Kids are cute and fun and, as parents, we can’t imagine life without them, but there’s no denying that they do add a certain level of stress to your life. From the time you hold your first newborn baby in your arms, you find yourself stressed about tests that need to be done, about hitting those critical newborn milestones, about what percentile he or she is on the height and weight charts. That’s just the beginning.
For each child that you add to your family, there’s more financial stress and less time for activities you used to enjoy before you had kids. Heck, it can even be hard to find time to take a shower! Especially for moms.
Back in 2013, Today.com and Insight Express conducted a survey of over 7,000 moms to find out just how stressed they really are. The results were surprising, especially when it comes to the most stressful number of kids you can have.
You’d think that the more kids you have the more stress you have, but it turns out that’s not the case. Of course, when you add that first child to your family your life is turned upside down. Many moms say that adding the second child is pretty easy peasy, but when you add a third child, your stress level skyrockets.
As Scary Mommy creator and mom of three Jill Smokler puts it, “Going from one to two was an easy, breezy transition. Two to three, everything was turned upside down. I do not feel like I have it together. You only have two hands! Just crossing the street and not being able to physically hold all their hands I find tremendously stressful.”
You’d think that it would get even more stressful if you add a fourth child to your family, but it turns out that moms of four or more children are actually the least stressed! New York psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor, who happens to be a mom of four, says, “There’s just not enough space in your head for perfectionism when you get to four or more kids.”
What exactly do moms stress about? The survey found that the biggest cause of stress is the lack of time to do everything that needs to get done. Other stressors include husbands/partners (who actually cause more stress than children, according to many moms surveyed), staying in shape, looking good, and stressing about being stressed.
What’s a busy, stressed out mom with no free time to do? Well, besides having four kids, Dr. Janet Taylor recommends taking out a piece of paper and drawing a circle on each side. On one side, fill in the circle with the reality of how your time is spent during the day. On the other side, fill the circle with how you wish you could spend your time. Find a way to make one item on your wish list a reality. This might mean saying “no” to an activity your kids want or hiring a babysitter, but it’s worth it to reduce your stress level.
Do you agree that 3 children is the most stressful number? How many children do you have?