The third child

When you are considering adding a third child to your family there’s a lot to think about. Will your car fit three bulky car seats across the back? And if so, can you do up the seatbelts without almost losing a hand?

How is the third child going to affect your family dynamics? Is the age gap too big or too small? Will your now-youngest child become the forgotten middle child? Will the eldest try to hurt the baby?

Can you afford three kids? Three mouths to feed, three lots of school fees, three swimming lessons a week, three lots of sports fees and music lessons? Three times the shoes?!

We probably did think about most of those things. And even when the answer was no, we figured the pros out-weighed the cons. The thing we may not have considered was how a third child was going to influence our babysitting options.

Now, I can’t complain; I have wonderful parents and parents-in-law who both live nearby and have always been happy to babysit when we need them. But the prospect of leaving three crazy boys with generous babysitters as opposed to two quite often fills me with guilt.

It was our ten year wedding anniversary on the weekend, and we got away for just over 24 hours. It wasn’t really enough, especially since it has been a year since we’ve had a night away. But it seemed such a big call to leave the three of them for any longer. In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t; the youngest had a gum infection that made him grumpy, and the middlest ended up with a raging fever and vomitted all day.

It seemed so much easier to leave two. When I leave the three of them with anyone, I kind of feel like I’ve dropped a bomb on them and will be back later to clean up the damage. Three is a lot. Three is crazy. It’s fun and filled with lots of love and cuddles, but it truly is crazy.  It’s hard to relinquish the responsibility of that craziness and give it to someone else.

Do you have three? Do you have more? Do you have wonderful babysitters who don’t mind being lumped with all of your kids, or have you come to accept that you will have no social life for the next eighteen years?

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18 thoughts on “The third child

  1. I’ve got four kids very close in age (now 8, 7, 6 and 5) and when hubs and I have time away, I usually split the kids between family members so it’s not to much for anyone person. I hear you with car seat squishy-ness in the back seat, we had all of that till just before our youngest was born and we upgraded to a people mover.

    • Splitting the kids seems to be the best idea really – that way no one gets overwhelmed. And I am so looking forward to the kids outgrowing carseats so we can have a bit more sanity in the back seat!

  2. Oh I so hear you. We split up the kids when we recently went away.
    We are lucky that we too have two sets of amazing grandparents who will look after them whenever we want but I too feel guilty leaving all of them with gp’s.

    • I think we’ll have to start splitting ours up, but it kind of breaks my heart to do that, even though they would probably really love the extra attention. I need to think about waking in the morning without hearing whinging and that might convince me!

      • we only split them up this time bc Henry is still waking in the night and we didn’t want one set to have to deal with that AND then all three during the day on broken sleep.

  3. We have four (aged 5, 4, 2 and 8mths). I very much get the guilts about leaving them all with anybody, so as a consquence we don’t really go out much on our own. Every now and then we sneak a night out if the IL’s folks are in town. My mum is fighting cancer, so we don’t drop them all on her! I do have good friends who have offered, but even though they say it’s OK I still don’t feel quite right about leaving crazy x 4 with anyone LOL

  4. I have two. That’s my limit! I’d have to say I wouldn’t be keen for my brother to drop three kids on me to babysit (luckily he doesn’t have any yet), because I owe him a lot of babysitting! Splitting them between family members/babysitters sounds like a good option.

    • That’s really interesting to think about it from the other person’s perspective. I’m the same – I think I would end up rocking in a corner if someone dropped three extra kids at my door!

  5. I totally relate to the guilt factor of leaving 3 kids with someone. We have only had the three babysat once and it was only for an hour or so to do christmas shopping. Feeding the baby is the hard part! I can’t be bothered expressing and Tiny One is such a good baby, we don’t mind if she’s always with us. Happy to have the other two shipped off to grandparents any day of the week though!

  6. We have never left our kids with anyone over night because it’s just don’t have anyone we could leave them with. Even a night out, we try to leave late and after the little ones are in bed.

    I remember someone once saying babysitting gets a lot harder with anymore that two. People just don’t seem to want to do it.

    • I feel so lucky to have close and willing babysitters. We don’t use them often, but at least we have them. I can’t imagine not having family nearby. It is much easier to go out after bedtime though – and I feel happier knowing my kidlets are safe and tucked up in bed :)

  7. I know my limit is two.

    The stress of three would push me over the edge. The car seats is probably exactly what would do it. Maybe if I started young and had older kids out of seat belts than went back for a third and fourth – but too late. Too old and too cranky for number three.

  8. I’m currently preganant with my third daughter. I’m a single mum but don’t have the support close by to babysit the three if i had the chance. I guess i’m just lucky my eldest two visit their father every fortnight and i try to plan things around that. My mother always said to me she doesn’t mind having the two but doesn’t think she would be able to look after the three :( I find a lot of people are happy to offer but when it comes down to you needing them to help it doesn’t work in with them. Plus sometimes i think i don’t accept other people’s offers as you feel you owe them and i don’t know if i’d be able to handle someone elses kids with my three all at once. lol. I stress about how i’m going to afford this baby etc after i was only meant to have the two and have had to start over again. But i just try to keep focused and keep telling myself it’s all going to be okay and work out. lol.

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