I read some statistics recently that kind of had me scratching my head. Did you know, as of the last census in Canada (2006) my family of 5 is nearly double the national average? The average family in Ontario is 2.5 people. K, first of all, how do you get 0.5 of a person? And who gets to decide which half you get? Is there someone out there stuck with just the wake-up-every-2-hrs-to-eat baby while another lucky sucker gets the zomgwatchthiskidit’sSOCUUUUUUTE? (these are the questions that occupy my mind people. Ahem.)
If I look around at my closest friends & family, nearly all of them have at least two kids. Quite a few, like myself, have three. Maybe it’s simply because I’m more apt to notice those most like myself, but it seems that families of five are much more prevalent. And yet…and yet…I still get to field the questions like: “How on earth do you have enough energy for three?” or “You took three kids to the grocery store?” Now, don’t get me wrong, these questions do not offend me in the slightest. It’s my life and I genuinely believe people are mostly just curious and not judgemental. (If you are, in fact, being judgemental, I have a junk punch with your name on it. Ya douche.)
My go-to answer on life-with-three is this: it’s like a triage situation. Which one of you is bleeding/ missing a limb/ covered in poop/ has a broken bone and/or screaming so goddamn loud I can barely hear myself think: who the fuck has three fucking kids??? (heh) The one in the most heightened sense of peril gets the attention first. But if I could remember back to the days of parenting two kids, it was pretty much the same logic just with less variables.
Our children are around 2 years apart in age, so at the start of motherhood to three it was a little hectic. One Lady barely in school (every day, half a day) I was still tending to a 2yr old’s every whim and a newborn. Both of whom needed me RIGHTTHISSECOND. I remember that feeling very stressful, admittedly. And throw in a new puppy (like seriously, what kind of cheap ass drug was I on that said to me: go ahead! what’s one more thing? get that puppy, he’s soooooo cuuuuuuuuute. Idiot.) and things were tense around my house for a little while. I can vividly remember one afternoon in particular. Mae was a cat-napper who needed to be held, the house was covered in dog hair because, obviously…and Nik was dying to be entertained. Cut to me pushing the broom down the hall, wearing the baby, Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom blaring on the speakers, struggling to keep the wild, spinning toddler in my wake and pushing the puppy away from the microfiber bristles with my foot, dancing the samba so I could convince Nik to giggle and not scream. And you betta believe I was in sweats, a sports bra, hair pulled up and wearing socks so the grit on the floor didn’t stick to my toes. Makeup was a laughable luxury at that juncture.
There are times still like this with different circumstances for the same cast of characters. We’re all a little older, I’ve got a little more experience under my belt, our problems are a little less urgent and most of us can use words to express our feelings ::side eye Maelle:: And in all reality, I can’t tell much difference from parenting two to parenting three. Three may seem like a lot more work, I may look like I’m fluttering from one problem to the next, solving crimes and taking names, but I’m pretty sure my friends with two kids are doing the same.
The perils of three are not unlike the perils of one. We all want to do right by our kids 100% of the time. And if we’re lucky, we’ve got a 75% average most days. I can’t give all of myself to three kids, no. But I truthfully couldn’t give all of myself to just Bella when she was an only child. I’m not wired like that. The thing with three is that Bella is older now, more willing to do for herself, quicker to help me and accept the praise that goes along with being independent. Sure, there are a few more snacks going in the diaper bag, a few more pairs of pjs to set out and dinner time is a clusterfuck (<- zomg, dinner time. If there is a special place in hell built just for me, it looks like the few minutes before I get dinner on the table.) Three is more expensive: birthdays X3, Christmas X3, medicines & toothbrushes X3…but I likely notice it less since, with three Ladies, I can often get away with The Joint Purchase. But not toothbrushes, cause? Ewwww.
Mothering three is busy, that much is true. There are days I go to bed with guilt that one daughter got more attention than the others, I was too hard on one and that one got bumped on the forehead because I couldn’t be in two places at once. When we go out, even as a family, we’re constantly counting: 1…2…3, ok got em all! because there’s one less set of eyes and hands than kids to be accounted for. To be fair though, my nightmares about these outings when I was pregnant with Mae are turning out to be much, much worse than the reality. We’ve raised good girls, and for the most part they try not to push our buttons all at once. Some days are so very tiring, and some moments are so loud and all-encompassing that I have to throw out a “Can we all just calm down!” and bring the roar down to a din.
But I must say, 1.5 years into this Motherhood of Three gig: I love it. Three sets of accomplishments to praise, three separate kisses goodnight, three birthdays to celebrate, three beautiful faces gracing pictures on my walls, three separate stories to help write? It’s 99% blissful. The perils of three will only drive you as crazy as you let them. I need to remind myself of this almost daily, trust me. But if I could go back to the Alicia I was when Ryan and I first met, the one that said “I think I’d like just two kids”, I would gently take her hand and show her three little blonde gigglers surrounding a kitchen table filled with breakfast food her husband has cooked…and her mind would be forever changed.