My dear husband said something to me the other day, that got me all fired up.
We were discussing the imminent arrival of our fourth child, when he mentioned that someone had asked whether it was harder to have more than one child.
“Having three kids, is no different to having one.”
That’s when I lost it.
Let me preface this with saying, I am in in no way discounting how hard one child can be, and this is not an attack on families with one child. This is just my experience.
So with that in mind, here was my response, although it was probably far less eloquent than this, with a few more expletives!
” Darling husband. You are so very, very wrong. And this is why…
1. We are outnumbered. I am, well and truly outnumbered. Walking through a carpark involves a ridiculous arrangement of hands and pockets and head counts, to make sure all three children are safe and accounted for and not about to do a runner. I only have two hands. I have three children. It’s a daily struggle.
2. One child can’t fight with itself. Three children rage all out war against each other. Two against one, one against two, three against me. Every play time is an argument waiting to happen.
3. No one ever wants to eat the same thing at the same time. That’s three separate breakfasts/lunches/dinners, 365 days a year.
4. I can’t remember the last time nobody needed me at night. With three children, someone inevitably needs something, every single night. Sickness, teeth, bad dreams, an itchy foot, a rogue eyelash or prickly thing in the palm of a hand. Every night. Every. Freaking. Night. And it has to be mum. Not dad. Mum.
5. Just when you think you’ve finally exited a particularly horrific stage of parenting, your next child enters it. The perils of having our children so close together in age is that twice now I have had a 3 year old and a 2 year old at the same time. Kill me now.
6. You feel continually torn. If two of your three children are crying and the third is the one who has caused the pain, who do you tend to first? Do you discipline first? Do you assess who is more injured and help them? Do you do a runner and hide in a cupboard? See, torn!
7. When one child is sick, inevitably, all of you will get it. It means your family will appear as some kind of chronic illness gang. You’ll also be on first name basis with the G.P and be given a loyalty card at the pharmacy!
8. No one really wants to invite you and your three children to their house. Honestly. They are picturing the mess, the fights the chronic illness. We are put in the too hard basket, for sure!
9. You swore you wouldn’t play favourites, but when one out of three, are sleeping/eating/being nice/making life that little bit easier, you do love them that little bit more. Go on, admit it. You then feel extreme guilt for being so fickle. And around and around it goes.
10. Despite it all, the fights, the continual sickness, the back to back terrible twos and threes and fours, your heart will feel so full when you look at the bond between these siblings, these little people you have created, who now have a partner in crime for life. Whether they like it, or not.
So that is why you are wrong, my beautiful husband of mine. Don’t make that mistake again!”