3–The Most Stressful Number of Kids

Would you agree with the TodayMoms.com survey that three is the most stressful number of kids to have?  

I remember when I announced to my best friend that I was pregnant with my third, she was happy for me, but at the same time she said it was really, really hard.  Our kids are all a year apart so when I had a 1 and 3 year old, my friend had a baby, 2 and 4 year old.  Not long after that, it was my turn to add in that third child. Since we lived in Australia, we often took turns watching each others kids, bringing each other meals, taking the healthy kids when others were sick… I don’t know how I would have survived that early stretch without her and another close friend of mine (since our families were all in the U.S.).

I agreed with the survey that for me, going from one child to two really wasn’t much of a big deal.  I just tucked DD into the sling and we still went off to Kindermusik, playgroup,  kindergym or the pool.  I even still worked (taught history online) part time. Honestly, life seemed to go on as normal.

Going from two to three kids was different, though.  My four year old and two year old needed different things. We always knew we would homeschool, but when ED was born we toyed with putting my eldest into preschool. That didn’t go well and we continued on with our homeschooling path… but there were times when it was downright tough.  I remember one time when the kids were 9 months, 3 and 5, clinging onto Hubby and sobbing in the kitchen and wondering if I’d make it until his Mom came for a visit. It didn’t help that we added Boomer, our dog, into the mix when ED was 6 months old. Puppies are a lot of work too! I just wanted to be able to go to the store alone or to go out to dinner with Hubby. We lived overseas, so she would come once a year for a month or so at a stretch.

Now that the kids are older, though, I absolutely love having three. I find it a wonderful number for homeschooling because there’s always four of us around. I can work with one while the other two play… or I can work with all three… or I can work with two while one entertains herself. The three kids play extremely well together in whatever combination… LD (9) and DD(7), DD and ED(5) or even LD and ED or all together. Okay, so they’re normal kids so they also squabble, but overall they get along well. If you have three, do you find that to be the case? I’m just wondering what you think since the survey indicated that many Moms found it hard (with 3) because one child was often the “odd man out.”

I wonder, though if having one would have been more difficult at this point. My son was always very demanding (of my time and attention) until I had my second.  Now, of course, he has siblings and friends to play with.  I wonder how it would be with just one. Anyone have any thoughts?!!

Some things I found interesting about the survey was that on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most stressed) the average Mom on the Today.com survey put their stress at 8.5.  Where would you put your stress levels?

I think my answer would vary from day-to-day and would also depend on if Hubby were around to help.  For example, tomorrow is Tuesday… and I’d put my stress levels for that day at a 4.5. We have an easy going homeschool day with plenty of time (and no outside activities or doctors appointments) until 5pm. Wednesday, on the other hand, I’d easily put my stress levels at 9.0… and my friend, whom I see at 6pm, would probably rank me at a 12 (read about my day last Wednesday here!)!

Do you have time to get everything done that needs to be done? You’d be right there with 60% of other Moms who stress about that.  If you read my blog, you’ll often hear me sigh and apologize for our… err… “lived in” house.  Yup, laundry is always being cycled through, so our “laundry couch” almost always has varying amounts of piles (sometimes high piles of folded clothes, sometimes small piles of odds and ends that didn’t quite match up (grrr… those socks), sometimes with clothes waiting to be folded).

And, while the dishes are usually clean, they are quite often waiting to be put away (by the kids, of course!). (This was a trick I learned from a friend (who wound up having 7 kids… a supermom if I’ve every met one!)… put the dishes down low so the kids can help out from an early age!)

Another question on the survey asked about staying fit and attractive.  Do you stress about that? The survey said that nine out of ten Moms stress about that.

I’m not sure I stress about it, but I really value my running (or walking) time and feel it is really important to take that time to myself. Even though it’s not ideal (I run on a treadmill instead of outside like I used to)… I try to keep myself in the equation… but I don’t think I stress about it. I enjoy it.  How would you answer that question?

You can read more about the survey in the today.com article: Mom Survey Says: Three is the Most Stressful Number of Kids.

Let’s have our own informal survey… how many kids do you think is the most stressful? Where would you put your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10? Do you stress about getting everything done? Do you stress about staying fit and attractive? I’d love to hear your comments!

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  1. [...] with some of the free materials I made, but two of them had to do with family life in general–3-The Most Stressful Number of Kids and the post I wrote just after our beloved Vovo, hubby’s grandmother, died – The [...]