Friday, January 16, 2009

What It Is Like Having 3 Kids

People often ask me what it is like having 3 kids and it is hard to explain in few words, but I suppose “chaos and blessing” comes close. There is no way I could adequately cover this topic in one post, so consider this the introduction with related posts to come at later, currently undetermined, random dates in the future.

For starters our playdough colors were not all mixed together when I had 2 kids! There is something about that move from 2 to 3 kids that kinda puts you over the edge in terms of keeping everything together. Here are some key points about having 3 kids in no particular order:

1. You are way more likely to cause a scene! Going out to dinner, for instance, with 2 children you have much better odds that the kids will all be in a good mood for the entire meal and that nobody will spill their drink or fall out of their chair. But when you add that 3rd child you increase your chances for whining, crying, disobeying, spilling, etc., etc. Also, there is the obvious that it is much easier for 2 parents to control, placate, stave off disaster with 2 kids than it is for 2 parents to do the same for 3 kids. A kid will inevitably fall through the crack of parental attention just long enough to do something embarrassing. Also, be warned if you are new to 3 Kidville that when you do enter a restaurant or airplane or post office line most eyes will be on your family. They will be scrutinizing your every move and waiting for the meltdown!

2. There is what I like to call the “disheveledness factor” that increases with every child you add. It is doable to keep 1 or 2 children clean with noses & mouths wiped, shoes on the correct feet, and clothes that are the right size and appropriate for the current weather. With 3 or more children, however, any time you leave the house there is a high likelihood that someone will have their shoes on the wrong feet, chocolate on their face, hair that is not brushed, or pants that are too short.

3. There is always someone that needs something from you – a drink, a Kleenex, a bottom wiped, a consequence, a hug, a story read, a question answered, a car seat buckled, a coat zipped, food cut up, a lost item found and often they all 3 need/want something at the same time and you find yourself faced with assessing who has the biggest real need that should be tended to first.

4. The noise! It is loud! Even to me and I am kinda used to it. I had warned relatives of this fact in our Christmas letter this past year, but still when they came to stay for a visit, I could tell by the looks on their faces a few times that it was a little intense. Maybe we should hand out earplugs at the door!

5. The blessings are multiplied, too! To see all those little faces around the dinner table, to have another person to love, to observe them taking turns and being patient, to watch your 3 children playing together, and witness them helping each other – it is the biggest blessing of your life and so worth the extra work.

6. Really, embracing the chaos of 3 kids sets you free. As a mom of two I really tried to have it all together and it was upsetting when things fell apart, now I do not expect perfection and that not only sets me free, but my family as well! Embarrassing, attention drawing situations no longer = failure to me. Now, going on an outing with my 3 kids and returning with 3 kids = success! Yesterday, for example, I took my 3 children to the park, we spent an entire hour and granted there was a little bloodshed, but no ambulance required, I returned home with 3 relatively unscathed children and that plus 3 loads of laundry = a pat-myself-on-the-back kind of day!

having 3 kids


  1. This rings SO true to me!!!

    I have not thought about embracing it setting you free, though! I will have to work on that, and be a less uptight mommy! It is hard having (and being) a mommy that tries to always put on a perfect show!

  2. A big Amen...especially to the play dough. My way of embracing it was giving up my need to have the play dough colors not mixed. The kids never care...why should I? I pick the fights that really matter to me like making sure all are relatively clean when we leave the house and that all the ones who are supposed to be with me are. I am NOT kidding about that lest you think I jest.


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