I recently asked on Instagram if anyone had any questions regarding life with 3 kids and about age gaps and all that jazz. I got quite a few responses, so I thought I’d share some of them here…
So, let me start out by introducing our family. My husband David and I have been married for 10 years, our firstborn daughter, Hannah, is now 5, she’ll be 6 in July. Our second daughter is Eden, she is 2, turning 3 in August. Then there’s our blessing baby, Ezra, who just turned 1 in March.
Q: Did I always want 3 kids?
So, here’s the honest truth – we never discussed having 3 kids and it wasn’t a part of our plan for our family, I’d written off ever having more kids (after the girls) because I’d never imagined or desired to have more than two. I also struggled with PND after our second, Eden and from a financial standpoint, it just seemed completely unfeasible.
Q: Was the transition from 1-2 or 2-3 easier?
To be honest, this is a tough one to answer, going from one to two was difficult because it was an emotional rollercoaster, I absolutely struggled with the guilt of feeling like I was constantly disappointing one of my babies. Someone always needed me and I often was frustrated and exhausted and shouted and I hated that feeling. From 2 to 3, I definitely expected all of those feelings, so I felt “prepared” (probably a bit too confident, to be honest), but nothing could prepare me for the busyness and the weight of having 3 people to look after. I think with each baby comes a new dynamic to adjust to, so there’s no “easier” transition if I can put it that way.
Q: What age gap would you recommend?
Our age gaps are 3 years and 18 months. For sure, 3 years is WAY easier, in the sense that the older one is able to understand, help and communicate, which is AMAZING. Although I’m now loving the 18 month age gap, a year down the line – it’s really sweet seeing them become friends. I’m not sure I’d like to go through the first 4 months over again though – there’s so much extra anxiety because an 18-month-old doesn’t know how to be gentle, or maybe what a baby even is (IDK) haha! I think it’s one of those things, you kinda just brace yourself and get through it. I think anywhere between a 2 year and 3 year age gap is ideal, that’s just from my experience. (fun fact, I found out I was pregnant when Eden was 10 months old! I was honestly PETRIFIED)
Q: Were you hoping for a boy (3rd baby)?
hmmm… I guess in some ways I really hoped for a boy, because it would be fun to experience having both… but I thought having another girl would be more convenient and “known”… but we’d already sold ALL our baby-baby stuff, so we didn’t even have stuff regardless of the gender. Thankfully we still had a lot of baby clothes, since Eden was so young.
Q: We want 3 kids, is it hard to make sure each child has equal attention?
In short, YES. It’s quite hard to quantify who is getting what in terms of attention, affection, time, encouragement etc. when they’re all at different phases and ages. In the beginning, I found this the hardest and I think it’s definitely caused a lot of anxiety for our middle babe, which is hard to admit as a parent. It is a journey, though and at some points, one may need more attention than the others or have a different need, depending on development or age. I try not to be too hard on myself, but do my best and connect with them all throughout the day, in a way that is special to each of them. I’m also sure that this will morph and change a lot as they grow up.
Q: How the hell do you do it and work?
This is seriously a post on its own. Just to put it into perspective – Last year I had a lot of work, but I had a full-time nanny and I worked a lot of late/early hours, it was exhausting. This year is very different – it’s just me, no nanny. Hannah (was) is at school til lunchtime, Eden was going to school, but we’ve decided to keep her home in the future and Ezra is at home, too… so I don’t really get much done. I currently don’t have much work, so I do what I can when I can, or at night. It’s a serious juggle and I’m really enjoying this time as more of a home mom vs. a working home mom, not that there is much difference, or that one is easier. Also, I’d trade cleaning the house, for pretty much anything!
Q: What is the hardest part of being a mom of 3?
I think it’s a range of things – probably a mixture of having too many people to care for… I don’t think I was ever cut out for or prepared to be a mom of 3, but that’s the beauty of it – God knew. He knew that I would need to rely more on him, be pushed beyond myself. It’s not what I would have chosen, but I am so grateful to have experienced this, I know His faithfulness, His grace, and His provision more than I ever have before. It’s also just FULL ON. It never stops (like parenting in general) there is NO BREAK… but, you get used to it. It’s definitely harder not having family to give us a break, or to babysit because leaving 3 kids with a babysitter might just be a bit too much… haha
Q: Do you feel busier with them than just Hannah? Or do they entertain each other?
This is a great question. I LOVE THIS PHASE NOW. They are honestly having fun together, playing, and enjoying each other. Bonus – I can get Hannah to play with Ezra or keep him entertained and I can shower or do what I need to do (in small increments) but I really think this is the best part about it now, is the growing part. I can see the friendships forming, I love seeing them run outside together (especially the girls). Obviously, there is fighting, but those are small moments in between the fun. Life, in general, is just busier, though. 😀
Q: Do you think you could have a non-flexible job with 3 kids?
Absolutely. I think there would obviously have to be daycare or nannies and school in the mix, but those are all normal, feasible things. I think any choice made by parents is a sacrifice – whether you choose to stay at home OR stay at home and work OR go out to work OR work part-time, there are either family type sacrifices or financial sacrifices. I’ve been through it all! <3
Q: Do you find the gap between Hannah and Ezra keeps them from playing/bonding?
They are almost 5 years apart, which is a fairly large gap. I don’t know if it’s just Hannah’s nature, but she is very sweet and helpful. She cares for him and is quite maternal. She loves playing and helping him, which is so sweet to see. Their bond may change as they’re in different phases of life, but for now, it’s been lovely. I think it also helps that Hannah has a friend in Eden, who is able to keep up with her, otherwise she may be a bit bored.
Q: Is the 18 month age gap manageable?
This is a similar question to the previous one, but I wanted to answer this because I realise a lot of my experience or answers here may come across really negative… that’s because it really was difficult. Parenting by no means is a walk in the park. It is probably the BEST and HARDEST thing I’ve ever experienced. An 18 month age gap absolutely is manageable – If I got through it, anyone can. I think it may also be easier if it’s your first and second, too. The truth is that we have to just survive and make it through. Don’t set your expectations too high, be kind to yourself. You’ll do great!
My biggest advice and lesson that I’ve learnt over having 3 babies, is this:
With each new baby, you are a new mom (or dad) all over again…
You may take with you all that you’ve learnt or gleaned, BUT with a new baby comes new challenges, new learning curves, even you’re different. Parenthood has changed you, time has changed you and so, try to prepare yourself, but be ready to feel like you’re starting from square one, like you don’t know what you’re doing and you’ll be pleasantly suprised.
I hope this is an insight into our rollercoaster year. I also just want to say, that I may put some people off having more than 2 kids, but I’m just keeping it real.