You might have been told that going from one to two children is life-changing from an emotional point of view, and that is true. Suddenly you’re having to juggle even more and manage a busy toddler along with a newborn. On the bright side, some parents will admit that the financial leap (from one to two children) isn’t all that bad. You don’t need to worry about a new car or house just yet and your new baby will more than likely inherit the crib, the pram and all your toddler’s old clothes.
The decision to have a third child
“However, when you bring a third child into the mix, almost everything changes,” says Cape-Town based financial analyst and mom of two, Chantelle Baptiste, who is expecting their third child. “It’s amazing how your concerns and decisions change from when you’re a first-time mom. For instance, with my first born, I wanted the perfect nursery, the best clothes for her and all the accessories I thought we’d need and use. I relaxed a lot more with my second child, and now I worry even less about the small stuff and I prioritise the important stuff.”
Here is a list of the big things to consider before having a third child:
Your children’s education
Every parent wants to give their children the best possible start in life and a good-quality education, so this was by the far the most important factor Chantelle and her husband had to consider. “Because we wanted a bigger family, my husband and I relocated to Stellenbosch soon after our second daughter was born, and this was one of the best decisions we could have made. The Western Cape has plenty of well-run public schools with affordable fees,” she says.
“Fees at the school we’ve chosen will cost us around R20 000 per year for all three children, whereas it would have cost more than double this amount had we stayed in Johannesburg and chosen to send our kids to private schools,” she admits.
Kids need space to run and play and while a two or three-bedroom house might have suited you just fine with one or two kids, having a third child means you’ll need to reconsider the layout of your home. If you often have guests staying over, but you only have two or three bedrooms, where will everyone sleep? “We have put a double bed in our new baby’s room so that we can turn it into a guest room if friends or family stay over. This means that our little one will sleep in our room for those nights,” says Chantelle. “We haven’t had to move into a bigger house, because I’m happy to allow my two older children to share a room,” she adds.
Having three children means that you’ll more than likely need to sell your sedan in exchange for a bigger, more spacious car, such as an SUV. These cars are designed to be more spacious and can accommodate three children and three car seats. You could also downsize and purchase one larger family car, and sell your second car if you have one. This means you and your partner can travel together in the car you have, or whoever isn;t carting the kids can take Uber, taxis or other public transport.
Your big-ticket items
“I now understand why some people wait about three years before having another child,” admits Chantelle. Because in terms of sharing big-ticket items, the age gap makes a difference.
Although little ones can easily share toys or clothes, bigger purchases such as the cot or car seat need careful consideration. “My second child won’t even be two years old when we welcome our third daughter into the family and because of this smaller gap, I’ll have to transition my middle child to a big bed much sooner than I would have liked, so that my new baby can inherit the cot,” says Chantelle.
Upgrading your pram from a single to a double seater is also necessary, because you’ll have at least two kids who still want to be pushed around. Rather than spending a fortune on a new pram, consider buying one second-hand.
Additional help at home
If you’re a full-time working mom, you might also need to evaluate the current roles and responsibilities in your home and factor in additional help. “With two kids, it’s easier for a housekeeper to take care of them, plus manage some basic tidying and cleaning around the house,” says Chantelle. However, it’s simply not feasible for one person to manage three children and housework. This is when you might need to hire a cleaning or ironing service to take the load off household chores, or an au pair who can be there for the older kids, while a nanny or family member looks after the baby.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike.