Parenthood is hard - even if you only have one child to take care of - it is exhilarating, but exhausting.
All at the same time.
Once the shellshock has settled, you begin to wonder if having a second baby could really be that much more work?
You've already been through all the prep for #1 (they outgrow everything so quickly, meaning you legit have the IKEA-equivalent of a baby flat-pack just sitting there).
The memories excruciating sleep-deprivation begin to fade, and you find yourself asking if having another child really would make that much difference? It's no longer your first time at this particular rodeo and you'll just be doing the same things again, right?
By the time you reach this same point after #2, the stakes suddenly seem that little bit higher - things probably got a little hairy trying to care for a toddler and an infant + still trying to act as fully-functioning adults (at least on the outside) and the experience has probably left you a little scarred...
Having a third child is an absolute game changer and here's why:
1. You'll never sleep again
It'll feel like your child is waking you up every hour on the hour and if they aren't... some other poor soul will be losing their marbles outside your bedroom door and you'll hear them and get paranoid that something bad had happened while you weren't paying attention!
It's a constant state of mild panic mixed with sleep deprivation - but again, it's pretty awesome just because you always have little people around who need looking after no matter what time of day or night it is.
2. You realise that the nap-time rule isn't just for school anymore
Ok, so maybe when they were smaller naps were essential (for all of us - see point #1) but the realisation that you can actually put your children down for a nap during their non-school hours is both mind-blowing and life-changing.
3. Doing chores under pressure is HARD
You've really got to get your laundry done before they wake up, lunch has to be made with at least two of them fighting over what's in the sandwich, dinner needs cooking whilst trying not to burn it or setting the house on fire... It seriously pushes you past your limits - but somehow, most days work out just fine.
4. You become incredibly organised
If you're even half way decent at time-management then having three kids will help hone that skill into an artform. You've really gotta have a system in place otherwise it's just too much.
Suddenly, keeping a running tally in your head of all the things that still need to go onto to the shopping list in the fridge (and yes, I do mean in - story for another time), you find yourself writing anything and everything down pretty much anywhere you can!
Digital planners, lists etc. are super-useful... Just not when you cannot physically lay your hands on a device to access and they are quickly replaced replaced by scraps of paper strewn around the house because, you know... kids....
5. You realise that you're actually pretty capable of doing some seriously cool stuff
Making food for everyone, playing with all three kids on your own (even though they won't always listen to what you say!) and giving baths... I mean, come on!
6. A bath is now a luxury not an everyday thing
If you can run your children baths every single night, you are officially SUPER-HUMAN (Comes with a cape and mask, too...!)
7. Three's a crowd in ALL the ways possible...
(But it's also the best thing ever at the same time).
It's a funny old thing, sometimes the things that babies and toddlers do aren't even all that different from each other but at other times it really is just a MASSIVE bun-fight for your attention.
8. Even when they're asleep, they're not
You find yourself hanging out by bedroom doors, just in case one of them wakes up - or worse, having to get up and comfort/rescue them because you didn't hear anything! It's a sleepless form of torture...
9. Your time becomes seriously limited
Back to point #1 again - there is literally no way you have time for anything anymore but being with your kids, playing with them or looking after them makes every single second of it worthwhile.
10. You learn to appreciate everything you have way more than ever before
You also become super-grateful for all the little things that your life is filled with now - they are the important things in life, not what you used to think mattered so much back when you had less on your plate.
But despite being overworked and under-appreciated... Is there anything more rewarding?
Having a third baby can be an incredibly difficult decision - both from a physical and mental aspect, not to mention the finances of it all (you may have to change your car to accommodate additional baby equipment; you may have to move because living with two children was already a squeeze; saving for the future and putting three, rather than two kids through their education of choice).
However, it's one of the most rewarding things you could ever decide to do.
If you can find yourself in a position where you are able to handle it -or even if only some of the time- then you might just be doing something pretty amazing.
It might take patience, organisation and a whole heap of mental strength... But there's no doubt about it: It will make you better people for it...