Do you remember that study done by Today Parents in 2013 that revealed that moms of three are the most stressed? Well it's recently resurfaced and been making the rounds again.
In case you missed it the first time around, the study surveyed 7,164 moms in the U.S. and discovered that while all moms rated their stress around 8.5 out of 10, moms of three were reporting even more stress than moms of any other number of children—including four or more.
And as a mom of three, I completely agree.
I remember running into an old friend who happened to be shopping with his three kids when I was pregnant with my last baby. We chatted briefly, and when he found out I was expecting my third, he immediately warned me that “the third kid really shakes things up." Little did I know how right he would be.
Fast forward a few months, and I was now a mom to three and struggling to balance caring for a newborn with school schedules and activities for my older kids. I got to watch my older kids ooh and aww over their new tiny sibling, and couldn't believe how big they looked and how beautiful it was to watch them hold their baby brother, but I was also so physically and mentally drained that I questioned how in the world this was going to work.
My husband and I were now outnumbered and had to switch from from man-to-man defense to zone defense.
The idea of sleeping when the baby sleeps—which is generally unreasonable anyway—became impossible. Everything became crowded. The house felt much smaller, and this is when most parents decide they must purchase an SUV or even a (gasp!) minivan. After all, not only do you need to fit another car seat into your vehicle, but you also must make room for all the stuff that three kids require. My husband and I were now outnumbered and had to switch from from man-to-man defense to zone defense.
But it's not all bad. Yes, having three kids was incredibly overwhelming at first, but I enjoyed the newborn stage with my third baby more than I ever did with the other two—mostly because I knew it was the last time and felt much more confident caring for a new baby.
And it's gotten easier. I've learned to let go of a lot as time moves on. My older kids have also learned to step up and become more responsible and independent. We're figuring this family of five thing out, one day at a time.
So, yes, having three kids has caused me a lot more stress overall, but my family finally feels complete. The little people I'm raising have helped me to grow as a mother and a person—and I wouldn't want it any other way.