We’re sitting comfortably in the ‘life with two children’ space but have debated, and often hear friends debate, whether to up our crew with number three. This week I reached out to my lovely friend Lucy, mama extraordinaire, who has done just that with style and grace. Take it away Lucy…
I am a 35 year old, married SAHM to 3 young children; Amelia 6, Ollie 4 and Jack 2. Becoming a mother was something I had longed for from a very young age and it’s although it’s been harder than I thought it’s also been fulfilling beyond my wildest dreams. I am fortunate to have a loving and supportive husband alongside me to help navigate through the rollercoaster ride that is parenthood.
How would you sum up life as a family of five? From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to have a big family. Being the middle of five children myself, I was always keen to give my own children the same experience that I had enjoyed (most of the time!) when growing up in a very busy household. I was lucky enough to fall pregnant very quickly with my first born and was very keen to expand our brood once I’d got the hang of dirty nappies and sleepless nights.
When our second-born, Ollie, came along almost exactly two years later, we faced a big adjustment to family life. I often laughed at my former self for stressing over looking after one child, I wish I had known then how easy I had it. Once again, through good teamwork, my husband and I soon got into the swing of caring for two children and once Ollie turned one, I knew I was ready to try for number three. Convincing my husband (who only had one sister) was a bit of a challenge but once he realised he was fighting a losing battle, he relented and Jack was born just over a year later.
Everyday life is a little crazy for us but I love it. I am thankful that our third was born before our eldest had started school. I was pleased that we had almost a year as a family of five before having to get organised for the daily school run and after school activities. Although, there were obviously a number of occasions when having 3 children under five years took its toll!
What was trickier, the transition from one to two children or from two to three children? Everyone had told me that the biggest adjustment was the jump from one to two children and I would tend to agree. When a second child is born you have to learn to delegate and multi task for fear of being outwitted by the little people! Once number three arrives, they just have to slot into the routine and as you are already catering for the multiple needs of older siblings, adding another into the mix didn’t really seem that much of a deal. (Tell that to my sleep deprived husband just after Jack was born!!!)
If you had it to do over again, would you stick with a similar age gap between the kids? Definitely. Having pretty much exactly 2 years between each child has worked well and we have reaped the benefit of not having gone so far out of the baby stage when the next one has arrived so it hasn’t felt like a massive step backwards with the sleepless nights and dirty nappies! Also there was little room for jealousy from the older sibling as they were still young enough to not really comprehend the effect a new baby would have on their lives. And now they are all close enough in age to enjoy playing with one another and being interested in similar things i.e tv programs, day trips out to Peppa Pig world and imaginary play.
What lifestyle changes came with moving from two children to three children? One of the biggest, and most expensive, impacts to our daily lives would definitely be the vehicle situation. We soon realised that my four door Golf would not be suitable and that very few cars on the market could cater for a young family of five (the main problem being that the rear seat wasn’t wide enough to hold 3 child car seats safely).
Health and safety rules advise that none of the seats can touch each other and neither should they rest on top of the seatbelt clasp when in place as both or either of these scenario’s could prove fatal in the event of an accident. So the hunt was on to find a car that fit this criteria within our budget. We finally settled on a Volvo XC90, 7 seater. It doesn’t however solve the problem when grandparents want to take them all out for the day as they too are faced with the same problem of fitting three child seats into a car. Something to bear in mind for those considering having a third child!
Other things that we noted after having our third was the fact that two children can easily be walked across the road, one in each hand, however, when adding in a third this can be tricky! Activities such as days out and going swimming are an art form too as invariably they will all want to go off in different directions, hence why we have recently booked our summer holiday with the grandparents! Also although you think by this point you would have everything you need, I found this not to be the case with a number of things, for example a rain cover for the travel system car seat (the one that clips into the buggy) important for rainy school runs and a ‘playnest’ that could entertain and ‘protect’ a newborn baby with a two year old and a four year old running about the lounge.
What would you tell people on the fence about going for number three? Go for it! I was once told that you will never regret having another child but you will regret not having one. Yes, life can be crazy and on certain days I long for 7pm to roll around just so that I can have 5 minutes to myself but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. You only need to see the smile on their face or feel their arms around your neck to know that it’s all worthwhile.
Thanks so much Lucy!
Have you gone for three (or more) or are you sitting on the fence about adding another? I’d love to hear your views.
CHAT is a weekly interview series and throwback to my journalism days, where I loved the art of writing questions that evoke interesting, insightful stories. CHAT will run most Mondays on the blog and topics will vary. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in contributing.