Moms Are Most Stressed With Three Children, Study Finds

three kids

When you have your first child, your life as you once knew it changes forever. When the second child comes along, you enter into a new chaos! Especially if you have a newborn and a toddler – two babies in diapers can take a stressful toll.

What about moms with more than two children? A study from 2013 has resurfaced because, well, the truth about raising kids remains the same! After surveying 7,164 moms in the United States, Today concluded that moms of three are more stressed out than moms of one, two, four or more children.

Wait a second – the math on this conclusion doesn’t seem to make sense. How can a mom of three have more stress than a mom of four?

Psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor explained to Today why moms start to relax after they give birth to their fourth. “There’s just not enough space in your head for perfectionism when you get to four or more kids,” she said.

three kids
Credit: iStock / cassinga

“The more children you have, the more confident you become in your parenting abilities,” Taylor continued. “You have to let go … and then you’re just thankful when they all get to school on time.”

In simpler terms, mom can barely keep things together, so kids end up having to do things for themselves. While moms can micromanage one or two children, when there are four scrambling to get ready for school, or extra-curricular activities, older kids will have to learn to be self-sufficient. Mom simply cannot do everything for five people (including herself), so children have no choice but to step up, and learn things earlier.

The researchers concluded that once you reach a certain “critical mass” of children, parenthood starts to get easier. Yet three is the tipping point. Going from two to three children is a big jump; but having a fourth child is an easier transition because family life will have already changed dramatically.

Mothers of three children stress more than moms of one or two, while mothers of four or more children actually report lower stress levels, according the survey,

“Once you get a certain critical mass of kids, life seems to get a bit easier.”

More results from the survey:

  • 46 percent of moms say their husbands/partners cause them more stress than their kids do.
  • 72 percent of moms stress about how stressed they are.
  • Biggest cause of stress: 60 percent say it’s lack of time to do everything that needs to get done.
  • 60 percent of moms say raising girls is more stressful than raising boys.
  • Nine out of 10 moms stress about staying fit and attractive.

Do you find this to be true? Let us know!

Boyce Family
Cameron Boyce's Parents' PSA To Raise Epilepsy Awareness

More in Parenting