Disclaimer: I have three children, all of who I love very, very dearly. I wouldn’t trade my third for the world. In many ways, he is the apple of my eye. But I offer this advice to those parents (or future parents) still in that blissful, two child honeymoon. For those two-child parents, you may think that life is difficult. You’re wrong. Though raising any child has its turbulent and trying times, two is a cake walk. Trust me. I’ve been there. I spent three wonderful years of my life as the parent of two and I can tell you with certainty- if it were difficult I would not have had a third. Now I am stuck in this purgatory of parenting three children where there is never quite enough of me to go around, and sometimes I seriously question my life choices.
Think about the biology of it. Parents are well equipped with two arms to drag two screaming kids out of the grocery store. Not three. We have two ears to receive whispers of sweet nothings and complaints about that day’s dinner menu. Two watchful eyes and two lungs to fill with breaths of patients. A sandwich can be carefully cut into two and bunk beds are built for a pair. But three… three is a crowd.
My baby (my sweet number three) can’t share anything. It’s easy for two kids to share because it’s likely they are playing together. One and two can play basketball, but three disrupts the balance. He ends up stealing the basketball or throwing a massive fit. Either way, I’m going to hear about it. One and two can snuggle up on my side for movie night. The third is forced onto my lap and I’m left struggling for air. In fact, with three children, most of my life is spent struggling for air. Two kids are instant play-mates, entertaining each other and taking much needed pressure off of parents. Having a third is like starting back at square one- only you don’t care as much. While the older two are off working on that solid foundation of sibling friendship, the third is relying on you for his sole source of entertainment. It gets worse- being the third he’s automatically starved for attention, needing his parents even more for unfailing devotion. But after three kids, your days of over doting parenting are likely long gone. You’re worn out, beat down and you know that he will survive if you ignore him for an hour to watch the latest episode of American Idol. But he won’t let you. He is your ever needy, ever present third and the peaceful balance of your household will never be the same.
As a good parent, I must also say that the love your third fills you with makes it all worth while. More often than not, I savor the moments when my third is glued to my leg as his brothers are oblivious to my love. We have a truly special bond that nothing could replace and I am thankful every day for him. But as a friend and advisor, I tell you to save yourself the trouble. For the sake of your sanity, stick with two. They are perfectly good kids and wanting any more is unreasonable.