Three Is The Most Stressful Number Of Kids To Have

Parenting and motherhood stress

Over 7,000 US mothers were polled in April by Today.com and asked to scale their stress level from one to 10 – 10 being the most stressed. The average mother registered an 8.5 – worrying over finances, meeting both work and home demands, and expressing frustration over their husband acting like another big kid – wanting equal attention and making mommy feel added pressure to be the responsible one.

Of the 7,164 participants, 46 percent admitted their spouse/partner generated more frustration than their kids. What do you do with a father who acts like one of the kids? Experts suggest not parenting your spouse/partner – i.e. don’t treat him like a child and nag him over every playful thing he does with his kids. Indulgence is fine when it’s appropriate.

Having said that, he is an adult and a role model and needs to be reminded of such if he’s not behaving in accordance with the title of father. Treat your spouse/partner like a man and he’ll act like one. If not, you may have to address it parent-to-parent later after the kids have gone to bed. Better to express the problem than to bottle it up.

Around 72 percent stressed about the stress, which caused more stress – a vicious cycle. Your mind races as you lay in bed at night trying to sleep, churning over the intricate details that can’t be forgotten. But you can only be so prepared and at some point you have to get some sleep in order to accomplish the errands, play dates, school and extracurricular activities, and still get to work. After a while you have to calm down, take a break, take a breath, and assess the priorities within your control.

Nearly 60 percent admitted it was harder to raise girls than boys. Every child is an individual and little boys and girls brains are wired differently. Girls have been accused of being messier and creating excessive drama – as parents contend with a fussier fashion sense and a greater capacity to hold a grudge versus boys who will wear just about anything but will destroy your furniture, incur at least one broken limb, permanent chin scar, or chipped tooth from flying off the roof, and will set something ablaze within their childhood.

Another 60 percent of moms felt they lacked enough time to get everything necessary done in a day. Overbooking yourself and your children takes a toll on the overall productivity of the household and the mood of the occupants. This can also result in failing to permit a little necessary “me” time for mothers to read a book, exercise, or engage in other personal hobbies. Limit extracurricular activities for kids as too many can actually backfire – causing a child’s grades and self-esteem to suffer. They need play time too to relax and unwind from the day.

Also, take help when it is offered. Often the mechanism to control every aspect can create a sense of having little time to accomplish it all. If your spouse/partner offers a helping hand, take it. Just try not to tell them how to do the task unless they ask – adults don’t like to be micromanaged.

Nine out of 10 mothers felt pressure to stay fit and attractive. The invention of airbrushing and the trim, svelte appearance of most celebrities who appear on television post-baby, literally mere weeks after giving birth, is incredible. But consider what Hollywood mothers endure to achieve it.

Celebrities have teams of people invested in their success and appearance – trainers, nutritionists, personal chefs, access to expensive and exclusive treatments, and undergo extreme regimens to be picture perfect. Recently, Jessica Alba confessed to wearing a double-corset in order to curb her post-baby weight. She wore the device day and night for three months – admitting it was brutal and not for everyone.

The majority of mothers, by 75 percent, felt excessively overwhelmed with an assumed expectation, feeling they had to be “perfect” or else face criticism from the other mothers.

The mommy survey also revealed three was the most stressful number of children for mothers to have. Although mothers of one or two were encumbered with similar levels of anxiety, juggling a third seemed physically impossible, “with only two hands.”

Yet lower levels of stress, equal to mothers with one or two were reported in survey takers who had four – something the poll playfully referred as “The Duggar Effect,” where somehow the transition from three to four or even more kids thereafter was somehow easier.

By the fourth you’ve mastered the mommy craft of baby proofing, what all you really need in the diaper or day-bag, and have solved the mysteries of why the pooh is different colors when they are infants. Plus the other children are often eager to help with the new addition.

[Image via Shutterstock]