When you have more than two kids, basic life events become exceedingly tricky. First of all, you as parents are outnumbered. That alone is enough cause to make you feel stressed. Stemming from the odd number three come a slew of other cumbersome situations that seem utterly unimportant otherwise. In 2013, TODAYMoms.com ran a survey, getting responses from more than 7,000 moms, and more than half of them said three is the most stressful number of kids to have.
Family Trips: Why is that packages are created for families of four? A fifth member of the family will require you to drive in a car with at least two passenger rows because no parent would ever seat three kids in touching distance of each other for hours on end. Flights are also difficult, especially if you can't select your seating. One kid is going to end up alone or one parent will end up with all the kids. Click here for 50 free and fun activities to tackle outdoors.
Shifting Alliances: Two-against-one is the name of the game. The oldest and the youngest team up against the middle child, or the two older kids gang up on the baby; you know how this goes. You can't keep track because there's no science behind it. Sometimes, the kids aren't even sure what the alliance of the day is until there's a screaming match.
Front Seat Drama: For older kids, there's the highly coveted front seat. When your 12, an entire new world opens up when you sit in the passenger seat. You have control over the radio, the air flow and windows, and this amazing separation between you and your siblings. Of course you're going to fight for this! Hint to mom or dad: develop the A-B-C rotation rule and stick to it.
Playing Chauffeur: Three kids means you have three places to be at once. The art of chauffeuring becomes just that, a creative masterpiece. You need to strategically schedule everything to be sure you can get everyone where they need to be on time and picked up. You have to manage this without one kid constantly getting pushed to the back burner. Who thought you'd be living in your car?
>> Read more: Creating an Uncluttered, Stress-Free Family Calendar
Finding a Sitter: Most sitters are happy to handle two kids, but when it comes to three, don't be shocked if there's a price increase or a big fat "no." Watching three kids can be daunting for any beginner. She might ask to bring a friend, which isn't a terrible idea, but you'll end up paying her, too.
The Middle Child: (The writer of this piece might just be a middle child, so take that into consideration) Ahh, the second string, the forgotten one — only kidding. But there is something going on with the middle child status. She's either a peacemaker or an attention seeker, maybe both. She's the wild card in your family. When your oldest achieves something, it's awesome because it's a first for you, too. Then your middle child achieves a couple years later and the response is something like, "ehh, yay." Encourage the differences and emphasize the big moments like you're experiencing it for the first and the last time. Click here for tips from a Resident Mom on how you can bond with your kids.
Everyone Needs Something: Isn't this the truth?! Everyone needs something different all at the same time. If you had a couple of clones and another pair of arms, maybe another brain, this wouldn't be so daunting. You need to prioritize without making anyone feel like last place.
Four or more kids, apparently, creates a critical mass effect in which the kids shift into more of a self-governing population. This isn't actually as scary as it sounds because more parents feel relieved once they pass the three-kid threshold. More power to ya!
>> Read more: What My Kids Have Taught Me