7 Things I Wish I’d Known About Having 3 Kids

All images via Mindi Stavish

I've been a mom of three children for almost seven months now. It's the most rewarding, exhausting, and fun job I will ever have. For me, the transition from 2 to 3 kids was not any more difficult than going from 1 to 2. Now I can't even imagine what life was like without an infant on my hip. Even though adding another member into our family was a smooth transition, there are a few things I wish I would have known before it all went down. Here are the things that suprise me most about having three kids under the age of five.  

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one on one time
Image via Mindi Stavish

1. I treasure one-on-one time with my kids more than I had imagined I would. Individual time with one child is about as rare as a four-leaf clover, so when it comes along, I find yourself smiling more. Then I wonder why I thought being a parent of just one felt so incredibly impossible. Now when I have just one child with me, I feel like you can conquer any parenting challenge that comes your way.   

Image via Mindi Stavish

2. There will always be an endless pile of laundry to wash, fold, or put away. Just when I think the pile has been conquered, the beastly mountain of socks and pants appears out of nowhere. With two kids in cloth diapers, this endless laundry task is multiplied for me.

Image via Mindi Stavish
Image via Mindi Stavish

3. Suddenly, the king-size bed we wisely invested in when we had just one child now seems incredibly small, especially when I'm digging my 2-year-old's foot out of my neck. One morning, I woke up with a very sore and (later) bruised nose and couldn't pinpoint exactly how it happened. Then my husband pointed out that when he went to bed, my second son was sleeping with his feet at my shoulder. It all started to make sense.


Image via Mindi Stavish
Image via Mindi Stavish

4. Quiet means trouble. Every once in a while, the two oldest boys will disappear into the basement or upstairs while I'm tending to the baby or doing chores. Most of the time, I can hear them bickering with one another. It is when they are quiet that I am most concerned. Quiet usually means they are getting into something or making a gigantic mess, as in, “let's pull out every game and puzzle piece and launch it from snow shovels like a slingshot.”

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kids playing
Image via Mindi Stavish

5. It seems that the more children I have, the faster time goes. 2013 was quite possibly the fastest year of my life. The past six months have been a blur, and I'm sure the next six months will go just as quick. Even though sleep-deprived nights seem like they will never end, it won't be long before I'm complaining that my teenage boys sleep all the time and never stop eating. 

three kids
Image via Mindi Stavish

6. It's OK to ask for help when you need it, no matter how many kids you have. Also, if your oldest is old enough for certain responsibilities, do not feel bad about asking for his or her help from time to time. I often find myself telling my two older boys, “I'm only one mommy with two hands. I need you to work on your patience for one more minute.” In these moments, I have to tell myself to stop and take a breath. It will eventually all get done.    

boy sleeping
Image via Mindi Stavish

7. Be prepared to adapt for each personality, because no two kids are the same. This can be tough, even during the baby stage. In terms of sleeping and eating, what worked for my first two boys hasn't worked for my third, even when I think it will. 

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What was the most surprising part of parenting when you made the transition from two to three kids?  


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7 Things I Wish I’d Known About Having 3 Kids

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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  1. Brittany says:

    I have 3 as well 14, 9, and 4…. all are at different schools right now lol 3 drop offs and pick ups ahhh ; ) . Its a lot of work but the house is full of fun and love…and laundry lots and lots of laundry! 3 kids are amazing to watch and grow!

  2. Kristin says:

    I have son who will be 24 in two weeks time, and daughter’s aged 22 and 20. One thing I learned is to let them be themselves. My son hates mowing the grass, while my youngest daughter loves it, so during their teen years she mowed, he cleaned the lounge room. Everybody was happy. And no matter how much your kids fight they will still love each other. My girls are like chalk and cheese…or more like nitro and glycerin,one little bump and the whole house exploded! Now they’ve both left home and are living in different states, they speak often over chat and the phone, and my youngest wants to visit the older one when she has her first bub later this year! For two girls who apparently hated each other when they had to share a room, they are now very close. All I can say is do your best, and prepare for that time when they’ve all gone (I only have my son left at home now, and he’s making plans to leave next year.) The house gets awfully quiet when they leave! And it happens much quicker than you think it will. Enjoy your days with them, make special memories, the housework will still be there when they’re gone.

  3. Suzanne says:

    I have three adult sons, 22, 20, and 19, time does fly one minute they are in the kitchen eating Cheerios, and using them for target practice in toilet to learn to aim in right place, while potty training. The next they are dating and driving and moving out. I can tell you, quiet is ALWAYZ a sign of trouble, agreement between them is also a sign of trouble, although for me, I liked that they were teaming up against me, getting along, I did not like that they were getting into trouble. Double edged sword, I had to pick my battles, do I force my kids to not like each other, or just let, the minor trouble go? I knew I could trust my youngest 100% if it was way out of bounds he would tell me, so I let it be. In the end it was right. But I didn’t sleep for about two years. My oldest is now an over the road truck driver, my middle son a diesel mechanic who graduated with honors, and my youngest graduates high school this year. They all get along really well, they choose to talk every week, and hang out as often as life permits, they also want t o come home, and spend time with their dad and I. They know we set boundaries, and limits,. We always put them first, we argued and fought, and made it through. They came to me after their first times having sex, they did use protection, the sex talks were not talks, we openly talked about everything often. If my son grabbed his penis at the dinner table at two, “xxxx, you don’t play with your penis at the dinner table, that is yours and yours alone, but if you want to play with it, you should be alone, in either your bedroom or the bathroom, and you should not share it until you are in a grown up relationship, and only then with your partner,” four year old responds “like Daddy does and you?” Then two year old tilts his head to the side lets go of his penis and says simply “okay” and resumes eating. Knowing that they are respectful, responsible young men that get along with each other and others is my best reward. ~~~~~I started getting this newsletter in 2006 when I was pregnant with our fourth, I miscarried. Still want another. The registration in order to post comments, I had not realized I’d never registered before.

    • Megan Klay says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Suzanne! And best wishes in conceiving and carrying your fourth.

      I’m so happy to learn you’ve been a member for so long! Quite a bit has changed since 2006, and I hope you enjoy the improvements! 🙂

  4. Tara says:

    Love this. I could have written this myself, except my 3 are girls. My oldest is 6 and homeschooled and since the youngest arrived in March, it’s been quite the adjustment. I was always the type to cook every meal from scratch and my kids rarely had cereal or pop tarts. I’d bake the snacks for my husband’s lunch and the kids snacks. Yeah. Not anymore. I’d rather use that time to get a quick shower or to start digging out from under Mount laundry/cloth diapers. I had an Ergo and Mei Tai for my middle daughter when we’d go shoppingvor hiking. I learned fast with my 3rd that our carriers were not just for outings but a vital part of getting anything accomplished. Btw is that a Little Frog Opal in your picture? I just got an agate and love it.

  5. Amber says:

    Honestly, none of these were shocking nor surprising. I believe any parent that doesn’t have their child sleep in their in own bed, well just doesn’t make sense to me. Loads of laundry or a “dirty” home just means spending time your with children are more important than impressing others. The only worry I have about adding another addition (being baby #3) is the so called “middle child syndrome”. I truly feel too much is being put in to mother hood. I am not writing this by saying I am a ‘perfect” mother because honestly there is no such thing. But, quit worrying so much. Allow your children to makes messes, use puzzle pieces as sling shots, allow them to play cops and robbers or cowboy and Indians. We all grew up these ways and came out alive and perfectly “normal”. Let go and let GOD!!!

  6. Alberta says:

    LOL! I have an almost 12 year old who since the time he was born tended to wake up early (technically the DAY he was born because he arrived at 37 weeks). I kept hearing “he’ll sleep more when he’s….”. I also wish I could keep up with the laundry. I remember being reassured once he was potty trained, I could go back to once a week laundry. HA! “Honey, I have a meeting tomorrow”, “Mommmm, I don’t have a jersey to wear tomorrow”. 😀 On the other hand, 7 is a GREAT age to “help mommy fold laundry” and at almost 12 “you can fold and put all of it away” (You can also teach an almost 46 year old to help a kid get ready for school because you conveniently work from 7-3, muahahahaha).

  7. mommy nhoj says:

    Now I wonder what my mother wish she’d known about having 5 kids 🙂 but yep, asking for help works. I am the eldest in the brood and certainly got responsibilities then. For some reasons, I do love chores involving water 🙂 so that would be laundry and dishes!

  8. Michelle says:

    In my mind, I’m step mom to all 9 of my ex-boyfriends kids and the addition of my “young one” is a feeling so priceless.

  9. Valery says:

    I wish someone had warned me about having 5 children 🙂 laundry is my major problem lol. One on one time is hard but necessary. Thankyou for article.

  10. Megan says:

    Loved this article! I am expecting my third this coming June, and can’t wait for the craziness to get even better. PS- mtg laundry pile and play room already look like yours, I may have to wall off these rooms after the third one arrives to contribute to the mess!!!


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