Having 3 Kids Is Kinda Insane, But Also…The Best

Over the past 8 months I’ve read a few parenting blog posts and articles implying that having three kids is the worst. I’m happy I’m just reading them now and not when I was pregnant (or sooner!). So, I decided to write this post. To anyone out there wondering (and I know you are out there)… should I have a third? Despite the negative press, my answer would be a resounding YES.

When I was pregnant with Livie, I swore to everyone that we wouldn’t be having more kids. Ha! I declared that two would be enough and that I would be DONE. I told people to convince me, when I started talking about having a third (because I know myself), that I wanted to get a puppy instead. There’s just one thing… I’m not a dog person. I’m a baby person.

Around the time Livie turned 2, baby fever hit (see Pinterest board aptly name Baby Fever)… but there was a lot of stuff going on, so I knew I was going to have to wait. Then we waivered back and forth, well, I waivered. Dan wasn’t for or against. He was fine with another little person in our home, but was also happy with the two we already had. I was fine too, but definitely felt like our family wasn’t complete. I thought to myself, “Would I regret NOT having another baby?” That answer was always yes. So, there was my answer. It just took a loooong time to get there.

But like I said – there was a lot going on. First, I wanted to run a marathon, then both of my brothers were getting married (and I didn’t want to be pregnant at their weddings). I was simultaneously patient and impatient. I knew I wanted to have a bigger age gap, but I was also worried that the age gap would be TOO big. Was 7 years between the oldest and the youngest TOO much? Then I started thinking a third would be crazy. My husband just thought I WAS crazy (there’s probably some truth in that). Finally after the races and weddings were over we just decided to see what happened. It was probably the cutest choice we ever made.

Back to real life today... I miss snuggling this guy.

I had a million fears going into having a third. Was I rocking the boat? I thought it would take me a long time to get pregnant (umm, nope). I worried about miscarriage and birth defects (I am thankful every day that I did not experience either), especially as I got close to “advanced maternal age” (35 y’all). I worried that I would have to have a c-section or that something would go wrong during the birth. I worried that I would have a colicky baby or a baby that refused to breastfeed. I worried a lot, because as a mother that’s what you do (even when everything is going smoothly – actually, ESPECIALLY when it’s going smoothly). I also worried that being a mom to three would be harder than hard. Cry in the pillow, regret my decision hard. And while it’s been challenging, like REALLY REALLY challenging,  it’s been easier than I expected, too. Sometimes.

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Adding a third child to my family was nothing like adding a first. Not that Braeden was difficult. No, I was difficult, and selfish. I had freedoms I didn’t know I would miss. I heard that phrase — you know the one — “Your life is going to change!” so many times before B was born that I wanted to smack people who said it to me. I thought I knew how much it would. But I was wrong. So, so wrong. My life did not change as much this time around. My heart grew a little more. I pay more for daycare. I sleep a little less. I don’t feel as much pressure to put on makeup or do my hair. But it’s felt nothing like that first year with my first baby.

Now, I’m not going to lie and pretend it’s not pure craziness. You would probably go insane in my house. The kids compete for my attention. The kids do WEIRD things for my attention. I make crazy baby noises to make Evan laugh. I make crazy noises to get my kids to stop talking. I sing (and scream) at the top of my lungs. There is never an easy moment in the mornings… or ever. It takes a lot of effort to leave the house. Hell, it takes a lot of effort to do anything.

But, our house is full of constant joy and love. Maybe it’s because I have two older kids, versus two that are close in age — but they absolutely adore THEIR baby. They might be jealous that he gets a lot of attention for being adorable, but they don’t take it out on him. They don’t fight over toys, they fight over holding him. They demand to give him kisses and hugs every chance they get and they will do anything to make him laugh. And is there anything better than watching your children giddy about each other?

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Sure, I have more grey hair than ever before, I sleep less, I yell more, and I really have to FIGHT to make it anywhere on time, but damn if it’s not worth it.

I also finally feel like my family is complete. I worried that I would never feel that way. That I would crave more because, I mean… babies. But no. Nobody is missing. We are all here. Evan is truly the frosting on my cupcake. He is the sweet, sugary goodness that my family didn’t know that we were missing.

So, if you’re like me and deep down you WANT three kids and you’re questioning your sanity — I’ll be the first to tell you it will be insane. It will be more insane than you can ever imagine. People will tell you you’re insane and will also ask you “How do you do it?” and you will look at them like you’re a zombie and just stare– because that question is seriously annoying.  But there will be fleeting moments where it will also be everything you ever imagined and more.

And that’s when you realize that you can’t imagine living your life any other way. And it’s truly the best.

FamilyComplete
For the record, I AM done having kids but, please just let me know if you have a baby so I can come over and snuggle with it. Okay? Thanks.

Comments

    • says

      I can TOTALLY see with you three! I think the key (for me) is the age gap. I know I would be a lot more frazzled and probably certifiable if I had 3 kids under 5 (like my mom did). Thereare some personality conflicts sometimes because they ARE older (the ‘tude on my 7 year old can be outrageous sometimes), but they get why they have to be patient or why Evan is getting more attention.

  1. says

    I kinda wanted a third, but my husband’s desire to NOT have a third was stronger than my lukewarm “Yeah, maybe” so here we are with 2 :) I still haven’t gotten to sleep since the baby was born, so it’s probably for the best haha
    Kara recently posted..Logic has no place here

    • says

      Lol. Yeah – it’s probably for the best. And having your husband on board is SO important (not just for the obvious reason that you can’t get pregnant by yourself). I probably should have mentioned that, huh? There’s no way in hell if I could have had a third without his blessing!

  2. says

    Love this, Michelle. I’m done with one, despite pressure to have a second. Every family is different and is complete at different stages – no kids, 3 kids, 2 kids, 1 kid. Glad we both have completed our families. :)

    • says

      I so agree that everyone is different. Boo to everyone pressuring you to have a second (especially when your first isn’t even a year old!!). Thankfully, you know what’s best for your family!

  3. says

    That’s awesome! I’m so glad you completed your family and went for that third. We are on the fence about having children at all, and we’d have to adopt (not that it’s a problem for us), so we’re just living life and seeing if in a few years we want to take that plunge. This year is my first marathon-that’s all the baby I need for now!
    Laura@fitfreshnfunny recently posted..Try This Thursday!

    • says

      I think it’s awesome that you’re living life! I do wish we had traveled more and gone on more “adventures” before we had kids. Instead we took our money and bought a house. Not sure it was worth it after the real estate crash — but live and learn, right?? Marathon training is definitely a baby of it’s own. Good luck!!

  4. Theresa says

    This is such a beautiful post! I am definitely already wondering if we should have another – and this post might be just what I need to keep the door open on Baby Schroder #2!

    P.S. You really do have adorable kids! The pic of the three of them is heartwarming!

    • says

      Awww thank you! They are pretty cute – even when they are sassing me.

      I say don’t close the door and see how you feel in a year or two, but I say that because AJ is SO adorable. I always knew we would definitely have two – I think I said so immediately after B was born. The third was definitely more of a leap, but obviously one that I now can’t imagine not taking.

  5. says

    I love this. We definitely want a second child, and probably a third (Lord willing, of course). We’re both from families of four, and that just seems too big for us (especially considering that we’re not ridiculously wealthy). Anyways, it’s encouraging to read honest posts about family life! Your kids are ridiculously cute :) I’ll definitely let you come snuggle our future babies!
    Holly @ The Cooper Family recently posted..26 and Christmas

    • says

      Thank you! I have a few friends who just had their 4th babies and I see the appeal (mostly because I see the snuggly newborn pictures and melt), but I agree – it seems too big for us. I have actually read that it’s easier though. Somehow. Lol. Too funny that you guys are BOTH from a family of 4!

  6. says

    A friend of mine has three that are about the same age difference as your kiddos. Granted, their 3rd was a giant shock – but I think the best thing that could happen to their family. The older girls LOVE their baby sister and my friend is embracing this babyhood differently – she’s older, she’s done it before (twice) — and she’s relishing it all. The baby is like the perfect exclamation point for their little family.

    I feel like I read a lot about 3 just being totally awesome.
    Erin recently posted..2013 Year in Review

    • says

      Oh that’s good to hear! I feel like the only thing I read is negative. If anything, it helped me set low expectations!!

      I feel like I’m embracing E’s babyhood differently too. For example, he is wide awake right now and is supposed to be asleep. Hee. It’s so easy to get caught up doing the “right” thing as a parent and with feel like with E I can enjoy being a parent. Maybe it’s because I’m older, or maybe it’s because I can see how kids are more resilient than I thought. Whatever the reason, it’s much more fun to just go with it!

  7. says

    I love, love, love this! I have a ways to go before getting to my third (if we ever do), but I have thought a lot about how many kids we want to have. Before Hunter came along, I always said four, but then I learned even more how Type A I am as I become a mom, and now I’m wondering if I would end up being one of those crazy, stress-case moms if I had 3-4 kids. BUT I kind of love the idea of a bigger family, and my husband wants four (he’s adament about not having an “odd” number), so we’ll see. At this point, I just say “one at a time”! :)
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..01/02/14: Thursday Thoughts

    • says

      My mom actually told me to have 4 to “even things out.” I told her she was crazy. Lol. I’m one of three and I think that’s what driven my desire to have more than 2.

      I do think the more kids I’ve had, the less “Type A” I’ve become. I feel like B is a much more intense and precise kid because that’s how I was with him (pretty much until Livie was born). Once I added a second it became more about keeping them happy and fed – and engaged. It’s also one of those trial by fire things, which is especially important since each kid definitely has their own little personality to contend with!!

      I do think one at a time is the best approach! {Flash forward to 2026 and Ashley has 6 kids…Lol, kidding!}

  8. Nicole C says

    Thanks SOOO much for posting this. I read one if these super negative posts earlier today because my cousin with three posted it, and I started feeling discouraged. Granted I’m not quite done baking #2 yet (3 more weeks!) but B and I have always discussed having three, of course contingent on my heart being ok. Part of the reason we were excited to have another boy was that it gave us a good “excuse” to have a third even though we’re fairly certain we will end up with three boys (kind of my dream, actually – I love boys! – even though a girl would be really fun too). B is such a great dad and really wants to have a third if we can. I’ll be 37-38 by that time, so it’s a little nuts and may not work out, but do great to hear that it doesn’t “ruin your life” or tske away all your free time as my cousin put it. Anyway, thanks for a great, positive perspective. I’ll be calling you if & when we get there!

    • says

      I really think some of the angst from that post in particular (I saw that your cousin posted it!) is that she (and your cousin) had 3 very close in age. Your spacing is more like mine and it really IS easier when the kids have some sense of what’s going on. Seeing them interact is just the best – as you will shortly discover. Even though I’ve said the words, “Don’t touch his face” more times than I can now count.

      I can’t believe you are due in just 3 weeks! Didn’t I JUST see you (when you were all of 16 weeks along) — crazy. I’m wishing you, B, and T the best. I can’t wait to hear the GREAT news!

  9. says

    Love this post. I came from a family of 4 girls, so it was a bit crazy growing up, but now it’s amazing! I don’t know we if could do 4, but right now i’d like 3 since 2 seems too small to me. It’s nice to read a real perspective that shows both sides! I think you’re right too about the age gap. My SIL has 3 kids 4 & under, so see that has been interesting, but I know i’d like more of a gap between my kids. I hate already telling people I want 3 kids because they always say oh well wait until you have 1, and see if you still think that, which may be true, but coming from a big family, I don’t see me wanting a small family! Anyway, thanks for sharing!
    Julie recently posted..The Week of Christmas.

    • says

      I come from 3 myself and I cannot imagine NOT having the dynamic of a third. Two was perfectly fine and we would have been content if there was a reason we COULDN’T have had a third, but I figure that my kids are the ones who are going to be taking care of me when I’m old and nutty… so the more, the merrier!

      We always said one at a time too because it’s not the norm to have more than two these days. I definitely got a lot of “Did you plan this pregnancy?” a lot last year. Such a weird question to answer.

  10. Susi says

    Yes, yes and yes!!! I so totally agree with all of this… I have three of my own and there is a bit of an age difference between the older two and my last but I love it and I’m glad we had three!!! :)
    Susi recently posted..Happy New Year to all

    • says

      I love hearing positive comments from parents of 3 (or more!). I feel so lucky to have these 3 — very different — little people in my life. I wonder if the age difference helps coping with the craziness factor? It’s nuts, but not out of control. And I feel like my kids always have a buddy.

    • says

      Awww – you’re exactly WHY I decided to have a third!

      I can’t imagine my life without him now. Crazy that he’s only been in it for the past 7 months!

  11. says

    This post is seriously so cute. I come from a family of 3 and my husband comes from a family of 4. We only have 1 right now, but I feel like we are just getting started. I see a family with 4 kids sometimes and it just looks like utter chaos. but then, that’s what being a family is… Sweet, loving, wonderful chaos. And if you have someone you don’t mind riding the roller coaster with, why not add a few more passengers?!… And you are so right about the whole “life changing” thing. Yes I know it will change, stop telling me about it!
    Kelly @ Running Kellometers recently posted..2013 in Review

  12. says

    Thank you for writing this! I love how honest, hilarious & transparent you are. It has taken me 3 months, but I’m finally saying I want to do this whole baby thing again…not for a little while though…I want to enjoy Atlas for now, but I definitely want another one eventually! And 3 sounds like crazy, hectic, chaotic fun!
    Ashley@CupcakesnCrunches recently posted..3 Months Postpartum

  13. says

    Thanks for putting it out there. I’m so happy that you’re so happy!! Honestly, I can’t imagine having even two right now, but hubby says baby fever will come… plus he wants a second.
    Tiff recently posted..Popping In

  14. Jess says

    Thank you for posting this! We are on the fence about a 3rd and it is so hard to know! Great to see a working mom with a positive story say this!

    • says

      It is really SUCH a tough decision, but worth it. Even the contemplating and waiting was worth it. Obviously you have to do what works for YOUR family. Three is it for me – there’s NO doubt about that, but I am really glad we didn’t stop at two.

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