When you are pregnant with the first kid, you read all the parenting books and follow all the advice. The second time around, you give the books a quick review and realize that you don’t have to listen to all the advice. By the third time, you don’t have time to even knock the dust off those parenting books and, even if you did, you wouldn’t read them again because by then, you are a pro at this parenting stuff! You’ve got two kids under your belt and you know the ropes. Heck, now you’re the one giving advice to others!
Then, the third one finally takes up residence outside of your belly and you realize that maybe you weren’t quite as prepared as you thought you were. You bring your little angel home form the hospital and your world is suddenly turned upside down.
I brought my third one home over seven years ago and, since then, I have had to come to grips with some of the realities of being the parent of THREE kids!
- The World Is Designed for Families of Four. Case in point - hotel rooms. If you have a family of four, it’s easy. One room, two beds, done. When you have three kids, you either have to request the roll away cot or get a suite with a sleeper sofa. At restaurants, you will watch several families of four be seated before you because you and your three kids have to wait for the larger corner booth. You can buy a family four pack of tickets to a baseball game or the circus, but not a five pack.
- You can no longer drive a sedan. Whether you like it or not, three kids requires an upgrade to a minivan or SUV. There’s just no way to fit three car seats in the back of even the largest sedan.
- Hand me downs only go so far. By the time your third child is born, chances are the care seat you used for your first and handed down to your second is out of date - or at the very least has so many spit up, poop, and applesauce stains that it’s just too gross to use it again. Toys are worn out and broken after being used by the first two kids. Any clothes that haven’t yet made their way to Goodwill are probably ripped, stained, and faded.
- As the saying goes, once you have three, the parents are officially outnumbered. You will never have enough hands on your own to get a grip on all the kids in the Target parking lot. You can never be beside all of them at the same time. Even if you hold one and your hubs holds one, there will still be another one screaming in the corner.
- You will never be able to make life “fair.” One of them will have to sit the the far back of the minivan. One of them will have to be the one who is NOT beside you. Two of them will agree on a movie or activity and the other will feel ignored.
- Kids are seriously expensive! Of course, three is triple the cost. According to my research, the average college tuition for one year at an in-state public university is $23,410. Multiply that times 4 years and, in my case, 3 children. Do you know how much money that is?!?!?! It's $280,920. If they choose a private school, double it. Ouch!!! Not to mention three times the clothes, the food, and the toilet paper.
- Kids are also really, really loud! One kid can make noise, for sure. Two are even louder. Three? It's like everyone is screaming all the time! Can someone pass me some ear plugs?
- I once heard a saying that, when you add more kids to the family, love is not divided among them; it is multiplied. Whether you have two kids or ten, I think this is true. Sure three kids is triple the money, triple the noise, and triple the “stuff,” but it’s also triple the love, joy, and laughter.