What it’s like to have three kids…

I get asked a lot what it’s like to have three kids. Mostly from people with two kids thinking about whether they want to have another. Sometimes, the question comes from younger couples who are thinking about having kids.* And I always struggle to answer.

My standard answer is that when you have three kids, you have to switch from man-to-man to zone. You lose a little control. You are outnumbered. And while that is completely accurate, it sounds scary and intimidating, which isn’t at all what I want to communicate. I love having three kids.

My other answer is that with three kids, how far apart they are really matters. I’ve had friends with three kids under four years old. For us, our oldest was seven when her brother was born. Those are two radically different situations. But that doesn't really answer the question.

Sunday morning, an interaction with the kids gave me the answer I was missing. We were waking up and getting ready for church.

Middle child: What are we doing for breakfast?

Me: I don’t know. We’ll probably have a small breakfast now and maybe go to brunch after church.

Youngest: WHAT! We can’t go to a restaurant! We need to go to church! (He LOVES Sunday School.)

Me: We are going to church. We might go out to eat after church.

Youngest: Why can’t we eat at church?

Me: Because they aren’t serving breakfast at church.**

Oldest (from another room): We’re having breakfast at church?!?

And that’s what it’s like having three kids — like adding a person to a game of telephone. It gets a little bit crazier. Funnier. Unpredictable. Often delightful and occasionally frustrating. But never boring.

* When my wife and I got married, we weren't sure we wanted kids.

** And I was very surprised when they actually had breakfast at church.