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Life With 3 Kids—How Everything Changes By #3

I got married at the age of 30, and immediately felt a strong desire to have a three kid family as soon as possible. In my former life, I wasn’t sure if I wanted children. But lo and behold, when my husband and I got engaged, I had a God moment and suddenly needed one million children. With me being close to 31 when we got married, I made it my mission to get pregnant as soon as I had a ring on my finger, with the end goal of being done having kids by age 35. (Why yes, I AM crazy!) Two months after we got back from our honeymoon in Spain, I was pregnant. And the rest is history: we have a six year old, a 4.5 year old and a two year old in less than seven years of marriage. And no, we haven’t been to Europe since.

Having a baby was such a shock to my system: here was this human person who relied on me, just me, for everything, at all times. I put such pressure on myself to do everything perfectly: ensuring (no matter what) that he was breastfed, immediately put on a good sleep routine, and properly engaged by talking, singing and cuddling. I had lots of opinions on what was the “best” way to raise a child. My second and third kiddos definitely altered that perspective. While I have relaxed as a mom, I only now feel like I’m really getting into a groove as a parent—I needed to have three, apparently. It’s funny to look back and see how much I’ve changed with each child. Join me for this mini-retrospective on parenting a three kid family.


First Emotion upon Seeing Positive Pregnancy Test

Oldest Child: Euphoria (it took no time!).

Middle Child: Panic (while holding a positive pregnancy test in one hand and an eight-month-old in the other).

Youngest Child: Relief (thank goodness I will be done having kids by age 35).


Maternity Clothes

Oldest: Started wearing maternity clothes around 17 weeks.

Middle: Started wearing maternity clothes around seven weeks (my mom helpfully let me know that she could see my bump at five weeks pregnant).

Youngest: Secretly wore maternity pants prior to third pregnancy.


Books Read While Pregnant

Oldest: What to Expect When You’re Expecting; On Becoming Baby Wise; Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child; Secrets of the Baby Whisperer; Bringing up Bebe

Middle: Girlfriends’ Guide to Toddlers

Youngest: Big Little Lies


Choosing Baby Names

Oldest: First and middle name picked before end of first trimester.

Middle: Haggled with my husband for months about using our “runner-up” boy name for middle child, since oldest child got our “first-choice” boy name.

Youngest: Couldn’t decide on name; forgot to sign Social Security form before leaving hospital.


Child’s Diet

Oldest: Carefully selected organic jars of baby food; always one vegetable and one fruit per meal.

Middle: Shared smashed up/steamed veggies and fruits with older brother.

Youngest: Favorite foods include bacon, fries, and chips.


Sleep Schedule

Oldest: Slept through the night at 12 weeks on his own; I considered myself an expert on infant sleep training.

Middle: Several sleep regressions; I did not sleep for 11 months.

Youngest: Sleep trained by Dad.


Screen Time

Oldest: Not allowed to look at any screens until second birthday.

Middle: Not allowed to look at any screens until older brother’s second birthday.

Youngest: Has her own Netflix account.



Oldest: Obsessively researched his first preschool more than I researched my own college.

Middle: No research; he goes to same preschool that his older brother attended.

Youngest: Not entirely sure what year she starts school.


Grocery Store Outings

Oldest: “How in the world does one simultaneously grocery shop AND manage a baby?” as I gingerly placed the infant carrier, with baby inside, into the basket.

Middle: “How in the world do I take TWO CHILDREN to the grocery store?” This rarely happened.

Youngest: I refused to take three children to the store until the youngest was one. My husband is a saint.


Pediatrician Visits

Oldest: “Ages & Stages” questionnaire filled out thoroughly with multiple examples and anecdotes; list of questions written down and ready for each visit.

Middle: Filled out questionnaire most of the time; brought written manifesto of why my child had reflux and needed Nexxium.

Youngest: Ran through every pediatrician in the practice until I found one willing to over-communicate with my daughter’s surgeon, cardiologist, and PT/OT as needed. 


Mom Perspective

Oldest: I’m just trying to figure this out. This is hard. I’m not a good mom.

Middle: It’s easier this time. I know what works and what’s best for our family.

Youngest: #beastmode  I will advocate for my children and literally run you over if you write off my child or underestimate them. I am not afraid of going to jail.


There you have it. I’m so glad that I have a three kid family. Full disclosure: I’m lucky that I was able to get pregnant easily, stay pregnant, and deliver three full-term babies. I won’t ever take that for granted. This list makes me laugh because if I knew then what I know now, I would think that my life is crazy and unmanageable. But since I’m living it, and it’s all I know, I am content and happy and believe that this is the best life I could have, due in large part to these three crazy kids who call me Mom. I’m the luckiest, and hopefully one day my kids will think they’re lucky to have me as their mom. If you’re thinking of going for a third baby, I say go for it! You’ll never regret it.

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10 Responses to Life With 3 Kids—How Everything Changes By #3

  1. Karilyn Eastvold September 28, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    This is great, Whitney! I laughed out-loud so much it caused a grandchild to inquire as to what I was reading. Fortunately for us, our 3rd was mellow because there were some days when I definitely felt that I’d “been promoted” beyond my capabilities. You have been through much more. And, yes, the 3rd is a great addition! Love our 3!

    • Whitney Reed
      Whitney Reed October 13, 2017 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks for reading, Karilyn! And commiserating 🙂

  2. Katherine Standard September 28, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

    Love this article Whitney!! Karilyn passed this along and Johnnie and I laughed so hard!! You are such a wonderful writer. Found this extra entertaining considering number 3 should be making an appearance in the weeks to come! 😃

    • Whitney Reed
      Whitney Reed October 13, 2017 at 11:36 am #

      Ha! Can’t wait to meet your new little one! Welcome to the 3-kid club!

  3. Gigi Standard September 29, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    😊 sooo true! Reality!

    • Whitney Reed
      Whitney Reed October 13, 2017 at 11:36 am #

      You can relate!! Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. Vanessa
    Vanessa November 4, 2017 at 11:03 am #

    Whitney!!!!! Yessssssss!!!! 3 kid mom here. I burst out laughing with the screen time on 3rd child. Same!!

    • Whitney Reed
      Whitney Reed November 5, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

      YOU KNOW IT!!

  5. Kristen Riddell November 5, 2017 at 6:44 am #

    I’m on the fence so thank you for pushing me over. And let it be known that you knew about my second before my husband did, you are my Motherhood sensei after all. 🙂

    • Whitney Reed
      Whitney Reed November 5, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

      HA! KRidd, you need a third!! Love, Mom Sensei