This one is coming straight to you from this Mama’s loved up, bursting with joy, also sleep deprived and tolerance tested heart. It’s an opinion piece as requested by my Instagram followers, so please remember that the words here are my opinion and my experience alone. Your might be the same, it might be totally different.
Everyone wants to know the answer right? I did too.
So, everyone wants to know ‘What is it really like to be a Mother to three children?’ This is a question I have been asked, quite literally, since the day Rosie was born. It is a question that is, most often, asked by parents thinking of making the leap to three children themselves. They want to know if they can do it. They want to know if they truly want to do it. I was once one of those parents.
In September 2019 I asked the the same question in a question box on my Instagram stories. I asked ‘What is it really like going from two to three children?’ Two weeks later I was (intentionally) pregnant with Rosie. I’m not going to give my Instagram following full credit for Rosie’s conception, (because we all know there is a bit more to it then that.) Though, hearing peoples stories certainly cemented the aching desire my heart already felt, and gave me the confidence that I could to thrive as a Mother to one more child, as best I can!
You see, my heart really did ache for this baby. It is difficult for me to put it into words, but I had an uncontrollable feeling that I had to have her. I could not shake it and I could not imagine what it would be like never to have her. I am sorry if that sounds like I was ungrateful for my other two, bit it was simply how I felt. The feeling started a few months after Chloe was born. I would have been happy with a boy or girl, but I had a strong feeling that another girl was missing and that her name might even be Rosie. Put simply I knew for sure that I knew I wasn’t done.
Even though I wanted three children, my husband and I had never agreed to more then two. As the years went by I felt more and more unsettled that I might not hold my third baby. It got to the point that I would get very emotional about it, I would cry and as I said before my whole body felt like it was physically aching for her.
So, why am I telling you how much I wanted a third baby? You want me to get to the nitty gritty, right?! Well, I want you to understand just how deep the desire for this baby was, because I believe that how much I wanted a baby directly impacted how I coped when she was born, and my whole attitude towards parenting three children. If you are one of my Instagram followers you might remember that when Rosie was born I rarely, if not ever, complained about the hard days. I made a conscious choice that I was not going to complain about my baby, or life with three children, because it was what I had always wanted. Don’t get me wrong there were hard days and there were tears, but I always chose to smile as the chaos of life. My positive outlook even on the difficult days was a mindset choice.
There are many areas of your life that need to be considered.
To the parents thinking of adding to their family I would say to have a think about how strong their desire is to have another baby. Not just a baby but another person in their lives, forever. Also think about how stretched they feel in their lives, do they have the space for another? Is their relationship strong enough and in a good place that adding another layer to life won’t test it. Think about whether you as a person are in a place where you feel happy to sacrifice some of the current areas of your life to make way for new beginnings. Can you cope financially? If you decide to you don’t feel like now is the right time it doesn’t have to mean that you will never have another baby again. You can always revisit the question 6, 12, 24 months down the track. I do think it is something to think about, because I know personally I wanted to make sure that another baby left only a positive impact on our lives. I didn’t want it to put a strain on my marriage or my family. Sounds so serious right but it was never just my life that wold be impacted, and I felt it was important to think about the whole family.
It really has been such a gift.
Moving from two to three children has been my life’s greatest blessing and I am grateful ever day that we did it, because I wanted this life so much. It isn’t always easy. Some days are really hard. Sometimes I feel guilty and like my time with each child is spread too thin. There are days where I look at my friends who have one child with a hint of jealously, for all the time and attention that they can devote to their little person. Not because I want to only have one but because I want to give all three of them everything I can. If I could I would split myself into three and they could each have all of my attention.
Transitioning to life from two to three children was the easiest of all of our leaps. Perhaps it was because we were already experienced parents. Or maybe because our age gaps were bigger this time (19 months between first to middle, and 3.5 years between middle to third.) I do also think that it was so much easier for me because Rosie was born while Ari and Chloe were in kindy, rather then school. There is so much more flexibility to revolve around a babies routine before school starts, and a lot less pressure on the parents. Honestly I am so glad I had Rosie before Ari started school.
We found that Rosie has just slotted into our lives so well. We call her our unicorn baby because she has been the easiest as a baby, and slept through from a young age. I was able to maintain the same routine I did with the elder children, but am also more relaxed and flexible now. She has the benefit of being the daughter of an experienced Mama.
There were some changes that needed to be made.
There were definite changes that needed to be made to our lives. We tried to keep our car, but ended up getting a bigger one when Rosie was three months old. We built robes into our study and I lost my dedicated workspace. Holidays seem to be pretty much the same so far, other then we are restricted to some of the things we do because we have a baby. Like all going on roller coaster together, or needing to accommodate an overtired young one. Really minor things that don’t compare to having her in our lives to be honest. Our accommodation has changed with the more children we have. I used to refuse to share a hotel room with my kids, but now I am just grateful to be in a hotel where I don’t have to make my bed everyday! Bedtime is interesting, and we have had to get the older children to be more independent. They used to love falling asleep with us in their rooms, but if you do that for each of the three children you don’t get any night for yourself so we have pushed to break that habit recently.
The children handled it better then I could ever have imagined.
The transition for Ari and Chloe seemed easy. Ari wasn’t interested for the first 24 hours but by day two was a devoted big brother and has been ever since. One of the things that amazed me the most was how willing both were to expect a new baby into our family. Someone they had never met beforehand and they just took her in like she was always there. There has never been a hint of jealousy or ill feelings. In fact they helped me so much, from getting nappies, to putting in the dummy, and now entertaining Rosie while I make dinner. The best part is that they want to help because they want her to be happy! For Ari it was a big lesson in thinking about someone else’s needs above his own and he blew me away. They had to learn to be more independent but took it on with understanding. I am very careful to explain things slowly and in depth to them, so they get that if I can’t do something, or I am late to school because the baby was upset they understand. I feel like we are more aware of each other and taking care of our family since Rosie was born. You truly understand that each child and each baby is different, despite the same parents and upbringing.
Having three children is crazy and loud but I love it. The fight for volume and sometimes I have to tell them to stop talking just to have a moment of silence. There is just so many of them! simply because there are so many of them.
Rosie is honestly so chilled out. We call her our ‘cool cucumber.’ She just knows her spot in the family and is so content to be with us. Rosie gets an abundance of attention from four people who adore her. I often wonder if the novelty will ever rub off and what she is going to think if it does.
The effect on our marriage.
There is no doubt that a newborn baby allows you less time for your other half. I think that it is best for both parties to understand that and know that the time together will come back once the dust settled. In my experience Ryan did more for Ari and Chloe in the early days, whereas I was always with Rosie. Then as she has gotten older the five or us have come together and she is more involved in all of the things like meals at the dinner table and bedtime. Ryan and I have manged to start having date nights again and even some nights away from all of the children. You really need to put in the effort to prioritize your partner when you have some many peoples needs to met. I used to also feel ‘touched out’ sometimes and like being alone int he evening. I find the more effort I put into affection for more I crave it. My love and admiration for my husband has also grown stronger with every child we have had. I am so thankful for the way he cares for us and how hard it works to give us beautiful lives. He works long hours and has a busy schedule, but when he is inside with us he is a hands on Daddy who is always making our children laugh.
I have had to be kinder to myself then ever before.
I have learnt to be more realistic of myself and the things that I can get done in one day. I feel more balanced, more relaxed. I put less expectations on myself even though it might not come across like that. Motherhood softens you in the most beautiful way, and with each baby I feel I get more and more mushy. I try to live confidently in the fact that I am literally doing the best that I can for them. Don’t get me wrong I still feel guilty about the fact tat I haven’t even started writing in her beautiful baby book yet, but you know what I have time!
My life has become more and more about the children with each one I had, and I am more then ok with that. You do learn to give up on somethings like sleep. The more children I have had the less I have cared about how much sleep I get. Sleep is overrated anyway right? I have also had to put aside some of the things I love to do myself, but fight for the things that mean something to me. I do really try to make some time for myself. I have also learnt to be very purposeful with my time, especially when the baby is sleeping. There isn’t a lot of wasted or even time with space in it right now, but that will come down the track.
So what is my answer?
So when people ask me what is it like to go from two to three children my answer is ‘you just do it.’ With each new milestone, each new life change, each new challenge, as a parent you learn to step up to it. There are so many changes that have happened in my nearly six years of parenting, and there are endless changes to come. Every year feels like we are living a different life to the one before it. You learn and you grow, you get better at it every week. Things feel uneasy and new then a month later they feel like second nature. I think it you want it, you can do it. I have never felt more content and fuller in my life, like this feeling of peace in a crazy busy world.
One of the biggest things I have learnt as a Mother to three is that my capacity for love is limitless. I have a never ending bucket of love for my babies. The saying ‘you will never regret the babies you had only the ones you didn’t’ definitely rings true here. I am head over heels for the life and wouldn’t choose anyone or anything else.
Lots of love,