life with the third child

If you’ve come here in a moment of indecision and want to find an answer to your should we/shouldn’t we dilemma, I’ll be frank with you: the third child is pure joy.

I had so many reservations about having a third child and at every available opportunity I would ask mothers-of-three what it was really like. I blogged about it and received an overwhelming response and then I spent another few months working through my worries and letting go of my fears. I always knew that the leap from two to three would be a big one, based largely on the fact that Daniel and I were going to be outnumbered. And on days when the washing pile was daunting and my work emails were out of hand I was adamant that I was done with babies – fleeting, obviously.

Percy is now five months old, I’m officially back to work and the house is plodding along nicely. And while I could tell you about just how busy life with three is I would be lying if I didn’t mention that it’s good – really, really good. Regardless of the work of motherhood there are moments like this that tug at the heart and plant themselves firmly in my mind; beautiful memories made.

I’m not alone in thinking this, either. I had coffee with friends last week and three of us sat there bouncing a third-born on our lap. We spoke of the postpartum body, sleepless nights, tiredness, washing – all that stuff. But then we agreed that the angst we experienced in early motherhood didn’t make an appearance with the third child. There’s an element of calm that accompanies the third baby; you know just how fleeting babyhood is so you allow yourself the time and the space to soak it all in. You’re also well-trained at turning a blind eye to the intricacies of housework and more willing to embrace the fact that good is good enough. As for the exhaustion – you’re well and truly accustomed to it third time around.

But I’m all for complete honesty so here’s a few things to consider if you are contemplating a third child:

> invest in a washing machine with a super quick cycle. I recently upgraded to an 8kg frontloader and it has both a 15min and 30min cycle. It has made the humdrum of washing so much quicker and easier. And yes, the amount of washing is unbelievable.

> declutter while you’re pregnant. It’s not everyone’s priority but if you can embrace the attention to detail that accompanies your nesting inclinations, do so – it makes home life that much easier once baby is here. Basically, find a place for everything and put everything in its place.

> prepare meals in advance and remember that breakfast for dinner is always a good option.

> acknowledge that the first few months will be as beautiful as they are challenging; that phase of adjustment can be tricky. Be patient, take it one day at a time.

> drink coffee.

> embrace the crazy and know that there will be many, many times when all three children are whinging/crying at once. In this instance, laugh at the madness or cry along with them.

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Showing 21 comments
  • Reply

    Lovely post…honest and practical at the same time!!

  • Reannon

    I put off a third child for 7 years & then it took almost 3 years to get him. While I wish I'd dealt with all my worries earlier I couldn't be happier we decided to try. He was followed 12 months & 11 days later by our fourth & I can say that ( most days) four is the perfect number for us. I love it 🙂

  • Michelle Richard

    Thabkyou. We sre in the process of trying to conceive our third, this post has brought me calm and the reassurance that I've been searching for.

  • amy

    beautiful words Jodi…full of truth…from a Mama of 4…AmyXx

  • mrsbutters

    'embrace the crazy' – I love it! So close to my mantra after my third child was born which was 'I'm embracing the chaos', which was usually giving up on what I was trying to do and diving right into whatever was going on with the kids. I talk a lot about 'bandwidth' when it comes to my kids, my third fit in but a few things had to slip. Whenever I feel frazzled, I just refocus on what should / shouldn't fit in to my bandwidth. That mind shift was really the only thing that needed to happen. And having three kids is So. Much. Fun! Craziness.

  • Hayley Greer

    I love your blog more with every post – as a new mumma to a now 10 month old, I am learning a great deal from the likes of yourself that have gone before, and openly share your wisdom. Thank you! xx

  • Reply

    Recently discovered your blog and I love it. And Percy is cute <3
    Everyone with three kids told me that the third is so easy, and a much smaller step from 2 to 3 than with the other two. And they are all right 😉
    Now with the 4th on her way (an unexpected gift, she is 😉 I am asking myself the same things so I do the same things as you: declutter as much as I can, make my house as easy and simple as I can, write down easy to prepare dinners that even the husband can make if I can't and just… embrace it all.

  • Kirky

    The third really is a joy. Pure joy. And I get to love my older kids that bit more (is that even possible?) when I see their relationship with wee Isis flourish. But maybe having 3 in 3.5 years was a bit tougher than expected.

  • SimpleHappy

    What a beautiful, encouraging post! Although I only have one child, born 3,5 years ago, I still embrace the idea of breakfast for dinner quite often!

  • kim aikman

    I would agree about my third – he is a delight and I can't imagine not having three now. That said it has been crazy at times – that final point is oh so true! xK

  • Lady Grey

    I love this post! I have two boys and am pretty sure I'm done… but there is a seed of doubt in my mind.
    I often think that having a third child would be insane… it would be giving up my final few minutes of me-time in the day. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I can do it.
    Reading stuff likes this makes it seem possible.

  • jenny

    oh my goodness! your thoughts are absolutely spot on. i especially love the last bit about laughing it off or crying along. i have four. my oldest just turned eleven and my youngest is now four. i agree with you… you put it in to words so well. with the third baby you do know what to expect and it makes it all so beautiful.

  • Amanda K.

    we're just closing down on the 4th trimester with my third and i was nodding through this whole post.
    i often tell my older two that we have a rule that only one person can cry at a time 🙂

    also, the advice i got from my mom was to buy a pair of supportive shoes. and i definitely think that was great advice.

  • Lissa Snapp

    Loved this Jodie! I am not sure I will take the plunge for 3 kids but I did come from a family with 3 kids and let me say it is amazing having 2 older brothers. Each so different but each so important to my life I cannot imagine only having one sibiling now. Your tips for managing a larger family are so great and definitely ring truth to just managing one little toddler too!

    x Lissa

  • Jessica Welsh

    This was just what I needed to read. Thank you Jodi (and those who have commented here and on Facebook).Yesterday was a lousy day with my 17 month old and with my second due in December, doubt was in full swing. I look upon those with 3 or more children in awe. In my heart I am cheering you on. I won't deny, it looks like a daily juggle but a worthwhile one. Happy chaos indeed 🙂

  • Rebecca S.

    I'm a new reader, love your blog. Stopped over to check it out today, it's my due date with #3 but no action yet. Lovely post for me today! So looking forward to welcoming our 3rd. I anticipate it being much like you describe.

  • kelly louise

    I love this <3

  • Reply

    Love!! Our third was a wonderful addition but it was a weary, blessed, coffee-drinkin' season. Enjoy the space between the chaos! 🙂

  • Jessica G.

    I loved this post. I am 5 months pregnant with our third. In fact, my second will be about the age Poet was when Percy was born. I love the advice and planning (as if you can plan anything with children!) what life will look like with three. Part of my nesting instinct has been to purge and I am really enjoying it. I think a lot of it has to do with us living in a small (by US standards) house and not wanting to be overwhelmed with stuff, especially since we will be fitting another body in with us.

  • Clarina S

    Just had my third… And yes! This is spot on!

  • Nanne Kick

    Decluttering before a baby comes is always a good idea! It is so true. No.1 is coming in a few weeks and I have used the time of pregnacy to declutter the flat, still we hadn't much before. But with the Baby comes so much clothes and other things, so that it is nice to have enough free space in the cupboards!
    Have an nice time with your three and your husband!

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