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Calling all mothers of 3 or more children

48 replies

Hilary · 28/01/2002 22:34

Just out of interest, what is it like going from having 2 children to having 3? Does anyone think 3 is a particularly good number to have? I've heard that the biggest change is from 1 to 2 and that after that, the change is minimal - is this right? How do 3 play together - does one get left out? What is a good age gap? Does the sex of the children make a difference? Is it true that the middle one always grows up with a complex?
I sometimes think I would like a 3rd (dh is not entirely convinced...) but I want to know the truth of the matter!

OP posts:
tammy · 28/01/2002 22:44

Hi Hilary,

I don't have any personal experience on this one but my sister recently had her third child and says it is all much harder than she thought it would be. All of a sudden everything must be done with military precision or nothing gets done at all. But that said Im sure she wouldn't be without any of her babys.

jasper · 29/01/2002 01:05

Hilary, ask me again in five weeks...

Heard a funny quote the other day.
" going from one child to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo"

Rozzy · 29/01/2002 10:12

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Sid · 29/01/2002 10:17

Ask me in 6 weeks time!

modaddy · 29/01/2002 11:33

we have two boys 6 and nearly 4 and a little girl of 9 months.both my husband and i have two siblings. he was middle and is absolutely the sanest of his lot, i am third and also think i am the sanest of our lot!! i dont think it matters on the numbers or places although undoubtedly there are stereotypical personality traits to be seen, rather more the environment in which children develop. the step for me as main carer (i stay at home) has been bigger this time. i think with 2 it took about 4 months to get into a routine for all of us. with three the two boys have each other but even so can choose to be demanding at the most inconveniant times! i think it took nearer to 8 months this time (sorry to those who are just expecting thirds!) but i also think it depends on how easy the baby is.....we are fortunte that she is placid and fits in (as you would expect) however a friend has a second that cries all the time and it is v. stressful for all concerned. some people are super organised or so relaxed it all goes over their heads if your in between like me it just takes a bit longer to get settled. but let me tell you all it is so worth it. every day i count myself lucky to have such a wonderful family and when times are tough just think of all those people who would love to have just one. let us know how you get on with your thirds!

janh · 29/01/2002 11:53

I like Jasper's zoo quote! There is also a line that it's safer not to let them outnumber you. HOWEVER. I did find going from 1 to 2 was the hardest - partly because No 2 was a stroppy personality from the start.

Honestly, Hilary, there are so many variables - ages, sexes, personalities - money, size of house, size of car - it's impossible to say yes, do, or no, don't.

Only I would say yes, do, because I have four! I think the advantages of having more than 2 - which are mostly emotional - do actually outweigh the disadvantages, which are merely financial and practical. (We also found, when they were all smaller, that when one of them was out for some reason, didn't matter which one, managing the remainder was such a doddle we wondered why it seemed such a struggle when that number was all we had.)

Hilary · 29/01/2002 12:40

The thing is, I have never in my life wanted just 2 children, I am one of two myself and always wished for more...even though my sister is just brilliant! Now that I have 2, however, I do find myself thinking 'do I really want to go through all this again?' I'd like the end product - 3 children - but the pregnancy, no sleep, feeding thing, I can do without!
The dog/zoo quote is just brilliant. Surely going from 2 to 3 can't be as hard as that?...can it?

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Rozzy · 29/01/2002 15:04

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tufty · 29/01/2002 16:16

After years of trying for a baby with loads of treatment I had 3 boys in 31/2 years! (like the buses.. none for ages then 3 at once!) It can be hard at times as they often seem to need you desperately all at the same time but they also get on very well with each other. The sleep bit is tricky cos you don't get much, but I'd definitley say 3 is better than 2 and any is better than none! I'd wait til no1 is at school though, as 3 preschoolers is hectic!
good luck!

janh · 29/01/2002 16:54

Rozzy, mine are quite old now - 19, 16, 13 and 8, although when the youngest was born the eldest was still at primary school - just - so it felt like a "little" family for a while. (Having the 2 biggest ones was a big help too as I could nip out for something and leave the baby with them for a short time.)

Tufty - 3 in 3½ years - you were keen, weren't you! My busiest time was after no 3 arrived, when I had 6, 3 and very-slow-feeding baby - getting everybody dressed and out in the tiny window between feeds was a nightmare. (And it was a very wet summer so getting everybody into waterproofs and wellies and buggy covers and out was even worse...)

But, Hilary, I noticed on another thread that you are only 25 - you could get this pair sorted and off to school and then have another pair!

Lill · 29/01/2002 17:18

Hi all I've got 4 as well! ds - 6, dd - 41/2, dd - 3 and ds - 3mnths. Its great fun if a little hairy at times. The new babe is a gem and like starting all over again after what is quite a large gap, for me.
Dont know if I am looking forward to the teenage bit though.

sml · 29/01/2002 17:37

Going from 2 to 3 is definitely easier than going from 1 to 2. The only problem is, it would be nice to grow a third arm as well, to hold onto them all while you're out.

SueDonim · 29/01/2002 18:56

I've got four as well. Going from one to two was harder than from two to three, but for us, going to four took more adjustment. It was due to the large age gap, rather than quantity of children, though, as we'd got to the stage where we could go away on our own etc (not that we ever did, but it's the thought that counts!!).

Three was hard in that we had to get a larger car and house, too, but emotionally it wasn't a problem.

Rozzy · 29/01/2002 21:19

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janh · 30/01/2002 12:40

Rozzy, you are joking about having a fifth???
Have a little rest first!
(Anyway you've got that rabbit now.)

JacquiKD · 30/01/2002 12:41

I would say going from 2 to 3 is definitely a lot easier, although that depends on the baby.

Mine are girl of 9, boy of 4 (5 in 2 weeks time) and baby girl of 3 months.

Because I am one of only two (older brother), I always wanted 3. Even when my son was born, even though I had one of each sex, I still wanted another.

I found the pressure was off when I was having a third child, as no-one presumed I was going for one of a particular sex as I had one of each already. If I had had two girls, or two boys, I would still have gone for a third as it was the child I wanted, not the particular sex (if you know what I mean).

When I was pregnant, everyone it seemed took great joy in telling me how hard it would be. Well, as a mum-of-3 now, I can not emphasise enough how easy it is.

My daughter is an absolute godsend (she can't do enough for her baby sister) and my son likes to feel important as he has to choose which babygro she is going to wear each night.

My baby is so content and happy - the most content out of her brother and sister.

I tell my children this :-

My daughter will always be special as she was my first-born.

My son will always be special as he is the only boy in the family (apart from his dad).

My baby will be special because she will always be the baby of the family.

If you want another, please don't be put off by other people's comments. For me it was a lot easier than going from 1 to 2, but that might be because my daughter is 9 years older and is such a help.

My daughter absolutely dotes on her sister, but I tell my daughter that when the baby is 9, she will be 18 and she might not be so keen on her then!

It doesn't seem that long ago that my first born was a baby and I hardly believe, at times, she is 9. It frightens me (!) to think that when the baby will be 9 my eldest will be 18. That is scary!

Cfr · 30/01/2002 12:44

Hilary, I found going from 1 to 2 definitely more of a struggle than 2 to 3, but that was also because no 2 was not placid at all. Eldest was 3 when no 3 arrived, but I then had twins 20 months after no 3, so everything before that seemed like a (distant) dream. Anyway, the youngest are now 5, and it is wonderful having a larger family and the baby bit really doesn't last forever, even if it seems that way at the time.

I do think that the personalities of the children will have more of an influence on how they get on with each other than their position in the family.

Cfr · 30/01/2002 12:45

Hilary, I found going from 1 to 2 definitely more of a struggle than 2 to 3, but that was also because no 2 was not placid at all. Eldest was 3 when no 3 arrived, but I then had twins 20 months after no 3, so everything before that seemed like a (distant) dream. Anyway, the youngest are now 5, and it is wonderful having a larger family and the baby bit really doesn't last forever, even if it seems that way at the time.

I do think that the personalities of the children will have more of an influence on how they get on with each other than their position in the family.

ChanelNo5 · 30/01/2002 13:40

I love my 3, but I do find it knackering. I also had 3 in 3 and a half years. The thing I find hardest is splitting myself 3 ways and giving them all equal time and attention. I really admire women with lots of kids, as I know what hardwork and how expensive they are. For this reason, I'll be stopping at 3.

Ems · 30/01/2002 13:48

JacquiKD, just wanted to say I am 9 years older than my sister and we have always had a great relationship.

I loved having a little sis and she loved the big sis, Id get huge hugs when I came home from college, and the sweetest of letters and pictures. She would giggle her way round my boyfriends. Great fun.

I used to take her to the cinema and shopping when she was older (great excuse to see things like Home Alone - things I shouldnt really have been seen doing at my 'cool' and sophisticated age!) And she loved coming to stay at my flats/houses.

She makes a fantastic Aunt, she is at Uni now and plays such great Aunty loopy games when the boys see her.

TigerMoth1 · 30/01/2002 16:10

I'm reassured without even reading this thread.

All you mothers of three or more - you still have time to post, some of you very regularly, so it can't be all work and no play!

PS I did read the thread anyway just to see how you manage the juggling act.

Rozzy · 30/01/2002 16:23

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mondo · 30/01/2002 20:34

Hi I'm a mum of three, 2 boys aged 6 and 3 and girl aged 5 months. I agree with most of you that it was harder going from 1-2 than 2-3, but thats not to say that it isn't hard work, however i wouldn't change things for the world.

Elvis · 31/01/2002 20:08

As a mum of 2 I'm quite shocked reading this thread. Even though number 1 was wanted and planned for, as was number 2, the arrival of #1 was the most enormous shock. With hindsight it took me months to come to terms with being a mum and all the changes it entailed. Although #2 is a very calm baby, I can't believe that his arrival could ever have been as shocking as #1's!!

I'd love to have another, but dh is put off by the odd number thing. I think planning for 4 now would be out of the question financially etc.

janh · 31/01/2002 20:18

Elvis, tell your dh not to be put off by the odd number thing. Our No 2 was a middle child for a mere 5 years and she was a youngest for 3 years before that but it made no appreciable difference to her personality. She is nearly 17 now and still alternates between delightful and appalling.

My first was no trouble at all - after the shock wore off - and is far more difficult now (19 and at uni.)

Speaking from the vantage point of having 4, I really don't believe the actual number you have makes that much difference (once you get past 1). And the combination of different relationships, between the children themselves and the parents and children, makes any little local difficulties well worthwhile. Even if they bicker they still look out for each other. Honest!

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