Since we have had Connor, I’ve been getting asked a lot about how we are coping with three little ones. I’m not going to lie and say the transition from 2 kids to 3 has been easy. It’s been a bit of a game changer for us! I love the chaos that is our life at the moment, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but holy heck it has upped the parenting game to another level!
We always knew that we would like to have three children and to try to have them all quite close together. I wasn’t naive in going in to three thinking that it was all going to be rainbows and unicorns, we were already in the thick of young kid territory, and had a pretty good routine down pat, so I thought that throwing one more kid in to the mix would be relatively easy… To be honest, it has been a bit more of a challenge then I thought it would be – we are now outnumbered by little people!
THE MUM GUILT
Coping with two young children who need you and want to be entertained and have your attention, while also dealing with a baby who needs you all the time has been a juggling act. You have less time for everyone, which in turn has upped my ‘mum guilt’. With three I am always feeling as if I am not giving one person enough attention. At certain points of some days it seems like they all want you for something at the same time, so you end up having to prioritise their needs and see which one needs you the most at that point in time. Luckily they are all pretty good, there is no sibling rivalry (yet) so we are getting through this and it will only get easier as Connor is taking much less time to feed now, and is also happy to play on his mat or sit in his bouncer for short periods while I can give attention to the girls.
THE SLEEP DEPRIVATION
The newborn days are no joke, they are so freaking hard at times! Don’t get me wrong, as hard as they are, I do treasure those first few precious weeks of getting to know your baby, but I think with each baby I completely forgot about how hard sleep deprivation can be. I am the type of person that loves my sleep. Pre-kids I used to be able to sleep for half a day and love it! So going in to the newborn phase again has, and always will be a shock to my system. Although this time around I am better able to deal with it I think, as I knew what was coming, and I also know that it will end. It is really hard for a few months and then things get better. Connor is now 17 weeks old, he doesn’t sleep through the night, and I still feel absolutely shattered some days, however it is already much better then the very early days! I know in a few more months it will be even better, and one day in the not too distant future a full nights sleep awaits me! However, coping with sleep deprivation and having two other young children to look after has made it a little more difficult. I don’t have much energy by the end of the day, so I find my irritation levels are pretty high and I can get pretty snappy with the girls (and Toby) at the hardest part of the day which is trying to get everyone fed, bathed and in to bed on time – and I feel terrible about it. I know when I am being grumpy as well, but sometimes I’m just too damn tired to be bothered being nice!
GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE
Everything takes longer with three kids. Making sure everyone is dressed and presentable, fed, bags are packed, snacks ready, enough nappies and changes of clothes and burp cloths for the baby, water bottles and everything that goes with young kids is tripled! Even just getting everyone in to their car seats can leave me feeling like I have been in a wrestling match! My husband tends to end up being the wrangler and having everyone snapped to attention and out the door on time. It’s a team effort most of the time!
A GOOD AGE GAP
I think the age gap in our kids has really helped. Neve and Dani were just about to turn 5 and 3 when Connor was born. So this meant that they were both toilet trained, could feed themselves, sleeping in their own beds and through the night, and are pretty self-sufficient. We only have the baby in nappies which obviously helps the situation. I think all sorts of age gaps have their own benefits but for us the 5-3-0 gap is working, we are still in the trenches of parenting young kids so a baby is not a big transition, yet the older two are self sufficient enough that it makes things a bit easier.
THE SNIFFLY NOSES
Three kids means triple the illnesses. Connor has already had a cold and a viral chesty cough that he picked up from the girls. Three kids no doubt mean that one will come down with something, and shortly after the other two will follow. It’s all immunity building I guess, and will hopefully build them up and make them stronger for daycare and school bugs! Fingers crossed.
There is so much ‘stuff’ when you have three young kids. I don’t even know where half of it comes from most of the time! It has made me become quite obsessed with organising. Kmart is my second home (haha), and buying baskets and organisational things has become a favourite past time as sad as that is. I think with all the chaos around, feeling as if I have things organised and tidy and that everything has its place makes me feel better! We have always been good at keeping things tidy and put away, but now I don’t feel like I can relax until things are all put away at the end of the day, and I like to have a tidy house at the end of the night so you can wake up and start the day with things clean. It has made me become more organised, and I find getting everything ready the night before makes the next day start easier.
There is mountains, and it never ends!!! With two kids who like to change their outfits multiple times a day, and a very spilly baby who spills on himself and all who hold him – the washing is at an all time high! I actually weirdly don’t mind folding washing and find it quite relaxing so I don’t mind this, although I need to do at least 1 load a day and try to fold it and put away in the same day otherwise it can get on top of me and the washing pile can resemble Mount Everest. Last year I started folding our clothes in the Marie Kondo way, and although it takes a little bit longer, it definitely makes things easier in the long run.
I have always loved having a routine with our kids. I think it is good for them, and also for my own sanity to know what is going on, what to expect and to know that by 8pm all kids will be in their beds, and we can have some down time. I have become a bit more strict on having a routine in place since having three little ones. It is more important to me now to know what to expect from my day, and when I can expect some time to myself or time to get things done.
SCHOOL AND DAYCARE – our saving graces!
Our eldest has just started school so she is at school 5 days a week, and our middle is in daycare 4 days a week, so that obviously helps, and means that I still get to have that really important one on one time with Connor that he deserves as a young baby.
Although there are definitely some days that are more trying then others, the good outweighs the not so good by a mile. Watching both girls be so loving towards their baby brother melts my heart – my oldest daughter is absolutely obsessed with her baby brother, and seeing our youngest daughter become a ‘little big’ sister has been amazing. Our eldest turned 5 a few months after our baby was born, and she is at a stage where she can be helpful, and responsible enough to watch him and play with him if we are in another room briefly. I absolutely love watching them all together. Connor’s face lights up when either one of his sisters gives him attention and he adores them. Watching the girls making him giggle and cuddling and kissing him makes me so happy. They already have a little bond between the three of them and I hope it only gets stronger and they remain close siblings growing up.
So many people said ‘are you mad’? when I said we wanted to go for three. However I have always wanted a big family. Picturing ourselves when we are older and having our kids come home for Christmas and holidays with their families, and our house full of them is something I like to think about.
Obviously it is absolutely crazy at times, and likely only going to get crazier once Connor is up and moving and eating. Sometimes you just have to laugh or you might cry! It is full on but I love it. We are doing it, we have three, some days are harder then others and it is a lot of work, but it is all worth it. I will be going back to work in a matter of months and it will all change once again then, and I’m sure juggling work and three kids is going to be a whole other experience – however I know we can manage it.
I think if you don’t feel like you are ‘done’ with having kids, then you probably aren’t. After our second baby, as grateful as I was to have two healthy children, I didn’t feel as if our family was complete. Now I do, Connor has filled that place in our family perfectly and I couldn’t be happier that we decided to take the leap and go for three – with all the chaos that a third baby brings, it is perfect for our family.