The decision to have or not to have a third child can be an all-consuming question.
This is the part where I say I wouldn’t change it for the world and churn out a hundred other cliches, and the truth is, I wouldn’t (and not just because I can’t).
Because now that there are three little individuals in my care, I honestly couldn’t say which one I’d put back. And for the five minutes each week, where everyone is synched in happiness, I look at our family and I feel perfectly content. Complete. Proud.
It’s the remaining 10,075 minutes I struggle with.
If you happen to be debating adding a third child to the mix, let me help you out. You should probably not have a third child unless…
1. You like sleep deprivation. Because by adding another child into the mix, you’ve increased the chances of SOMEONE being up by 33.3% recurring. And my. Is it recurring. Night after night after night after night.
2. You have an industrial sized washing machine. Because like the sleep deprivation, you also increase the washing by 33.3%. And just as kids grow bigger, so do their clothes.
3. You have an enormous car. Or an actual bus. Because even when you manage to get a car that’s big enough, someone still has to sit in the middle. And how do you get to that middle seat? How indeed. I’ve tried flinging Godivy in and hoping she lands somewhere near the seat, going in from the boot (once I’ve unloaded it) and finally opening the sunroof and parachuting her in. Of course, once you have got everyone in, you’ll drive off and a tiny voice will pipe up, “Mummy, you’ve forgotten to strap me in.” And it begins all over again.
4. You like noise. And lots of it. Chatter. Questions. Whinging. Crying. Because suddenly no one will do what they’re asked, even if they used to. The baby will carve out its own erratic lifestyle, based on the fact that you are erratic. And the older children will take advantage of the fact that you’re dealing with the baby and use the opportunity to rebel. Loudly.
5. You like being with your partner ALL of the time. Because having three young kids is a team game. A game where neither of you ever wins but at least you lose together. Your other half can go to the pub again in four or five years. Just in case he’s wondering.
6. You like your partner. Because otherwise no. 6 is going to KILL you.
7. Your family lives nearby. By which I really mean upstairs. If they live any more than 30 miles away, don’t even think about having another child.
8. You’re agoraphobic and antisocial. Because not only will the effort involved in getting all five of you out prevent you from doing it very often, but you’ll probably not get invited anywhere as a family again. Most dining tables are built for eight and you put their seating plan right out. Not that any of yours actually sit at the table anymore.
9. You don’t need time for yourself. That 33.3%? Yes, you guessed it. 33.3% LESS time for you. Which I think leaves you with a deficit of about, oh 963%.
10. You have a full time nanny, cleaner and chauffeur. An in-house psychiatrist would also be wise.
11. You have no expectations whatsoever. Of anything ever again.
Still, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Really.