There have been studies that indicate that three children is the most stressful number of kiddos to have.
Three is no easy feat. As the picture shows, I had my hands very full back when I had only half the number of kids that I have now. As you can see, I’m sitting in my yard, looking happy but a bit tired and maybe like I could use a good meal. That time was a bit of a blur – new baby, a toddler with a broken arm, and a bigger toddler smack dab in the middle of getting an autism diagnosis. Those were trying times.
Despite those trying times, I went on to have three more kids. I guess it goes to show that there’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to having kids. So, what makes a parent think they’re ready to go on and have another baby?
There are so many factors in determining how easy or difficult it will be to add another to the family.
The three biggest factors for me included:
1) How close in age the kids are. Packing them in tight is my preference but it means several consecutive years of diaper changing and night time feeds. Although the years seem to zoom by, trying to get through a day with children after having only a couple hours of sleep can drive a mama towards the edge.
2) Is there a bigger health or developmental issue to be dealt with? Raising babies is tough enough. Imagine having to go to appointment after appointment, sitting in waiting rooms, having your baby poked and prodded, living in fear of what is going on – all this while possibly dragging small siblings along to all of these appointments.
3) What is the child’s personality? I’ve often seen first time parents experience the joy and pleasure of a settled and uncomplicated baby. I’ve seen these babies develop into sensible and fairly unadventurous toddlers. Parents of these children take great pride in their parenting savvy, wondering why all parents don’t have the mad parenting skills they have. Then the most amazing thing happens – they have a second child and are faced with the shocking reality that not all kids are the same. Not all the same strategies and tactics work for each of them the same way. I hope it’s not wrong to say that I get a bit of pleasure watching these parents tumble off their parenting high horses when they realize that some little personalities are more difficult to manage than others.
What helped you decide you were ready for another one? Do you have children with very different personalities, making you have to parent each one very differently?