One of — if not the most — commonly asked questions I receive is: ‘What is it like having three small kids?’ Similarly, I’ll often have people ask me, ‘Is two kids easier than three?’ and, ‘If you had your time over, would you have had them all so close?’
These questions usually come from people who may be sitting on the fence themselves, trying to decide whether or not to take the parenting plunge of having multiple kids close in age.
It’s as if they are looking to me for a glowing report, hoping for the default picture frame image of never-ending rainbows and butterfly kisses. Instead, I reply the only way I know how, with a pros and cons list!
Pros and cons of having 3 kids under 4
⋆ You always have one (if not all THREE of them) that wants to hug you, use you as a human lounge, sleep on your chest or hold your hand.
⋆ It’s only really five years where you’ll feel like your head has been in a blender, you have PTSD from the Mazda you birthed drug-free, and you don’t sleep longer than four hours a night. Five years in the grand scheme of your life isn’t bad and you’ll always have botox.
⋆ They become a small little gang that looks out for each other. They become more social and when you can’t be fucked getting out of your pyjamas for a day, you have built-in friends. Charli, Bobby and Kobe actually play so nicely and keep each other entertained. They also punch on, try scalp each other and trash each other’s room daily but such is sibling love.
⋆ Hand me downs. With either one or two children, you won’t have to buy a single thing for the rest. If they are born on alternative seasons, just size up and roll sleeves.
⋆ You can run a tight ship like a prison officer and instead of articulating things, just shout one-worded orders at them, for example: “DINNER”, “OI”, “BATH”, “NO”, “TEETH”, “YOU”, “BED” — and they fall into line because they don’t know any different.
⋆ Because they are so close in age, they learn more from each other than they do you. Charli basically taught bobby how to talk and Bobby (eventually) will be toilet training Kobe!
⋆ Your heart expands with each kid, you might develop a nervous twitch and become a full-time enjoyer of an alcoholic beverage but NOTHING on earth will sound better than your child whispering “I love you Mum” in your ear.
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⋆ The mess is something you will NEVER be able to get on top of. Ever. Unless you plan on being in a de facto relationship with your Dyson, broom and a packet of wet wipes for 10 years.
⋆ Everyone is competing to be heard and the noise level is constantly at ‘yelling loud noises’ for five years.
⋆ Bedtime is equal parts a marathon, a crisis and a fucking joke. Three different kids, three different ages/needs, three different bedtimes — and everyone wants to be held and sung lullabies. But while you are putting one to bed the other is streaking up the street having ganged up with his sister and worked out the front door deadbolt. At one point, you end up quartering a melatonin gummy to knock them the hell out and wonder how you got here.
⋆ You’re outnumbered and they know it. Whether you are partnered or doing it on your own, there are always more kids than you can carry. They strike while you are vulnerable with surprise poos and supermarket disappearing acts. It’s the most terrifying in airports, Woolworths, cinemas, Westfields, non-gated playgrounds and basically anywhere outside your own home.
⋆ You constantly have three balls up in the air and have no idea which one to catch first. Kobe is teething like wolverine, Bobby has answered the door nude to a courier and Charli is hyperventilating because her Polly Pocket has moved. Your life is a constant exercise in determining degrees of urgency and life-threatening situations.
⋆ You have to poo with two small people on your lap while the third slam the toilet lid into your head repeatedly.
⋆ There are more sleep regressions than there are ants in the world.
So to summarise, it’s really up to you, your level of patience, and what you think you can handle. Children are the greatest gift on earth, but they don’t come with a handbook and they require a lot of love and sacrifice.
Your child’s individual personality will also play a part because you can parent the exact same way and get three completely different children. Trust me, I know because I have three completely different kids.
In my opinion, three has DEFINITELY been harder than two. It’s like having Internet Explorer up with 19 tabs open, eight of which are frozen, there’s a shit smell and you have no idea where the music is coming from, but in the same breath, they are my world, my house feels like a home with them in it, and there is never a dull moment.