Is the 3rd child really the hardest? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have often heard that the third child is the hardest on family dynamics. I remember things like, "Three is the hardest, but after that, you can have 10 and it would be fine."

Any truth to this notion? We've certainly been rocked by having three little people in the house (and it's not like they're just super close in age - they're 2.5 and 3 years apart), but I don't know what part of it is the number of kids, the ages of the kids, or our own inability to cope with stress (DH, in particular).

I really want one more, but at this point DH isn't in favor because of the stress. We're working on ways to remedy some of it (he works from home, but will very soon have the option of working in another office), but then I still wonder just how much easier - or not - a fourth would be.

Would love input from those who have 4+!

Thanks!

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:46 AM
 
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i'm currently pregnant with #3 so i'll be watching this tread

Chelsea, Christian, Wife to Trey, Mommy to Oliver (11/3/2005), Abner (5/01/2008) and Baby #3 ( Due 9/27/2010)
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm currently pregnant with #3 so i'll be watching this tread
And your 3rd is due on my 3rd's birthday!

Which makes me wonder, too, how much gender has an effect. We have all boys, who tend to be active (but can also sit for an hour or 5 reading books). I have no idea how it might be different if we had all - or any - girls!

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:59 AM
 
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Have 3 (5, 3, 1), trying for #4.

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Old 02-03-2010, 05:02 AM
 
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i know that my 2 boys can be very loud and wild. the loud volume is what really stresses me out but when the two boys fight, it seems to really stress out DH. we don't know what we're having yet but if it's a quiet little girl, i might not know what to do with her lol. i'm sure this baby will really change things either way.

but i want 6 someday, so i'd love to know if after 3, it doesn't get too much more difficult.

Chelsea, Christian, Wife to Trey, Mommy to Oliver (11/3/2005), Abner (5/01/2008) and Baby #3 ( Due 9/27/2010)
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:04 AM
 
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I had a girl, 19mnths later a boy, 23 mnths later another boy. #2 was the hardest for me because I was in a bad spot emotionally. #3 integrated into our lives and routines really easily. I'm hopeful that #4 will be the same!

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Old 02-03-2010, 06:27 AM
 
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There are no guarantees. I was the third in my family and I was AWFUL (not as a baby, but as a toddler and child)... but number 4 had special needs, so there you go. FTR, numbers 5 and 6 were pretty good.

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Old 02-03-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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#3 was very difficult for me. I felt like a super-mom of 2 but having a third child was very humbling and difficult. And it's not that he was a particularly difficult child, either. He cried a lot as a newborn but by about 2 months he was very content and not nearly as "high needs" as my first two had been. I mean, he was a baby that at 6 months would take a nap by himself for 2 hours. I didn't think babies like that existed! So it wasn't him, really, just trying to figure out how to juggle instead of just passing two balls back and forth, you know? #4 was a very easy transition, and overall, 4 is much easier than 3.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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3 has been rough on our family, not for me, but for DH. The children are 7, 3 and 9 months. DS has been an easy baby, but my older two girls are not. DD1 is a very intense child with anxiety issues and some other things, DD2 is normal but has not taken to being the middle child well so has been difficult as well. 3 has made our house more much crazier, DH is not handling the stress well at all. I have to admit that this is a sore spot for me, I am the one dealing with most of the child related tasks, but when outnumbered by 3 to 1, DH does have to step up more. Drop a child off here, take one at night, all of this are things he never really had to do before.


I go back and forth about a 4th, DH is very much against another child, he feels that he can't handle the ones he has. If he was not so opposed then I would really be wanting another one, but now I am really weighing if our family (DH) can handle it.

But for me, the 3rd has been the easiest, DD1 was a screaming mess for the first year of her life, DD2 was very ill and had medical problems, DS has been no problem at all for me. It was like he was born, and then the next day our life went on instead of coming to s screeching halt like it had with the others.

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Old 02-03-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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I think it would also depend on ages. My #2 and #3 are only 16 mos apart---we rarely left the house and I was REALLY TIRED a lot.

I think we could've easily added a 4th when #3 turned 4 or so. My nieces are 6 and 3 and I keep them often with no problems. (My kids are 12, 7 and 6.)

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Old 02-03-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by scifimama View Post
i know that my 2 boys can be very loud and wild. the loud volume is what really stresses me out but when the two boys fight, it seems to really stress out DH. we don't know what we're having yet but if it's a quiet little girl, i might not know what to do with her lol. i'm sure this baby will really change things either way.

but i want 6 someday, so i'd love to know if after 3, it doesn't get too much more difficult.
This made me laugh "quiet little girl" my son will chill and watch movies, snuggle, and occupy himself for hours with his trains. DD1 on the other hand is loud, active, argumentative, (of course wonderful, loving, intelligent and sensitive too) but she would NEVER fit in the "quiet little girl" category, lol

My 3rd is also a girl, she's 9 1/2 months now and I think at this point, though it's hard to know for sure, that she takes after her oldest sister. I'm a little scared...
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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The 3rd, for us, was definitely the most difficult adjustment. Our 4th is a high-needs little guy, but it has been a pretty smooth transition (so much so that I want to try for #5!) Or maybe I have just gone a little crazy and everyone around me is too afraid to tell me so.......

Happily married to my hero and SAHMama to 4 precious gifts from God
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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I remember when I was very pregnant with my third, my dentist told me "The third is what pushed us over the edge." LOL. In a way he was right on. My third was a perfect baby, quiet, slept a great deal, etc. But she was still a baby with lots of demands and it was hard to keep up with three little people. She was five years younger than my oldest and a little less than two with my middle.

Now I can do it but the dynamics are interesting. Middle child is a slightly out there, very independent stubborn little girl with lots of energy. Oldest son is very sweet but just got diagnosised with epilepsy. The youngest is also very independent and feisty but she likes company more than the middle. There is a lot of fighting between the two youngest girls. And we homeschool:P We did adjust though, and the panic I felt initially is gone. I feel pretty capable of going out with all of them etc. Interestingly dh never felt stressed by three. We'll see how he does with four.

Right now I'm accepting our fourth in April. I have to admit to not feeling as paniced as I did when pregnant with number three. Could be that I have no toddlers running around but I do feel more confident having survived three so to speak.

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Old 02-03-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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I only have 2, but my mom had 4. According to her, adding the third was much easier than adding the second, and I (Child #1) accepted #3 much more easily than I did #2. The first 3 kids were all 18 months apart. The one who affected our family dynamics most was #4, who came along 4 1/2 years later, but that was mostly because of his special needs.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scifimama View Post
i know that my 2 boys can be very loud and wild. the loud volume is what really stresses me out but when the two boys fight, it seems to really stress out DH. we don't know what we're having yet but if it's a quiet little girl, i might not know what to do with her lol. i'm sure this baby will really change things either way.

but i want 6 someday, so i'd love to know if after 3, it doesn't get too much more difficult.
Ha! My neighbor has 4 children, stairstepped from 6-10. The girls are by far the loudest!!! And in my house, the boy can be loud w/noises of all kinds, but the girls will.not.hush!!! Like ever, lol. Mighty mouths, all of 'em.

Seems like when boys are together playing all you hear are all kinds of noises like truck noises, monster noises, Star Wars sounds, but when girls get together, they TALK.

For me, the 2nd was the hardest, and anything after that was cake.

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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Old 02-03-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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We have four (8,7,2,and 7 weeks).

I think it depends on the spacing of the children and the children you are given

#1 was a very easy child. Loved to sleep. Very happy. Still a wonderful kid.

#2 was very needy and I struggled for the first year+. Never seemed to sleep.

#3 was easier, still not a sleeper but was an easier baby and the adjustment was smooth. Older sibs helped out which is a bonus!

#4 is a great baby but #3 is now 2 and keeping me on my toes. Adding #4 has been the biggest adjustment. If this baby was as needy as #2 was I think I'd really be struggling right now.

I also think my expectations and my attitude have improved over the years. I'm much easier going than I was when we started our parenting journey.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Homeschooling mama of four fantastic kids and wife to one great guy.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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No! The 5th is!

If I had stopped at 3, then yes....and after the 3rd we took a break for 4 years!

The 4th was wonderful......maybe we should have stopped there LOL!

This 5th kid.......we've been DONE!!! But uggg! #6 is on the way.....

.....Maybe it's good to stop at an even number
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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For us, it was the personality of the child that made it hard, not their postion in the family. Angela, our 3rd, was easy to add into the family dynamics. It was Erica, our 2nd, that was hard. Erica is the reason why there is 4 years between her and Angela but only 2.5 years between Joy and Erica. Dylan also upset the dynamics. MOre because of his personality, than the age span. If we had had Erica first, chances are she would have been an only child.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:56 PM
 
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but i want 6 someday, so i'd love to know if after 3, it doesn't get too much more difficult.
When we got married, dh wanted 6 and I wanted none. We said that we compromised with 3 until Dylan came along.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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I'm sure it depends on the ages too but for us, yes #3 was hardest. Not that she was our hardest child but having three children under 5yo was hard. Now that I have a 9yo and a 7yo who can help out with the chores and play with the younger children and are somewhat self-sufficient, it does make it a lot simpler. Still not easy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything and we are working on #6.
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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I think it depends on lots of things. For us 3rd was the biggest change because we had only planned on having 2 children and #3 is only 20 months younger than #2. She was a total surprise. My 2nd was definitely my toughest baby (she wouldn't go to anyone but me, not even her Dad until she was 10 months old). Having said that she is only one that was "planned" so I was in a really good place when she was born so that made it a bit easier. My first was an easy baby, but I was a basket case ~ PPD etc. Having said all that my youngest is 2 today and it is definitely getting easier. Almost makes me want another, but that is no longer an option
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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My 3rd and 4th have been extremely easy. My shoulders are about worn out, but the rest of me (sanity) is fine.

I was really scared to have my 3rd (a surprise). It just seemed so natural though, after he came. I had all the tricks, all the experience, none of the worry and anxiety. It was nothing like adding the 2nd, which was really hard for me.

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Old 02-03-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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My third was my easiest. He was happy and easy-going and slept all the time. My DDs were 6 and 4 and they just adored their younger brother. Adding him was such a smooth transition. He kept that great personality as a toddler and almost never had tantrums or power struggles. He's still a happy, easy-going child at age 6.

But then came number 4. She cried and fussed and never slept. Her first year was a blur. All I did was struggle to meet her needs. The needs of the other children fell by the wayside. Nobody got enough attention from me and I had no life outside of taking care of her. Now as a toddler she's still such a live wire. I don't understand how a child that never sleeps can have so much energy. She's always jumping and dancing and climbing. Everything I want her to do is a fight. It has been an exhausting 2.5 years.

I do think it comes down to personality. You never know what you're going to get.

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Old 02-03-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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I do think it comes down to personality. You never know what you're going to get.
It does, really. But yk what? I firmly believe we get what we can handle.

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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Old 02-03-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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I have three. They're currently 4, almost 6, and 15 months.

My third has been by far the easiest kid I've had. He slept well from the get go, he nursed just fine, and he's very happy-go-lucky.

My middle boy has been our biggest challenge, as far as keeping up with him. He's very emotional, a terrible sleeper, and WILD. But he's also a total sweetheart, very intelligent, and super sweet to younger children.

My dd was the toughest as a baby--she was "colicky" or something as an infant, and I thought I'd never make it through her first year. Something in her switched when she hit toddlerhood, though, because all the sleep problems and crying evaporated.

I do think that three is hard as far as the workload, especially when they're all very small. The laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc., can be very overwhelming at times. It feels like a lot more than just the mess of one more person for some reason. But I've just had to adjust my expectations and do my best. I keep thinking that someday, I'll be able to have my house just how I want it. But for now, I need to be flexible. Of course my timeline has been pushed back again, as we're now expecting Baby #4!

IMO, the first baby is the HARDEST. Of course mine was just not an easy baby, but everything is new and there can be a lot of self-doubt if things aren't going well, and you don't have the perspective to know that it won't be just like this forever. I've also been told that having three is as hard as it gets, and if you can do three you can do any number. I'm hoping this is true, but I suppose I'll find out soon enough.

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Old 02-03-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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I have 22 months between DS and DD1, 24 months between DD1 and DD2, will be ~22/23 months between DD2 and #4.

For me, going from 1 to 2 was the hardest, and DD1 is still the most challenging. The drama, screaming and whining - ahhhhhhhhh! And while I love her dearly, the words "quiet" and "sweet" have never been used to describe her. (Well, maybe while she is sleeping?) It was easy going from 2 to 3, DD2 is now 18 months and also developing a, shall we say, very strong personality. I'm still waiting to see how it is going from 3 to 4.

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Old 02-03-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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There were three of us in my family, and we were all fairly well behaved children. Then again, our parents split up 7 or 8 years after the youngest of us was born, so it mightve put a strain on our parents (especially financially).
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Haven't read the other responses, but my third was the easiest. Everyone was already used to sharing Mom and Dad, and adapted much easier to the next kid. It might have been the ages between the kids, too, as ds1 was only 19 months old when ds2 was born. When ds1 was born, dd was 2y 2mo, and she had a tough transition.

When I was pg with #3, my cousin told me that when you have your third kid you go from man-on-man to zone defense. I liked that analogy, as a former basketballer.

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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I have a 6 yr old, 4.5 yr old and 6 mo old boys. Transitioning to two kids was HELL, b/c they were only 18 mo apart and DS2 was a very unhappy, high needs child who sucked the life out of me. DS1 was very spirited and all over the place, so I was pulling out my hair trying to keep one out of danger while having one who cried all day. Right now 3 is hard, but manageable. The older two are much more indep and able to occupy one another and DS3 has a good personality. I think it really depends on your kids' ages and temperment. We always joke that had DS2 been our first child, there would have been a really large gap before we had another child, and that is exactly what happened (4 yr gap btwn DS2 and DS3).
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
For us, it was the personality of the child that made it hard, not their postion in the family. Angela, our 3rd, was easy to add into the family dynamics. It was Erica, our 2nd, that was hard. Erica is the reason why there is 4 years between her and Angela but only 2.5 years between Joy and Erica. Dylan also upset the dynamics. MOre because of his personality, than the age span. If we had had Erica first, chances are she would have been an only child.
: My second was also THAT child in my family, and would probably be happier as an only child. It's a bit soon to tell, but I think our newbie (number 5) may be the same way.

I will say, though, that having three kids under 5 is far harder than having five overall. Spacing counts for a lot.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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