Three under 5 . . .

This week my eldest will turn 5.  I’m not sure where the last 5 years have gone.  But now I have three children. Three.

Three under 5

I remember finding out we were expecting our third baby, working out that we were going to have “three under five” . . . the very phrase struck fear into me!  Even my nurse told me that mothers of “three under 5” went on a “special list” and would be visited to discuss contraception . . .

I remember googling “three under 5” to see what other people’s experiences were, about how they coped.  I think I just wanted to be told it would all be ok.  Some people would tell us that really it was no harder than having two children, others would tell us that it was a nightmare and that having three children would completely change the dynamic of our little family.

Either way it was happening. It has happened. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Yes having three children has it’s challenges, having three children under the age of 5 even more so.  As people are so fond of telling us, we do have our hands full but you just get on with it.

What’s it like having three children under five years?

We no longer all fit in one car

Your average family car doesn’t fit three car seats across the back and we haven’t been able to afford to buy anything bigger as yet.  (Of course if they were older it wouldn’t be quite such an issue as their car seats wouldn’t be so bulky.)

You don’t have enough hands

Two children, two hands. Winner.  Three children – bit tricky! Especially when you’re pushing a pram! In this instance a baby carrier can be a lifesaver!  You quickly come up with little routines to deal with this, for example Ben and Chloe are very good at holding onto the side of the pram when I ask them to.

Family tickets are for four

So far this hasn’t been an issue as Amy (and often Chloe) doesn’t need to be paid for but it’s certainly something I’ve become aware of when we’re planning days out.


When Amy was first born Chloe was still in nappies (or pull ups) during the day and Ben is not yet dry at night so the amount of nappies we change is huge and it felt constant in the early days. Chloe is now dry during the day and Amy doesn’t get through quite as many nappies as she did when she was newborn so it’s calming down a bit!

You’re constantly checking you’ve got enough kids

Every time we go somewhere I’m always checking we’ve got them all, checking which children Dave has, who I’ve got.  I think it would be really easy to leave someone behind thinking the other one had them!  (With two you’ve always just got one each!)

It’s expensive

Three lots of childcare mean it’s barely worth working, three lots of birthdays, Christmas presents, shoes, clothes etc.

But it’s also amazing, they all absolutely adore each other, Ben and Chloe play so nicely together (most of the time) and they’re really lovely with Amy.  It’s gorgeous watching them holding hands walking down the road to school and taking care of each other.  They will always have one another to talk to, to look out for each other.  They keep each other entertained, they teach each other things, they just love each other.  What more could we ask?

Family of five - coping with three under five

I’m sure as they get older the challenges will change – as Amy becomes more mobile and more demanding of our attention in different ways, it will become increasingly expensive as we work hard to keep them “even” – make sure they each get the same opportunities to have swimming lessons or attend clubs . . . and don’t even talk to me about what it’s going to be like when we’ve got three teens to deal with, I don’t want to know!

To quote their godfather Will, coping with three under five “is like herding frogs” but we wouldn’t have it any other way x

Why not read about what life is like now, five years on: Three under 5, five years later.


  1. Helen C
    July 28, 2014 / 10:17 pm

    Lovely post! I have two and can imagine an extra one would be very hard work!

  2. July 28, 2014 / 9:20 pm

    We has 3 under 13 months at one point when the twins were born, tis hard work isn't it!

  3. July 29, 2014 / 4:49 am

    Cute kids 🙂 I have three, and my eldest has just turned five. I can relate to everything you've said here!

  4. July 29, 2014 / 10:45 am

    Three children can be a handful, and I am sure three children under 5 is even more of a challenge! We never have enough hands with our three, but we are lucky in that Emily is nearly 11 nos so she does help out with the younger two. I love having two babies close together though – they are so close. I can't believe youhave to go on a naughty list for the contraception nurse ha ha x 🙂

  5. July 29, 2014 / 5:36 pm

    What a nice family you have, they certainly look like they do care a great deal for each other.

  6. July 29, 2014 / 8:16 pm

    That sounds similar to how I felt about having two under 2 – times were hard but other times were lovely and now they're older they clearly adore each other and it was worth the hard bits! I think part of me would LOVE a third but it won't ever happen. We're happy with two x

  7. katefever
    July 30, 2014 / 6:26 pm

    I do the head count thing too! I think sometimes 3 is crazy, overwhelming and a little bit mad, but I really wouldn't have it any other way.

  8. July 30, 2014 / 8:20 pm

    I can imagine it must be really hard now but I bet loads of things make up for it. Toby just turned one and we're starting to think about having another…so far though we're thinking we'll stop at two!

  9. July 30, 2014 / 10:22 pm

    My daughter was just 3 when my son was born. They have a lovely relationship. As much as I want another. Hubby says no! Boo!

  10. MummyWhiskers Kat
    July 31, 2014 / 6:09 pm

    My brother has three and they're amazing. The "family ticket" thing bothers me though as it doesn't accommodate many families

  11. Steph Oakes
    August 1, 2014 / 11:59 am

    I have two under 3 (one is a newborn) and I am finding it tough, so hats off to mummys (and daddys) that have more! They are all super cute!

  12. August 1, 2014 / 11:09 am

    Hehe I love the herding frogs phrase. Z and my niece are just like that when they're together. Happy Birthday to your big boy 🙂

  13. August 1, 2014 / 12:39 pm

    Until my daughter was 3 on alternate weekends we were a family of 6 as my step kid came to stay. You are right you find yourself counting kids as you go!

  14. Jane Arschavir - HodgePodgeDays
    August 1, 2014 / 6:42 pm

    What a gorgeous family you have! I've just got one and I often look at my friends with more and wonder how they cope. I'd love another but I'm not allowed another pregnancy. xx

  15. August 5, 2014 / 10:41 am

    Gorgeous wee birds you have Colette, and enjoy them being under five as before long five years old will be a distant memory, and they'll be turning fifteen, like my eldest in just a few weeks time!!! NOT COOL! hahaa. Thanks for linking up with #MMWBH xx

  16. July 25, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    This is the best post I’ve read about having 3 and all so true. I am only 4 months in and already sick of the hands full comments

    • Colette
      July 25, 2017 / 10:48 pm

      I promise that gets easier – people don’t say it so much when they’re older x

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