“It’s not rational!” is how I have explained our decision to have a third child to everyone from my obstetrician, my boss, my friends and my family over the past nine months. To anyone who has looked slightly aghast at the news, knowing, as they generally do, the chaos that an average week in our family entails.
Most have been kind enough not to say, “You barely manage with two children and you’re having a THIRD??” but it’s impossible not to wander down that line of thinking.
There is no black and white ‘logical’ explanation for wanting to expand our family. It’s purely emotional. It’s not even really a choice we sat down and made; since embarking on life together my husband and I have always hoped and envisioned that three children might be possible.
We are lucky – on so many levels, in so many ways – that it is.
But on the precipice of this expansion, I’m not completely in denial. The decision to have a third wasn’t driven by rational thinking, but the reality of living with three kids under five is going to necessitate it. Quite a lot.
From daily logistics to the family budget, ‘winging it’ with three little people probably isn’t going to cut it.
At this point, before I delivered my first baby I was terrified of the birth. Third time around I’ve barely given the birth a second thought. My greatest fear is about bringing this little bundle home.
As deliciously demanding as newborns are – and they are regardless of whether they arrive first or fifth in a family – alone that is manageable.
But the demands of a newborn coupled with an older child needing to get to school, a three year old who is a three year old, mouths to feed, lunchboxes to pack, books to be read, clothes to be washed? That is when I believe things are going to get pretty real, pretty fast.
I have spent the past few weeks trying to get organised so when the chaos arrives, we are prepared. But I know it is – mostly – futile.
As organised as my pantry and cutlery drawers might be (and trust me they ARE), that probably isn’t going to help get shoes on a toddler, a baby fed and a school bag packed in the necessary time frame of a morning.
Similarly, come ‘witching hour’ an ordered wardrobe and laundry isn’t going to help calm a baby, cook dinner and bath children.
For the most part, that will fall to me.
And if I told you I’m not daunted by that prospect I would be lying.
I AM DAUNTED. I AM VERY DAUNTED. (Note to self: Look for any ‘learning to be zen’ courses. Stat.)
It’s not about the labour. But that’s daunting too. Post continues after video.
I am also slightly daunted by the fact I am remembering just how expensive little babies are. Made even more expensive by the fact that going on maternity leave means a decent drop in income.
It will be temporary and we have planned for it but there’s no way around the fact that rational thinking and rational spending will be mandatory from here on in. A family of five living in a capital city like Sydney on a single income, means there is no other choice. It’s going to cost a bomb.
A budget and a keen eye for bargains and good value are crucial.
Our household has been free from nappies for six months now and skipping that particular aisle has been a welcome reprieve for the wallet. I had forgotten how much they cost. But I haven’t forgotten how quickly a packet of newborn nappies is used.
And I will never forget the fact that cost alone can’t dictate what nappies you buy. Quality counts. It counts a lot when the right nappy means the difference between a quick nappy change after a feed in the middle of the night and a full change of bedding, clothes and some serious soaking before you can even start a feed.
Let it be known that if there is one thing not worth skimping on, it’s nappy quality.
One ‘rational’ benefit of having a third baby is that we already have the big ticket baby items. A cot, a change table, a pram, a car seat, bedding, books, toys, muslin wraps, onesies…we haven’t needed to outlay a cent on those items.
But between nappies, wipes, dummies, bottles, nappy cream, washers, the list of baby needs has still added up. A major Aldi buy-up of Mamia products means we are ready, I have peace of mind and my budget hasn’t blown.
It won’t help with getting three little people out the door in the morning, but if it saves me even an extra 20 minutes of sleep in the night, I will be a very grateful mum.
What are your top parenting tips for 3 children under five? HELP!