Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: The Struggle With Three

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Struggle With Three



Three children.

I always thought of families with 3 children as being kind of middle ground in the family size stakes - not exactly a "big family" but not small either.

But lately...three children has felt like a lot...and I feel guilty for saying those words, because I'm worried incase it sounds ungrateful or as though I'm not enjoying having them - I am enjoying it. I am grateful for them.

But it doesn't change the fact...three children is a lot.

Perhaps it's also to do with their ages.

A 3 year old - Testing his boundaries, loud, emotional and extremely active.

A 1 year old - With new found independence and no fear of anything, constantly trying to out run us or put himself into dangerous situations.

A 7 month old - teething, grouchy, and about to start crawling.

Three children of any age is a lot of responsibility I am sure, but with 3 this young all at once...our hands are extremely full (as passersby so often like to point out, as if I wasn't already aware!)

I like, of course, to focus mostly on the positive parts of having 3 children so close in age - and there are a lot of positives (Their close bonds and the friendships they could have growing up, their similar interests in toys and days out, holidays being easier as their interests and stages are so similar, getting all of the "stages" done at once...potty training, nappies, etc...and many many more)  - but I feel as though I wouldn't be being truthful if I didn't admit that there are days when it all feels like way too much. 

Days when I find my stress levels rising way too early on in the day, when my head is pounding and I feel like I can't take any more, days when I hide in the loo and have a little cry because I just can't stand the chaos today.

Days when we wonder what we've let ourselves in for.

Days when I feel like I'm not up to this...when I feel like I'm not enough "Mum" to go around them all equally....days when I feel like I'm failing one or all of them.

Thankfully, those occasions are few and far between - in fact I can count the times that it's gotten that bad on one hand, which I'm very thankful for.

But when those days do come around, they can really knock the wind out of my sails.

Today was one of those days.


It started off well enough - the children all slept in until around 9 am - unheard of! Happy days!, Sailor had his afternoon nap and actually slept well for a change, Tyne was in a nice mood and playing happily with Noah...

But come dinner time, for some reason, it all went wrong.

Tyne suddenly became hyper and on a mission to destroy the entire living room - throwing his toys around, hitting the babies with them accidentally and making them cry, climbing on the sofa and promptly falling off resulting in a huge conk on his head and lots of tears.

While trying to settle to him (which no amount of coaxing, comforting, or bartering was doing), Sailor decided he had to have his bottle RIGHT NOW  and he would SCREAM until he got it...

Sailor's screaming frightened Noah like it always does and set him off crying too...Noah doesn't have the quietest of cries, and so the noise levels - between the three of them - were high!

So there I was, with 1 child on my knee, 1 trying to climb up onto it too and another in his baby chair holding his arms up to me - all of them crying as loudly as you can possibly imagine.

And my stress levels were through the roof.

What are you supposed to do in that situation?

When there are 3 children...essentially 3 babies...all upset, all crying, all wanting you to pick them up and comfort them all at once...when you don't have enough arms or knees to be able to tend to them all.

How do you prioritise it?

How do you stay calm when it's all so stressful and noisy and your head is pounding from it all, and you feel like joining them by bursting into tears yourself but you can't because you're the mum and you're supposed to be in control.

You're supposed to know what to do and exactly how to do it.

You're supposed to fix it all and make everything better again.

But right in that moment, you feel like you're out of answers.

The struggle with 3 is that it's more arms than you have when they all want cuddles.

It's more knees than you have when they're all upset.

It's more eyes than you have when you're trying to watch them all at once and make sure they're staying out of danger (Don't even mention the word "Park" to me right now, trying to look in 3 different places at once is my current biggest nightmare!)

It's more hands than you have when you need to safely walk them across the road.

And even when there are two parents there, you're always outnumbered..

How mothers of 4, 5, 6 + children or single parents of multiple kids manage to stay sane I will never know, because some days having 3 children feels like it will finish me off.

The situation today resolved itself in the end of course, it always does somehow.

Somehow they all got a cuddle, and they all calmed down - Tyne's sore head was rubbed better, Sailor was fed his bottle and Noah was cuddled until he felt happy again - and eventually bedtime was here, and after a stressful bathtime involving a lot of defiant splashing from Tyne and voices (mine) far more raised than I like them to be....they went to bed. 

And thank goodness the Sleep Gods were smiling on us tonight, and *touch wood* there've been no wake ups so far.

Because tonight, I really need some quiet.

Silence is something I miss on days like today.

Sometimes I just need to hear nothing.

Sometimes I just need a few hours of not being constantly touched, constantly pawed at, constantly tugged on.

Sometimes I just need an hour or two where the space around my legs is free and I can walk without tripping over little bodies wrapped around them.

Sometimes I need some space to just be.

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes...

Sometimes it's a struggle with three.

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22 comments:

  1. I have days like this with my two and I think of you a lot and how you must juggle three. Like you said, there must be so many positives to having three (very adorable) little boys, but there's only one of you and you're human at the end of the day. Despite the hard days, you sound like a super Mum and like you're doing amazing. xx

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  2. I think this with two,so I think you're superwoman! Parenting is hard Whether it's 1 or 8. So when I have a day when I feel like I'm actually getting it right I feel bloody amazing lol xxx

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  4. you're amazing! I think this with two, it's always hard. You're a super mum! We all are! #MarvMondays

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  5. That day sounds very trying indeed. We have two girls who 95% of the time are great (honestly) but like you say, sometimes it's not great. Sometimes it bloody hard. I only had a day like this last Friday when I experienced exhaustion for the first time in my life and I was all over the place. This was the result of not having a break (24hrs per day) for nearly three weeks running and it hit me like a size 9 in the ass! So well done coping with three, seriously. BTW You should try an app called 'headspace' it's very good if you can free up 10 mins per day. Keep the chin up! #AnythingGoes

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  6. I had 4 babies in less than 6 years and can relate completely to your post, some days were really, really hard (& still are sometimes!) but it is and always will be worth it! Mine are 3,5,7&9 now & all at pre-school or school & i pick up overtime at work all the time because i hate being home in a quiet house on my own! (A few years ago i would have given anything for a few hours peace & now i reject it to work instead lol!!) Hang in there & remember we are all only human, bad days are just part of the journey of parenthood xxx

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  7. I have three they are 6,5 and 8 months. Your doing amazingly well and my those storms when you have no idea what exactly happened why and how you stopped them all from crying. Massive hugs #marvmondays

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  8. I think this is an amazing post, and you shouldn't feel bad, I feel like one is too many sometimes :) Its so challenging when you have long difficult days and just crave some peace. You kick ass mummy you xx #dreamteam

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  9. Oh my goodness Hayley you certainly have your hands full and there is no shame at all in admitting it now and again. We are only human and family life is super tough at times. It sounds like you're doing an amazing job and sharing posts like this always helps someone else :) #bestnworst

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  10. I am expecting my 3rd in three weeks and I am terrified! I keep thinking about how will I cope in the mornings, trying to get one to school with a 3 year old and a baby lol! It seriously haunts my dreams haha! #MarvMondays

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  11. Oh, Hayley. I know exactly where you're coming from, and I only have two of them! LOL! It's definitely the age. I've just sent my youngest off to Kindergarten this year, and I'm telling you, things will get "easier". Hang in there and savor every bit of your "breaks" when they come. You're a great mama!

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  12. The struggle is REAL girl. We went from two young girls to four with the addition of identical twins. We had four girls under age seven all at once. It was an insane whirlwind of a time- still is. Probably will always be. :)

    Keep on girlfriend!

    #sharingtheloveblog

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  13. As a mum to 3 girls 4 and under i can totally relate to this, some days are so hard and such a struggle other days are so amazing, all we can do is our best, which is more than enough, you sound like you are doing a great job x #sharingthebloglove

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  14. Blimey three - I can believe that's tough! I have two and at times it feels like we're battling 20! Then add a dog on top of that. But seriously hun you are doing awesomely well and you will reap the rewards! Having a bigger family is ace....your time will come!

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  15. Love this post. I have 3 now but eldest two are in full time school. but it was so hard during the holidays. I put my hands up tp you. You're doing fab lovely
    #MarvMondays

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  16. You are a superwoman, I only have one 17 month old (plsu a 12 year old stepson half the week) and I have days like this, days where I don't feel like I'm any good at being a mum. My other half always tells me that the first 4 years of having a boy is SO tough, but after that it gets much easier - sounds like you are doing amazing and I always think it's not so bad to just accept when some days are bad, that the next one has to be better! Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam Always lovely to have you xx

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  17. Sounds like you're doing so much better than I would be! We've just had our second with a 2.5 year age gap and I've found it all extremely challenging - I had no idea. All worth it at least (mostly.. haha). Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

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  18. Wow! Three children all 3 years old and under must be so hard! I have three children but I have more of an age gap between mine. We had my heart set on four. I have and 11 and 9 year old, then my youngest is just coming up 5 and the plan was to have one when he was 2, but he was so much hard work and never slept because of what turned out to be lactose intolerance. I had to draw the line at three. My eldest two started to fight and argue all of the time too around the time that my littlest became 1. They still fight and argue a lot now and it's so hard to be positive or want to take them out when they bicker constantly. Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes Janet :)

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  19. Quite honestly I think you're amazing. I feel like this so many days and I just have one - three children seems a lot to me! I think there are huge benefits to a small age gap (sadly we have missed the boat now I think), but I think an awful lot of those benefits don't materialise until they're a bit older. But once you get there I'm sure it'll be amazing - I know I have so many memories of playing endlessly with my sister during our childhood, and we get along so well now. I know some days it doesn't feel like it, but I'm sure you're doing an awesome job and your kids adore you. Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  20. I find two a lot so I have no idea how you do three. They are very close in age. Mine are 2 years apart almost exactly. I know I couldn't add a third into the mix and not go crazy! You are doing a brilliant job.

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  21. You are amazing! I feel like this a lot and its tough having a small age gap. If I added a third into our mix, I honestly would go over the edge. I take my hat of to you. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

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  22. This post really captured me, I often wonder about a 3rd and think am I slightly mad?? I read this and see that it of course has it pros and cons and I think you do amazingly!! Thanks for linking up such a fab post to the #bestandworst see you again!

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