a theme here, with this and the baptism post:” How my kids are cramping my style.”

    I have 5 children and the first three came in 3 years, one after the other. And yes, it was hard. But I can’t imagine writing about all the horrible sacrifices of having them. Mainly because despite your couching this in humor, you’re still complaining about the people you are supposed to love the most. Marriage is tough sometimes, too, but would you find it funny if your husband wrote a similar article about you? Would you be OK with an article warning people about getting married based on all the reasons it’s tough, as long as he framed it with, “Don’t get me wrong, I really love my wife, but…..”? I don’t understand how our kids are supposed to feel unconditionally loved when as a society we’re constantly bitching about the cost of having them.

    1. Well, I can speak only for myself, obviously, but I tend to prefer an honest depiction of potentially challenging circumstances to a discussion that focuses only on the good stuff. I’m pretty sure that applies to kids as well. How are they supposed to really comprehend our unconditional love if they DON’T know about the sacrifices we have made for them?

      As far as your husband analogy, I happen to know that my own husband HAS told soon-to-be-married fellas that marriage can be hard (actually, I think he even told Jeremy that!); he then adds that it is worth it. Am I offended when he does this? No, because a. it’s true and b. it’s important to be honest, not so the person can opt out, but so he can be prepared. Dashed expectations are hard to reconcile, whether it is regarding marriage, family size, or any of a number of other things both significant and not. I think this post handles a frank discussion of the trickier aspects of having more than two children not in a complaining manner, as you state, but with warmth and good humor.

    2. I agree with you. I didn’t find her article amusing.

    3. I agree; I didn’t find this funny at all. She probably should have stopped at 2 kids or maybe even none. I think we all can appreciate a little humor but this wasn’t it. -from a mom of 3

    4. I agree with you this was not amusing and telling your kids everything that they “took away from you” will not show your unconditional love for them. It will blame and give them guilt. It was not your children’s choice for you to have them which resulted in you not getting what you want anymore.

    5. I agree with you, Dawn. There are so many complaining parents out there now! I really, really don’t think our parents (or their parents) complained this much. I pretty much think that our generation of parents is comparatively spoiled and very self-centered, and so cannot stop feeling sorry for themselves when their lives are challenging. These parents seem to think that life should be fun and easy, because their lives had been so fun and so easy until parenthood. This blog post is much less harsh toward the kids than many others out there, though.

    6. There is something called a sense of humor. You might want to look into getting one.

    7. Courtney Avatar

      I absolutely agree with you. If I read something similar that my husband wrote, or that my parents wrote about me, I would be extremely hurt. And, yes, I do have a sense of humor.

      What I don’t find funny, however, is making disparaging remarks about children. As if adding, “but I love them…” a couple times makes the rest of what was written OK. Nope.

      Yes, parenting is hard, but I wouldn’t complain about my children, even on my worst day. Why? Because they could be taken from me in a second, or I from them, and I will cherish every moment with them, good or not so good.

    8. Charles Avatar

      Thank you. This woman writes as if she is the only one to have three kids. 50 years ago 3 kids was the norm. I have three kids and I wouldn’t want any less. If you only have two it is a warped dynamic where the two focus on competing against each other.

    9. Dawn, I really appreciate your comment. I’m almost due with my first, so I’m a complete newbie, but I much prefer to hear someone with 5 children say they wouldn’t trade it for anything. That’s the kind of encouragement and positivity I want to hear! You’re spot-on with your point comparing it to marriage. If I were a child (or an adult knowing my parent had written about how difficult it was to raise me), I would certainly not feel a sense of unconditional love. I’d feel like I was a burden to complain about.

      It would be good to encourage parents of 2-going-on-3 to say, “Here are some things you should think about, because it’s not the same,” but in another manner than was presented here. For some reason, trying to make it humorous feels like it undermines the value of children as people… at least to me.

      1. I disagree. She disclaims at the beginning that she loves her kids and wouldn’t trade it. Finding humor in struggle is a positive way of coping and it doesn’t demean anyone.

    10. I completely agree. Being someone who had to spend years and thousands and thousands of dollars to be able to have children, I find this to be a slap in the face. You should feel grateful for what you have and not complain about being a parent. There are so many people out there that would give up so much to have what you have. People who would love the noise, craziness, unpredictability of having children. Feel blessed for what you have. Putting this in a “humorous” way does not make it any better. I am a mother of two children who works full time and if tomorrow I found out I was pregnant I would be overjoyed and bit waste one minute of complaining about anything.

  24. I am so glad you wrote this. It is often that my fiance throws out how many kids we should have. I have always been firm that two would be my cap. We both are oldest children of two so sounds good to me. He will say, well a third wouldn’t be so bad. Both of my parents are oldest children of three kids. I always, always disagree. Your blog really reconfirms, two is a cut off. I don’t think I can handle any more. This week I also have my nephew who is 4 years old. Between a week with him and your blog, I think this has been very effective birth control!

  25. We have 9 children. 6 boys and 3 girls. At one point, I was actually a single parent of 4, who worked full time, had three in 2 different schools, and one in day care. We also did dance classes, karate and scouts. At the time, the three boys were 5, 6, and 8, and the girl was 2. Not because my husband couldn’t take it and left, but he was taken away for work for an extended period of time (nearly 3 years) for work. After we were reunited (for more than a weekend here and there), we continued our family. The shortest gap in our children was 5 1/2 months (due to a premature birth following the loss of one twin). In our group, there are to boys who are the same age for a month, and two girls who are the same age for 7 months. I can’t honestly say I have ever found myself in any of those situations you describe, even though one of my boys is autistic and tended to wander. I actually do like minivans, but don’t care for suv’s, which we had for a while while they were all under 18. I nursed all of them, and even used cloth diapers for many of them. I really did enjoy your blog, however. It was quite entertaining. I have a niece who insists they won’t have three because being outnumbered will be a bad situation. However, I would never try to talk anyone out of having more children. I absolutely could not have been talked out of it. I always wanted a large family, even at 3 years old, I knew I wanted at least 7. We would have had a few more, but I developed lupus, and it became too big of a health risk for the baby, so we decided to not risk it. My youngest is no 4, and I really miss babies. However, my older children are now marrying and starting families. I have a 3 year old granddaughter, with two more grand babies coming in October and January. Thank you for the entertaining blog. You made me smile and revisit my children’s childhoods. Such a blessing.

    1. Nanny we have a lot in common I have 9 Children of my own also! I have 5 boys ages are 13;12;10;8;4 and I have 4 girls ages are 6;3;18months & 6months!!! My 3 year old was a twin and I ended up miscarriage a boy at 18 weeks pregnant!! And we stay crazy busy with all their Sports & Activties they have but I wouldn’t change a thing we love spending time together and there is never a dull moment at our house!!!

    2. I had 5 children, 4 boys 1 girl, all were 3 1/2 yrs apart except the last one who was boorn 15 months afther his brother. At one point they went to 5 different schools, high school, jr. high, grade school, kindergarten and pre-school…..different holidays and days off…not to mention teacher meetings. I was divorced, so raising them on my own. Plus I worked the graveyard shift ( which actually worked out well for me, as if kids were sick I was home for them and didn’t miss work ), I would get home at 6:30 – 7a,m get first 3 off, walk the 4th up to bus stop ( with youngest in tow) about half hour after the first 3 left, then had to wait another hour to take last one to pre-school bus stop. I would then go home to bed, sleep 2 hrs, get up and pick up the one from kindergarten bus….give him lunch, and nap, then at 2:30pm pick up the pre-schooler….the other 3 would walk home the youngest. Would help with homework, get a good dinner on….about 8:30pm , I would get the 3 youngest in bed, and I would go nap to rest for my 11pm shift at work…… All I could ever think about was sleep….was a rough couple of yrs…but did improve when all the young ones were in real school and all left the house and came home at same time.

  26. I forgot to mention that while I was a single mother of four, I also worked full time, had three boys in two different schools, and a girl in Montessori, while doing dance, gymnastics, karate and scouts. All while visiting friends, attending get-togethers, and visiting relatives. After our “reunion”, we moved to another state away from all family, so no relative helpers. My parents were the only ones who ever watched my kids, (the oldest 4 when I was a “single”) and was usually at their request, not mine. I was the youngest of 3 (by 13, and 15 years). My husband was the youngest of 11. My mother the oldest girl of 13 kids.

    1. Jesus.

    2. Children are a lot of work but also such a blessing. I would have more if I could. Three for me, all boys. My house is loud and untidy. One day it will be clean and quiet..and I will be wanting the grandbabies over to visit and make it loud and untidy again!

  27. Staci Cochran Avatar
    Staci Cochran

    Been there,done that, and ALL of what you shared is the absolute truth!!!! Mine were 18 and 22 months apart. The first day home from the hospital with my third, I lost my two boys to the creek we had just moved next to…that’s when I thought I wasn’t a fit mother, and that’s when I knew, this was different! The funny thing now is, my oldest, now 30, and the only one to give me grandchildren, just had his second son, exactly 18 months apart, same birth months as him and his brother. I want another grand baby, but I cannot tell a lie, and just say, do it, it’s wonderful! Thanks for the memories!!!!

  28. Laura,
    Thank you for writing this blog. I too have 3 children. 3 boys ages 3, 6, & 9, and I completely empathize with you. I love each of my boys boys more than anything, and I love their different personalities and perspectives, and the hilarious things they say and do. But, my husband and I have had more than our fair share of rough times.

    Case in point: last night I discovered that our little dog had pooped in my oldest sons room. The middle son took one of the oldest sons books, laid in on the poop and pressed down. When the oldest son discovered this, he kicked his book off and set out to find one of his brother’s books (turn about is fair play, right?). Once he had selected the right one, he placed it on the poop and stepped on it. After dealing with this fiasco, I returned to the 3 year old’s room, where I was helping him clean. While moving things I discovered that for unexplainable reasons, he peed on a pile of clothes in his closet. Mind you that his is fully potty trained. Then to top the evening off, the oldest son discovered ants in his closet. I felt like I was living in the Twilight Zone.

    To the Naysayers: Speaking about the struggles we face in life, does in no way, shape, or form, negate the love and joy we experience, or mean that we love our children, husbands, friends, or family any less. As mothers we all need help and support at times, and to deny the existence of struggle is completely fake and unrealistic.

    1. Melanie Avatar

      Andi, hilarious story, as was this blog post. I like your comment to the naysayers–very well said! I also have 3 kids. A girl age 5, a girl age 3 and a boy almost 1. I describe us as a traveling circus. Some days are really, really hard, but certain people just don’t want to hear it. I find that invalidating, and was so relieved when I found this blog post! It described my life very accurately, although there wasn’t any mention of years and years of sleep deprivation b/c at LEAST one child wakes up every night, and at LEAST one wakes up by 6 am every morning.

    2. Thank you so much for your support. I agree about the importance of being transparent, for ourselves and for others.

  29. LOL wow. You got my number. I have 3 BOYS ages 5, 3 and 10 months. With my first I had a schedule at 10 months we had art, music and vocabulary. And I cloth diapered him breast fed and cosleeped. The second was the sameish but I only clothed part time. The third, well I have maybe used cloth on him for 3 weeks and broke down and did disposables. Like you I can’t keep up with laundry, dishes, messes, and all of it. I gave birth to 3 babies in 4 and a half years. I have a friend that is desperate to have a third and there is no way to warn her how much more work it is to go from 2 to 3. How insane it is. I love my boys but I have 3 BOYS!

    Thank you for this post.

    1. Haha! I understand! Once someone sent me an email forward about birth order, and it was basically to the effect of “First child: you watch them sleep, making sure they’re still breathing. Second child: you check in on them a lot. Third child: you teach the three year old to rewind the baby swing.”

      1. I’ve also heard that when your first child swallows a quarter you rush him to the ER, when your second swallows a quarter you give him some pepto bismal and check his poop until it comes out. When your third child swallows a quarter, you deduct it from his allowance. πŸ™‚ I had five kids in four years- three girls on purpose, then surprise twin boys! I love them all to death, but the noise, the mess, and the laundry drive me nuts everyday! If I couldn’t laugh about the absurdity of it all, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed each morning. Thanks for giving someone to laugh with!

  30. Mama Gale Avatar
    Mama Gale

    I have 3 boys – ages 4, 2, and barely 1. This article was hilarious and spot on! Thanks! πŸ™‚

    1. Glad you liked it. We all have to hang together! πŸ™‚

  31. Can I just say I love you?!? I am a single mother of 3 and boy can I relate!! If you are ever in Louisiana, I have a porch. We can let the kids ruin the house and sit on the porch in the peace and quiet πŸ™‚

    1. That sounds wonderful! I will bring the ear plugs.

  32. Nicole Avatar

    Too funny so much I can relate to. So glad I’m not the only one who gets my kids names mixed up sometimes I like to throw in the pets names. I went from 3 boys to 4. Yep I’m still here haven’t checked into the loony bin yet. They are 11,8, 3 and 11 months. People stop asking for your volunteering or other time consuming projects and you always have an excuse of why your late.

  33. I love your humor as you describe parenting 3 children! I am a mother of 3 daughters ~ now all grown. I am here to testify that you will survive, and so will they! Before you know it, yours will be grown and you can begin to enjoy grandchildren! ha ha We have one grandson so far, and he is the best gift ever! Enjoyed your post!

  34. Laura Polito Avatar
    Laura Polito

    Laura, thank you for this. I am the eldest of 4; there are 4, 5, and 7 years younger than I so it was like growing up with 3 crazy people in my house. This is why I am 32 and have no children. This blog is so true. Thanks for being honest and filling us in on the realities of life before its “too late” lol.

  35. I have three…no big deal. You go to zone defense from man to man defense. It’s doable. I wanted more. I really really admire the happy families I know with six or more….now that is something! πŸ™‚

  36. This is my first blog comment ever, but I can’t resist. I, too, have 3 children. Three boys, ages 7, 5 and 1. My first two are named Asher and Noah. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the laughs. You will also be the first blog I ever subscribe to because I was laughing hysterically.

    1. That’s so funny! And thank you! πŸ™‚

  37. Wendy Foster Avatar
    Wendy Foster

    I’m a single mom with triplets. The first thing I was told to buy from another triplet mom was ear plugs. I did and it has made all the difference. Lol

  38. When I met my husband, he proclaimed that he WANTED to have three kids… you know, because the MIDDLE CHILD (like HE is in his family dynamics) would be “the best”. Now, I don’t agree with his philosophy of one child being “the best” BUT it became a moot point when after becoming parents to a very active son, hubby soon decided “Maybe ONE is enough.” After having a second (also active) son, he’s convinced that “TWO is enough! What if next time, they’re twins?” AND WITH THAT… yes, he’s convinced me that WE’RE (likely) DONE! Your description of parenthood is entertaining; I can relate to much of it, other than the ratio of 3:2. We’re still EVEN in this house, but THAT is challenging enough. Thanks for the laugh(s). Large families were “the norm” in the past; I don’t know HOW they did it?!?

    1. I don’t know! How did they?

      1. I think it was called help! More often than not, family members (grandparents or maybe aunts and uncles) lived close by and helped when they could. Also, kids had a lot more responsibility back then. I remember when I was just 4 or 5 having to dust and by the time I was 14, I did everything but pay bills, grocery shopped, and work. I did go to school full time though and brought home straight A’s. Then you have the fact that until the 1940’s and later it was rare for a married woman to work outside the home, especially if she had children. In some instances teachers who became pregnant were asked to leave their positions.
        I also have 3 kids that are now 11, 9, and 7. Other than keeping up with school stuff, it isn’t bad now. But when those kids were 4, 2, and newborn, it was TOUGH! Especially since my middle child has autism and was a year behind developmentally at the time. He could not feed or dress himself and he did not talk.

        1. I agree. And parenting was different in the past. I basically stayed outside in the hills every day until bedtime, and came home alone every day in first grade. So did my friends. Today’s near-constant supervision without the support means it’s tiring. But I also suspect it was always tiring. My mom seemed awfully tired!

  39. Melissa Avatar

    There are so many reasons we only want 2 but now that I have my second I keep thinking…”ahhh, is this really my last time” and have started romanticizing having a third. I need to keep this bookmarked for future support against having a third. I can tell that having a third is hard by my friends who have had three and wanted nothing more than to be immediately sterilized afterwards.

  40. I have 5 children, the oldest two are special needs which makes things slightly more hectic as they are forces of nature in their own rights. But it’s not hard… It’s busy, scheduled, time demanding of course but not hard. It’s only difficult for people who go into parenthood expecting their children to ‘compliment’ their lifestyle. This just isn’t reality and people who expect it should be should not have children. You should have them for the desire to mold and shape individuals into happy, healthy, functioning members of our community. My kids are totally awesome, even when they make messes or don’t sleep. (With 5 it’s rare that nobody has an issue at night) but I didn’t have them as accessories to MY lifestyle. I had children so that I could commit my life to them.

    1. I think you are the first person I have ever heard describe parenting as “not hard.” Good for you for having an easy time, I guess. Hard to believe, though.

    2. Perhaps we all just have different definitions of “hard”. What you are describing fits my definition of “hard”. And, I too, have a “special needs” kiddo. As far as I’m concerned, if it’s not “hard” then I’m not working “hard” enough.

    3. I would disagree with Ann. It is hard even if you plan to have children to raise them to be happy healthy individuals. I love my 3 children and it is incredibly hard. Especially with my strong willed child who came out of the womb needing far more molding and shaping to be a child who is not self centered, is caring and kind. They are a joy and hard work. Some children do have easier temperaments. My middle child is gentle, needs less reminding to be kind and gentle with her words. Laura thank you so much for being transparent with the realities of life with our blessings.

  41. Mom of three closer in age than yours! Agree with a lot of this! Three is hard. I’m now in the throes of managing a 9,7 and 6 yr old and the different after school activities. It’s so hard to coordinate!!!!!

  42. I found your article really funny but after reading it and the comments, I feel horribly depressed! I have two boys and both my husband and I work. I want to try for another girl. My husband is on the fence. We agreed to wait at least another 3 years before even discussing it again for a few reasons (need bigger house, car, salary or less debt, and we want the youngest to have plenty of time to be the baby). My boys are almost 2.5 years apart and I find myself struggling to give them both equal attention. So yes, I can’t imagine at this point how it would be possible for another one, but I wasn’t completely sold that it was a bad idea.

    I grew up as the youngest of three girls, all of us about 2 years apart in age. My mom was single. I always felt SO loved by her and I love my childhood memories – I don’t know how she did it. Maybe it was the dynamics that made it work. I felt like we were a team of four women against the world, even though we fought more than Tom and Jerry most days. My older sister, or the middle child, is developmentally disabled and I found that I was more like the middle child because of all the attention she received. Her needs were a higher priority than mine. So even with all that we had against us, I loved every moment of our family life. I can’t say the same for my mom. She was really young (17 when she had her first) so she had plenty of energy. I know she remembers it being really tough emotionally and financially but she never showed it. I guess I always thought that I could be the same way, and love every bad and good moment, as I do now.

    I guess because of my childhood in a family of 3 children, I was convinced that having three of my own, even if I get another boy, will be a lot of fun (work, yes, but FUN). Now, after reading your post, and all the others agreeing with you, I’m terrified and want to get my tubes tied. So yes, this was helpful, but I’m sad now. πŸ™

    1. I was youngest of three, and we did have fun! I think a lot for me is my own build–I was really physically exhausted by just two, and hadn’t planned to have 3. I really do think everyone is “built” for different numbers of kids. And now that my youngest is approaching 2, I have hope that I will survive! You may also want to read the post I linked to. I hope you can figure out what is best for you and your family. πŸ™‚

    2. Oh, Angel, don’t give up on your dreams! I had 6 boys before my first girl was born. I have 9 kids, ranging in age from 10-30. My youngest son is only a few years older than my oldest grandchild…so I’m at that amazing season where I truly am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! I’ve experienced everything the author experienced and more (I homeschooled all my kids – truly crazy!)…and it was hard…but so very, very, very worth it. While you’re in the midst of it, it’s so hard to see the value and the worth and the fruit of what you’re doing, but believe me…you WILL reap the benefits of a large family. We just celebrated our family Christmas…all 5 of the married kids came home with their families to join the 4 still living at home – filling our house with laughter and joy and fellowship! I just sat their and cried. All those sleepless nights and hard days, the wrinkles on my face from laughter and worry, the gray in my hair, the stretched out baggy body, the years of sacrifice – it has been more than worth it. I would willingly – now – give so much more to experience the amazing benefits I now enjoy with my precious family. All the things you don’t like about yourself now???…having kids can change you for the better. You’ll grow more patient, more creative, more unconditionally loving, more joyful based on internal values rather than external circumstances (such as clean houses and cool cars)…and so on. Every mom here will tell you it’s true. You’ll feel it keenly – the changes, the disappointments, the sacrifices, the hardships, the annoyance and fatigue and impatience – but only for a time. Don’t give up your dream! It’ll be worth every sacrifice, every judgmental raised eyebrow tossed your way, every sleepless night… Hugs!

    3. Angel, I don’t usually comment on these things but I read your post and had to say to you that you should NOT be scared. I have four boys ages 10, 7, 6 and almost 2. I am pregnant with number five. For me going from one to two was the hardest transition of all. Going from two to three was a cake walk. Obviously being a parent isn’t always easy and it can get crazy but having a big family comes with it’s fair share of hilarity and awesomeness. Every parent and family is different, I personally didn’t relate too much to this blog and my first three are closer in age and my husband worked nights when number three came along, making me handle most of the parenting solo….after two, you become a pro at juggling…trust me, it isn’t as bad as it is made out to be : )

    4. Carey Trachian Avatar
      Carey Trachian

      You can’t let what a few people say make you do something you had your heart set on. I have 3 kids all very close in age (2 yrs or less apart) and to be honest I cried when I found out I was pregnant with the youngest but he’s now 6 and started Kindergarten and I couldn’t imagine our lives without him. He’s hilarious, extremely smart and still loves to cuddle. Don’t let what strangers say effect what you want in life.

  43. This mom of 3 agrees!! Great read…I just wish I wasn’t thinking about adding a puppy too!

    1. Ah, why not? Haha. We have a dog, two cats, and fish too. I think I have a problem. πŸ™‚

    2. Lisa Smith Avatar
      Lisa Smith

      Puppies are even harder than kids!!!! Don’t do it!

  44. oh my gosh, that was one of the best blog posts i’ve ever read. love the bluntness. love the dry sarcasm (i’m filled with it). about to have my third shortly, glad to know that the “dragon” traits i have now are just normal for three. heh. thanks for the odd comfort.

    1. Sometimes I think it helps to just know you’re not the only one losing it, haha.

  45. Laura- great blog! Well written and so true. My children are 5, almost 4 and 2. Some interesting comments here that I wonder are generational. I don’t think any of us are really complaining about our children, but there is something so comforting and reassuring about us all laughing at our common experiences and challenges. I often get same comments I.e. “In my day, we just did just did our job and didn’t air our dirty laundry,” etc. I am also curious about what you do for work (you allude to your job, but I’m not clear as to what that is). This is in no way meant to judge whatever you do, but I come across so few moms who work outside the house with three kids so young. I do, and it just adds a whole different level of insanity.

    1. I am a writer and editor–I own my own business. I actually work from home (but with various levels of child care). Working at home is easier and harder, and sometimes it adds to the hysteria (like if I can tell the kids are tormenting their sitter). I only know one other mom of 3 who works, partly just because of childcare.

  46. You hit the nail on the head at so many levels. Thanks for your humor and wit in sharing your battle scars. You had my wife and I roaring in laughter and shaking out heads in agreement. We have three under three and absolutely loved your blog post! Can’t wait to read more posts.

    1. Thanks! I am glad you enjoyed it.

  47. Michelle Ramos Avatar
    Michelle Ramos

    I wish I never had 3! It’s everything you said plus some! The noise is ridiculous and puts me on edge instantly. The constant needs of the 3 of them is more than I can handle. I have OCD and anxiety disorders so coping with three kids ages 9, 6 and 5 wears me down almost instantly upon waking each morning. If I could go back in time I would of had NO kids at all.

    1. Aw, I’m sorry. I do think my own anxiety makes it harder too.

  48. I have four kids. There are days where I think, “why the heck did you do this?” but I do enjoy them all. But I do have a (not so) secret countdown to 2016 when they are all in school. I’ll be 40, and I hear that’s the new 30, so BRING IT!

    1. I did have a moment after my third was born when I realized, “He’s not going to be in kindergarten for SIX YEARS!” Now we are down to four years. And kindergarten’s still only 3 hours. But hey.

      1. What state do you live in that still has kindergarten for only 3 hours? I live in Florida and kindergarten is the same hours as the rest of the elementary kids – 8:25-2:25!!

        1. California, sigh. Our school system does not fare well when rated against the other states’.

  49. As a mom of 5, I agree that the jump from 2 to 3 has a learning curve. I do, however, strongly disagree that more than 3 is easier. Maybe it would be if you treated them as a “critical mass,” but they have the same individual needs, logistics, and laundry/messes. I doubt if you have another that the rest of your children will “start acting as a group” as you assume kids of large families do. I would bet that if you had another, you would have a new blog post about how people with 3 kids assume more would be easier!

    1. Haha! Quite possibly!

  50. squigletsblog Avatar

    As a mum of 3 (13, 5 and 18 months – all girls) this made me laugh. I will say that by the time you have number 3 you are in so deep you no longer care. Everyone says how relaxed I am about #3, and she’s a very laid back little thing.

    1. You certainly learn how to let some things go, don’t you? More and more with each kid.

  51. I feel like we’re kindred spirits

    1. That’s why I write (and sometimes vent all over the place). We need our kindred spirits! πŸ™‚ Oh, and thanks for sharing my blog–I can see you linked to it.

  52. Cerys Byrne Avatar
    Cerys Byrne

    I’ve had 3 children for 10 years & I’m not sure it does get easier, the problems are just different. My daughter (the elder sister of 2 brothers) commented today that we should have had 4 – perhaps she’s right!

    1. That was good. I appreciate the “You are maxed out at whatever number you have” comment. I think that is probably true.

  53. Great blog post! I have 4 children ages 5 and under…so I feel your pain (and joys)! πŸ™‚

  54. Frankly Katie Avatar
    Frankly Katie

    As a middle child, I spent a long time thinking I’d have two, or if I had that third, go straight on to four. And then one day I realized that middle children are awesome.

    Almost out of necessity they’re typically hilarious. Also, they’re generally very in tune with the feelings and needs of other people. (I surround myself with delightful middles).

    So, for all your hard work and patience, thank you, because you are adding one more amazing middle to the world!!

    P.S. I’m sure your eldest and youngest are pretty great people too :).

    1. Thanks for your kind words about middles. You always hear people complain about that spot, and so I felt guilty for a while for making our middle a middle. But at the same time, all three find blessings and difficulties with their spots in the family. My middle child is pretty awesome.

  55. As someone on the precipice of having a third child…this scared me. And then I scrolled down to the picture of your wonderful, smiling children. Yeah, I bet having 3 is hard. Having 2 is hard. Having one was hard. Life is hard. I bet I’ll be so busy in a year or so and I’ll re-read this and see it in a new light. But I still know that right now my family is missing someone – a needy, dirty, screaming time vampire – but someone I want nonetheless.

    1. Someone sent me a good blog in the comments here that said you are maxed out at whatever number of children you have. I think that is probably true! πŸ™‚ I think it’s good to know what you want.

  56. Tiffani Avatar

    Love this! I also work and have 3 children (6,3 and 2). It is nice to know I am not alone in my thoughts!

    1. No, not alone! I found myself trying to explain having three kids to someone last night, and just continually coming back to being outnumbered. πŸ™‚

  57. Not my experience at all, but thanks for the giggle! Our third was literally like a blip in our lives and by the time we had 4, they could actually start to help with her.

  58. I have two boys 4 and 7 months and I keep feeling like “am I done? I don’t know. Am I done?” I kind of want to be done but I think I am romanticizing having a baby already (because this baby is so easy) Thank you for the read and the perspective, I think we ARE done and it will just take time to be 100% okay with that. Won’t be too difficult with two amazing boys at home.

    1. You know, I think we all feel that way. Even with all my griping, I do long for babies sometimes, and grieve my youngest getting older.

    2. I can totally relate!! We have 2 boys. 4 & almost 2. We’re so back & forth on a 3rd which makes me feel crazy. 2 works….won’t 3 just be too much chaos?? I’m scared to find out!!

  59. This is a great insight. Thank you for sharing a look see into your world.
    I must say though. We have 6 children. ages of 11 months, 2 years, 5 years, 11 years, 13 years and 16 years old.
    I think the first child was a learning experience all of its own and then learning to accommodate a lifestyle of having 2 children was interesting in it self.
    How ever for us after 2 we have not felt much of a difference. Holidays and family activities are a lot of fun. Not that I don’t have moments where i am tempted to pull out my hair for a split second But as a proud mother of 6 typically well rounded and well behaved children my favorite is when we go out to a nice dinner and as other customers are leaving they will stop and comment on our lovely family and how well behaved our children are. Being a stay at home mom that feels like recognition for employee of the year every time.

    1. I’m sure it does! I love when people praise my kids (and when they actually seem to have absorbed what I am trying to teach them).

  60. And this is why I’m getting my tubes tied on Friday. =) I have two beautiful kids that I had close together, but my oldest is very high needs. Just watching mom’s chase around 18 month olds almost sends me into a panic attack. Thanks for telling the truth!

    1. Being a parent is tiring, isn’t it? Haha. Best of luck with your two and your procedure.

  61. […] other night, I had my three kids post in […]

  62. everyone tried to warn us… we have a five(08/08), a two(07/11), and a zero(07/13) … insanity is my new normal, as is yelling over a baby’s head.

    1. Ha! Sounds just about exactly where we were. But something wonderful happened the other night–I saw a woman struggling with her three at Target, one of whom was a newborn, and I realized that it’s easier even just now that my youngest is two and my middle four. I found myself wanting to reassure her that it won’t always be this hard. I have fantasies about just getting to the point where everyone can kind of feed themselves and clothe themselves. But I’m 2/3 of the way there.

      1. I am looking forward to the day that everyone can go potty by themselves and eat without ending to be fed. I received the best compliment from a mother of one… that I make it look so easy that she thinks she could try it. I was amazed. bless you!

  63. I enjoyed reading your blog…it rings true to my memories…mine are now grown…my daughter is getting married and my sons are in college…I sometimes would give anything to relive the passes quickly…and I no longer drive a minivan…or drive to three schools or soccer practice…..smelly kleats and princess parties are replaced with graduations and wedding showers….enjoy these crazy days…in a blink, they are gone…3 was awesome in my book…..but I had 5 years between my last two…maybe that helped..who knows….

  64. I have a hilarious picture my mom snapped when my 3rd child was just a few days old. i am sitting in the rocker trying to nurse her with this crazed look of pain and torture (breastfeeding was still painful then) and my half dressed, hair crumpled 3 year old twin boys are wiggly blurry spots in front of me playing with my breast pump out of my reach just enough that i can’t stop them. My mom could have, but a photo opp was better! i laugh hard everytime i look at it, and I feel like that pretty much sums up the “having 3 kids” experience for me! I love it, though! And it is nice to know I’m not alone in the madness! Thanks for the laugh!

    1. I love this comment. I can picture it so clearly. It’s funny; I wrote this not that long ago, but I already feel like it has gotten so much easier just with my youngest being 2 and my oldest being 7.5. Usually. Sometimes not! πŸ™‚

  65. Thank you so much for writing this. I have been telling myself for so long that I wanted three kids but when it came to the crunch, I just couldn’t see myself with another baby. Your blog has helped me to articulate to my husband my concerns with have a third child.

    1. Sometimes other people’s words are easier. I hope you wind up happy whatever you choose to do.

  66. Lindsey Alvarez Avatar
    Lindsey Alvarez

    Hahaha! Oh, thank you. I was searching for the originator of the comment “once you have 2, it’s all the same” so I could call him a liar on Facebook. I’m so glad to have stumbled across your blog. I’ve bookmarked and plan on reading more “in my freetime” ::dry laugh:: (did I mention I have a 4.5 year old, 1.5 yo, and a 4 week old?) Your post speaks to me.

    1. Yes, sometimes I try to tell myself people have different experiences and perspectives. But then I get comments like, “I have never thought being a parent was difficult,” and I’m like, “Huh? Really?” I do feel like things have already gotten so much easier since when I wrote this post, but the difficulties arise daily! Sigh. πŸ™‚

  67. Thank you! You took the words right out of my head! When #3 was born 15 months ago, I waited for that slightly overwhelmed feeling (that comes with every new baby for me) to go away. I finally decided on his first birthday, that I just get to be overwhelmed for the long haul! Haha! Good thing they are cute, or I would be looking for a tribe of traveling gypsies to sell them to…

    1. Yes, their sweetness and cuteness gets me through many a day.

  68. Thank you for putting my words exactly onto this Screen. 3 Kids are not easy, and you are right! There is barely any help available. There is never a minute to ourselves…You have to reset your expectations, Clean house, No Laundry, etc, just to stay sane.. School is the biggest pain in the Butt, but thankfully we can pay extra to have our son in all day Preschool. All day being 9:05-2:45, our 6 year old is out at 3:01….Some of our family still thinks they have the right to tell us what we should be doing. Putting our 6 and 4 year old in extra curricular activities as one of the few because their other daughter with 2 kids has had hers in Hockey since they were young..They get upset because we don’t bring all three around on Halloween night to their house. They don’t see the problem in it because they would bring my husband all around when he was a baby. Yes he was an only child. So that’s one very tired child to have to deal with the next day.. Yet no one has any clue and to offer any advice is just annoying. Not willing to help at all in the midst of this advice. The advice on how to raise a baby and what to do and not to do has subsided, thank God… Don’t get me wrong not everyone is like this. The family who actually play an active part in my children’s and our lives know all this that you have written.. They are my only saving Grace!! They really try to lessen our load when they can. Although battling terminal cancer has definitely made it more tough for them also. I can’t wait to share this with my friends and family. I’d like to say if someone had written this 29 months sooner, the decision to have a third would have quickly been erased. Although I don’t regret having a third, my only girl, but I see a real bumpy road ahead for the next few years at least. I’m going to hold on for the ride. Thank you for this amazing truthful article. Good luck and Blessings to you and your family.

    1. I’m glad it resonated with you. I’m awfully sorry to hear that someone is battling cancer, however. That makes everything harder. I’m sorry. And I do think things will gradually get easier–with each time my youngest has a birthday, I feel more like I will probably survive! Blessings to you as well.

  69. I also have 3 children. Everything and I mean everything you have said apply to my life. Oldest is 6 and baby2 and 3 are twins who are 3yrs. They are all boys which I can add to the mess and smells in the bathroom are super needy. The oldest reverts to his baby ways because of the younger ones and the twins are both runners. They have no fear because they have a partner so they are not scared. A trip to the grocery store is a grey haired stressful time for me especially if the twins are not on baby lock down in the cart. Almost all stores have a single kid seat. To get the double we have to go to a more expensive store and with a family of 5 you try to save as much as you can right? Our recent trip to see Santa alone cause hubs was working was embarrassing. I just love when you are sweating from carrying all the coats chasing the kids losing my place in line twice and someone says “ohh you are going to miss this time with them it goes so fast” WHAT? Are you bleeping kiddding me? I’m pretty sure this is the time I will want to forget and not miss. Ohh and thanks for holding the door open for my kid to escape out into the busy parking lot while I’m 3 people behind and can’t get through. But now I look bad that I can’t control my kids. Sigh……..I tell my husband I drink because I love them. Hahaha of course we love them but holy cow do we really need to smash all the eggs on the floor??lol

  70. Dear Laura,

    As much as I would like to appease you and say that bigger groups of kids turn into one blob of humanity, it isn’t true. No matter how many children we are blessed with, each one is an individual and has individual needs. Some will be less needy, some will be more helpful, but each grows up their own person. It is a blessing to watch them grow!

    What doesn’t matter, the clean house, the christmas cards, the angry look of strangers when your little guys misbehave, will slowly disappear. Remember, you are building memories, and personalities, in those little people, and what they need is most important. Give them your time, your hugs, your praise and yourself. Everyone else, especially those who worship at the alter of perfect children, ignore them. It is really true, those that matter, won’t mind, and those that mind, don’t matter. πŸ™‚

    As an aside, I’d make an effort to find a new set of friends. Almost all of my friends offer to watch my 4 at the drop of a hat. The more the merrier!

    1. Haha, thanks. I don’t think I’m up to being pregnant again anyway (my body is unkind to me when pregnant), so it is unlikely that I would experiment to find out if four was easier! But it’s good to hear it confirmed. πŸ™‚ Oddly, things are already getting easier, at least for the moment, as my youngest is two instead of a baby. However, I know as they each go through their cycles, we’ll have easier times and harder times.

      1. It doesn’t get easier, you get better at it. πŸ™‚ Each trial makes you a better mom. This is why they call the oldest the trial model. LOL

        1. This is very true. Thanks for pointing it out–I do feel like I have babies down now, and the third baby himself was a piece of cake because I knew how to feed him, how to get him to nap, etc., and what to expect. That may be why it occasionally feels easier to people with more children–you get better at parenting with practice.

  71. Found your blog post on FB and loved it. I love that… “Sadistic Glee”! It’s even better when you announce that it isn’t your 1st but your 4th! I get the, “My, you have your hands full” a lot and I used to get irritated but now I look them in the eye and say, “yeah, I do” then stare at them blankly in hopes that they’ll get the door for me or something! It’s very funny! I do think 4 is easier than 3, though but that is probably because my 3rd is a tornado!

    1. I know–it’s funny to me how many people still don’t offer assistance, however. And yet meanwhile, I’ve gotten really good at doing things like kind of kicking doors open so I can push a stroller through with one hand while I carry an angry four year old under the other arm.

  72. Laura, A quick scroll through the comments (I didn’t read them all, but skimmed) and it appears no Dad posted? If so, I apologize to my fellow man. Your post made me smile and my wife would undoubtedly agree. But we were pretty dumb. As in, we didn’t think ANY of this through at the time! Our boys are now 11, 10 and 9. We’ve made it through what you write about and are now in the middle of another set of challenges: sports, scouts, church and other extra activities. All which present unique issues. For example, our 10-year old is passionate about football. From July to November youth football takes up a lot of time. A. Lot. His brothers play soccer. Divide and conquer! And come to grips with the guilt that you can’t be be at every game every time. Thankfully, our boys realize that. Or seem to anyway! Enjoy the ride and thanks for the post! Joe

    1. I’m so happy you posted! I am passionate about men’s voices being represented in the parenting mess. I will admit I am a bit terrified about multiple children being involved in activities! I have never wanted to overprogram them, but I would like them to have the chance to be in a sport and have some sort of art. But if they each only do one activity of each of those sort, that’s 6 activities right there! There’s only one of me! πŸ™‚

  73. I loved your article! You are so funny. I am hoping for 4. We are at one…lol. We’ll see how I feel later. πŸ˜‰

    1. I hope you are happy with however many children you wind up with. πŸ™‚ Have fun and enjoy.

  74. Being a mother and UNABLE to have more children of my own (due to the unpredictable effects of chemo) , im incredibly disappointed to see so many woman complaining and discouraging other women from having more children if they wanted to. I mean, if you didnt WANT three kids, or cannot appreciate having them, why did you have them? Its a choice, and a slap in the face to those of us who dont HAVE that choice anymore. I appreciate the humor, and enjoyed the read, but cant help but feel that your making fun of those of us who have been robbed of even the choice of having more kids.

    1. I certainly did not write this post with that intent. I did not intend to have three children, actually, and greatly struggled with supporting my family and raising a third child close in age to the others. I wrote this out of the fatigue and exhaustion of that time. I do feel greatly blessed, both with my health and fertility, and I would not wish away any of my children. I am sorry you felt mocked, because I would certainly never, never mock anyone who was having a difficult time. In some ways, I wrote it to mock myself. I am also sorry you have not been able to have what you wanted.

    2. I’m in agreement with this. Some of us aren’t afforded the luxury of choosing how many children we have. So when you look at that pile of laundry you complain about, think of those who choke back tears when they realize they will never be folding onesies.

      1. Battling with fertility is so sad, no doubt about it.
        That being said, please understand that communication is humankind’s number one way to deal. She is writing about her experience so that others may learn, and so she can heal. Maybe to you, zero children is the most problematic thing in the world. It may be like cancer of your soul. But perhaps the author needs to write this in her own journey of healing, a path you long to walk but has been denied to you so far. Maybe her subconscious is trying to teach her a lesson via blogging, or reconcile parts of herself? Who knows? Not you or I. Please don’t judge her because you are jealous of what her uterus can achieve. We all walk our own paths of healing and love, and ideally should not be slammed for being honest.
        John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

        1. Thank you for your thoughts for all of us. And yes, I absolutely use writing as both a coping mechanism and as a means of sharing in a community.

  75. As a parent of 5 going on 6 children….i find this article to be woefully inaccurate. It sounds like maybe you didn’t need 3 children, but don’t deter others from the awesome experience just because you struggle.

    1. I’m glad it has been easier for you. Perhaps everyone has different needs and experiences.

    2. Woefully inaccurate? Aren’t you the father of the year? I wouldn’t call this a “discouragement” as much as a “hey, here is our experience”. Which, by the way, seems to be connecting with a TON of folks. I appreciated her wit and willingness to share some tough truths about parenting. Maybe you should share your secrets to perfect parenting.

    3. Alison Beavers Avatar
      Alison Beavers

      I don’t think she’s trying to deter anyone from having three kids…I think she is just sharing a VERY COMMON experience that those of us with three kids have. Some of us aren’t perfect and can’t handle everything all the time and its good to know that there are others that can relate to the craziness that sometimes consumes us. We all love our kids (no matter the number) but it helps to share our experiences with others. She’s only bringing humor to a sometimes stressful situation.

  76. I totally relate with exception of the two genders. We had all boys. I was good with two boys but my wife really wanted a girl. Okay, one more. Then she still wanted a girl.

    I grew up with three siblings and we were transported in a three-seated station wagon. There were seven children in my wife’s family. When I reminded her of rows of children in a well-used passenger van, that brought her back to reality.

    The three boys were all involved in various activities. Try to make it to three different baseball games in one evening when they’re playing in three different leagues. Luckily, that was only one year. Two of the boys overlapped and played soccer and baseball together most of their years.With choir, band, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Tiger Cubs, etc. they kept us moving though. When the oldest went out on his own the household really settled down. There were 4 years from first to second son and 2 years to the third one.

    We’ve been blessed with a lot of granddaughters. Grandma has thoroughly enjoyed them. Thank you for a great article!

    1. Yes, I am terrified about activities! This year was my first year with two kids in soccer, and just that about killed me. πŸ™‚ I do often think that the joy and bustle of holidays and eventual grandchildren will be increased by my “happy accident.”

  77. I loved reading this! I only have two girls, with the thought of a third. I think you helped me make my decision. πŸ˜‰ good luck

    1. Ha ha! Don’t take me too much at my word.

  78. You forgot “the chaos theory of 3″… if you have 3 kids and you take 1 out of the equation (for an outing with the other parent or friends, grandparents, the neighbors dog, whomever) the other 2 will get along beautifully. They will play nicely and it won’t be crazy at all. But bring that 3rd child back into the house, doesn’t even have to be back in the same room with the other 2, just somewhere in the vicinity, and all heck breaks loose and the other 2, who were contentedly playing nicely and quietly, will suddenly become crazed lunatic once again. I used to think the constant craziness was our oldest’s fault (he’s 2 yr older than his brothers), that he was just too hyper and would incite the younger 2 (twin boys 2 yrs younger than the oldest), but it really doesn’t seem to matter which one is taken out of the equation, it seems to work the same for all 3. And I’ve talked to many others with 3, some with twins some with stairsteps, some with all boys, all girls and mixed, and it seems to apply across the board for any 3 kids. Chaos Theory of 3!

    1. You are so right! I can take any two of them anywhere! It seems SO easy! And if you remove two, the third mopes and grieves their absence–until they come back and s/he starts punching everyone again and crying.

  79. My wife and I (“mostly” her) just had our 5th. We can relate! There is at most 26 months between any of them. The closest is 19 months. (Between #2 and #3). When the doctor placed the third one in her arms she said she had a mother’s instinct feeling that he was going to be our most difficult. Now that he is the middle child, it all makes sense.

    For those of you struggling, just remember that admit the chaos there are times we would trade the world to make stand still. Do all you can to remember those and develop amnesia for the rest. ~Jarod

    1. “remember that amid”

    2. Yes, it’s true that even already all of the chaos I wrote about six months ago has subsided and changed, and it’s a little fuzzy in my mind. My current challenge is watching my baby turn into a two year old, complete with opinions and stubbornness. πŸ™‚

  80. Loved the part about hitting one in the head with the car seat, because it would cause less damage than getting hit by a car!! I (unexpectantly) got pregnant a third time, we found out when our second daughter was just turning one. It took awhile for the shock to wear off… Until we went to the ultrasound to find out if it was a boy or girl, and the technician stopped and loudly said, Oh my goodness, there are TWO!!!! I about fell off the table and my husband went very pale. Yup , it was twin boys! They ended up being born @ 29 weeks, and stayed in the hospital for 7 1/2 weeks, all while we were building our new house and living in an apartment! To say it was crazy was an understatement! We had 4 children under the age of 4 (our oldest girl just turned 3!). Not really sure how we survived that first year, but it’s definitely easier know that they are all in school!

    1. Oh my goodness! Yes, twins are a whole different ballpark, as I realized once my brother had a set. I’m so sorry they were in NICU–my middle child wound up there, and that was a terrible time. And I think it does all come down to surviving that first year!

  81. As a mom of 9 (ages 22, 20, 18, 16, 15, 13, 11, 5, & 3), I often get the “how do you do it?”. My reply, “Once you get to 3 children it really doesn’t matter how many you have after that”! You are in the family groove already, so adding another child into the mix really isn’t that much more work. Enjoy the younger years, once you have teenagers, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game!

    1. I do appreciate that, while it’s physically tiring, the stakes are still pretty low! Once they are teenagers, I know there are a lot of new issues. [Bracing self.]

    2. I have 9 kids 13;12;10;8;6;4;3;18months;5 months and soon as I had my 4th it was all the same

  82. lindy Parsons Avatar
    lindy Parsons

    After reading your post, i have to say i have had some of “those” moments. I am a christian and everywhere children are mentioned in the bible, they are considered blessings or rewards. Yes, it is hard raising multiples, but the benefits are eternal. By the way, i have 5 children (ages 6, 4, 3, 22 months and 7 weeks)

    1. Thank you. Yes, this is true that they are a blessing. And even the difficulties are a blessing (usually in retrospect).

  83. Laura, when I saw this blog shared on Facebook, I just had to read it because I have 3 children. The big difference is that my children, all girls, are grown. My first two were 15 months apart in age and number three came 4 1/2 years later. I can tell you that the first two were much more of a struggle being close in age and, this was before drive-thru windows and pay at the pump! My girls are now married with kids of their own. I would love to read your blog 15 years from now and see how you feel. I’ll agree that keeping up with 3 schedules was a challenge at times (most of the time) but I promise you it was worth it. The girls always have a sister available when they need someone and their kids have even more cousins to play with. Each of my daughters have 2 children and I’m trying to convince them to have number 3 so I hope they don’t read your blog! LOL (Grandmas can never have too many grandchildren.) The hardest part of 3 daughters was paying for three weddings! Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that it does get easier. Enjoy every minute. The early years are gone much too quickly.

    1. Thank you–and bless you for your encouragement, haha. I always appreciate being around people who have survived the younger years. I myself look forward to seeing how my whole family changes through the years.

  84. If I could write, this would have been me 20 years ago!!! You put my life with three small girls on paper. I remember one particularly bad day I called my grandmother ( who had raised me) to vent and whine about the children. She listened to me for a while and then she said “Try to enjoy them now, because they are just stepping on your apron strings….one day they will grow up and stomp on your heart strings” In my case my grandmother was right!!! So glad you can vent through your writing skills!! You will never run out of material!!!!!

    1. Thank you. πŸ™‚ Yes, every day is full of trials and hysterically funny little moments, not to mention sweet little tidbits. Life with children is certainly entertaining! Often more so after the fact, however.

  85. This is my first time reading your blog. This was definitely a great read for me! We had planned on 2 children and ended up having triplets when our first was only 15 months old. I have been so frustrated with people thinking they understand what it’s like to have 4 children under 2. As my triplets have reached the year mark, it is getting easier, but I have most of the same issues you addressed here. Good luck to you! πŸ™‚

    1. Oh my goodness! That would be a big change! My nephews are twins, and they have the most intensely intimate relationship, but also a challenging one. And yes, when you hit the year mark, I think everything gets much easier, and then again at the two year mark.

  86. Yes, I agree. I have three children. The oldest was three and a half when the youngest was born. Ir was difficult to go anywhere with them. It was hard to find a sitter for them. It was hard to get either grandmother to take them all for the day or the night because they were too much trouble.

    There is only 15 months between #2 and #3, both girls. The biggest problem I had was that I could never let #2 do things that I deemed age related, like wearing make-up and nylons, and going on dates, without #3 declaring that she, too, was old enough to do it. She thought they were both the same age from about 1 year old and up.

    And the fights. OH! GOD! The Fights! They still talk about the day I took all three of them out in the yard, gave them each a big stick, and told them to start hitting each other and don’t stop until only one is left alive, because they were slowly trying to kill each other on a daily basis. They all looked at me like I was the crazy one, but guess what? They did not fight for the remainder of THAT DAY.

    My children are now 39, 40, and 42. They still fight. They still drive me cra-zee. But, I still love them with all my heart.

    1. I have that problem with both of my younger children–the four year old thinks he should do what the seven year old does, and the two year old REALLY thinks he should do everything the four year old does! Thanks for your stories and encouragement–I always look to those who have (sort of) survived the chaos.

  87. That Was Greatness!!! I have Been there with My 3 and it Does Get…..I wont say Easier, But More Manageable! Thank God All 3 of Mine are in School, and of course they All Get Out at Different times. ..and You get that Random, “My Dog is My Child” Person asking if You Get Bored being a stay at Home Mom with No kids at Home…I wouldnt know what Bored looked like if it Kicked My In My Booty! My 3rd Child is the Child I Never Knew I Wanted! And to those thinking about it……Good Luck!!

  88. Oh man. This is my life. Mine are now a little older 11 1/2, 10, & 5. So things are easier. But still so exhausting sometimes. I sympathize on the clean house and low tolerance for noise. My husband thinks I’m mean but sometimes I just can’t handle it. Thank you for the laugh and making me feel better. I have those most kids out of my friends and they just don’t get it. πŸ™‚

  89. I have three kids, too. My oldest is 5, my middle is 3, and my youngest is 1, all almost exactly 2 years apart. For us, honestly, 3 has not been bad at all! My then 4 year old was pretty helpful with the baby, and now at 5, she’s very helpful. She changes his diapers, plays with my 3 year old if I have to be with the baby, and even puts the baby to sleep. She helps make herself and her sister breakfast and snacks, helps buckle her sister into her carseat. You have to teach and train them to help. Maybe it’s because my oldest is just very “maternal” and loves babies and all that, but I dont know, I know many families of 8+ kids that say it’s easier with 8 than it was with 2, especially if they have older girls. I joke that when we have more (because we do want more!) that I’ll just hand it off to my oldest to take care of haha she’d love that. πŸ˜‰

    1. It is true that as my daughter has gotten older, I have been able to give her increasing responsibility, and I have gradually been able to trust that the older two are watching out for Noah while they are playing.

  90. Yes, yes and YES! Though mine are ages 3,2, and yes 1!!! I had number 3 before number one was 3! Dang it I’m tired and not nearly the woman I once thought I might be as a “happy little mom”. but my kids are fed, they laugh, they fight, they are sometimes clean, and they really are happy…so there. lol! Thanks for reminding me others feel like me!

  91. Did you know know how babies are made? Maybe you should have spaced them out better or stopped at two. My children are a gift and those days may be challenging, I am so blessed to be a parent

  92. Nice read. I think age has a lot to do with it too though. I have an infant, a 6 year old and an 8 year old and its not that bad. πŸ™‚

    1. I do agree that spacing can make a huge difference.

  93. Nancy Talbert Avatar
    Nancy Talbert

    I absolutely loved this!!! Just remembering when… I too have 3 kids daughter 14, daughter 10 and son 7. I never thought I or the kids would survive. I caught my oldest one day climbing on the dresser to try to restart her Cd player (which was on top of the mirror hutch and the remote was sitting right by her foot) I thought the whole thing was going to come down on top of her. I also have snipped more than I have cared to, but their hugs to cheer me up and try to get out of the trouble they have been into, makes the best medicine. The chaos has calmed down some, but I don’t know how the teenage years are going to be……guess we’ll see. πŸ™‚

  94. This could have been me writing the story of the party 2 houses down. I am a new mommy to 3, ages (Just turned) 6, (almost) 21 months, and (almost) 3 months.There have been a couple occasions where I have been looking around helplessly and can only imagine the looks I got πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing, and giving my insite on whats to come πŸ˜€

  95. Sorry you are a loser. Love my three and two of mine are twins. U complain too much.

    1. Wow, I guess you’re one of those people who feels like they can call people names on the internet. Good luck with that.

      1. LOL “sorry you are a loser”. I’m considering having a third. Loved this blog. But the comments are *GOLD*. People are crazy. Like, chill bruh. We all need to laugh, and being a parent/spouse/whatever life is hard some days.

        1. Haha, thanks. It does seem like the comment section showed all of the best and worst of people.

  96. Wendy Mitchell Avatar
    Wendy Mitchell

    Laughed our loud so many times! Thanks for the reminder that we moms of herds are not alone, haha! I have 4 – 12, 8, 6, and 4. Every day is a new sitcom πŸ™‚ hang in there!

  97. loved this! I am the mom of 4 girls: a 16 yr old, twin 14 yr old, and a 10 yr old. Let me say 4 is not easy either. My oldest was 23 months old when the twins were born. Thank God she had pretty much potty trained herself. The twins had colic for about 3 months between 6 and 9pm every day! That was the first time I thought I was going crazy. Then when the twins were potty training they would wake up at some point in the night before I checked in on them and would “paint” the walls…. Cleaning poo off the walls several times is enough to make you crazy. Second time I thought I was going to go crazy. Then when the youngest one was mobile she decided she didn’t want to wear clothes…or a diaper. She would start taking everything off no matter where we were. I was brave enough to enroll in college classes when the youngest was 2. I had no one to watch the girls for me to go to the school and do some paperwork. while standing in line and trying to keep them all quiet the youngest began to attempt to strip. Third time i almost went crazy. By this point i had learned the art of duct taping her diaper so she couldn’t get it off. Don’t judge me, i never taped it to her. Not many people are able to watch 4 small kids at once( or aren’t brave enough), Like I said in the beginning, three of them are now teenagers. The oldest one is calm but sneaky, the twins are normal dramatic teens and the youngest is trying to figure out what her boundaries are. 20th and current time I feel like im losing my mind. Yes I skipped a few but that will all be in my book : How I survived, 4 kids and 3 husbands later. Lol!!! Thankfully the older 3 are able to watch the youngest while I do what little I do without them. Some days I really feel like I’m going to lose my mind. They make me insane but I love them very much.

    1. Haha! I wasn’t imagining you taped the diaper to the baby, don’t worry.

  98. This is the stuff I try to explain to my friends. My last trip to the grocery store was epic. I don’t understand why my daughter can go potty 5 minutes before we arrive and still end up needing to go poop every single trip to the grocery store. Then I have to corral my toddler son as he wants to touch every disgusting thing in the bathroom. I’m only thankful our Kroger has an amazing family bathroom. My daughter is sensitive to loud noises so the hurricane flushes of some toilets and super charged wind of the hand dryers causes major meltdowns. Every child is different and handles things in their own way. Don’t even get me started about the wise older woman who decide at those moments to dole out their extra special advice about cherishing every moment. I certainly do and love my children enormously! However, those are not the ones that I will be smiling back upon wishing I could redo them 30 years later. Thanks for keeping it real! I’m glad to know other people understand what it’s like.

    1. Ugh, my daughter was terrified of those toilets for years! I would try to rig up some toilet paper to cover the eye, but it never worked that well, and she’d still freak out because of other people’s toilets! πŸ™‚ And yes to the poop thing–I think it’s a law of science.

  99. My friend, and fellow mother of three, sent me this post and I loved every word. My kids are 6, 5 & 1 and even with a super husband, we are desperately outnumbered some days. Just this week, we got a sitter from 4-7 to feed them and put them to bed. It was pure heaven.

  100. Enjoyed the read. Thanks for this. We have 3 under 5 – the youngest 2 are twins under 2. Sometimes i think a 4th would balance it out but there’s no way I’d survive it. I’m 44. We do have an au pair which was the best priced childcare help to assist me as a stay at home mom. I am still exhausted all the time and never manage to get much beyond food, laundry, basic picking up, and bedtimes done on a daily basis.

  101. I only had 2, now adults, but a friend shared it and I enjoyed the read. I am the oldest of 5, so I appreciate getting Mom’s view. Ignore the haters and people who took this too personally. Sensible people know you love your children and wouldn’t send any back, and if God gave you another, you would love her too. I did enjoy this, especially the taking out the kid with the car seat, as I know it was all tongue-in-cheek. It brightened my day. Thanks.

    1. You are absolutely right that I love them and that everyone who knows me knows I do. I also would deeply love another child, the way I do my “happy accident.” Bless you for your kind words. πŸ™‚

  102. I must wonder… why we make it so difficult these days. My dad was one of nine. I’m sure my grandmother was exhausted, but from the stories I’ve heard, it didn’t seem to rough πŸ™‚ seven boys and two girls. I’ve been a school teacher, 22 plus six-year-olds at a time, and you are trying to teach them too. I’ve been a private nanny with up to seven kids at a time. Oh, and then the experience with twin infants and a three year old. I’ll admit that was a bit trickier. I’m not saying any of it is easy, (esp. the summer camp experience, or dealing with many children who have extreme special needs) but I do find that many people I see seem to make it more difficult than it needs to be– structure, routine, and organization. Good luck.

  103. I have FOUR kids, three was easy!! I am 35 and my kids are boy 11 yr, and girls 9yr 7yr and almost 7m…yea it’s like a circus but the most fun…dont ever think u dont want one more the answer is YES..have as many as you want!! (I’m done of course only cuz im too old and hubs is 45) otherwise i’d def be having more!

  104. gail moore Avatar
    gail moore

    Amen sister!! I had three children within 5 years. Been there done that is an understatement as now my brood are in high school, middle school, and elementary school. Yes! Finally my last year of three different schools and my oldest will SOON be a driver! Im so excited I dont know whether to cry or jump for joy! My husband and I were blessed with two boys first and werent exactly trying for a third but the idea of having a daughter of my own was haunting me. So when I found out I was indeed getting my girl I was ecstatic! How very little did I know she would be excluded from nearly every activity and have to become one of the boys anyway! We are still learning and growing and loving our full house as too soon I know it will be empty once again. I loved your post! Keep up the good work!!

  105. Wow, so much food for thought and memories come to mind. I have six children, (4 in 6 years, all cesarean, all planned, and then we adopted twins same age as youngest child). We left America with one 5 month old and lived in 3rd world Africa raising them all overseas far from family, and now that I have an 18, 17, 15 12,12,&12 year old I considered them all to have been very good years, but no, not easy. Now, I don’t dread the teen phase at all. Your children teach you so much about the real matters of life, and God is gracious through it all. Enjoy the “long days, short years” phase you are in, soon you’ll miss them.

  106. yes. This is even true when you have them spaced apart- I have a 16 yr old, 8 yr old and 3 yr old- and I have forgotten parent teacher conferences, after school activities, etc. In some cases, it’s easier, because the teenager is SO old, but then someone thinks he’s the daddy and it all goes to hell. And anyone that says School lasts all day doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about- I swear, as soon as I get them both off, it’s time for one to come home. Up-side, I have no delusions that I’ll actually accomplish something during preschool hours, so that let down didn’t take me down this time… though I’ve had to buy baby crap 3 times over now, since they’re so far apart. That wasn’t any fun. I’ve been peed on, pooped on, puked on and run around ragged with spit up down my back. I am headed out the other side, where occasionally I get out of the house, alone (thank God for the teenager) with a matching, clean outfit and my hair actually dried by a hairdrier (just don’t look at my socks).

  107. Mine are 8, 4 and 2. This made me nod and laugh. What’s really funny is when I am somewhere with just one, or more often, two, I get a lot of “advice” and people actually seem horrified/mad when I say oh I have three, my oldest is at school etc. As if they wasted their precious advice on me. πŸ˜‰

  108. OMG! Do you have secret cameras at my house? So very, very true on all counts! My daughter is 9.5, son #1 is 8 and son #2 is 3. Thank you for posting this. Laughed so hard I cried!

    1. Jennifer Holmes Avatar
      Jennifer Holmes

      This made me laugh… I have 6 children ages 18, 17, 14, 9, 7 and 4. It is harder physically when they are little… But mentally when they are older. The younger ones exhaust you, but the older ones need to chat late into the night. The hard work is all worth it, as they become your best friends:-) I cannot imagine life without any one if my children. I honestly believe that if I can raise 6 kids anyone can. I lack patience, am scatterbrained, and not too organized!! Lol. You’re children are your greatest blessings!! We are done having children though;)

      1. You can remind me of this later, but I often feel more up to the emotionally challenging years than these physically challenging ones. Remaining sane while tired/hungry/hormonal/in pain is very difficult for me–and I feel like I’m constantly all of those things when I have babies or toddlers! I love teenagers, though of course the stakes are so much higher at that point–and that does scare me a bit. But I sure hope they want to chat to me late into the night. You know you are doing something right if they do. Thanks.

  109. I have an 11 yr old boy, a 9 yr old girl and 4 yr old girl. It is loud and messy here day in day out. What I notice as a blogger is I don’t get invites as things are for fours usually and seating us a restaurant sucks. It is a roller coaster….

  110. I love having three, that being said I put almost 5 years between the first two, who are 26 months apart, and the baby. Life is crazy logistically with school, sports, etc. as you said but I feel like I can enjoy them.

  111. Wow, that is exactly my life. Even the same genders and ages. Could not agree more!! This is rough! I love the part about birthday cards to your mom or husband – couldn’t be more right on. Thanks for verifying that there are others out there feeling like this. πŸ™‚

  112. I don’t really get this article. I think it’s supposed to be funny, but I am having a hard time seeing past the anti-child sentiment to get to the humor part. What it seems like is that you are trying to discourage people from having more kids, while lacing it with a bit of humor. We all have the funny stories, and the horror stories, whether we have 1 child or 20. You say that you love each of them, yet simultaneously you are telling others not to go for that third child. Think about that one for a sec… from an outsider-looking-in perspective, it sounds like you regret having the last kid. So much of parenting is about how you look at it; personally, I choose to embrace the chaos! Yes, things can get a little hectic sometimes, but it’s worth every second of it. It’s sad that you wrote paragraph after paragraph about how difficult it is to have 3, and then one little blip at the end basically said, “Oh, yeah, it has its rewards too.” And even then, it was followed by yet another complaint about not having any time. I have admittedly never read your blog before. Perhaps you do thoroughly enjoy the gift of motherhood, but it really doesn’t come across here AT ALL. It also makes me not particularly interested in reading anymore of your blog, if this is any indication of your attitude toward your children!

    1. Lani M Dingman Siciliano Avatar
      Lani M Dingman Siciliano

      I agree with you quiverminded mama. And what is on the internet stays on the internet. That poor third child will read this someday.

    2. I agree with your take on the article. If I were one of her children, when I grew up read this I would feel like crap.

      I have four children. The oldest and the youngest are just under five years apart. The two youngest are 16 months apart. I loved it when they were little and still do now that my oldest is almost 15. Was it chaotic? Sure. What is amazing and fun? Definitely.

      I think the author is, for lack of a better word, a wuss.

    3. I totally agree. I mean, how in the world does ANYONE have more than 3 children? Women used to have 10+ children and still lived to tell about it and their kids were probably more adjusted than kids nowadays.

      I really hope the author of this blog post deletes the post before her kids are old enough to read it. It would break my heart if my mom wrote some of these things about me, even if jokingly. :/

      1. Exactly what I said! Funny. Women in prior generations had more than 3 children, no electricity or indoor plumbing. I bet they didn’t bitch about the blessing of the helping hands of their children.

        1. Haha! People didn’t complain in the old days? Guess we’ve evolved quickly!

      2. Seriously? It would break your heart if you knew your mom had jokingly complained about you running around naked as a toddler or peeing on yourself as a baby? These are things that babies and toddlers are *expected to do*- it’s not a personal insult. I’m quite certain that I was an enormous pain in the butt for most of my childhood, and probably a good portion of my teenagerhood as well. Anyone who believes otherwise is, quite frankly, deluding themselves.

    4. That was not AT ALL what I got from this blog. Laura’s responses to negative stuff like this are so kind. I think you, and the others who have replied in a negative manner, sound like self righteous jerks. Then there are the overly sensitive who read this article and think that it is a jab at those who can’t have children, or who already have multiple children. Ugh. It is so tiring to read. I enjoyed that the author has a sense of humor about herself, and the life she leads with her three kids (the good and the bad). Nowhere in there did I see any suggestion of regret for having her third child. Jump off your high horse, and don’t fall too hard on the way down.

  113. I think my mom did it the right way. She had me young, then 8 years later she got married and had 3 more kids. They are 8, 10 and 13 years younger than me. I did a lot of the raising along with my parents, and they never had to pay for a babysitter, I was always available and free until I moved out at 19, and I couldn’t wait to leave! People used to ask me how many kids I wanted for a long time, my answer was NONE! I’ve already raised 3! Now I’m married and have a daughter. My little sister and my daughter are 13 years apart, just like our age difference. But my one child is extremely strong willed and stubborn. My husband and I couldn’t imagine having anymore right now. She’s 3 and we are waiting at least 2 more years before we try for another!

  114. Katy Ivey Avatar
    Katy Ivey

    I agree that 3 is a handful and I have experienced some of the same scenarios. Once I was so tired that I backed out of the garage before the door was up completely. My three are 19, 12 and 8 now but I still spend a lot of time in my car driving them all to their activities including school, work, band practice and voice lessons but honestly I wouldn’t change a thing. I love being a tired mother of three!

    1. Haha! I can see doing that with my car! I have certainly become a lot less “together” since my childless days!

      1. The Snark Side Avatar
        The Snark Side

        Says the person who once drove into a parking garage with her bike on the roof rack…before she had ANY children?

        1. Hahaha! So punky!

  115. Lol I feel like I wrote this in a pregnant dementia episode! I am 33, I have three children 7 and a half, 3 and 1/2 and almost two. I’m expecting #4. People ask if I’m crazy all the time or ask if it’s my first since I too have a baby face. thanks! Nice knowing someone else is going through it and is real

  116. I couldn’t DISAGREE with you more! As a mother to a 2, 3 and 4 year old with another on the way, your view saddens me and I truly hope those you spill your thoughts to find someone who takes the exact opposite stance to share their positive experiences. Raising ANY number of children is never going to be easy, but IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT!

    1. Amen. Please don’t complain about motherhood on a public level. Talk to friends when you need to vent. I don’t even know you and I was easily able to find this blog. Imagine how terrible your children will feel when they are older and they read how stressed out their existence made you. Children are a blessing.

      1. Actually my daughter thinks this is great and loves when I write about them being silly or crazy (or about when I am silly or crazy). Guess everyone is different.

      2. Some of you guys are really nuts. My own mom makes no secret of how hard she found it to be raising just two of us – “It’s the hardest job in the world!” If you’re telling your kids anything but the honest truth, which is what I see here – that it’s amazing but it’s HARD – you’re not doing them any favors. They themselves will be parents one day but apart from that, kids today should have an appreciation for what has been done for them and all they’ve been given living in the privileged circumstances those of reading this blog likely find ourselves.

    2. I love what you wrote I couldn’t agree more!! I’m a mother of 9 and me personally thinks that being a mother is the most awarding thing anybody could ask for!!!

  117. Oh, I LOVE this. Yes, I had three daughters within 4 years. And we had one bathroom. And it was in the late 1970s so the phone was on the wall and had a cord that was never long enough. They would defiantly do all kinds of horrible things just beyond the reach of the phone cord. And I used cloth diapers for two kids at a time for 5 years. And I was nursing and/or pregnant for 7 straight years. Those were the hardest years of my life. Anyone who says differently has amnesia or Alzheimer’s. BUT they all survived, as did I, and now they are 35, 33, and 31 years old–one is a producer for NPR, one works for a non-profit building and repairing homes for low-income persons, and that #3 just started private practice as an obstetrician/gynecologist. There is hope. They do grow up. But please, in 30 years, don’t ever forget how hard it was.

    1. Thank you so much. I do look forward to (and sometimes fear) the future. But this is hard! πŸ™‚

  118. I am ecstatic to hear that I’m not the only one who has thought of taking down my middle child with the car seat.

    1. And I am also ecstatic to hear this!!

  119. I’m a mother to a 3yo and a 10 month old and I my heart wanted a 3. After reading this, I’m going to double up on the birth control!

  120. So true. I have a 1, 2, & 3 yr old. Life is never dull

  121. Wow this was great! I couldn’t stop laughing at the “you have your hands full” Part. Hear it nearly every day. Yes, it’s oh so helpful lol. I have 2 young boys but have always wanted a girl. ..def should wait a few years lol

  122. Great blog, Laura. We always thought we’d have three. Then our daughter was born! We still tell people we have three kids…we count her twice!

  123. I also am a mom of 3. My oldest is 10 then 8.5 and my youngest is 7. I truely didn’t think I would survive the first few years with three. Thank you for this story! I can relate to so much and it gave me a little laugh!

  124. HA! I feel like I just read a diary page from my past. I have three children who are 8, 10, and 12. It does get better. lol Maybe b/c if it didn’t, you’d loose what little sanity you have left. *Subscribing*

  125. This was a great post. As a half time single dad of four boys (and face it, there is no such thing as a half time parent) I know how amazingly challenging, hilarious, and frustrating it can be to have all these little humans clamoring for attention. Finding humor and joy in the exasperation is in itself rewarding. What are you going to do? Send them back? Thanks for the great anecdotes from a keen eye and a great wit!

  126. Just discovered your blog today. Love it! We have 2 girls (5 and 2), but are seriously considering a 3rd. Eek! Such a big decision. Thank you for your honesty about having 3!

  127. Like many people (in my circle) I have an oldest (4) and twins (3). They’re all boys. I am 38. And I am so tired.

  128. Very very funny – and true. My three are all adults now – you’ll love it when they’re adults!

  129. Well I have three now. My youngest is six and in there first grade. And I’m 35. So what’s your thoughts on a fourth child, we’ve been talking.

    1. Oddly, I think if you’re up for it, you may as well go for it. Friends with various numbers of multiples have said the jump from 2 to 3 was the hardest. Some of the commenters say it is easier. Some say it is not. But of course I know it’s not something to be taken lightly.

  130. Asher is the name of my 3rd πŸ™‚

    1. Oh, cool! πŸ™‚ You have good taste.

  131. Loved this so much. Thanks for writing it.

  132. Sounds like you need management training and should spend less time writing articles and more time practicing how to be a efficient with your time. Your article is more of a rant of your personal problems and not really advice.

    1. Seriously, Michael? Either you have less than 3 children or their mother takes care of them.

  133. Caroline Staley Avatar
    Caroline Staley

    Love this and totally agree! My youngest is 18M now and my wildest by far…a girl, after 2 boys (8 and 5yrs old). It’s A.LOT! Things are getting better, but it is busy. Very busy!

  134. Kara Ariail Avatar
    Kara Ariail

    I just read this post after a friend of mine shared it on Facebook. I have a 7, 4 and 2 year old and you summed it all up perfectly, especially the part about the school drop-off logistics. You are a talented writer and I look forward to following your blog! Kara

  135. HaHaHa!! LoL! This is my life, except mine is a little different. I have an almost 4 yr who is Autistic and a set of twins who are 2 1/2. The oldest and the twins are 17 months apart. You talk about fun times- Yea, we have tons of them here! I’m so scattered I barely can remember anyone’s name and sometimes I often have to check the sink for dirty dishes and particles of left over food just to see if I have fed them recently! LoL! You are so right! Once you reach the magical number 3 no one wants to help babysit and they’re all terrified to be in the same room with all of them! The worst part about the adventure is we’re often left out at family functions and gatherings because we have simply got to the point to where I want to punch someone in the throat when I hear, “You look tired. I don’t know how you do it!”

  136. I loved it speaking as a mother of 4!

    1. I like your attitude, Kim.

  137. I totally understand as a mom of 3 girls (12,10,6) and all of them play sports. My husband and I had no idea what we were getting into when we had multiple children since we are both only children. As our girls grow we have to ask our friends and family questions about all the fighting to see if it is normal. I’m glad you have this blog this way I know I’m not alone with the feelings I have and the things we all go through having 3 blessings!!!

  138. Nothing special about 3 kids, and it doesn’t make you any better of a parent. A few decades ago a family of 5 was considered “on the small side” considering it was then common for parents to have 6-9 children. Unfortunately, today many value possessions over children, which is why it is now less common to see families with 3 or more children.

  139. I have a Selah as well, though she is number 2 of 4. I agree with much of what you said here. My two youngest are 14 months apart, so I don’t think, in our case, 4 is any easier. We have 3 girls and our youngest is a boy. Our youngest is now 5 and things have gotten a lot easier for us physically. No more worrying about someone running into the road or doing something that will get them killed. I’m feeling like we are in the golden years of multiple children. My oldest is 11, so we aren’t quite to the tumultuous teen years.

    1. Say hi to your Selah. πŸ™‚ I have not encountered many.

  140. a friend of a friend posted this on Facebook with a handful of negative comments. I have a 4 1/2 y/o (girl) , an almost 23 month old (a boy) and a 5 month old (a boy) and life is quite the challenge. To add even more of a challenge, we found out when #3 was 2 weeks old that my husband was offered and accepted job in another state. We sold our house, packed everything up and moved several states and 2 days away from the closest family. The only thing we could find was a 2 bedroom apartment. We have to be here at least until the end of March. Our 2 oldest are sharing a room for the 1st time and my daughter is struggling. Up several times a night and wetting the bed most nights, when she was sleeping through the night since about 14 months before this. Add to that, getting up to feed the baby a couple times a night. We also have 2 dogs and well, life kind of stinks right now.

    Anyway, all that to say, I feel you! I love my family and each one of my children, but life is crazy right now. I’ve heard it all: you have your hands full, you chose to have 3 kids, all the stuff to make certain I feel like a horrible mom.

    Thank you for being willing to be honest and taking the chance of getting all sorts of negativity. It’s nice to know were not alone. My parents had 3 kids and survived, so I know it can be done and that gives me hope.

    1. You know, I have really appreciated all the comments that make me feel like we’re in it together. Yes, this post has certainly angered some people, which sort of surprises me, but that’s sort of how life is, I guess! Being a parent is wonderful, and also exhausting and demanding. And yes, I constantly hear those comments you refer to. I wouldn’t trade my children even if I might have to take someone out with a car seat, but I also literally cry with exhaustion fairly regularly. I’ve also gotten some comments about how it would be “easy” if I had “structure,” which is funny, because I highly value routine, structure, and discipline, and they are important aspects of my family. Still not easy! πŸ™‚

  141. As someone thinking of having a third child in the next few years, I am simultaneously laughing and cringing. This is a great visual and I can totally picture my two kids in a few years doing just these things. Thanks for the warning/advice/laugh/cry!

  142. sandy stewart Avatar
    sandy stewart

    unimaginable………must pray every moment for sanity,maybe doable if you have a lot of outside help.

  143. I don’t read blogs a ton, but this one caught my eye and made me laugh…out loud. My wife is amazing! 3 boys under 5 is all I need to say.

  144. Love, LOVE this post! I have my hands full and I only have two! We joke around about having a third, but that’s just it…a JOKE. I knew I couldn’t handle a third when I was nursing our youngest, only to find the 20 month old standing upright on the back of the couch. One look told me he had bigger plans, but I couldn’t get to him before he dove off. It was a slow motion moment. My only criticism would be your background…It’s terribly difficult to read anything.

  145. The background thing must have been a glitch for me because now the writing is in a nice, white box over the background. Please ignore.

    1. Haha! OK good. πŸ™‚

  146. Oh my! If there was any doubt before… I will be stopping at my two angels!!! πŸ™‚

  147. I have a 8 year old and two 6 year olds. I was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, not to mention snarky, when one of my best friends sent me this. Thank you so much. I don’t feel so alone.

    1. I am glad. Very glad. None of us can handle being alone in the parenting journey.

  148. I have 20 month old triplet boys. They are, thank God, my only children and if I got pregnant again I’d be declared legally insane. Of course I love them and can’t imagine life without them, even when i want to change my name and move to Argentina.

  149. Haha – loved this!! Sounds like my house . . . we have 3 kids, now aged 13, 11 and 7 (a boy and 2 girls), when we decided to have the third, my hubby said “Three’s a party!” He is the youngest of 4. It does get easier now that the oldest is at middle school and the two girls are both doing dance, and the middle school is 2 blocks from the Studio – slightly less running around for me. You hit the nail on the head with the mess and the noise . . . we also have 2 dogs . . . the noise level gets up into the stratosphere sometimes . . . and the toys! LOL

  150. I had to laugh at most of this. Yes, it is hard when you have 3. I have 4, and 3 was the HARDEST number to have! I always tell people who have 3 children to have one more. They always look at me like I am crazy…but really, it is soooo much easier with an even number. Even when only one of them is a single sex…still easier! I have 3 girls and one lonely ‘middle’ boy….still easier than having 3!

  151. Melissa Harris Avatar
    Melissa Harris

    I can SO relate! However, I have 4 and I promise it is not easier!(2 boys ages 11 and 6, and 2 girls ages 3 and 1) I think it was harder for me going from 3 to 4, than 2 to 3. My boys are 5 years apart, so that helped a lot. I think most days I feel like a failure as a mom from being too “snappish” from all of the noise, chaos and mess or just plain not having enough time to go around to all four of them.

    Try going furniture shopping (without the hubby) with an 11, 6, 3 and 1 year old! The 6 and 3 year old were wanting to run around and act crazy while the baby screamed because she wanted out of the stroller….and the looks I got. Ugh! Forget getting a Nanny for a date night, heck I want one just to go grocery shopping, and would’ve loved one when I went furniture shopping.

    As crazy as things can be, I try to remind myself they won’t always be little. Enjoy the hugs, kisses, and yes, messes they make as its a reminder of the little people we have running around!

    1. Thank you–and yes to just about everything you said.

  152. Debi Robertson Avatar
    Debi Robertson

    You nailed it sister! My three are now 29, 27, and 23 and when I look back, I DON’T know how I did it! It’s pretty much a blur but I’ve got about 20 photo albums to prove I was there. There were very few times when all three were quiet, more typical was any two ganging up on the third and having an all – out war! It’s amazing that I have any teeth in my head because I was constantly grinding them and talking (yelling) that if you don’t mind me I’m going to get the wooden spoon!
    The good news is that they are all well adjusted, self-sufficient human beings today! I too had a daughter followed by two sons and YES, birth order is a big frikkin deal. My 3 year old had a full fledged panic attack on the way home from the hospital with the third, and has been the stereotypical middle child ever since. Note: Before the third was born, he was the happiest baby/child on the planet but quickly morphed into the neediest child on the planet, biting other children in his preschool and refusing to nap!
    Thanks for a good read and hang in there. I discovered Geritol daily vitamins when the third child was two years old and I was perpetually tired. The vitamins made a huge difference in my energy level.

    1. Aww, poor middles. My middle child has been having a rough time lately too, and I think it’s partly being too old to be like the baby and too young to be like the oldest.

  153. mommy monkey of 4 Avatar
    mommy monkey of 4

    mother of 4 boys here all 7 and under. I know what your talking about. only wish my husband understood. he’ll take them on his own for a day and come back saying he had no problem keeping the house clean and children alive. another thing people to don’t understand is doing these things day in and out with out much of a brake for years. lol.

  154. chopstikheroike Avatar

    3? That’s cute. My grandmother was oldest of 18. I’m sure my great-grandmother had a hell of a time managing two baseball teams. LOL

  155. I’m pregnant with my sixth child. Three was the hardest. Having more is easier because your other ones help out (and are old enough to help). Children aren’t easy…but again nothing worth anything is easy, right!?

  156. Going from 2 to 3 was our hardest transition too. We have 6 children under the age of 5.

    1. Wow. I have four kids and there are 2.5 years between my oldest and youngest and it is amazingly fun. Yes busy with a 2nd, 1st and 2 kindergarteners and then throw in everyone doing sports but it is so much fun. Maybe the trick is to have them really close in age. I am never bored, i work full time and i just completed my master’s degree. I would never complain about the joy and hard and busy blessings. I would never want my children to read it because I would feel insulted if my mom wrote that about me.

  157. I relate! Noise and chaos reigned at my house for years! My three are all older now (23, 19 & 16) and good friends. I’m amazed that they still like me – I was exhausted and overwhelmed most of the time when they were young – …but they do! And, oh, how I like them too!

  158. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I gained a new appreciation for parents of three children. My sister recently started work as a nurse and her husband works full time. During the week, we were on babysitting duty for my nieces and nephew – the dramatic 7 year old, the high-energy-will-run-out-the-door five year old, and the two year old baby who follows her siblings into every scrape and tangle. The five year old came home from school and we were great: a trip to the store, reading time, etc. Then I picked up the seven year old from after school care and things got a bit more animated – they love each other to pieces, but they also love to antagonize one another. And then the babysitter dropped off the baby – who hadn’t napped all day and was clearly in “a mood” – and all hades broke loose. The noise! The mess! Oh god the noise. After three hours with the three of them hopped up on excitement over Aunt Becky and Uncle Alan babysitting, I was texting my brother-in-law to find out what time he’d be home. And then we did it again the next day. A week of this and I was BURNT OUT. So Bravo to all parents out there who not only do this day in and day out, but are also able to keep their sense of humor about it, like you surely have. Great read!

  159. How adorable! How about folks stop having biological kids or quit complaining. In this day and age it is a choice. Not only are there already kids who need a home in this world, but your offspring are a continuing drain on our global resources. May the zombie apocalypse come in haste and solve all our problems!

  160. I haven’t finished your article yet and there’s no way I can read through all the comments… But thanks! I just wanted to say I agree… Except I didn’t choose three children: #2 & #3 came together… Thanks for the laugh, the sympathy, and helping me understand I’m not alone :).

  161. I’m busy reading this because my son (1 of an identical set) has randomly walked up to women in stores who have a baby “hi you give us your baby?” And afterward stopping to think and ask me (his mommy and raiser of perspective 3rd child) “Mommy you get us that baby yourself? J and J wanna have that baby…” as if we go to the store and the baby aisle is where you pick up an additional baby! Yeah I was thinking about it, and I’m single parenting it….thanks for the heads up.

  162. Lisa Zink Avatar
    Lisa Zink

    You think going from 2 to 3 is hard? Try going from 0 to 3! My husband and I are parents of spontaneous triplet girls now 7 years old. If you want to know what it is like to have your life literally turned upside down, you should have spent some time in my house over the last 7 years! And no – we don’t have any more nor will we try for any more!

    1. Oh my! Yes, multiples are a whole other ballgame, and if they were your “first child,” I imagine that much more challenging!

  163. This is hilarious to me. I also have 3 children. Girl age 4 Β½, boy age 2Β½ and boy age 15 months. Its insane and everything you have said is so so true. I love our kids but the hubby works so much that I am drowning in a world of little monsters. πŸ™‚

  164. Yes, yes, yes! This was hilarious, and great to know that others feel the same way! I have a 3 1/2-year old, a 2-year old, and a 7-month old. (The first two are 18 months apart and the second two are 20 months apart.) We planned it this way and I wouldn’t change anything, but it is CRAZY up in this house. My husband is with the kids on his own about as much as I am because of our schedules, and some evenings we just look at each other and sigh, and are grateful that we made it through the day. πŸ™‚ Bedtimes and naptimes are like Defcon 3 around here..but we get through it. And it’s so rewarding when we see watch our kids play with and enjoy each other. This morning my 3-year old said, “I have a sister, and a brother. Some kids don’t have a sister and a brother.” Having grown up with 4 sisters I know the value of siblings, and they will too. Having said all that, I also feel that sadistic glee with the advice-givers…and don’t feel a tiny bit bad about it. πŸ™‚

  165. I guess I can consider myself lucky. I really came into my own with my third. Even better with my fourth.

  166. As a mother of three children, two of which died at birth I can tell you I would give anything to be the mother of three living children. Anything. I realize the difficulty of raising three little ones, I have a three year old at home and she keeps me hopping. I would trade my Prius in for a minivan in a heartbeat. I can also tell you one thing that is more difficult than raising three children, dealing with the deafening quiet when coming home from the hospital with empty arms and trying to plan a funeral for your children that never got to come home.
    I’m sorry to be such a downer, but as a bereaved parent it is always so difficult for me to hear the complaints of parents with living children. Enjoy every moment.