Y’all, it’s been a summer. A long summer. Having three kids is hard. I love them a million times each, I do. But. Goodness gracious.
A couple years ago, some friends of ours, who’d just had their third child, jokingly gave KP and I some advice. “Don’t have a third kid”, they joked.
They were probably only HALF joking.
Sure, three kids is a transition, they all told me. Three kids means you’re outnumbered, they’d say. I even remember my parents – who had six kids – telling people that ‘after the 3rd, it’s all the same‘. So I figured that the third child was going to be a bit of an adjustment.
But I mean, even with two kids, I was already outnumbered most of the day with them. 1 mama, 2 kids. How much worse could it REALLY be with three?
I read somewhere that studies show that 3 kids is the most stressful number of kids to have. Not 4, 6, or even 10 kids. But three. I also read a mom blog somewhere (I didn’t save the link of course 🙁 ) about how 3 is considered the most stressful because our brains just can’t handle thinking about more than 3 things/people at once. With two kids, with some effort, you can think about and plan for everyone’s needs: yours, kid 1 and kid 2. But suddenly, when there’s a 3 kids, that makes FOUR things/people to have to keep track of at all times. Yourself, kid 1, kid 2, kid 3. And that crosses some kind of mental line of what we’re able to easily handle. With 3 kids, something – and probably something important too – is inevitably going to be forgotten. And, like my I’d always heard my parents say to others, apparently ‘after 3 kids, it’s all the same‘ and you’ve already lost your mind, so what does it matter how many more kids you add? lol.
You can also call it “mom brain”. Though “mom brain” can affect moms of any number of kids, for me at least, with this third kid? Mom brain has become unbelievably prevalent in my recent life.
Don’t believe me? Do you follow me on instagram? No? Well, you’re missing out – I document all my #momfail and #mombrain moments, much to my own embarrassment and chagrin. Did you read about the time I, alone with all three kids at the L.A. County Fair, lost my backpack? Apparently I’d set it down somewhere, forgot to pick it back up, and then, when – a whole 45 min. later – I realized it was missing, I was SOOOO CERTAIN that it’d been stolen just a few minutes before. And I freaked out. And yelled at my tired, whining kids as I dragged them through the fairgrounds trying to find the lost and found office. And then we sat in the security office for 2 hours waiting for KP to pick us up…without any money, keys, food, or diapers.
Only to have the backpack found, unharmed, the next day.
Yeah. Mom brain. It’s real.
Or how the evening after the fair, how I attempted to make myself TWO separate things for dinner, only to forgot about BOTH of them, and discover them still sitting in the microwave the next evening.
I’m totally winning the mom-to-3-kids game here, folks. Totally.
Sigh. Whatever. This is how I’m instead going to choose to remember the day:
Before baby Freddie was born, I was all “oh, I’ll be ready to bounce back to my regular life with 3 kids by the end of 2 months for sure!” Right? I figured because I was a veteran mom and all that I could just throw another kid into the mix and keep going on with my life. Afterall, with kid #3 my parenting expectations were already pretty low. Kids are resilient. And all that.
Sure! Let’s do all the summer camps,
and prep for our first “real” homeschool year,
and re-write a script with KP,
and renew my studio teacher credentials,
and take not one – but TWO – cross country road trips with a newborn,
and spend two weeks in Texas,
and do a homeschool summer school program with my daughter,
and start writing my own new script,
and survive a week of triple-digit weather in which my daughter got severely dehydrated and had to be taken to urgent care for IV fluids,
and go camping,
and re-design my whole blog to make it look nicer,
AND go the the L.A. County Fair alone with the kids.
I can handle it all and do it all, right?
Spoiler: I can’t.
It’s been a summer.
I’ve thought about a lot of things. I’ve wanted to write about a lot of things. I’ve started quite a few blog posts that never quite made it into anything.
I’ve made it through the postpartum stage. The newborn stage. And now I’m in the teething stage and 4 month sleep regression stage and the “I need to get this kid sleeping in the other room so I can have my own ‘grown ups only’ space that will stay somewhat clean and kid-free during the day again” stage.
Fall is FINALLY here. Preschool has started. I’m getting into a homeschool routine. Cooler weather is on its way. Things are starting to find their way into some sort of order again. I might be able to catch my breath soon. Think again. Spend time with my husband. Write. Blog. Script.
As a “me”. Not just a “mom”.
KP and I recently attended a small celebratory event for someone KP used to work on a show with. People I hadn’t seen since I was pregnant with my first. Now I have three kids. I felt like we were some kind of ‘family people’ anomaly, lol. 3 kids? Why would anyone have so many children?
Now that I’m in this stage of life, I often forget what life is like for people in a different stage. People who work, and socialize, create, and DON’T THINK ABOUT CHILDREN ON A NEAR CONSTANT BASIS. I’m both jealous of them…and not jealous of them.
I didn’t have to focus so much time and energy and effort on kids once too. I once had that life. Now, whenever I’m back in that world of socializing – I feel like I’m just playing a role.
This will change again one day and I’ll feel normal in that world again. My kids will get bigger. They will be more independent. I will be more independent.
At this same event, I chatted with some guy I’d just met. Upon hearing I had three kids, and presumably considering having children himself soon, he asked me some questions about what it was like.
“What would you say is the ideal age span for siblings?”
“How long is the really bad sleep deprivation at the beginning?”
“What’s the toughest stage that I should be prepared for?”
I imparted on him the biggest piece of parenting advice I’ve discovered for myself (now that I’m a sage and wizened veteran parent of 3, ha ha) – I told him that while you can make all the plans in the world for how you’re going to fit children into your currently nice and controlled adult life – very few things about parenthood will fit into your previously nicely laid out plans.
You have to just let it go. Go with the flow.
I didn’t want to scare him, so I didn’t tell him this part, but:
- Even when the bad sleep deprivation part gets better – you’ll never really sleep the same again.
- Even if you perfectly time the conception and birth dates of your kids – there’s no “magic” age span between siblings. There are good things and bad things about 2 under 2. There are good and bad things about siblings 5 years apart too.
- Even if you’ve done every pregnancy screening test, even if you’ve genetically tested your embryos before implanting them, even if you’ve hired the best nanny in the world, even if you pull off your desired “silent birth” – there’s no guarantee that there won’t be other complications, or medical issues, or that you won’t have a colicky baby, of that that new baby transition will be smooth.
Adding a child to your life is always a transition…and I guess I underestimated how the transition of going from 2 kids to 3 kids would be on me too.
It’s been a full summer. Full of #mombrain and #momfail. But ALSO full of #babysmiles and #familycuddles.
When all is said and done, I’m very glad I had kids.
Even if they make me (temporarily I hope!) lose my mind. Even if Freddie has the loudest, most high pitched baby wail I’ve ever heard and may make me go deaf – I still love him. I love his brother. I love his sister.
This is just a stage of life.
A stage I’m privileged to be able to experience.
A stage that will one day pass.
I can only ever be where I am at this moment.
Three kids is hard. I’m loosing my mind. But I’m ok with it.
Here’s to the Fall. Here’s to all the stages that come next.
You wrote this quite a while ago, but I was googling for some support out there whilst in the depths of month five with our third child. And it was good to read so I just wanted to say thank you. And your post about kids in the library felt so relatable to me as well, I also have a girl full of learning and interest and a little boy who just doesn’t stop and now a baby too. All by choice and I wouldn’t change it but it’s tough and your blogs are a good reminder that it is just a phase and that it’s all worth it.
Thanks Faye. You are exactly write I write about this stuff, because I know I’m not alone and it’s helpful to connect to other moms in the thick of it. Thank you for commenting and stopping by an I’m really glad I could be relatable. And kudos to you with three! You’ll get through this time. It’s crazy, but yes as you said, so worth it too. 🙂
I have a 3 year old, 2 year old, and one year old. Its. No. Joke. Hard. So rewarding. But really really draining and mentally and emotionally taxing. Its hard to keep cool when 3 atomic bombs are going off in different areas of the house! Sleep regressions and teething and potty training and binky/bottle weaning and preschool and outside time and meals and cleaning. And somehow include yourself in there too. Not mention the husbands needs. Wouldnt change it, but won’t deny sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have done things a little more spaced out…
Thank you. This is so real. I’m in month four with my third and really feeling alone, exhausted, and so very different from all my two or one kid friends. I love most minutes of the day when I’m focused on my kids, but when I have to step back and think about something external to our pod I realize how much I’m missing in the world. It feels so alarming to not have time to remain informed or present with everything else. I know that this will pass and shift, but in this moment it really helped to read your post and be reminded that I’m not doing it wrong, this is just a busy and crazy time.