If you've come here in a moment of indecision and want to find an answer to your should we/shouldn't we dilemma, I'll be frank with you: the third child is pure joy.
I had so many reservations about having a third child and at every available opportunity I would ask mothers-of-three what it was really like. I blogged about it and received an overwhelming response and then I spent another few months working through my worries and letting go of my fears. I always knew that the leap from two to three would be a big one, based largely on the fact that Daniel and I were going to be outnumbered. And on days when the washing pile was daunting and my work emails were out of hand I was adamant that I was done with babies - fleeting, obviously.
Percy is now five months old, I'm officially back to work and the house is plodding along nicely. And while I could tell you about just how busy life with three is I would be lying if I didn't mention that it's good - really, really good. Regardless of the work of motherhood there are moments like this that tug at the heart and plant themselves firmly in my mind; beautiful memories made.
I'm not alone in thinking this, either. I had coffee with friends last week and three of us sat there bouncing a third-born on our lap. We spoke of the postpartum body, sleepless nights, tiredness, washing - all that stuff. But then we agreed that the angst we experienced in early motherhood didn't make an appearance with the third child. There's an element of calm that accompanies the third baby; you know just how fleeting babyhood is so you allow yourself the time and the space to soak it all in. You're also well-trained at turning a blind eye to the intricacies of housework and more willing to embrace the fact that good is good enough. As for the exhaustion - you're well and truly accustomed to it third time around.
But I'm all for complete honesty so here's a few things to consider if you are contemplating a third child:
> invest in a washing machine with a super quick cycle. I recently upgraded to an 8kg frontloader and it has both a 15min and 30min cycle. It has made the humdrum of washing so much quicker and easier. And yes, the amount of washing is unbelievable.
> declutter while you're pregnant. It's not everyone's priority but if you can embrace the attention to detail that accompanies your nesting inclinations, do so - it makes home life that much easier once baby is here. Basically, find a place for everything and put everything in its place.
> prepare meals in advance and remember that breakfast for dinner is always a good option.
> acknowledge that the first few months will be as beautiful as they are challenging; that phase of adjustment can be tricky. Be patient, take it one day at a time.
> drink coffee.
> embrace the crazy and know that there will be many, many times when all three children are whinging/crying at once. In this instance, laugh at the madness or cry along with them.