The transition from 2 to 3 kids

Some people say that the transition from 0 to 1 kids is hard…
Some say going from 1 to 2 kids is the toughest…
And still some say 2 to 3 is rough… but honestly I think it all depends on your situation.

For me 2 to 3 has been the hardest. Not necessarily because of the number of kids, (although Joe says we’ve transitioned from a man-to-man defense to a zone defense… which is funny coming from him since he’s the least sporty guy I know) but because of the age differences.

When Noah was born Jude was almost 3 years old and could do some things for himself. While it wasn’t always easy it was nice that he could entertain himself for a little while without getting into too much trouble.

When Simon came along Jude was 4 years old and perfectly content to play with Legos all afternoon, however Noah was only 15 months old and still needed me for everything and for me that has been the hardest part of this transition.

I can’t leave Simon and Noah alone in the same room for fear that Noah will sit on and crush Simon (a very real issue we are dealing with). And I can’t leave Noah alone in a room too long because he will inevitably get hurt or break something. In general I think the almost-2-year-old stage is tough because they are big enough to get into everything but not aware enough to know what is a bad idea.

So I give Jude some Legos, stick Noah in the high chair with a snack and attempt to console a crying Simon.

It can be stressful at times.transitioning from 2 to 3 kids

How Do You Gracefully Manage Your Growing Family?

You don’t.

But don’t worry you don’t have to. When I start to get stressed out I remember these 5 simple truths.

Other mom’s have endured this same road and come out (mostly) fine. We each have our own separate struggles, the transition from 0 to 1 is difficult for some while for others it’s the transition from 4 to 5. Everyone has hard times and it’s different for everyone so don’t feel bad if you’re overwhelmed, it’s normal.

Ask for help. You’re not admitting defeat when you ask for help, you are acknowledging your limitations. This is particularly hard for me and I’m still learning to ask for help, and most importantly letting go after I receive help. I have a tendency to micro-manage my house even after accepting help, which is completely pointless if I’m trying to reduce my stress level.

This is only a season. We will all have difficult seasons in our lives but they too shall pass. In the midst of a particularly tough season I try to focus on the good things that will also pass with the seasons.

A little goes a long way. A little one-on-one time with the oldest helps him feel he has my attention and respect. A little alone time to take a shower can be so refreshing. A little longer of a cuddle for Noah before his nap melts away stress. Some days I may not have a lot to give but a little can go a long way.

I don’t have to be perfect. I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis. My house doesn’t have to be spotless clean, my kids don’t need to be spotless clean, my hair doesn’t have to be styled and dinner doesn’t have to be gourmet. My kids won’t remember most of those things anyway. So I push aside the pile of laundry that needs to be folded and sit on the floor with my kiddos cause it’s totally worth wrinkled laundry.


I asked some other moms what was the toughest transition for them and why. Their answers vary widely and are very conditional on circumstances.

Jill from Musing from Me says: “2 to 3 kids — My older kids were in PreK and 1st when #3 was born and had a host of after-school activities. I missed having the freedom to stay home and let the baby nap. I was constantly waking #3 up to go places, which meant naps ended by 2 years of age. But on the flip side he was a very agreeable baby who loved going places and was a willing spectator at soccer or t-ball. He was also not apprehensive about preschool or attending classes as he was desperate to be a ‘big kid’.”

Elizabeth from Praying for Pink says: “0-1! By the time my 2nd came around I had already come to terms with these 3 facts. I had to learn to share my time and my body, I am not a perfect mother and will never be and in parenthood anything can happen and most likely will.”

Roo from Nice Girl Notes says: “1 to 2. My two older girls are just 17 months apart, so I was still essentially taking care of two babies. It took me longer to adjust. I don’t think that 2 to 3 is necessarily easier, but I was more confident as a mom. Even if things were chaotic, I wasn’t second guessing myself.”

Hillary from My Scraps says: “I have only gone from none to one and from 1 to 2 . . .but adding that second child was and has been a huge adjustment. Just juggling another schedule is tough enough, but mine are 6 years apart, so their activities are different and in different locations. Not to mention being able to give even more of yourself to one more person. Don’t get me wrong, I love having two boys – but in all honestly, it’s challenging in many ways, and more challenging than when I only had 1 boy.”

Lolli from Better in Bulk says: “My hardest transition by far was going from 2 to 3 kids. Becoming a first time parent was challenging, of course, but I was 100% dedicated to her. If she didn’t sleep through the night, which often happened, I could nap with her during the day. When baby #2 came along, I knew better what I was doing, and she was a dream baby. She LIKED to sleep (in her crib, too!) and my older daughter, who was 2 1/2 at the time, was suddenly entertained by the baby–I didn’t have to put on a show all day long for her. When I had my 3rd, though, several things were against me – my 2nd was only 19 months old, my body practically shut down, I had postpartum depression, and I had three kids 4 and under. It was a very tough year. Going from 3 to 4 and 4 to 5 was a breeze. I hardly felt a change at all.”

Kadi from Our Seven Seeds says: “Zero to one. I call the first child era the “Shock and awe” period. No amount of preparation will be able to ready you for the life altering experience that is becoming a mother for the first time. It is the most terrifying, amazing, helpless feeling in the work to be left alone with your newborn for the first time. The realization YOU alone are responsible for a fragile human life is…there are no words.”

What was the toughest transition for you?


Similar Posts


  1. I think 1-2 was harder for me than 0-1. With Oscar I was so excited and everything was 100% about him. It was harder to figure out how to divide my time once Cal came along and I started really feeling the mom-guilt hard core. I think this is a great post and that you are doing an awesome job with your 3 lil dudes!

  2. 0-1 was the most difficult for me especially because I am a first-time mom. It was very physically, mentally, and financially draining (with the diapers, milk, and all.. ). For me, nothing compares to all the sleepless nights, the changing of diapers, and all the crying.

    1. Janet – I think 0-1 is hard on everyone because you really don’t know what to expect, no matter how much you plan. I had a rough transition from 0-1.

  3. I agree that the age difference plays a big role in how we adapt. Going from 1 to 2 was toughest for me because they were right at two years apart. With my first and second, I had a really hard time asking for help. Anytime I would think about asking for help, I’d tell myself that many other moms had it rougher than me…so why do I should I ask for help? It’s a vicious cycle! Baby #3 came when the boys were 5 and 7, so they were much more interested in helping and entertaining the baby.

  4. For me it was 0-1. I think I still feel guilty about that, after all the kid was planned and I was “prepared”. But 1-2 seemed so easy. It could be because I was just so happy to not be pregnant any more! The difference in my confidence, knowledge, and expectations was crucial.

    I’m so impressed with how you are managing 3!

  5. I found this via Pinterest, and I just have to say thank you. Going from 1 to 2 has been so much harder than 0 to 1. We added our second child almost a year ago, when my first was only 16 months old. It has been a hard year to say the least. I especially loved “This is only a season” and “A little goes a long way.” It’s hard to remember that my girls won’t be little and needy and demanding of my every second forever. It’s hard to look past the messes and diapers and whining and enjoy the giggles and snuggles and silly moments. Thank you again for reminding me that I’m not the only one who has struggled to adapt to adding a child to the family! This is only a season…..

  6. I am pregnant with my third and unfortunately I have been a single mom longer than I was a married mom. (Even when I was married, my husband was hardly attentive, so I felt like a single mom that whole time anyway.) Now, I’m pregnant with my third with my new husband and I’m terrified for the change! He’s a million times better than my first husband, in terms of the helps he gives, but this is also his first time being a parent. For me, going from 0-1 and then 1-2 wasn’t so bad, but now going from 2-3 seems scary. Here’s to hoping all goes well! (Clink, with my apple juice in a wine glass)
    I’m grateful for the advice on here. It does give me a little hope that I can actually do this. Thanks ladies!

  7. I did a Pinterest search for “third baby” and this came up! We just found out about the third (yay) and I’m nervous! My daughter will be 5 but my son only 20-21 months. Eep. I know plenty of people have survived so I can too, right?

  8. My first he was an almost perfect baby, only cried when he was tired. 1-2 my idea was wow I can totally do this again! It wasn’t till #2 was 6 months old it started going downhill!! My boys are 25 months apart, at 2 1/2 sharing is not quite on the learnt skills yet and the baby would get into his toys. (Where the fighting begins) My oldest didn’t show it but somewhere In there he did have some jealousy that came out in regression with toileting. He’s 4 now and still had some issues. Nap time ended with my oldest 2 months after the baby was born. Napping when baby naps was something I truly took for granted with only 1. It never happened. Paw patrol and bubble guppies did spare me 20 mins laying on the couch with him tho!
    They are 2 and 4 now and the fighting and yelling and beating on one another feels as if it will never end! I do feel as if I did fail though. . But! I am working on it. With my oldest I didn’t have time to work with him to help manage his frustration so he freaks out over the smallest things and my youngest has started doing the same.
    I feel only now I’m starting to get the hang of everything. And have started thinking of adding a 3rd. . So there is light! Lol

  9. I am currently pregnant with my 3rd baby girl. My oldest is 5 & my second girl is 18mos. I am 13 weeks and reality still hasn’t set in. And when I do begin to think about life with a third child, I can’t stop crying. I am completely overwhelmed. My fiance is a wonderful man and helps when he can, but he’s hardly home. I know I’m not a perfect mother, but I do everything I can for my kids and I try to be as selfless as possible. It just seems like after having my 3rd, I will no longer get that “me” time that I so desperately need as it is. I know that sounds selfish, by I am so worried and hate feeling this way. I am so detached from this pregnancy and I hope things change soon. .

  10. 0-1 … omg it was a BREEZE. My husband and I wondered what all the fuss was about! Was our baby a bit colicy at times yet. Did he fight sleep (like no tomorrow!). But we were in love with it all. We were already home bodies so it didn’t change our social life. We already loved disney movies, so an excuse to watch them in theatres was welcomed. We were over the moon! We knew within moments of him being born that our plan for 3 was totally still a go and how fast can we do this again!?
    1-2…. Oh… MY… GOD. My second baby – he’s just the sweetest little thing ever. He’s not as compassionate or empathetic as his older brother… but he’s easy, he’s got a smile that can lift your whole world. he’s amazing. He didn’t sleep through the night at all his whole first year (fell asleep with the snap of your fingers though). But the trouble was my eldest son had SEVERE terrible twos, torturous threes and he acted out his jealousy in completely asymptomatic ways. They are just shy of 2.5 years apart. If this is the stress people go through when they are adjusting to 0-1 I now understand why the whining.
    2-3…. not there yet. We’re still on board with trying for our 3rd. We question our sanity multiple times a day. I may go insane before all 3 kids are in kindergarten…

    I’ve really clung to the sentence – “I was a perfect mother before I had kids”. But I think the real reason why is that you don’t understand how much of you whole being cares for that kid until your a mom. Example of this LOVING mother’s thoughts: “Should I give him that cookie? He’s been so good he deserves a little treat….. But holy cow the sugar……. But if you don’t give him some now in moderation how will he cope as an adult…… If he has improper feelings with food could that ruin his relationships…… Oh my I’m so stressed – *eat the cookie you were going to give to the kid, then makes 2 dozen more cookies out of guilt because you ate the last cookie*” OKAY Extreme but you get my point. If you feel like your failing – it’s because you care soooo much you see the flaws. And if you care THAT much – you must be doing something right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *