I’m told this a lot. Usually when I’m being pulled by each arm in opposite directions while the third quietly wees down my leg. Always by someone with two children. But is it true? Are three kids really easier than two?
I can see why people say it. It’s usually people who’ve just had a second child, and can’t believe how hard it is. They look at you, who are not actively crying at that precise moment, with a kind of wide-eyed optimism. They want you to concede that three is, indeed, easier than two: otherwise, how are you still alive?
And they want some light at the end of the tunnel. If coping with three is OK, then two must, surely, eventually, be OK too. Right? I get it – I was that person, one child ago.
Let me say right now: having kids is hard, however many you have. The golden rule of parenting is: Don’t Compare.
But for the sake of argument, here are some reasons why I think having three kids is easier than two.
- You are 50% more likely to wee when you sneeze. This makes you incredibly sneeze-averse. You can dodge pollen like a ninja. You would make a superb Wimbledon line judge.
- You are legitimately allowed to exclaim in defence, “I only have two hands!”.
- Your liver will be well clean. You have had three nine-month abstinences, plus more if you breastfed. *Therefore* you can drink more. This makes everything easier.
- The bikini debate will be moot. You will wear a tankini. End of.
- People won’t invite you anywhere any more. Therefore you don’t have to invite them back. Therefore you experience 98% less “leaving-the-house” hassle and “tidying-the-house” stress.
- Three is a powerful number. The Holy Trinity, the Three Wise Men, Tweet, RuffRuff and Dave: you have all the luck of history, holiness and CBeebies behind your family size.
- You can’t afford holidays any more so you never have to pack a suitcase or endure coach transfers.
- You can’t give any of them enough attention, so you become slightly resigned to guilt.
- You get to wake up 50% more often. You are squeezing the very juice out of life in all its fullness!
- One child will always feel left out. This means you get some love from them while they are telling tales.
- Your laundry mountain is so high, you can use it as a storage solution. You can hide confiscated toys in its folds and pop a vase of faux flowers on top.
- The receptionist at the doctor’s will know your voice on the phone so well you feel like mates.
- The older two look after the youngest one. They never pretend he is a dragon and run away from him until he cries.
- There is always a scapegoat.
- The middle one is totally sure of his place in the world. He’s not the baby and he’s not the big boy.
- The oldest never feels sidelined by the baby, cast as the “big boy” when he still feels little and uncertain inside. Still needs his mummy’s cuddles.
- If your older children are bickering, you barely care. Your toddler has just pooed in his pants.
Of course, I am utterly blessed and ecstatic to have three children. Is it easier than having two? No. But I didn’t find having two easy either. Nothing is easy in parenting: except loving them.
What do you think? Is “three are easier than two” an urban myth or grounded in truth?
PS If you have four or more children, YOU ARE AMAZING! And if you have two or fewer, YOU ARE AMAZING TOO!
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Ahhhh Jess, what can i say? I think you have some strange friends though my lovely, I have never heard anyone claim that three is easier than two, everyone thinks I’m absolutely bonkers. You keep dodging those sneezes hon. And spare a thought for me on the four hour flights in a few weeks time xxx
Mummy Tries recently posted…Do You Want to be a Better Parent?
It’s not just friends, I’ve heard it from all sorts! It’s this chaos theory that after a while you stop noticing. I don’t think I’ll ever get to that stage, and I’m sure as heck not going to test the theory and go higher! Good luck with the flights…! xxx
I love this Jess! Spot on. The other thing I like is ‘Sorry I’m late/undressed/not there at all but I have 3 kids.’ It’s great for excuses. I agree with you. All kids are hard no matter the number. But yes you do care less when you realise how outnumbered you are x
Amy Ransom recently posted…Me and PND
Thanks hon! Oh yes, forgot that one, that is a great excuse for pretty much everything! Sorry, I forgot to blink. I have three kids…. x
Love this! We have two children at the moment. We both want three, but every now and again we think “really?”. We will have three I’m sure and I can’t wait and although your points may put some off, I say, bring it on!! 🙂
Michelle Bailey recently posted…MySundayPhoto – 26/4/15
OH no, they’re not meant to put people off! Sorry. I think it’s wonderful to have three. Go for it and good luck! x
Nope, three is NOT easier than two. When one of mine is out/ away, life is so easy. Two feels like a doddle compared to three. But, however many you have, it always feels like a challenge. I actually once read that three is hardest number as you’re still trying to maintain some control, but once you’ve got to four or five, you just embrace the madness and let chaos wash over you.
Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The cheese issue
I know what you mean – when I have two now and then, it seems like a breeze, but when I had only two, it didn’t feel that way at all. I just don’t think you can ever me immune to the stress and chaos. I’m not going to try it out anyway! x
Baby three isn’t even here yet and it’s already harder having three! Two feels like a breeze compared to two and a bump.
Pippa Ainsworth recently posted…Win Tickets to the Geronimo Festival
Oh I remember that so well. It is so hard being pregnant and looking after kids – I promise it gets easier when the baby comes (after the initial newborn bit) as you get your energy back. Growing a baby is very hard work!
Pippa, 2 and a bump is THE hardest thing I’ve ever done. 3 children when they arrived was easier (ish!) Don’t be put off! x
Helen at Casa Costello recently posted…In My Kitchen – May 2015
I have five kids, I’m on the verge of insanity and my pelvic floor is actually on the floor! xx
Just on the verge?! You deserve a medal, woman! xx
Brilliantly funny and so well observed as ever, Jess!
But, blimey, three easier than two? Not for us, although I would definitely subscribe to the theory that things get proportionally less difficult with each successive child, so two children is nowhere near twice as difficult as having one, and three is less than half as difficult again as having two.
In all seriousness, though, swings and roundabouts. There are definitely some things that *are* easier with three, although some of that is because the older ones are more mature than they were. So, for instance ours are pretty good at occupying each other and playing together (when they’re not trying to kill each other). But conversely the breakfast/dinner table is approximately eleventy-fifteen times louder than it used to be. I’ve taken to wearing earmuffs at the table now.
Tim recently posted…Not often, just sometimes
OH tell me about it. The noise! Even when they’re happy it sounds like we’re in an abattoir with an echo. You’re right – obviously it totally depends on the age gap, and as the older ones get older, they can take more responsibility for the little one, and themselves. I’ve heard.
Jess (come here while I whisper in your ear) you know what would be easiest having NO children and a sugar daddy for a husband. Beyond that – great post and I agree wholeheartedly with all points (but it’s not too late for the sugar daddys is it?) xx
Complicated Gorgeousness recently posted…18 ways you know summer is coming
Great point and well presented my friend! How do you snare one of those? What about a sugar Christian Grey? xx
I think your “Don’t Compare” rule is the best of all! All we can do is support each other because we are all going quietly insane in our own special way. I do like the way that, whatever number of children you have, it suddenly makes the number below so much easier when one of them is away. I find going to the supermarket with one child a doddle now, whereas when I only had one child I’d moan and whine and complain and shop online.
Judith recently posted…The Mummy Dictionary
“Going quietly insane in our own special way” – nail on the head, love that! I know what you mean – however many you have, if you can leave one with someone else for a little while, you feel like it’s easy!
Ha Butt!!! I’m pretty sure that if I had a third I’d have to add a catheter to my list of daily accessories to dress up my elasticated jeans and Ugg boots.
After reading this, I’m going to start using two condoms now…just in case!
I am the third of three and I wasn’t planned. I also turned out to be the most expensive one with all the music lessons and cello purchases etc. My poor folks. They could be loaded if it wasn’t for me and my mum’s pelvic floor might be in better nick!
Two condoms! Pahahahahah! No, no, three are lush. You mean you were the one who brought your parents the joy of music! x
Fabulous post as ever and confirms my reason for voting for you in the BiBs as best writer – so well put together and hilariously funny at the same time. As you can imagine, I can (sadly) relate to this in every single way. Love the fact that we never have to invite anyone round ;). As I only ever clean when people come round, this also leaves our house a complete pig sty at all times (but then people expect that when you have three lol!). x x
Suzanne recently posted…Best Friends Forever
You are such a darling, Suzanne. I’m sure you were my only vote but I’m more than happy with that from such a great writer yourself. I like the low expectation thing too 😉 xx
Ohhh I am considering three! Stephen always says I only have two hands. If I’m not up the duff by the end of the year? It will not be happening x
brummymummyof2 recently posted…The Grumpy Mum’s Hit List
You will rock it, lady! Three is the new two 😉 x
Great post! Made me laugh. I am about to have number 2 and fairly certain that won’t be easier than 1!
Emma recently posted…Free From Fridays – 24th April 2015
Oh exciting, you will love it! We didn’t have kids for it to be easy, right?
We have just added a third into our mix (he is 6 weeks old) and at the moment it is blooming hard work but I wouldn’t change it, just looking forwards to them all being a little bit older and more independant.
Loving life with little ones recently posted…We are using reusable nappies….
Ahh congratulations! I wouldn’t change our family for the world either.
Great post and I am with you on all those points! Now having three, I do think the adjustment from one child to two is harder than going from two to three. Once you have two you are already used to juggling stuff, feeling out of your depth sometimes and feeling like you don’t spend enough one-on-one time with each child, so adding another child to the mix doesn’t seem such a big deal…. but of course it is not the same for everyone :-). x
Mummy Zen recently posted…6 tips for a longer life!
I find all the adjustments hard – luckily our family is complete now. Just have to handle teendom now!x
When I was campaigning for my third baby, I was sure that three would be easier than two. I mean, I already had all the baby stuff. The third would just slot in and get amongst it. Was the plan. Then we found out it was twins. Four is definitely harder than two!
Seriously though, I think you’re right – parenting is hard, it doesn’t matter so much how many kids you have. Thanks, loved this post!
Laney@thelaneyfiles recently posted…7 mum super powers you might not know you have
Oh my goodness! Twins! Congratulations! I was the same – I told my husband he’d barely notice the third 😉
As a mother of three, I never had two! I had one and then like others, had twins so went straight to being a three child family, missing out on the two children stage. I agree that three is harder than one, but the hardest time is having one. One little person can have more of an impact than anything in the world, crashing into your childless carefree life like a whirlwind. Once you’ve had a child, you can do anything!!
Yes, true, zero to one is an unbelievable change! Congratulations on your twins – if you can handle twins you can truly do anything!
I think i need to start hiding toys in my never ending and ever grown laundry pile. I wish three were easier then two although i never really got much of a chance to find out as i fell pregnant when baby number two was only five months old. x
Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life recently posted…What I Would Say To A New Mum
Simply brilliant! And I only have the one 🙂
VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood recently posted…Vichy and La-Roche Posay Beauty Buys from ChemistDirect.co.uk
Thanks! Well, they expand to fill all the time you have, don’t they?
Oh Jess as ever you had me laughing and actually questioning should I have a third baby. hahaha WOW. Eye opener to say the least. lol This is brilliant. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
Jenny recently posted…Interiors // Copper Home Accessories
YES YOU SHOULD! You’d be awesome and you’d love it. Thanks for hosting as always sweetie. x
This is great, I love not comparing, I always worry if two is twice as difficult as one and so three would be three times more!?! Great read, really made me giggle.
I do remember the jump from 1 to 3 when my husbands two boys came over for a week, the house was so much more messy and noise but also filled with so much more fun and laughter and those are the important things =)
Jenni – Odd Socks and Lollipops recently posted…Baking with Boo
You’re right – mess and noise are a small price to pay for all the fun and laughter.
Great post, Jess, you do make me larf!! I have a bonus kid, so at least if we do go for 3 I might be less likely to wee myself when sneezing…right?? Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx
hannah Mums’ Days recently posted…Belsay Hall and Castle – 1st April
Someone once said to me that one child was like having a pet, two was like having a zoo and 3 was like trying to tame the jungle! 3 is hilarious and impossible in equal measure – More children than arms is never going to be easy x
Helen at Casa Costello recently posted…In My Kitchen – May 2015
I’ve got 4 kids and it is not easy! On the occasions we have only had 2 kids at home for whatever reason it has been so easy to wrangle them remaining 2. It has been brilliant! It certainly doesn’t get easier with each child.
Louisa recently posted…A week of achievements
Wow, 4 must be a handful – I salute you! Two seems like a breeze when you have more, but if you only have two, it feels really hard.