Today Momasked 7,000 moms how many kids they considered to be most stressful, and the magic number turned out to be three.
Jill Smokler, Scary Mommy blogger and author of Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies), didn't have any problems transitioning from one to two kids. But "everything was turned upside down" when she added a third child to her brood.
The 35-year-old Baltimore mom whose children are ages 5, 7, and 9 told Today Mom, "I do not feel like I have it together. You only have two hands! Just crossing the street and not being able to hold all their hands physically I find it tremendously stressful."
If three is the most stressful number, then having one or two kids will be a lesser headache, right? Well, apparently not. According to the moms surveyed, adding more kids would make for a less stressful family life.
When we posted the survey's question on SmartParenting.com.ph's Facebook, mom Jill Justis Anderson commented, "We have seven [kids] now happy as can be, but three was the most stressful." And some moms who also had more than three kids agreed with Jill.
Yes, having a small family lets you bond with each of your kids more, there is relatively less financial worries, and you can travel more. But having more kids means everyone has a family buddy. Sharing and teamwork become a huge part of your core family values. It also forces both the parents and the kids to be more resourceful and independent.
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New York psychiatrist Dr. Jane Taylor, who is also a mom of four, agreed. "The more children you have, the more confident you become in your parenting abilities," Dr. Taylor explained. According to the survey, 75% of moms stress more about the pressure they put on themselves to be this perfect mom. Having more than three kids means you have less time to worry about what other people say about your parenting.
Ultimately, how many kids you have is a decision between you and your partner. Parenting is stressful, whether you have one or seven children. The key is to find ways to cope or manage that stress. How do you create a work-life balance for yourself and your family? Taylor suggests taking five minutes to draw a pie chart showing how you actually spend the hours in your day versus one that shows what you’d like to be doing. Adjust your daily activities accordingly until you reach your goal.
Here are other things that can help you be more relaxed in your parenting:
Let your kids be independent. Don't hover. Teach them to do chores and be responsible early on so you can ask them to help.
Master the art of communication with your spouse and your kids. Misunderstandings can sometimes be the root of stress.
Learn to say no. Your health and well-being are essential to the family as well, so don't take on too much then you can handle.
Me-time is sacred. Make sure you get some time for yourself and time for you to connect with your husband and your friends.
Have fun! Kids stress less when they're with their parents, so carve out time for family.