How to survive the jump to three children with your relationship in tact

Following the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new baby boy, couples across the country are probably wondering whether three really is the magic number when it comes to children. According to research, mothers of three are among the most stressed*, even more so than mums of four and five children.

Local relationship support charity Relate in Devon sees many parents of three who put themselves under too much pressure by not asking for support. Relate counsellor Denise Knowles at Relate sees first-hand the relationship issues this can cause. She said:

“Every family is different, but many of the couples I see tell me that the jump from two to three was a big shock.  It can completely change the family dynamic and the sheer amount of work involved can leave you with little time to yourself or as a couple. The trick is to ask for support when you need it; put yourself first occasionally and get really organised. If you do these things, having three children really can be three times the amount of fun.”

What to expect when you’re expecting your third, according to Relate

  • People’s reactions may give you doubts. Parents of three children will tell you how hard it is and those who are happy with two or fewer may ask what’s possessed you! This is just their perspective so try to take it with a pinch of salt.
  • You’ll wish you had more than two hands. Having two kids might seem more manageable because you can hold on to one with each hand, but what about when the third comes along? Unless you have super powers, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of friends and family.
  • You’ll need to become super organised. A little bit of organisation can help even the most relaxed families to fit everything in.  You could start by creating a family calendar keeping track of all of your activities.
  • Your third baby will fit around your other kids.  You’ll be busy taking your older children to school, play dates and clubs, so chances are that baby number three will get used to sleeping on the go.
  • You’ll worry about middle child syndrome. Whilst a child’s position in the family can have an effect, as long as you treat your children equally and like individuals the middle child will be just fine.
  • You’ll be more confident this time round. You’re an experienced parent now and have a pretty good idea of what you’re doing. Your third-born will benefit from this wisdom as you’re likely to be more relaxed and less likely repeat past mistakes.
  • It will feel like you have no free time. Use the chores as a chance to spend time with your partner and have chat and a laugh. Take it in turns to give each other time off to do things you enjoy, whether that’s an exercise class or a coffee with friends.
  • You’ll adjust. You’ll soon get used to the new routine and the fulfilment you’ll get from the more challenging moments will be worth it.

Relate provides support for people of all ages at all stages of relationships. This includes support for parents who are coping with the arrival of a new baby. Please contact 0300 7729681 to find out more or to book a face-to-face appointment.

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