Having Three Kids and Being a FOOL : The Honest Truth

I’ve written before about how laid back and chilled my youngest son is. My eldest was a tearaway toddler and utterly exhausting. His younger brother was a dream toddler. He did as he was told, he NEVER threw a tantrum. Not even during the terrible twos. He was sweet and affectionate and lovely to be around. Clearly we had nailed this parenting lark! The mistakes we made as new parents we had learnt from and clearly we knew exactly what we were doing.

Idiots. That’s what we were.

When we found out we were expecting our third child, we had parents of three or more kids telling us it really wasn’t that much different to having two children. That the transition from one to two children was far trickier than two to three.

They lied. I think we were subjects of a prank. An elaborate ruse to get us to join their exclusive club of three or more kids: Families Of Oversized Litters (FOOLs). After all there’s strength in solidarity. Misery likes company!

As FOOLs ourselves, I thought I would offer our honest assessment of having three kids.

It’s very easy to spot a FOOL when you’re out and about. The parents will be outnumbered and will probably look harassed and dishevelled. Approach with caution. If there is only one parent, do not approach at all (unless you are providing a helping hand, comforting word or gin.)

This particularly applies to street sellers. You know who you are, trying to sign us up to Sky or BT while we’re out trying to get our shopping done. Do not approach a FOOL unless you want to be told where you can shove your little leaflet. Use some common sense. Is the lady with the manic eyes constantly looking around to check she still has all three children, your ideal customer? Is she going to stop and chat pleasantly while her children all run in separate directions? No. Don’t do it.

Somewhere you probably won’t spot FOOLs is inside nice hotels. Most hotels don’t cater for families with more than two kids. Once you are a FOOL you may be lucky and find that odd hotel that can squeeze you all in, but on the whole prepare yourself for holidays in lodges or caravan parks. Or, alternatively, no holidays at all.

That fancy restaurant that has just opened nearby? FOOLs won’t go there. It’s not suitable for children and trying to find someone who will babysit your three little angels is like trying to plait fog. Not gonna happen.

If you visit the home of a FOOL, you will notice that only one room can be tidy at any one time. One area will be tidied while the children simultaneously destroy another room in record timing.

There’s no point having a home full of cute little trinkets. They will be covered in sticky little finger marks, or just broken completely. Every surface of every room will be covered in toys, felt tip pens and kids books.

The washing pile will be never ending. I haven’t seen the bottom of my wash basket since early 2009.

Parents of three or more will consider themselves less as caregivers, and more as referees. Not a day goes past without some kind of disagreement. “He’s looking at me.” “He’s breathing too loud”. “She’s wiping snot on my toys”. All classic lines heard in our house. Parents of FOOLs will find it impossible to pee, eat or shower in peace. The minute it looks like you might have a moment to yourself, the kids will appear with a problem or a story to tell.

We only have two hands, but we also only have two ears. How do you listen to all three kids at once? What do you do when your toddler is crying because you won’t let her eat chalk, while your youngest son wants to tell you about his new drawing and your eldest wants help with his homework? Other than the obvious choice of locking yourself in a cupboard until your husband comes home from work.

Want a nice sleek sporty car? Tough. As FOOLs you will have to drive what can only be described as a tank, to ensure it’s big enough to fit in three car seats. It will drink petrol and cost a fortune but that’s the price you pay for a car that fits in half a football team.

The average FOOL will never have any money. There’s always something to pay for. New shoes, clothes after a growth spurt, school trips, after school activities. Days out require a remortgage of your house to cover the entry fee for you all.

Being a FOOL is a costly and quite frankly exhausting lifestyle choice.

But it’s not all bad. There’s always someone willing to give you a hug, just when you’re needing it the most. There’s someone to make you laugh, who will enjoy your silly jokes. There’s someone to cuddle up to as you watch Disney movies on the couch.

You may never have any money, or a spare moment to yourself, but you learn what it means to be truly rich. Your house may be filled with toys and grubby finger marks, but it’s also filled with love and laughter.

I’m proud to be a FOOL.



  1. I feel your pain! I have two kids and just keeping them alive is exhausting! I can only imagine what life is like with three kiddos. It’s a crazy life but it’s worth it!

  2. OMG this made me laugh so much! I don’t have kids yet but your disclaimer and how you explain your situations throughout is hilarious! Good luck with the next half term…

  3. This is hilarious!!!! I know you are probably thinking… “uh yea right, glad I can give you amusement”… but for real I love your humor to this. My sister had 4!!! And felt the same way until they started getting older.

  4. I am the eldest of 3 children and I must say it’s the best! When we were older my mom actually said she wished she had more kids because a big family is just the best thing. Then again, she’s #3 of 6 kids and my dad is #2 of 10!! So yes, we love our big family 🙂

  5. And this is exactly why my husband and I only wanted two children, we did not want to be outnumbered! Some days I think it would be nice to have another, but we are done.

  6. This made me laugh out loud! We have been considering becoming FOOLS and I have heard that old adage about the transition from 2 to 3 being much easier…perhaps I have been lied to 🙂

  7. I’m an aunt of 3 kids and that is enough for me right now. I feel it is normal to have ‘crazy’ thoughts with kids, I even have them when I have them over. I think to myself, “did I act this ‘crazy’ when I was a kid?”.

  8. This post made me laugh a lot! It sounds to me like you are doing a smashing job at parenting three, if you can have a complete breakdown one minute and feel nothing but a heart full of love the next, then you have definitely nailed parenting!

  9. Love the post. I also have raised four children (three boys, two with learning disabilities) my daughter and son in law have four as well. They were suppose to have three but, spit happens. It can be trying, although, wait until you are older visits and phone calls from four rock! Not to mention the grandchildren. I have four from one, one from two others. Six is a great number … so far.

  10. Awww… I was talking about just this the other day. We have two boys and I was hoping for a third baby at somepoint but its probably now not going to happen. I am saddened by this, but on the other hand I am not sure I could really cope with three! xx

  11. We are FOOLs too LOL. It gets super exhausting, but there are also many moments that keep us together and the stretngh.

  12. What a RIOT! I enjoyed your perspective on parenting 3 children. Sorry you were lied to about the ease of having 3 vs 2, but it sounds like it is a blessing.

  13. I am a FOOL too! Actually the day to day things are no harder with 3 children than they were with 2 but it is things like going away, having a meal out or a day out. We did have to buy a bigger car to be able to fit in 3 car seats but that wasn’t much of an issue (apart from the cost!)

  14. This is hilarious, as a babysitter and a child of a nanny I couldn’t agree more with all that you said. Taking care of three for just one night is a hardship, so can’t imagine what it’s like living with them and they’re all so young. I’m sure as time goes on life will get easier, or so I hope 😂

  15. This post made me both chuckle and also be very grateful. We have one child and sometimes it’s hard to deal with whinging and crying, especially when he’s tired, so I couldn’t imagine how you cope with three simultaneously. My SIL now has 6 kids and her days out involve free things to do or vouchers because the cost of paying for 2 adults and 5 kids (one baby) is like taking out a second mortgage. “family” tickets aren’t worth much of the discount when you’re paying for additional kids on top of it!

  16. This is such an entertaining post! I love how you delivered your perspective. I’m sure this has been quite the experience.

  17. Oh wow! LOL! I couldn’t stop laughing. I only have one child so I am definitely not one to speak, but even with him, I could relate to much of this! The funny thing is that most of the parents I know who have multiple kids love all their kids, yes, but if you asked them if they could have gone with just one or two at most, they usually say yes.

  18. I loved this post. We only had one daughter so you can imagine what a shock to the system it was when I daughter had 3 boys! We now have 3 gorgeous grandsons but I can identify with so many things in your post. Enjoy your 3 🙂

  19. I agree with you. People told me it was not going to be a difference when I was pregnant with my 3rd child and it was. kids too and noticed it was such a huge difference.

  20. Haha this post is such a light but funny in a way read…Not a parent yet but have always wanted three kids 😀 Especially loved your last paragraph: “You may never have any money, or a spare moment to yourself, but you learn what it means to be truly rich. Your house may be filled with toys and grubby finger marks, but it’s also filled with love and laughter.”

  21. Tell me about it! After five kids I’ve literally lost my sanity a lonnnnnng time ago! I tell everyone to stick at two unless they want to end up like me!

  22. Oh my word. I read the first few paragraphs and couldn’t stop laughing. This is the first post I have read, which has given me this in a LONG time. Brilliant post and so relatable. I come from a family of three siblings and I know how hard it was for my parents. The only one who would baby sit was my aunty, as she had 4 and lived only 100m away.

    Awesome post. Thank you for such sore belly, where it hurt from laughing so much.

    John M

  23. Haha, this made me laugh out loud! A fellow FOOL over here, I wouldn’t have it any other way but my goodness it is a challenge when your hands are outnumbered by children!! Thank you for linking up with #Blogstravaganza 🙂

  24. I must admit this did make me giggle! And almost (only almost 😂) put me off the idea of number 3! xx

  25. Brilliant as one FOOL to another. As well as all those wonderful things you’ve listed we decided that it would be fun to bring extra chaos (love) into our house and went for the fourth one. Hey everyone wants to drive a seven seater deep down don’t they!

  26. As I started reading your post all I could think was that you really helped me decide not to go for number 3 but them you end it with the reason why I think I may still not be done with having children. I loved this post. Thank you for sharing with #stayclassymama

  27. Oh my word, I cranked myself up while reading this and enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve got 2 and I always wanted 3 kids but my husband was dead set against having another one so we settled on 2 only. Parenting is challenging plus with the financial implications as well but it is so rewarding at the end. I’m sure you won’t have it any other way – so much love to give and receive. That is all that matters #dreamteam

  28. Hubby and I always talked about having a large family, but the reality is a lot more difficult than we had anticipated and we’ve decided to stick at 2 instead. I grew up in a large family and I do sometimes miss the hustle and bustle of it all, but then I appreciate the (relative) calmness we have now too so it’s swings and roundabouts!

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

  29. Enjoyed that … great fun and nicely captures the joys and head-wrecks of having more than the two. My mom and dad’s generation thought nothing of having six kids or more, but then they mostly ignored us! One of my sisters has five kids, and when they were younger, they were used to being treated by establishments as if they were bringing the plague with them. #BlogCrush

  30. I’ve heard it said that the transition from 1 to 2 is harder than 2 to 3, and I’ve always wondered if it’s true or whether, as you say, it’s misery that loves company! Haha.

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky this week for some extra exposure! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

  31. OK, I think you’ve definitely convinced me that #itsok to stick at two. Apart from the cuddles that is. Once my youngest stops giving me the hug love, I may get clucky for more….FOOL! Very funny post. #itsok

  32. Lol, I wrote a very similar article! I am a big fool as we have four and I can totally relate. Now that they are all in school it’s a whole lot easier but the school holidays are crazy again. I actually found the jump from 2 to 3 the hardest but then my third barely slept in her first year. As you say though, the rewards are great and I wouldn’t swap it for anything. #itsok

  33. OMG this has actually had me crying with laughter!! Ain’t no FOOL like an old FOOL…and I’m both!! I love my crazy chaotic life! #itsok

  34. Oh Jen I love this post so much! Love your definition of FOOL and how you’ve laid out the highs and lows of having more than two kids. Hilarious, but so touching too. The cuddles and snuggles always make up for the tears and tantrums, don’t they? Fabulous post, thank you for sharing it with us on the #itsok linky!

  35. I absolutely laughed my socks off at this! And then I got a little worried because I have two little girls and hubby and I are starting to talk about the prospect of number 3 but I always panic slightly at the thought of it. I’ve heard of this phenomenon before – how number 3 can change everything. But then I read to the end of your article and I’m smiling again because you are right, it’s tough but its great! I think…! #itsok

  36. OMG! I relate to all of this. A bit late to this FOOL pity party, but my step-daughter recently came to live with us. We went from two, to three overnight. This weekend we just put down a deposit on a people carrier because it’s impossible to fit 2 car seats and a 15 year old on the back seat of a normal car! FML! #itsok

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