Three is too many . . .

Earlier in the week, whilst in the park I overheard something which really riled me.  Perhaps my own fault for listening in on other people’s conversations but that’s by the by.

“Three is too many”

To give some context to this statement the woman was asking her friend (I assume) if she were planning on having another baby & ‘trying for a girl’ – because obviously nobody could ever be content with two children of the same sex?  Anyway that’s another blog post entirely.

The woman, who had two very small boys, replied that no she really didn’t think they would have any more children & the main reason for this was financial.

“Yes, three is too many,” replied the older woman, “Two is just nice.”

Now of course none of this was directed at me, and as I have said I shouldn’t even have been listening really but it still bugged me.

“Three is too many”

Says who? Who has the right to decide what the “perfect” number of children is? Who has the right to declare that my family is too big & that I have “too many” children?

I read an article just the other day saying that Britain’s family sizes are increasing & interestingly they linked this to wealthier families having more children.  I can’t say we fit into that generalisation however I could see where they were coming from.

Regardless of money or supposed social standing or anything else for that matter, nobody has the right to judge another person’s choices or family situation.  What about the Mum whose second pregnancy turned out to be twins?  Did she say “Sorry,  three is too many!”   You don’t know, nor do you have any right to know, why any particular family is bigger (or smaller for that matter) than your own ideals.

“Three is too many”

Do you think my children would agree with the statement that “three is too many”?  I very much doubt it.  They worship each other.  Each one getting different things from their relationships with one another – Ben has Chloe to play imaginatively with, Amy to teach and take care of thus helping him to becoming a kinder and more thoughtful child.  Chloe gets the best of both worlds with her big brother to learn from and her little sister to mother.  And Amy? Amy gets so much love and attention from her older siblings and two very different characters to play with – stereotypical rough and tumble with Ben or dolls and princesses with Chloe.  None of them would even consider that three could be too many.

“Three is too many” 

I’ve lost count of the number of times people have exclaimed I must have my hands full with three children so close together in age or who have been genuinely surprised to discover I have three children (I like to tell myself it’s because they think I don’t look old enough).  I’m not denying that having three children is hard work, having any children at all is hard work.  Would I change it?  No. Not for the world.

Three isn’t too many.  Three is just perfect.  For us.

Three is too many children

Photo: Sally Langstaff Photography

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40 Comments

  1. Lio O
    August 19, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    Such an interesting post! I am very guilty of having the exact conversation you overheard! I applaud woman with more than 2 women, I personally don't think I could have another (I've got 2 myself) however, I don't judge others who do. I think it's a matter of personal choice. I initially wanted loads as I'm one of seven but after baby number 2, I'm done lol xx

    • August 19, 2015 / 9:29 pm

      That's the thing Lio, if you're saying "three is too many" for you personally then fair play – it's the sweeping generalisation this woman made and the assumptions of the other woman's feelings or circumstances that riled me.

  2. Mel Burt
    August 19, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    I always wanted my parents to have another child when I was a kid myself but now I understand why they were happy with just my brother and I. Something tells me I wouldn't be able to handle more than 2 children but should I ever have more than 2 I wouldn't resent it. There really is no perfect number of kids and I find it weird that people try and dictate to others how many kids they should have.

  3. August 19, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    I don't think there is a magic number – everyone is different. I personally think 3 is "just right" for us and we wouldn't change it for the world. I'd probably say 4 would be "too much" for us, but that might be fine for someone else. SOMEONE CRAZY 😉 ha ha just kidding. You have a perfect family 🙂 xxxx

    • August 19, 2015 / 9:28 pm

      Exactly. It's all about what is right for you and yours isn't it, only you can know that.

  4. August 19, 2015 / 8:59 pm

    First of all love your family picture ! I don't think any number is right or too many !some want kids and they don't have any . For me more the merrier

  5. August 19, 2015 / 9:25 pm

    YAY for writing this post. So well said. How many children to have is such a personal thing and each family is different. Agree completely x

    • August 19, 2015 / 9:30 pm

      Thanks Donna x

  6. August 19, 2015 / 9:34 pm

    I think this is such a personal choice that it is unfair to say that there is a right or wrong number for how many kids to have. I always thought I would want more than two, but after having Lydia both James and I felt like we were done. I get the "oh but don't you want to try again for a boy this time" speech a lot and it infuriates me! I must admit that a fair bit of our decision is financial, and another is down to how difficult both pregnancies and labours were for me – but most of it is just how we feel in our hearts – like our family is complete. Two is the right number FOR US. But not for many other families out there!

    • August 19, 2015 / 10:14 pm

      Urgh why can't people keep their noses out! If you had one of each they wouldn't be encouraging you to try for a third. There is something about "one of each" which is seen as the holy grail!

  7. emma lander
    August 20, 2015 / 4:46 am

    If I had met hubster earlier, I am convinced I would have been on one of those 10 kids and counting programmes.
    I was an only child and I love the chaos in our house with 2. I would welcome any more that may come along. I say the more the merrier but I know not everyone thinks that.
    I know my mum, having just had me, struggles to see how I cope with 2 and shudders at the thought of any more but I would love another baby (or 7 ha ha)

    • August 20, 2015 / 8:20 am

      My husband was an only child and I know he was always keen we would have more than one.

  8. August 20, 2015 / 6:50 am

    The number of children you have is the right number for that family. After my second i was told to stop by several members of public saying 2 is just right. It is the same as those with 1 child. Maybe they want 1 or maybe they want more but have difficulty.I don't think there is a magic number and likewise i feel it is a personal choice as to the number of children you have

  9. August 20, 2015 / 7:35 am

    I get comments like this all the time, I have two but desperately want a third and everytime it's mentioned family and friends tell me that I should be satisfied with one of each. I think it's a really good point well made. No number of children is e we too many in a loving family. Parents will find the magic number that works for them.

    • August 23, 2015 / 9:40 pm

      I hope you don't let other people's opinions put you off x

  10. August 20, 2015 / 9:26 am

    You're completely right, there is never a perfect number because it is down to the individual family. We're expecting our second any day now and whilst I would love a third (I find it hard to believe sometimes this will be my last baby), I honestly don't think we could afford a third! Ridiculous really as we are fairly financially comfortable. May be further down the line we could consider a third!

    Kay | #MMWBH http://www.mummyburgess.co.uk xxx

    • August 23, 2015 / 9:41 pm

      The money thing is hard. Three is definitely a pressure on the pocket – especially when they're young and in child care!

  11. Hannah - Budding Smiles
    August 20, 2015 / 11:01 am

    Well said! For some, 1 is perfect, others 2, 3 or 4 or more but that's up to them. I'd like to have 4 but we probably can't afford a bigger hour and would struggle to have more than 2 however if we found a bigger 3 or 4 bed we could afford whilst still having days out and holidays I'd have more in a heartbeat!xx

  12. August 20, 2015 / 2:36 pm

    I have three children too and I would never think of my three two as too many. People often ask me if I only had a third so I could have a boy after two girls but that is not the case at all he was just a happy accident who we would have loved regardless of gender. xx

    • August 23, 2015 / 9:42 pm

      People are so nosy!!

  13. August 20, 2015 / 4:55 pm

    Well i'm the eldest of four and I wouldn't have it any other way!!! We all loved playing together as children {building Lego towns} and are all still extremely close now and I feel very proud to be part of a big loving happy family and very lucky to have so much unconditional support and love. Big it up for families more than 2 ♥ xxx

  14. Amber Wilde
    August 20, 2015 / 11:11 pm

    This is so beautiful. It deeply annoys me when people make snapshot judgements about other people's families – three might be too many FOR THAT PERSON but clearly not for you. And not for me, either… I'm longing for a third, or even another set of twins! Your three look so loved and clearly want for nothing; three looks like the perfect size family for you. x

    • August 23, 2015 / 9:44 pm

      Thank you Amber 😀 You make beautiful babies and should definitely have more! x

  15. August 20, 2015 / 10:13 pm

    Well I have three so I definitely don't think it is too many – although I admit to often joking that it is!!

    • August 23, 2015 / 9:42 pm

      Yes I hear you!!!

  16. August 21, 2015 / 8:49 am

    Oh I love this post – we are currently debating our third and this really resonated with me. It also seems ok to have a third if you have two of the same sex but not one of each. I have one of each and when I have mentioned I may want a third people are like – oh but you have one of each that's nice *sigh*

    • August 23, 2015 / 9:46 pm

      Yes that seems to be very much the case – one of each appears to be the ideal which we should all aspire to and if we hit the jackpot we couldn't possibly want more?

  17. August 21, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    I really enjoyed this post Colette. I agree about how each individual family needs to decide. I grew up in a two sibling household and I could never imagine having more than two kids, but as LL is growing older I do wonder whether three is a good number for us. People seem to find it acceptable to give opinions on this sometimes, even my own Grandma has said (harmlessly) 'oh you don't want three, your two are perfect'. Grrr well if we do decide to have three, then three would be just as perfect for us too! 😉 x

    • August 23, 2015 / 10:01 pm

      This is exactly it – other people choosing to impart their opinions on your own personal decisions, harmlessly or not.

  18. August 21, 2015 / 8:46 pm

    I think everyone makes their own decision. I know for me 3 would be too much. I thought (if I had any children) that I'd have 2, but we've ended up only with one from choice, selfishness and practicality and it's great for us. But I do feel sad for him in the future not having a sibling to cope with when we're gone. I know my brother and I definitely wouldn't have coped if it had been one of us on our own during our mum's illness and after she died.

    But there's so many more people having more children. When I was a child, it was pretty much all 2 kids, occasionally only children, and even fewer with 4. Just in our NCT group, there's only 2 of us with 1, 3 with 2 and 2 with 3 kids (all under 5 years old)..

    • August 23, 2015 / 10:04 pm

      There's pluses and negatives for any number of children I guess. Like you I'm one of two and I couldn't have imagined only having one child but I completely get that it's perfect for other people 🙂

  19. Jo Nicholson
    August 22, 2015 / 7:58 am

    A great post Colette, I would have loved 3 children but, right now, I'd be more than happy to settle for 2. It is such a personal thing, I have friends with 1 who always said 1 was perfect for them and another friend with 4, who always wanted 4.
    I hate that people think they have a right to comment on the number of children you have. I get a lot of comments now about how I shouldn't leave such a big age gap between O and a sibling, sometimes from people I don't even know and it makes me want to kick them in the shins (not hard or anything, well, maybe a bit hard) xxx

    • August 23, 2015 / 10:08 pm

      Do it 😉

  20. August 22, 2015 / 10:53 am

    It is such a personal decision. I come from a two child family and I always onus that perfect, and for a long time thought two would be perfect for us too. But maybe three would be nice too… My husbands days he wants enough for a football team 😀

    In all seriousness, financially more than two can be tricky as you need a bigger space, maybe a bigger car etc but everyone needs to make their own choices wht the right number for their family is. Be that one, two, three or more!

    • August 23, 2015 / 10:10 pm

      Yes there's a definite financial pressure that comes with a third child – like you say, bigger car, trickier holidays, more space

  21. hannah walker
    August 22, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    I have 4 children and come from a family of 6 and my dad came from a family of 5!! I know nothing other than big families to be honest. I have had some really cruel things said about the size of mine and husbands family in the past and some really lovely things. Were not wealthy in the slightest and have to work and save hard to get the things we want and some times need. My children never go without, always look clean and tidy ( at the beginning of the say :P) do very well at school, and get the same amount of love and attention. Yes I'm always busy, yes I'm always tired a no never get a moments peace. Would I change it? NEVER. People shouldn't be so judgemental, as long as the children are happy, loved and cared for who cares if there are 1,2,3,4,5,6 or 10 if that's possible.

  22. August 26, 2015 / 7:45 pm

    Ahhh Colette, I have actually heard this phrase too and I always get angry as they usually say it to my face because i want another they even go as far as saying that I am greedy for not just sticking with a boy and a girl like that makes me not allowed to have another because it's what they call balanced. I had a lady the other day say you don't need another you have one of each. WTF! lol I am with you. Your family is beautiful by the way so I am all for three makes me want six just to really give them something to judge me on. lol Thanks for linking to Share With Me I hope to see you again soon #sharewithme

  23. Layla
    July 17, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    Wow you ever think you’re a bit on the sensitive side? If they aimed that conversation at you then maybe you’d have reason to be cross. With them. Not go home and write this. But why do you care what people think if you’re so happy with three?

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