I have had several people ask me what changes when you have three. At which point I want to laugh hysterically, burst into tears, and yell: YOU GO INSANE!!! (Seriously, at the 2.5 week postpartum mark my best advice to those thinking about expanding their family is DON’T. Unless you can send one of the older kids somewhere else for a very long time.)
If I may reference Jim Gaffigan’s bit on having four kids: ”Do you want to know what it’s like to have a fourth? Just imagine you’re drowning… and then someone hands you a baby.” Except I am a slacker because I feel that way about having only three children. So what changes? Everything.
But to be more specific and allow you to weigh the pros and cons for yourself, here you go.
1. You will never sleep again. This is only partially due to the baby. Baby #3 will keep you up plenty, but whenever he or she does sleep, your husband or either (or both!) of your children will wake you up for some reason. Multiple times.
2. You will desperately want to sleep while the baby sleeps but it will be impossible. Remember when you had one baby and you could nap? And then you had a baby and a toddler and you chose not to nap because when would stuff get done?!? Now you have three kids and you would absolutely nap if you could but the oldest child will not let you.
3. You have managed to collect multiple pieces of baby equipment (bouncers, swings, etc.) but the only thing you will use around the house is the baby car seat because that is able to stand up to the attacks of your two mobile children.
4. You call your baby your middle child’s name within 24 hours of birth even though they are different genders.
5. You set up a changing pad on your dresser and all you use it for is to pile baby stuff on because you have no time to put the stuff away and because diaper changes happen wherever.
6. You really know at this point that babies will cry and it’s okay if they do because you are NOT an octopus and cannot attend to everyone’s needs all at once.
7. At the same time, you won’t let the baby cry at all at night because you don’t want additional children in on the midnight party.
8. You get yourself ready last because you know that if you get dressed before feeding the baby you will end up with poop and spit up all over your clothing.
9. Baby is dressed in regular clothing (not pjs) only when going out (if you have not already learned that).
10. You will only have supervised “loving” as your older two will fight over holding the baby and then almost immediately try to roll her off the couch.
11. You will find that sleep deprivation with three is exponentially more painful than with the other two.
12. Unless you have a mother who swoops in for a month to cook, clean, and generally take over, you will find that you MUST get back to normal ASAP. No one is going to do it for you and those people who tell you to ignore the laundry or dishes or whatever are not going to show up when you have three weeks of dishes in the sink and clean them for you. Suck it up and get back to it is the best advice I can offer there.
13. You will yell more because you forgot how much babies eat and inevitably, as soon as your baby is happily nursing, your other two will commence killing each other at the other end of the house. Every. Single. Time.
14. Your children will watch more tv because you don’t want to yell every time you’re nursing the baby. Also, Elmo, Dora, and Thomas can all string coherent sentences together while you are now incapable of remembering your name.
15. You will freely admit that while you firmly believe in safe sleep you just don’t practice it some nights because you simply can’t.
16. Going along with the night thing, you will find that while you changed your first baby every time they ate at night, you only change your third in the night if their swaddling blanket is wet and it seems really REALLY necessary.
17. You thought you were proficient at breastfeeding and multitasking with the second baby? The third will take you to new heights, where you find yourself nursing while drinking your seventh cup of coffee while marching two naughty children to their respective rooms and wondering how you have hands to actually do all of that.