In a few days’ time, Toddler Boy I, my third child, will turn two. I know it’s a cliché to say it, but those two years have really flown by.
It seems like no time at all we were telling Little Miss E she was going to become a big sister again and Little Man O a big brother. And now here we are with a six-year-old, a four-and-a-half-year-old and an about-to-be two-year-old.
As Toddler’s birthday approaches, I’ve been reflecting on my first two years as a mum of three born in just over four years.
Yes, there have been challenging times with having three so close together, but there has been so much love and laughter too. I feel so lucky every day.
I’ve had a few friends recently become parents-of-three, with a few more currently expecting their third. And they often ask me what it’s like. So for them, and anyone else who’s had, or will soon be having, three children born closely together, here’s 24 things I’ve learned in two years of being a mummy of three.
1. Being pregnant when you already have two young children is exhausting! There will be none of the relaxing and indulging of your first pregnancy where people tell you to put your feet up and offer to do everything for you; there also probably won’t be any of the chance-to-sit-down-while-the-toddler-naps of your second pregnancy. You will be on the go constantly.
2. Child number three will live in a world of hand-me-downs. You’ll look wistfully when you see first-time parents with their sparkly new prams and stain-free, non-faded clothing. You’ll relish every new thing your third child owns.
3. You will hear the phrase “oooh, you’ve got your hands full” at least once a day.
4. Random strangers will continually ask if number three was planned. As if your sex life/family planning is any of their business.
5. Random strangers will also feel the need to tell you they couldn’t think of anything worse than having three children and tell you that you are crazy. In front of your children. (Don’t get me started on this one – I wrote about it here.)
6. But despite thinking you are crazy, they’ll still feel the need to ask if you’re going to even things out and have a fourth.
7. You will be a lot more confident in your parenting skills third time around…
8. …however, your third child will throw up issues you’ve not come across before and you’ll feel just as clueless as you did as a first-time mum.
9. You will inwardly roll your eyes when a parent of one tells you they are busy/tired/get no time to themselves.
10. There will be lots of noise. LOTS OF NOISE. The moment when all three are tucked up in bed and sound asleep, you will close your eyes and breathe in that silence.
11. You’ll feel even guiltier than you did with child number two about not being able to take your third child to baby massage/baby signing/baby music classes and dragging them to big kid classes instead.
12. You’ll feel guilty about the lack of one-to-one time you get with each child.
13. The housework and cleaning will go completely to pot.
14. Child three will bypass a lot of baby and toddler toys, preferring to play with big kid toys, much to the horror of your friends who have single children of the same age as your third.
15. Child three will also get certain treats way before their siblings did – chocolate, cake and so on at an age you would never have dreamed of letting your first-born taste such things.
16. There will be so much washing. The machine will be on constantly.
17. You will whoop with excitement when you go on a day trip and a family ticket includes three children, rather than the usual two adults and two children.
18. There will be a lot of birthday parties. A lot! And it will be hard work running around after your younger children while the other parents sit on the sidelines and natter.
19. Deciding what to buy your third child for birthdays and Christmas is really hard. Firstly, you have a house full of toys already and groan at the thought of adding to the clutter. And secondly, what’s the point in buying too much when your third child can take their pick of their bigger siblings’ scooters/bikes/dolls/superheroes.
20. Taking just one or two kids somewhere feels like a breeze. You can’t believe you used to find it difficult.
21. Although on the days when you’re with just one child, you’ll want a big label saying “I have three kids”, just in case another mum of three starts giving you the evils for having it so easy while she’s being run ragged.
22. You’ll laugh at the one-child-you who said it was impossible to get anywhere before 11am due to baby’s feeds, sleeps and nappies. These days, by 11am, you’ve got three kids dressed, given them breakfast, dropped one to school, been to the bank/post office, fed your baby on the go, done your weekly shop with your youngest two in the trolley, and are half way through your pre-school gymnastics session.
23. Some days, life as a parent of three will be incredibly challenging. Your head will hurt from all the noise, you’ll long for just one moment of peace and quiet when nobody wants anything from you.
24. But when you see the three of them playing together, or sat in the back of the car in a little line, or making each other laugh in a way no one else can, your heart will overflow with love and you’ll know you wouldn’t want it any other way.
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