How life is different when you have three kids

A third child creates a whole new family dynamic.
A third child creates a whole new family dynamic. Photo: Getty Images

I knew having a third child would alter our lives, but it's had so many impacts - both tiny and enormous - that I wouldn't have known to even consider  

Here are some of the ways things have changed since we had our third baby ...

1. Family photos have become harder (impossible) to coordinate

When you have three children you can pretty much say farewell to the idea of having a photo of all your kids looking in the same direction and smiling.

You may have one kid looking at you and another one smiling, but the chances of getting all three of them to do both those things at the same time is beyond miniscule. Embrace Photoshop or just enjoy the craziness. 

2. You no longer know how to adjudicate the kids bickering

When I had two kids, I used to often say things like, "Give her a turn and then you can have a turn" whenever the kids fought over something.

Since having a third child, I'm a bit out of my depth.

"Um, give her a turn, then you can have a turn, then he can have a turn," I say. But I know full well that this advice is going to receive a chorus of kids screaming, "But mum!" before I even finish saying it. 

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3. People no longer ask excitedly about whether you want more kids

When I had two children, people always asked if I wanted to have more children by using a positive, uplifting tone.

"Are you going to have a third?" they'd ask politely.

When you have three kids already, they rephrase that question and change their expression.

"You're not going to have a fourth, are you?" they ask, with a look in their eye that says having a fourth is akin to some kind of plague (a plague of children, yes, but a plague, nonetheless).

4. You think my partner is ah-may-zing when he offers to put all three kids to bed

Offering to put all three kids to bed is like offering to clean the house from top to bottom while sending you to a day spa. (Nah, it's actually better than that.) But guess what? He's a parent, just like me. 

5.   Weird things happen 

Weird things like ... we suddenly have four different types of toothpaste at home.

This is because the toddler uses special toddler/baby stuff, my son only likes the strawberry kind, my older daughter only likes the watermelon type, and my husband and I need proper adult (i.e. mint) toothpaste.

Four kinds of toothpaste. For just one family. Hold me.

6. Your third child's diet is a little, um, different to your first

While a first child is often fed All-Organic, Hand-Cooked, Lovingly Prepared meals, a third child is often given Food.

That food may sometimes come in a packet (gasp). It may even be the same food the child had for the previous meal (hello, eggs).

But if that child is your third, and she is generally fed a nutritious, varied diet, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

7. Running out of milk is an actual emergency

Not only will mama not have coffee (and no one wants to see mama without coffee on board), it also means your toddler can't have her bottle, your son can't have porridge and your daughter can't have cereal.

Once you have three children you can never run out of milk.

You may not realise the drama, but I'm serious.

8. There's pretty much always someone for the kids to play with

In fact, there are enough kids for them to do group games together. Plus, there's an in-built audience whenever one child wants to show off his or her impressive skills ... and you know there are many, per child.

9. There's a whole lot of love

Life with three children is filled with love, mess, noise, love, fun, laughter and love (yes, I know I said love three times, but I really mean it).

The truth is that life simply isn't the same with three little people in it. And in my eyes, it's way better.