In 2013, TODAY polled more than 7000 moms and discovered that moms with 3 kids are more stressed than other moms.
The survey also suggests that while 3 kids are more stressful than 1 or 2, the stress level of moms with 4 or more kids actually goes down.
Moms With 3 Kids Face Unique Struggles
Personally, I’m of the mind that having kids – no matter how many – is stressful!
From sleeping in on a Saturday morning to eating a meal that’s not cold, you give up an awful lot when you become a mom. It’s the toughest job I know.
Having kids is also the most rewarding, wonderful thing I know.
Moms with 3 kids deal with all the things moms with 1 and 2 kids do, but the addition of the 3rd one makes the job a lot harder.
Baby #1 is fun to plan for, right?
You buy all the cool baby stuff, the cutest baby clothes, the expensive crib, the high tech baby monitor and everything the mommy blogs say you should want.
It’s a given that you are going to be tired because friends and blogs told you so. (You can’t possibly truly grasp how tired.)
And then your baby is born.
That’s when you realize you don’t use the crib or monitor because Baby sleeps in your arms while you’re sitting in a rocking chair.
All those cute baby clothes you bought give way to a practical onesie. Ah yes, the miracle of the onesie.
Who among us hasn’t changed them once every few hours for months on end? The poop that spills out of the diaper and crawls up baby’s back requires a fresh one. The wet milk soaking through after a feeding requires a fresh one.
Fancy dresses and matching outfits can’t hold up to poop and puke nearly as well!
Baby #2 has mom feeling more prepared.
With number 2, parenting is a bit different. You don’t buy drawers full of fancy clothes, you make sure you have a lot more onesies, and you already know it’s going to be hard.
Of course, there is also the bonus of hand me downs!
Then #2 arrives and again you realize it’s way harder than you imagined and for so many reasons. It doesn’t necessarily get better the older they get either. If they are fairly close in age, fights between 2 kids are epic and almost constant.
None of us imagined that we would grow up to be a referee between two humans who believe the last peanut butter stuffed cookie is the most important cookie in the entire world.
And yet there you are, trying to reason with small people who can’t hear you over their arguments.
(PS: yes, moms will definitely cut that cookie in half.)
Baby #3 takes all that stress and adds some new stressors.
When you have 2 small kids you have a hand for each. Even crossing the street becomes a bigger challenge when you have 3 children because of that whole “2 hands per human” thing.
Whose hand do you hold?
With 1 or 2 kids, you can put them in the same bedroom for a few years if you need to. Add a 3rd and you’re trying to figure out whether you can make another bedroom out of a large linen closet!
When there are 3 children in the same house, it’s almost inevitable that 2 will gang up on one. The dynamic will change as to who the odd child out is, but it’s going to be an ongoing battle.
If it was hard managing the logistics of 2 kids when it comes to school functions, sports, etc, the 3rd one kicks it up a notch.
How do 2 parents get to dance practice, basketball practice, and piano lessons all on the same day, at the same time?
Of course, they figure it out because that’s what parents do. But, it takes a lot of planning and scheduling and asking for help where you can.
4 or more kids AKA The Duggar Effect.
This poll suggests that moms at the helm of a large family are less stressed than the other parents. Moms with 4+ children have almost certainly relaxed their parenting style by now.
They’re less worried about the little things and more confident in their ability to handle the important issues.
It’s called the Duggar Effect because apparently, having a very large family makes life easier.
Kids become their own little team. The big ones help with the smaller ones. The older kids know you, what you expect, what you allow, and what pushes your buttons. They help keep everyone in line.
How many kids do you have?
Whether you have 1, 2, 3, 4 or more, you have your own struggles. You know all the great things about the number of kids you have. You know all the not-so-great things about the number of kids you have.
A poll by TODAY gives us some things to think about, but we can only get so much helpful information from it.
I’d much rather hear about you and your experience. You may feel like having 1 child is super easy, or that having 4+ kids is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
Either way, I hope you’ll take the time to talk about it here in the comments on our Facebook page as well. I’ll be great to learn from all of you.