How Many Kids Should You Have? Is There a Magic Number?

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According to a recent study, the most stressful number of kids to have is three.

I remember being a mom of one – though it wasn’t for long – and finding it difficult. Truthfully, I didn’t find it exciting enough, and there were times it could be quite boring.

When I look back now, and think of how I was juggling a baby and law school, I wonder how the word boredom ever factored in. These days, I’d jump for a warm serving of boring.

I was a happier mom once my second child arrived, 15 months after my first. Even after suffering a miscarriage after we had our first baby, there was still a very small age gap. It goes without saying, our third baby came not all that longer after the second.

And yes, three was stressful, but I found it was more about the circumstances than it was about the numbers. I was living far away from my family, I had three babies under three, and my eldest was well on his way to an autism diagnosis.

There were no fancy three-kid strollers back in those days, so Daddy-o had to create a make-shift triple stroller that involved a child’s plastic lawn chair with a harness:

Those were not glamorous days.

If I were to offer a theory on family size and stress, it’s less about the numbers and more about closeness in age and how much support someone has at the time.

Saying that, I can see how three would be considered the most stressful number of children for some families:

1. It’s a parent personality thing. Kids don’t stress me out the way they do many parents. If I had been stressed at three, I would have stopped. So, yeah – people with more than three kids are probably less likely to stress out about kids. You have to be tolerant of a certain chaos levels when you have a big family. It can absolutely be too much to take.

2. Maybe some people with three kids like the “idea” of a big family, but two really was enough – so that third stresses them out. With kids, you have to like more than the “idea” of it, because the reality can be bigger than you ever imagined.

Did you have a “perfect” number in mind when you started your family? Is there a number of children you found particularly stressful?

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