Three Children is a Bad Idea (and why we’re doing it anyway)

Three Children is a Bad Idea (and why we're doing it anyway) If you make a pro/con list about whether or not you should have a third child, I guarantee you the answer will be no. I know, because I actually wrote that list.

If you make a pro/con list about whether or not you should have a third child, I guarantee you the answer will be no. I know, because I actually wrote that list.

On the con list? It’s more expensive to travel. You need a larger table at every restaurant and a bigger car. There’s less parent (time/energy) to go around. You’ll need more college money. And you have to change your parenting strategy from “man-to-man” to “zone” defense.

There really is no logical reason to have more than two children—especially if you already have one boy and one girl like I do.

But when you take a good look at the pros, you’ll find that though there are far less of them, they are weighted differently than the cons. How can “new life” or “a soul” not be a better reason to try for a third than any other monetary or convenience reason?

Don’t get me wrong. Three is not for everyone. Honestly, I was more of an “even-numbers only” gal, myself. Growing up as one of three siblings, one person is inevitably left out. The phrase “three’s a crowd” was coined for a reason.

But after having two kids, I still felt that spooky “someone is missing from our family” feeling. Since negotiating with my husband for two more kids (and so arriving at my “even number”) was a tougher sell than just one, I conceded to “just” three kids. Five months later, we were staring down at a faint pink line on our dollar store pregnancy test, excited, but going into it all with eyes wide open, wondering how we were going to handle yet another one.

If you’re in the market for three, here are some of the reasons that have helped me overcome the overwhelming list of “cons” you may be staring at on your pro/con list right now.

1. Three is a small “big family”

Large families are boisterous and lively. “I’m bored” moments are rare because there is always someone to play with (or annoy). Your family is the party. So three is a nice compromise for having a big family without having a huge family. Having three kicks you up from the 1-2 category of families to the 3-4 category which equals more chaos, but more life and bustle.

2. One of my children will have a same-sex sibling

I would love for my daughter to have a sister. Growing up with two brothers, I always wished I had one. But if we have another boy, a wise friend of mine pointed out that it is often more difficult for men to find friends later in life (especially after marriage), so having a brother is a built-in guarantee that they will always have a male friend in the world. As for being left out, the one sibling who doesn’t have a brother or sister will get to brag to their friends about how understanding they are of the opposite sex because they had TWO brothers or TWO sisters.

3. More chances my husband and I will be cared for in our old age
 

Though it’s not generally something we think about during our young-ish child-bearing years, one day we will get old and need help. And with western society spinning with a surprisingly fast centripetal force, flinging our families farther and farther apart, the more children we have that will still be close enough to care for us in our feeble years, the better. 


4. We get one more chance at perfection

Poor, poor first born child. Son, we had no idea what we were doing and you were essentially an experiment for us in parenting. We only pray that we did not screw you up beyond repair by all of our failed experiments.

But with number three, hopefully we have learned a thing or two and have a chance to incorporate our wisdom and experience into raising a more obedient, compliant and calm child (insert sarcasm).

5. Life is “supersized”

When we had our second child, we felt like the work didn’t just double, but increased exponentially. I’m not naive enough to believe that going from two to three will be any different.

But just as the grunt work, sleeplessness, frustrations, anxieties and stressors have increased, so have all the counterparts. The giggles, dance parties, hugs, kisses, snuggles, invented words, and heart-bursting love have also increased right next to the difficult parts.

~~~

Although I am not quite as idealistic and swoony as I was with my first pregnancy, I’m still in awe that I get to experience this mystery one more time. Even now, my little one is kicking in my belly and reminding me that I will never regret choosing life. Though we still haven’t chosen a name for our son, God has always known what he will be called.

Three is not logical. But I’ve always been more of a believer in going with your gut than with logic anyway. So if you feel like you want a third–why not? Rip up the pro/con list. Your life is probably chaotic already, so really you’re just adding more life to the party (or more party to the life…). 

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Three Children is a Bad Idea (and why we're doing it anyway) If you make a pro/con list about whether or not you should have a third child, I guarantee you the answer will be no. I know, because I actually wrote that list.

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