AIBU to ask just how much of a change going from 2 to 3 children is?(96 Posts)
Just that really how much of change was it for you and do you find life with a family of five harder than a family of four? How do you find time for everyone?
I don't know but I'm about to go from 1 to 3!! I figure it can't be as hard as the first time and they'll just man up and be tougher and more flexible. Eventually!
Depends on the ages of the other children? For me it was much harder in some ways that the first time (ie finding time for everyone) but much easier in others (as I was much more confident with a newborn etc). If you can afford it, help at bedtime in early weeks def worth it.
I had DD aged 6.5 and DS aged 4, and it was really hard to go back to the baby stage again esp when DD and DS played together nicely. Its very hard to find time for everyone, still finding that, and DS2 is now almost 3.
People who say it's not that much harder with 3, obviously haven't actually tried it ;) I found it very hard dividing my time between three dc. Maybe I'm just not that flexible. They all seem to demand at the same time. Mealtimes are a nightmare! That said I love my 3 and wouldn't change it. They are 7, 5 and 10 months. I think a larger gap helped, even though the sleepless nights were a killer with 2 other dc to take care of in the day.
I found it far easier going from 2 to 3 than from 1 to 2.
Quite easy at first, as DC3 was a lovely easy baby, but harder once DC3 was on the move and starting to have his own opinions!
Age gaps are 2 years between DC1 and DC2, then 3 years until DC3 which made it easier at first, but sometimes harder now to keep them all happy (they are 7, 5 and 2).
I find that 3 sometimes feels like a lot of children, am in awe of people with more, and am not having any more! But I absolutely love having 3, and the older 2 both adore DC3
I find 3 much easier than two - only down side was having to sell my Mini ...and loosing my husband
I miss the mini more
oh yes mine are 10, 8 and 4
I found it was a lot more extra work than I had expected it to be. I am now really busy. I thought I was before with 2 but now I realise I wasn't really! I do love it though and I'm very happy we had him. I used to think I wanted 4 but now I know I don't!
Oh and mine are 9, 5 and 18 months.
It depends on your current family set up really and on everyone's life stages/development/personality/emotional/financial well-being. It feels like our 3rd child (now 3) has rampaged like an amazing, beautiful, destructive tornado through our previously fairly settled, peaceful family life. She has changed absolutely everything profoundly. But then everything would have changed hugely in those 3 years anyway, I think. Our elder children are now teenagers and one in particular is worrying us a lot. He's unsettled and increasingly getting into quite serious trouble. My partner is struggling with depression. Our parents are getting older and that bit frailer. So thank goodness we had our cheeky little whirlwind to keep us distracted and busy and laughing.
It was a far bigger jump than I ever expected. Mine are 7,6,3yrs. Wouldn't be without my littlest DC for the world but life was most definitely much easier to cope with when we had 2.
There are also practical annoyances with 3 - 3 car seats don't go across a great many 'family' cars, hotel rooms and holiday apartments aren't geared up for letting you have 3 kids with 2 adults etc. not a reason not to have 3 but infinitely annoying.
I would agree that it's the practical things that are the biggest changes. Cars, hotels, restaurant tables, theme park rides etc are all a lot simpler with two kids. Where I live, it is also practically impossible to get a 4 bedroom house with all bedrooms on the same floor for some reason.
Definitely wouldn't be without dc3 though - she is gorgeous and cute, and both the others adore her.
I also found 2-3 easier than 1-2 but had a bigger age gap 2-3 which I think helped a lot.
How do I find time for them all? Well dc1 will tell you that she doesn't get much time with me, as wil dc2. Dc3 is a real attention seeker and dc4 is still at home every afternoon.
I struggle during term time as dh works away but really try to make an effort at weekends and school holidays to do things with just one or 2 dc. So in Feb half term I am taking dc1&2 to London for a night to visit friends and see a show.
It's not perfect or ideal but I do find that making a conscious effort to do something special with the older ones (shopping trip, cinema, making stuff) stops my guilt a little
Similar age gaps here (now 8,6 and 2). I found the first year pretty easy. Boys were helpful and independent. However I would say things have got harder as she's got older - tv choices, places to go that keep all happy. And life is certainly more expensive. However it has also been rather wonderful having a last newborn and a last toddler. I am sure I have taken more enjoyment out of each stage, knowing that it won't last and won't happen in our family again. And definitely no regrets as she has completed our family. Then again on a bad day she is the straw that broke my camel's back!
Think I may have started a thread like this a few years ago. Some people said 'it was easier going from 1 to 2 than 2 to 3', and then others said the complete opposite; 'oh it was much easier going from 2 to 3, the third one just had to fit in'.
One person irl told me she actually found it easier having 3 than 2. Subsequently (when I was talking about how hard we were finding things with 3), she said it was only because she'd given up (and no longer had the same standards once she had the third).
Still, it can't have been that hard, what with me now being pg with dc4... <buries head in sand>
Oh and mine are now 11, 9, 6 and 3 so well past the baby stage
I found and continue to find it hard. Not in getting out and about as i thought i might but in having enough time for each of them, for dh and for myself.
The relationship between dh and i has suffered quite a bit since dc3 arrived.
I was a much better mum to 2 than now i have 3. It saddens me to write that but i know that it is true. I am working on being a better mum.
Also the personalities / behaviour has an.impact too.
Mine are 7, 5 & 2.
i found it a breeze tbh, barely noticed. perhaps i'd also given up by then!
it's the practical things that are hardest eg hotel rooms, cars, and sometimes money eg 3 activities to pay for, 5 holiday flights etc
age gap 17 months then 3 years
It feels like our 3rd child (now 3) has rampaged like an amazing, beautiful, destructive tornado through our previously fairly settled, peaceful family life.
Ha ha ha just read that out to DH. DC3 (only 18 months yet) is definitely a wonderful little tornado !
I found going from 1 to 2 really hard and ended up with PND. I have not had any problems with any other transition (2-3 etc) I have NO idea why I found that particular change any more difficult because in terms on my life at the time it was pretty easy to look at from the outside but I struggled like no ones business. Yet all the other babies have fit in no trouble at all and I have never had PND again.
I would be lying if I said you find the exact same amount of one to one time for 3 as you do for 2 of course you dont but things change and your time is different somehow plus they have more siblings to spend time with so its one for the other really.
My mum said today (unprovoked) that going from 2 to 3 increases the workload by about 25 times...
Just thought I'd share...
The big changes are from 0 to 1, and 2 to 3.
When you have two there is one each to put in the car, etc etc. When you have 3 you are always 'juggling'.
After 3 we had a long gap and debated before a definite decision on no 4 (who is still at Uni now) .... by that time there was a long enough gap for the older two to learn some 'parenting skills' which are now standing them in good stead looking after our 4 DGCs.
I found it a complete doddle going from 2 to 3. My youngest ds was the easiest most placid baby Id ever met!
I found the day to day mummy duties no different really, maybe because my boys ages are pretty well spread out, 13, 10 and 7.
I get annoyed when resturants have loads of 4 seater tables and not many 'big family' tables. Days out get expensive, fair enough theres the standard family of four ticket but why cant companies do a deal so the next child goes half price or reduced full fare?
Thanks for your honesty everyone!
It's a lot more work, and I do feel that DC2 in particular is missing out on attention. I wouldn't change DC3 for he world but I do often think that I'd be doing a better job of the whole parenting lark if we'd stuck at two. I tell myself that it may get easier when they're a bit older, though (nearly 8 / nearly 5 / nearly 2 here).
I was a smug mum of 3nwhen i had newborn ds2, I has 3 under 4 and ds2 was a very easy baby, fitted right in, he's now 2 and a horror! He thinks he can do things the bigger 2 can, he hates leaving the others in the morning at school and preschool and he's into EVERYTHING, nothing is sacred and I have to hide stuff all the time!
Good job he's cute or I'd have sent him back ;)
It is not much harder with three.
The 3rd just has to fit in with everybody else.
Much harder going from 1 to 2
And I had a 4 year old, a 2 year old and newborn... it was fine.
Glad there's someone else with a tornado, cutegorilla!
SminkoPinko - He's a lot of fun, I wouldn't change him for the world but he's been a shock to the system after the other 2!
I found 2 - 3 the hardest of all.
When we only had 2 DC we had one each but when we went to 3 we were outnumbered. 3 - 4 and 4-5 were easier because we had already adjusted to there being more of them than us iyswim. Gaps between are,
1-2 4 and a half years
2-3 19 months
3-4. 15 months
4-5. 13 months
I had 23 months between each of mine and found 1-2 the hardest.
I won't say 2-3 was a doddle (I still lived in a sleep deprived haze) but now with 3 close to gether it is lovely they play together (mostly) nicely.
I love having three . It changes the whole dynamic of the family - it is much, much more lively now. I think it is because there is more competition for adult attention, but also that they have each other to mess around with and have fun with. It feels more than 2+1, if that makes sense.
The first couple of years were very hard work. I didn't have anyone to help at all, and in hindsight, I wish we had paid for a bit of help.
Yes it is harder but they all get on better then they did with just 2 kids. Number three has bought us many laughs and is a constant source of amusement to all.
My third was also the most placid child and very happy.
We only have two and they are 16 and 12 now, but I will never forget what friends of ours jokingly said after they had DC3...
"When we had one child, we wanted two children.
When we had two children, we wanted three children.
When we had three children, we wanted TWO children" !!!
Easiest number of children to cope with is always n-1 (where n is the number of children you actually have).
damnbamboo, maybe your experience is due to the ages of your children rather than in spite of it. My older two were 8&6 when we had DC3 and it really was harder for us. The fact that we went from having 2 very independent kids who were at school (and me back at work f/t) and were now just starting active/adventure type holidays meant that going back to all the newborn stuff and that pre3 high dependence time was very hard, not just on DH and I but on the two older ones. Suddenly, we couldn't just go out to eat on a weeknight at a moments notice or wake up on a weekend and decide to go to the cinema and stuff ourselves with popcorn. It was a big adjustment for us all. He's now 17mths and whilst we love him to bits and I wouldn't be without him now he's here, I can't hand on heart say I'd make the same decision again if I knew what I know now.
I would love a 3rd - DH has finally come round to the idea but when we do start trying(probably next year) there will be quite a big gap as my two are 6 and 7 at the moment!
I found going from 1-2 hard, but there was only 11 months between them!
I think the age gap point is a good one, Winterwalk. It must be really hard having 3 under 5- all very dependent, competing for your limited time and attention, jealousy issues etc- but the upside is that you've got everyone at a broadly similar stage with roughly similar needs/interests if you have only 4 years between eldest and youngest. That's a completely different vibe from 3rd as much younger afterthought.
Whitamakafullo- good luck! Despite having my rose tinted specs forcibly removed by the arrival of no 3 forcing us to tackle puberty and the terrible twos simultaneously, I would absolutely definitely do it all over again.
We ve just had dc3 10 weeks ago. The other DVD are 7 and 5.
On the one hand it's not a huge adjustment as the older ones are more independent and grt on great together.
They absolutely adore the baby and are very helpful. They help with small chores and can sort themselves out with minimum supervision when it comes to having showers, getting dressed etc
On the other hand, I find I have hardly any time for the older children as the baby is so demanding. I feel guilty as I've not been able to read them any stories. Yesterday my 7 year old asked me 3 times if I would play a game of frustration with them and I didn't get round to it Because the baby was having a clingy day. We re definitely playing today.
It's the little things too like if they ask me to draw something for them or make a paper plane, I have to say 'not now' due to the baby's needs quite often.
I'm just hoping that things will get easier as the baby gets older.
We do go out a lot and have had lovely chats and fun whilst walking in the woods with the baby asleep in the sling. I take advantage of any rare daytime naps the baby has to do something with the older boys.
It's all very demanding and tiring. Because of this, relationship with dh is non existent at the moment!
Having said that, there's a lot of love, fun and laughter in this house too and we re all definitely happy that dc3 is a part of the family.
I had two boys, 3 yrs and 20 months when I had number three. It was a complete shock to the system. It's hard to explain why it should be so much harder, but trust me it was.
Dealing with a school child, toddler and new baby was really hard. It does get easier.
The one issue that is always a pain in the neck though,is food. All recipes seem to be for four. All food is packaged in twos. You have to buy three packs of whatever and have one spare. A real pain in the neck. It's even worse when they're teenagers as they come home and say they don't want tea. So then you've wasted a whole pack of two kievs/chops or whatever. IYSWIM.
Having said that, I adore my three boys and wouldn't have it any other way.
Going from 2-3 was a massive change for us. Going from having two lively boys (4 and 2), to having two lively boys and a refluxy colicy baby was hell tbh. Between the three of them I never had a moments peace or time to myself - and I mean that 24 hours a day. She was inconsolable in pain at night, and then the 4 and 2 year old would launch at me after they'd had a nice full nights sleep. At points I used to wish I would get ill, so I could go to hospital for a rest!
Now she is one, and they are 5 and 3 and things are much improved. They ADORE their sister, the eldest is at school and the middle one in nursery and while I still have very little time to be alone, I'm enjoying being a parent again, instead of slogging through the tiredness. One of the most wonderful things I've found about 3 is the nice dynamic that there is always someone to play with. They are close enough in age that they enjoy the same things, and I think we'll really benefit from the small age gap when they are older. (I hope!)
Practical stuff like cars/eating out /family tickets etc is a pain and always will be an issue. Holidays are tricky unless you DIY too.
Holiday wise we can now go anywhere/do anything with our 3 teens but we can't because thats 5 adult air fares (weeps!)...... etc
From a small children POV would recommend a slightly larger age gap- 3.5yrs between the younger 2. Just made everything a bit easier with the 3rd tiny one. THe big ones were at school/nursery. Toileted them selves etc . It didn't matter that there were 2 parents and 3 kids so in theory " not enough" hands to hold crossing the road or load the car , because the nearly 7yr old could be voice controlled even when the youngest was newborn. We also didn't have a 2nd time using a double buggy.
On a day to day basis I have found going from 2 to 3 a doodle, but there is a large age gap between all 3, so the older 2 were quite independent when DC3 was born. They helped me out with the baby then, and they help now as DC3 has ASD and they are fantastic with him. Ages now are 14, 9 and 5.
The main downside is illness. The more kids you have, the more time you spend nursing a poorly one.
The other problem we have, mainly due to the age gap, is finding activities suitable for all.
i'd say that was the idea time to have no 3, you can all enjoy the small one!
Good things though about no3 and a biggish age gap- she wasn't a baby for long and was always running it keep up with siblings. There didn't seem to be a huge gap when planning outings etc they all liked everything. She's still wise and mature beyond her years at 13.
(however it's a slight source of tension with her peers now as a lot are very babyish and babied by their families too)
depends on many things but i found 2-3 hard but found 0-1,1-2 and even 3-4 very easy.mine are all still under 5 too.
I found 2 - 3 pretty easy. 1 - 2 was a terrible shock to the system. There are 2 years between each dc. They get on greatand share the same interests now ( should point out dc1 has sn). No regrets. Once I got passed the first couple of weeks it really was business as usual.
Reading with interest as although I have just unfortunately miscarried dc3, we will be trying again. I'm erring towards the small age gap though, as from reading this it seems smaller is better in the long run. Would people agree? I have slightly less than two years between Dcs 1 and 2, and if we're lucky again soon itd be just over two years between 2 and 3.
Blackholes we found the small age gaps great when they were little but now it is a nightmare with all the hormones flying round.
4 out of my 5 were born within 4 yrs and 1 month.
Blackholes- we stopped at 2 but I think you're right: smaller age gaps are perhaps harder in the short term but better long term. We contemplated going for number 3 and tbh the deciding factor for us was that dd and ds had just got to the stage of being more independent, we could do things like someone mentioned upthread such as wake up on a Saturday and decide to do a family cinema trip, holidays were becoming more adventurous and active and also childcare costs were reducing.
A number of our friends decided to go for number 3 and it certainly seems that those who got on with it quickly and don't have large age gaps have found it easier long term. When we meet up with these families for weekend stuff, it's easy to find things we can all do together.
Conversely, the families we know who had 2 and then a big gap before number 3 said the first year was generally not too bad because it was a bit like having a first baby all over again, but the age gap really shows after that. One family in particular we rarely get to do things with as a whole family any more. Their older 2 are the same age as ours: 12 and 9 and then they have a 2 year old which makes it impossible to do cinema trips with them as a whole family, and even country walks are tricky as our two will tramp for miles now whereas they are curtailed by pushchair or having to carry the toddler.
If we had gone for 3 it would definitely have had to be with a close age gap so we had them all at similar phases.
We have 3. Someone said going 2-3 was no big deal. For some, maybe it wouldn't be but for us it was harder than 0-1 and 1-2. More kids than parents. Had to buy a bigger car. We had to change schools so school fees for 3, not two was expensive (one now at a Grammar school.)
Shoes, some clothes, new car seat and buggy. I thought it would be low expense but it hasn't been.
I wouldn't be without him, especially as we lost his sibling, but it is a bigger deal, for us, than when we had the first.
DamnBamboo - in your case.
damnbamboo, maybe your experience is due to the ages of your children rather than in spite of it. My older two were 8&6 when we had DC3 and it really was harder for us. The fact that we went from having 2 very independent kids who were at school (and me back at work f/t) and were now just starting active/adventure type holidays meant that going back to all the newborn stuff and that pre3 high dependence time was very hard, not just on DH and I but on the two older ones. Suddenly, we couldn't just go out to eat on a weeknight at a moments notice or wake up on a weekend and decide to go to the cinema and stuff ourselves with popcorn. It was a big adjustment for us all. He's now 17mths and whilst we love him to bits and I wouldn't be without him now he's here, I can't hand on heart say I'd make the same decision again if I knew what I know now
Yes winter you may be right. But having said that no family is the same, siblings will often get along differently, if at all, parents will have different lifestyles and expectations etc...
Just out of curiousity, why couldn't you just go out to eat on a weeknight, or one of you just decide to take the kids to the pictures etc? It sounds to me that you are focusing on the inconveniences to your social life, rather than the the benefits of the addition of another child, or indeed the struggles faced by some with many young children. But I accept that I may have that wrong. Personally I can't imagine being bothered about not going to the pictures, swimming etc.. because of my baby (although I would argue that having a baby doesn't preclude participation in any of these activities), but that's just me.
I think age gaps have a lot of influence in how hard/easy it is too.
DC1 was 2 yrs 4 months when DC2 was born and 4 years 3months when DC3 was born.
DC2 was 22 months when DC3 was born.
Sorry justfab I don't get your post to me.
I had to buy a bigger car (was due a new one anyway), new things etc..
3 kids will obviously cost more than two. This should be no surprise, surely?
I'm not sure that that's what the OP is asking anyway? She is talking about the logistics of family and finding time, rather than expense.
And FWIW, I have 4 in total. I've given birth to three of them and my SD has now permanently come to live with us, although we've had her 50% of the time since she was 3 anyway. I found the personal adjustment from 1-2 much harder than 2-3.
Snap justfab your DCs age gaps are the same as mine
Age gaps and the personality of the child seem to make the difference. I found 1-2 a total breeze for the first 8 months or so, but DD2 is a much more stubborn, physical child than DD1, and I can already see that the toddler years will be really hard. And sometimes I get jealous of friends whose youngest is 3+, because they are getting their lives back when I've just given mine up again. A big age gap is easy in that the elder children can do things for themselves, but hard in that you are used to a modicum of freedom. What I find hard about going back to the baby stage is the feeling of never being physically free. Not just 'not being able to go out at night' but never having my hands to myself, never being able to walk from one room to another without dealing with whining. I don't think it's the logistics of 1-2 that's the issue, it's the loss of freedoms so hardly won. So it doesn't surprise me that many of you who are saying 2-3 was awful have a BIG age gap between the youngest two.
I still want three. But I also want my life back. I can't reconcile those things, so I think I'll have the third and hope s/he's easier than the second!
You said it wasn't much harder 2-3 and it was fine. As if that is fact that can't be any different with anyone else. And yes, I thought it wouldn't nbe much more expensive as we already had clothes, cot, pram, etc etc.
She asked about change. Spending more money was a change.
Financially it is harder obviously. Especially as others have mentioned with things like holidays and family tickets which almost always assume 2 kids and two adults.
My eldest is 16 now and my youngest DSS is 5. The age gap really helps because my DD can babysit for the youngest meaning we can have nice nights out. I like having three.
My previous relationship was with a woman also with two kids. Four is much harder than three. For starters you have to have a people carrier and there's no way to squeeze into a normal car. Unless you have a great income you can pretty much forget foreign holidays. And school dinners alone will cost you over £160 per month.
thanks I'd love to start trying right away but for practical reasons I know we can't. My rose tinted specs regarding babies and pregnancy are well and truly on
For me - hideous! Now age 10 5 and 6. First 2 easiest babies ever, no 3 cried all the time as cows milk intolerant
All seems to depend in circumstance
No, I answered the OP questions (me!) and didn't state it as fact at all. Just giving my opinion, clearly that's what the OP is asking for. Many others gave their opinion and said it was harder, what of it?
Don't be so agressive justfab
If you thought an extra child wouldn't cost more... well, I don't know what to say
Oh we could have gone to the cinema just one parent plus two kids; and we did but it's not the same as going out as a family. We don't have any living parents or siblings so no family help for babysitting the little one whilst we nip out with the older two for a couple of hours. He also BF constantly as he had terrible reflux which went on until he was 7mth and could sit up independently. This of course also meant that he was a terrible sleeper which in turn made us cranky and I just felt the older two missed out on so much time as we were always occupied and sleep deprived. He's 17mths now and still doesn't sleep through even though we did all the same calm routine stuff that worked with the other two. The HV said its because he spent the first 7mths in pain (was hospitalised it was so bad) and now it's habit/comfort but I cannot bring myself to do CC so we wait it out for now.
Im hoping things get easier soon although I know outings and holidays are always going to be tricky. I'm never keen on the baby stage anyway. If I could have given birth to 18mth olds I'd have had 10 kids. We have actually considered, ridiculous as it sounds after my posts, considered a 4th simply because we think the dynamics of 2+2 will work better and that DS will benefit from a sibling close in age.
I hope I haven't put anyone off.just sharing a different experience.
We had a slightly different situation in that we went from 0-2 (twins) then 2-3 when the twins were just 4. The 0-2 was like a sucker-punch that we never really recovered from so 2-3 seemed a breeze in comparison, at least the start with. The only real shocker was that the older 2 weren't having daytime naps when DD2 arrived, so whereas I'd previously been able to catch up with housework, cook, clean, sleep
or just put my feet up when the twins were newborn & napping, I couldn't do that. I used naptime to actually concentrate on the twins even though I was like a zombie.
DD2 is now 3 (another tornado), DD1&DS are now 7 and finding time for everyone is hard (homework / stories / watching them in their various extra activities etc). I worry sometimes that my desire for Number 3 compromised the family of 4 that we had. I wouldn't change my family of 5 for the world now that DD2 is here, the 3 children are extremely close, but I do recognise that life would have been easier and we'd be better off financially if we hadn't have had her.
actually they dont have to cost more if you dont want them to.
you only genuinly need a car seat,and some clothes,i know people who dont even use nappies,iin fact you only need a car seat if you drive.
it wouldnt be for me as i love buying baby stuff-mainly clothes-but you dont need all the stuff.i think its mainly food which ends up costing more.
Amber, most people with three end up needing a bigger car. Most cars cannot fit 3 car seats across the back.
Also, with 2 we could easily pick up a package holiday. We have found this far more difficult with 3 as most packages and instead most family rooms/apartments are for a maximum of 2+2.
And of course clothes do need to be factored in if you've had 2 of the same sex then a third who is of the other. Plus if you've had a big enough gap between 1and 2 to be able to use the same cot but then had 2and3 closer together you often need a new cot as no2 isn't quite old enough for a bed yet.
we had two aged 12 and 9 when our youngest came along. The large gap worried me. But the worry over holidays and weekend cinema trips is a bit superficial. Holiday are 2 weeks of the year, if you're lucky enough to get away. And cinema trips are a very occasional thing too. I don't think either holidays or cinema trips should be a deciding factor in having a third baby. There's so much more to it than that.
It also depends on your general outlook. If you're positive and resourceful, you'll be ok. Having 3 definitely changes your family dynamic, but not necessarily in a bad way. We're not a very family friendly country here in the uk, so that doesn't help things. Holidays are 2 weeks away. There are ways around it. Keycamp mobile homes in France cater for larger groups easily and cheaply. Aparthotels cater for bigger families, as do gites and villas. We don't have a massive car with our three either, just a Mazda. You don't need a giant mummy wagon. Our youngest is now a year old and occasionally I ask the eldest two I'd they mind having her around and sharing me with her. They think I'm really silly asking cos they adore their baby sister and think she's the best thing we did!
I found going from 1 to 2 easy peasy. 2 to 3 MUCH harder. In fact, I found going from 3 to 4 a year later much easier than going from 2 to 3.
It's good that you've had a more positive experience Hannah and maybe if mine had been even older, the age yours were, it would have been ok but I just feel that early stages of primary school was when they needed me most and tDC3 has been so sickly and far more exhausting, plus I'm 42 so far more exhausted anyway. Holidays have been a problem for us, both summer and skiing but that is just one aspect. We usually went out 2 or 3 times a month plus to the cinema about the same and it was a lovely family time which I guess I just miss. I don't resent him, it's not his fault, he's a baby and we chose to have him and we love him very much but I do miss the life we had before.
Oh and as yours were older, you would never have needed three large, bulky car seats across the back. Very few cars can take three large isofix type seats across the back.
Havent read all the responses but 2 to 3 (with age gaps of 27 months each time) was way easier than 0 to 1 or 1 to 2. Partly because I had lots more confidence but also because (oddly) it felt as though I had more time....
And yes, #3 (now 2.5) has been a tornado, but also the best thing that happened to our family
Ummm...I don't want to get into a fight but
a) you don't need a bigger car. The govt rules don't force you to buy a new car, but just mean that you need car seats/boosters where possible. My (then 4 yo) dc1 moved into a central booster and the other 2 dcs sat in proper child seats when dc3 arrived.
b) winterwalk I'm sorry you've had a hard time with your ds, but it does sound a bit strange to grumble about not being able to go skiing, for example....plenty of ski resorts do include baby care if thats the most important thing for you - and why can't you get a babysitter if you're desperate to take the older dcs to the cinema?? If you can afford skiing or multiple cinema visits, surely you can afford some childcare?
I found it easier than 0-1 and 1-2 I knew what I was doing and I knew how to juggle needs, but also ds was age 5 so understanding and able to help and dd age2 loves babies and wanted to see all the things we did for her baby sister.
I found 2-3 easier than 1-2. My Dcs are roughly 2 years apart each, and DC3 just slotted in.
We still have the same car (ford focus estate) and can fit all the seats in.
The big difference is it is more expensive in terms of food shopping, clothes, new shoes etc.
I can't comment on package holidays as haven't been on one, but it was no more difficult bundling 3 dcs into the car and driving in Europe than it was with two.
For days out and things like that, lots more places seem to do family tickets that cover 3+ DC now.
Babysitting is fine, it makes no difference. However the afterschool childcare costs when DH and I are working are astronomical!
I am also far more exhausted and spend an awful lot of time trying to get on top of washing, cleaning and general mess. In fact, the washing is horrendous!
I think it really depends on ages gaps, what your DCs are like in terms of personality, what your parenting style is like etc. I have a friend with 5DCs and she makes it look like a breeze and a friend with 2DCs who finds 2 tough.
I agree with what Filly says too, I have felt way more confident with DC3 and am far more laid back. DC3 is slightly nuts but very easy going and a complete delight to have around (so far...she's just hitting the terrible twos). DC1 and 2 get along very well and include DC3 and she is desperate to join in with them.
Now there are all a bit more independent at 2,4 and 5, I am really enjoying having a little gang, especially when they invade our bed for a mass cuddle in the mornings!
Of course skiing isn't the most important thing to me. I am trying to say that because my first two were so much older but not quite old enough to be entirely independent then I found 2to3 the toughest of all. I mentioned the skiing because another poster said holidays were nothing more than 2wks away but actually they were a big part of our lives as a family.
It is also more difficult to be laid back and easygoing if you have no extended family whatsoever. I'm quite sure things would be a little easier if my children had at least one living grandparent.
I found it very difficult to spend time with my older DCs in the evening, feeding them or helping with homework or even just finding 10mins to talk about their day at school as DC3 was permanently attached to me and screaming almost constantly every evening. DH works very long hours and is never in before 7pm so I was on my own every evening and it was quite frankly, awful.
It seems that on this thread it is ok for everyone to give their positive spin (which I'm not doubting is true for them) but not ok for me to say it was not so positive for us. I feel that's a little unfair as I haven't suggested my experience will be everyone's or even that of the majority. It is just my experience. As I have said, I love him to bits and I would most certainly not rather he wasn't here but it wasn't the easy slot in I was led to believe either and I think it's important that the OP hears all sides.
winter - one of our close family friends who has 3 children with a largish gap between 2 and 3 feels very similarly to you. I don't see it as her being overly negative; I admire her honesty in telling it like it is rather than painting an unrealistic picture of it. I think some people are misunderstanding things here and implying that mentioning cinema trips and holidays is superficial, but these are just examples really; I guess the underlying point is that having a child after a significant age gap is going to curtail the freedom that was previously had on a day to day basis. Family trips out are just one example of that.
I see it as a positive thing that my friend is able to speak openly, and I guess we've probably talked about this because we both have 2 older children the same age, and she knows that DH and me considered having a 3rd (albeit a couple of years before she took the plunge and had her 3rd.) She is interested in why DH and me ultimately decided to have just 2, and I am interested in what her life is like with 3.
As I said upthread, we also know other families who have had 3 or even 4 but had them close together and evenly spaced and that seems to be smoother in the long term (though probably harder short term!)
To the OP, I'd also say that whatever you decide will I'm sure feel the 'right' decision, because no one (normally) regrets having a child. As winter says, you love the child unconditionally. She's just being honest that it's not all a bed of roses. Equally, if you decide not to have more children, you're not going to regret that either, because you love the children you have unconditionally and you don't go around regretting imaginary children. We thought about number 3 for a period of a few months, talked about it a lot and eventually decided we are happy as a family of 4. So take heart from the fact that ultimately there is no right or wrong - you're not going to be happier one way or the other - either way you can be completely fulfilled.
Thank you so much, Janey! Yes, they were just examples to highlight how dramatic the change felt to us.
And just to be clear again; I love my baby desperately. It's just that I wanted to explain that a 3rd child doesn't always just slot right in the way many people assured me they would.
yes, I understand that everyone has a different perception.
There's possibly a message being hinted at there though, that anyone with a positive experience is somehow not being realistic or honest. That they're looking through rise tinted glasses.
That's not always true.
And I do find it a bit odd to make a decision about the size of your family based on a holiday you take twice a year for 2-4 weeks, if you're very very fortunate. What about the other 48 weeks of the year?
But yes, it's all down to personal experience and our third baby was our easiest, I've had a very high maintenance baby, number 2, who cried and cried and cried. I was dreading a repeat of that when I was pregnant with our third. And luckily (cos that's all it is, luck) we had a very easy happy baby. That makes a massive difference..
I have 2 DC. DS1 is 3.5 and Ds2 is 1.5.
I always wanted 3 DC. With 2 year age gaps. But I found the combination of being pregnant with a 1.5 year old extremely hard and my second pregnancy was way more exhausting than my first. And what probably didn't help was I was BFing DS1 through out and that was very very uncomfortable. Even after DC2 was born I struggled.
So much so that I haven't had a 3rd so far
Now I feel I have missed the boat a bit as if I was to have DC3 there would be 3 year gap and I'm afraid that that's too much?
No, no hidden message about the positive experiences. It's just that nobody has challenged them or taken issue with them yet my not quite so positive story has been challenged at least 4times. And my initial post didn't even mention holidays just the change that had taken place and how it had affected the spontaneous things we had started doing as a family with slightly older kids.
As I said, I'm sure the ages of the older ones has a huge effect. Had we taken the plunge 2yrs earlier before I'd returned to work and the older 2 started school then it may have been a case of in for a penny etc but in essence, I think we had mentally moved on from the baby/toddler stage and that was an issue. Plus DH working such long hours and having no other family I think plays a part. To top it all of, DC3 has been a very difficult baby due to his severe reflux and he is very, very whingy too (as some babies just are) probably connected but this has all combined to mean that for us, going from 2to3 has been immensely difficult. But he's here and I love him as much as I do the other two.
I DO think that the combination of age gap and child's nature can make the difference into how easily dc3 fits in.
I was lucky in that dc1 was like coming home - she had a lovely nature and even allowing for the rise tinted specs, it all went very easily.
21mths later dc2 arrived and that first year nearly ended in divorce and me walking away from it all.
3.5 yrs later dc3 (planned so dc2 must have become easier ) arrived. Another very content and placid baby who just slipped in with what the rest of us were doing. If dc3 had been anything like dc3, we would not now have dc4 - but she lulled us into a false sense of security
The slightly larger gap meant that dc1 was at full time school and dc2 had started part time nursery. So we HAD to have a degree of routine which although I dislike the principle, did help in the early days. It also meant I could go home and sleep for 2 hours if I'd had a bad night. And I do agree with the poster who says that you stop caring about the little things - dc1 would never have worn the same vest and sleep suit for 48hrs because they looked 'clean enough'!
There's the positive, the negative and the clear-sighted way of looking at things. I see clear-sighted comments here, not negative comments. It's true - holidays are harder to do when you are 5+, if they are all young. I'm not leaving mine in a separate hotel room anyway, and rooms for 5 are hard to find. it doesn't mean there aren't other options, just wasn't something I'd thought about before.
Also, I do have to say, it is not when they are young that you notice the difference. A one-year old doesn't cost much, especially when you have all the basics. A seven year old costs school dinners, school uniform, school shoes etc. Then, if you want to do activities, that's a whole extra whack. Of course, you don't have to, just like you don't have to buy a bigger car, but you would be wise to think about it, and what your priorities are
Op, as my 3 are all now at primary school, my life is mostly very very organised! Activities in all directions, asking other people for lifts and giving lifts in return to activities running at the same time in 2 different places etc. I love it and love having 3, but it's busy!
2 to 3 was definitely the hardest for me (have dd1 (6) and 2 (5) and ds (2.6))
It was a combination of the birth being the hardest, the dds starting primary and preschool at the time that he was born, ds having very bad silent reflux and the realisation that ds had a variety of special needs, when he was about 6 months old.
We haven't found the practicalities that difficult, we bought a second hand car so that we could fit 3 car seats across the back and bought a big tent for camping!
3 little ones was lovely .. it's now they're teens that 3 seems a lot !
Just come back to this and interested to see the turn the discussion took. I do think that age gaps and natures of the individual children will affect how difficult things are. The age gap thing isn't straight forward though. In a lot of ways I'm very happy with the 4ish yr gaps we ended up having both times. Going from 1 - 2 was a breeze for me because 2 was a very easy baby who slept through the night 12 hrs from just a few weeks old and was just very easy going and not demanding. My first had reflux and so had been much harder work so the combination of an easier baby, me knowing what I was doing, and my older one being old enough to be quite independent made it all very easy. In fact easier than having just 1 in many ways because my eldest would entertain the baby for me so I could get on with stuff.
Perhaps that is why going from 2 - 3 was more of a big deal to me? On some level I'd obviously expected a repeat of the experience of going from 1 - 2. A bit more washing but nothing major. The truth was that I got a baby that had worse reflux than the first one. I put myself under huge pressure to BF because #2 has a nut allergy. The baby didn't sleep through until he was 9 months old and is still pretty hit and miss now at 18 months (I've been up a couple of hours in the night over the last 2 nights). And fitting a baby in with an 8 yr old and a 4 yr old is a whole different ball game to fitting in with one 4 yr old. Immediately the baby was born I had to miss out on a production my eldest was in and a big event at pre-school that the middle one was involved with. Then I have to take the baby (now toddler) with me to swimming lessons and hang around for ages as the big two have lessons at different times. My eldest has a hobby that involves hanging around for hours every week in a toddler/small child unfriendly environment. Initially that meant looking after a baby and keeping a small child entertained. Now middle is more easily kept busy with a DS while waiting around which is fortunate because I'm very busy trying to stop the toddler tornado from doing himself serious harm.
I wouldn't change it for anything. I had a very strong feeling that someone was still missing from my life until DC3 arrived that he has definitely filled that gap. He is amazing as all our children are and I couldn't imagine life without him. That doesn't change the fact that it has been really hard work though. I'm sure for some people that number 3 does just slot in, like number 2 did for me, but I don't think it's a safe assumption to make when deciding if going for it is the right thing to do. I just think it's a lucky bonus if that does happen for you!
Also re the expense thing. It's true that babies don't have to cost much but they have a habit of growing into children that do! Even if you don't think extra curricular activities are important (and OMG the way the costs of those stack up is horrifying) they are still going to need to be fed, shod, clothed, schooled and entertained. School dinners for 2 costs me £21 a week. All three needing new shoes (and trainers for the big ones, necessary for school) nearly makes me faint at the cost (even though we can afford it). None of mine seem to be able to wear cheap off the shelf shoes. I can never get them to fit. Then school seems to demand money left right and centre. There are school trips, charity dress down (or up) days, costumes for theme days and plays, Christmas parties and discos and dinners, tickets to performances and so on. It also never ceases to amaze me the amount of food a small skinny boy can put away. BF is free but you can't expect them to live off that until they are 18...
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