I’ve read a few articles recently saying that three is the hardest number of children, which having three children myself, I find quite interesting. It’s obviously very subjective and depends on lots of different things, with a bigger age gap you have children with very different interests, but the older ones can look after themselves a little, with small age gaps you might get periods where all three play beautifully, but you’re also doing almost everything for three children.
I know people who say that they barely noticed a difference when the third came along, but I find three quite difficult. The first year before Zak started school was fine, Hannah slotted perfectly into our life, she was a wonderfully placid baby, happy to watch the craziness around her, endlessly patient with her ever so affectionate brother and sister and a fantastic sleeper.
Things were a bit harder when Zak started school, trying to get three children out of the house, into the car, find a parking spot, get the pushchair out, and then walk with a 4, 3 and 1 year old to school on time often felt like a near impossible task. I look back on that year and wonder how on earth I managed, but actually maybe it was easier, we were doing less after school activities, less rushing around, in between school runs life felt quite calm.
These days it’s a bit of a different story, while we get moments, sometimes even hours of harmony between all three children, those times are quite rare and the endless bickering is quite wearing. I know it’s hard for the kids as well, we can’t give them the attention they perhaps need all the time, we dash from school to gymnastics to ballet to swimming trying to jam in homework along the way. Spellings are often learned in the car, we forget stuff ALL the time and perhaps wrongly expect the children to do some of the remembering for themselves. We both work from home which makes it hard to switch off, but on the positive side it means I can help in school and be there for drop off and pick up. It’s a constant juggling act.
The children tend to split off either the girls and Zak or the older two and Hannah depending on what they’re playing, mostly someone is left out and not happy. I obviously wouldn’t change anything and I LOVE our mad, crazy house, but it’s not always easy either.