Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Logistical Issues of Having 3 Kids

Recently I blogged here about having 3 kids, and said it was a topic I could go on and on about. So consider this a continuation. I am really so thankful to have 3 kids and to have them fairly close in age, the positives definitely out-weigh the negatives.

But, that being said, there are some logistical issues inherent to having 3 (or more) kids. Many of the issues surprised me and I never would have thought of them before actually having a 3rd child.

13 Logistical Issues About Having 3 or more kids:

1. 3 car seats may not fit in your vehicle
This is not as easy as it may seem, many back seat rows are not wide enough. If you have a 3rd row in your vehicle you will now need to use it to accommodate a child and if you have a smaller SUV, once the 3rd row is up there may be no room for groceries or even a stroller in the back. This is where you may (like us) find yourself suddenly on the market for a vehicle with a 3rd row that can be partially folded down. I became very familiar with the terms "50-50" split and "60-40" split (meaning part of the 3rd row could be a seat and part flat for cargo)!

2. Many restaurant tables are set up for families of 4.
You may have to wait longer to get a table big enough for your family of 5.

3. You are going to clock many, many years at your local elementary school!
Even before we signed up for a 4th child (the one we're adopting from Ethiopia) I was staggered the day I did the math and figured out we'd have a child at our elementary school for 10 years! Good thing we really like the school, the principal and the teachers!
4. You may need a whole 'nother level of babysitter (or consider hiring 2).
Things are more manageable now, but there was a time when we had a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and an infant and you can't just leave that combination with the high school girl down the street while you go out for the evening! For our very occasional date nights, we began using a lady who is a full-time nanny for someone else during the day (so basically a professional caregiver who would be up to the challenge of our 3)!

5. Many hotel rooms have a maximum of 4 occupants and that includes kids.
So once your 3rd child is more than an infant you may have to look to adjoining rooms or a suite.
6. The Schedule!
Playdates, practices, recitals, field trips, teacher conferences, school open houses, birthday parties, lessons, doctor appointments ALL TIMES 3!! It is enough to make you nuts. You limit each kid to 1 outside activity, say "no" to any unnecessary commitments, keep a really good family calendar, try to schedule doctor and dentist appts. with all 3 kids together (But beware, the pediatrician's exam room suddenly feels really small and really loud when you are in it with your 3 kids plus the doctor!) And for the most part, you just embrace the crazy!

7. It will take at least 10 minutes to "load up" your vehicle every time you go somewhere.
Just getting 3 kids strapped into the vehicle takes a while and then you have to allow for the lost shoes and last minute needs for drinks to go or a trip to the potty!

8. Your grocery cart is full of kids and there's no room for groceries!
If your kids are spaced close together and your oldest is still under 5, you will want them all to ride if you have any hope of getting shopping done. I became an expert on which stores around me offered the carts with a baby seat as well as the 2 plastic seats near the front for older kids.
9. It takes a lot of groceries to feed 3 kids.
Once all 3 of your kids are drinking milk, you will go through massive quantities in a week. We use 5 or 6 gallon jugs in a week for our family of 5! I've got a system in our fridge where I can store 6 jugs so I don't have to go to the store more than once a week!

10. Serving meals for 5 people takes more time than you think!
Just dishing up 5 different plates takes some time, and then if you have little kids you have to cut 3 different plates of meat.

11. Safety
When you are one adult and you take 3 young, mobile children to the park, it is impossible to keep your eyes on all 3 at once! You must keep watch like a tennis match the best you can from one child to the other. Dressing them in matching clothes really helps here! And crossing parking lots you only have 2 hands. So you teach them to hold each other's hands or I have been known to hold 2 kid hands in one of my hands before!

12. Visiting at friends' houses
Even having my 3 kids fairly close together, there is still a pretty big difference from my oldest to my youngest and occasionally it is challenging to visit friends who only have kids at one end of the age spectrum. If someone only has older kids, your baby or toddler is going to be pretty out of place in their home that now is not baby-proofed and only has toys for older kids. Alternatively, if your friend only has little ones, your oldest may be the strange, big, rough, older kid in a room full of babies!
13. 3 Kids = a lot of stuff
If you don't already, once you have 3 kids you will need to keep your clutter-control tactics on high-alert. The volume of clothes, toys, paperwork, crafts, birthday party loot bags, etc. that will need to be managed is mind-boggling. No more saving every piece of artwork that comes home from Sunday School!

Okay, I'm really worried this all sounded too negative. Did I mention how much fun it is having 3 kids?!!!!

Find more Thankful Thursday, Thursday Thirteen


  1. it's not negative, just realistic :-) Now my 13 was negative LMAO!

  2. As a mother of 3 girls, I LOVED this post. I didn't find it negative at all, very real! I too, love it though!

  3. we are going to start trying for number three...this is all stuff I didn't think too much about...hmmmmm

  4. Are you serious? Hotels limit families like that....that's insane!!!!

    Here is MY Thursday 13. You'll need to scroll down below my Thursday Thunks to view them. Do stop by for a visit if you can find time. Hope your day is super.

  5. I couldn't agree more! We have 4 kids, so I totally understand the logistics of it all! Well worth it though.

  6. Not negative, but very busy! Eek.

  7. Your list is almost identical to dh's reasons for having 2 kids LOL We now have 2 kids :)

  8. Hmm. Good insights. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I enjoyed this, all true. The odd thing is that 3 is really where any of the down-side maxes out. After 3, each additional child just brings more fun.

    With your great attitude you will love having 4!

  10. The whole list applies to me. With much blessing there is much responsibility :) Praise God that we only have to think about one day at a time :)

  11. Always wanted 3 but, ended up with 2. Oh well.

    Have a great day!

  12. Wanna know a secret? I found your blog by googling "what is it like to have 3 kids". Thanks for the answers!

  13. Having had 4 I know this all too well, and it is soo true of course. But soo worth it is right. My DIL and you would get along famously I think. Their children are 1, 3, and 5...SUCH a handful. But their cute little pics of the 3 of then together (like yours) says it all. Have a great day. HUGS AND BLESSINGS

  14. Our neighbors in Georgia had seven children. They did a wonderful job of raising them, but it certainly made me aware of some of the logistical problems that you mentioned. My granddaughter loved playing with them. And when she wanted to have a party, we only had to issue one invitation to have a crowd. :-)

    My T13: The Best Beans

  15. alright, you almost have me convinced to have a 3rd down the road! cute pictures...

  16. Your kids are beautiful! Love the pics!

  17. Absolutely delightful..

    Playdates, practices, recitals, field trips, teacher conferences, school open houses, birthday parties, lessons, doctor appointments ALL TIMES 3!! It is enough to make you nuts.

    You had me on number six and number eight. I LOVED reading every word. God bless you. You are a great mom. Hugs. Lynn

  18. Hi - my MIL sent me over to your blog saying we had a lot in common. I think we do! I have 3 kids too and the logistical issues are plentiful - but you left out the one I keep running into... I have only 2 hands and three people need to hold them. LOL

  19. Thanks for this post! I have a 4 y/o, 2 y/o and 6 mo old and am already seeing these differences between 2 and 3.


I'd love to hear what you think!