Research be damned: Three kids is actually the PERFECT number to have

Mother and three young children on park bench

No matter how many kids you have – or plan on having – there’s always to be some kind of research that tells you that you have it all wrong. The only possibly acceptable number of children to have is two. Having an only child is just plain selfish, and any more than two is asking for trouble.

And with a study of more than 7000 mothers showing that mothers of three kids are the most stressed, we could all be forgiven for believing that three is NOT the magic number. But as a mother of three myself – a boy followed by two girls – I am left wondering who these stressed-out mothers are exactly.

Sure I don’t have four, five or more kids so I’m not really in a position to judge how much less stressed I might be with an even bigger family, but there are plenty of reasons that three kids is an excellent number to have:

They have more play opportunities

With three kids in the mix, there’s a lovely dynamic between the different combos of siblings when they play – all three together play very differently than the combos of big brother with baby sister, big brother with middle sibling, or the two girls together. And as they have gotten older, they seek each other out for particular types of interactions which makes my heart sing a little. 


Read more stories about three-kid families:


We have a community of kids

Two parents and two kids is very neat, isn’t it? And probably fabulous for organisational purposes. But with more kids than adults in the house, there is more of a need to discuss and plan and routines are harder to maintain. Which all might sound stressful but ends up being the opposite. The kids have learnt to be more flexible and relaxed, and most importantly more resourceful and independent because if they want something to happen, they probably have to get the ball rolling themselves!

We become excellent prioritisers

We are a two-parent working family, so there is always going to be more things to get through in a day than there are hours. So it stands to reason that we have to let the small stuff go. And while this was initially a hard lesson to learn for the control freaks amongst us (me!), once I got into the swing of it, I really embraced taking the long view and focussing on the big stuff.

Three kids = low-level chaos

When you have three young children, the world is generally amazed and impressed that you can get out the door with two matching shoes on. Expectations are very very low when you have three children so your friends and family will tend to give you a pass on all sorts of stuff – bringing something for Christmas lunch, signing up for canteen duty, hosting mother’s group … No matter the task, if you want out, you can pull out your ‘three kids’ card and get an automatic pass. I know! Amazing but true.

Three kids automatically makes you a super-mum

No matter if you’re nailing it at home, or if the kids are actually racing around like little maniacs, just having three children will make the world look upon you as though you have special powers of some kind. You had two kids already – you could have stopped there. But no … you went back for one more because of the peak parenting skills. Go, mama!

So if you’re considering going back for one more, don’t let those scary studies deter you. Jump in boots and all because having three kids is truly ace. Trust me.

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