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Mom Warns Parents the 2 to 3 Kid Transition Is No Joke in Viral TikTok

From lost evening "free time" to a new level of newborn exhaustion, one parent explains why the two to three kids transition is uniquely difficult.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published April 29, 2024
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Image: Tomsickova Tatyana | Shutterstock

Parenting transitions spark endless discussions, from the emotional crib-to-toddler bed transition to the monumental leap from bottles to solid foods. Yet perhaps none are as fervently debated as those that accompany expanding one’s family. Is the leap from zero to one child the toughest? Or does the challenge peak during the transition from one to two or two to three?

In a now-viral TikTok, baby name consultant and mom of three, Colleen @namingbaby makes the case that the two-to-three transition just might be the most difficult and is certainly underestimated. “Everyone who told me the transition from two to three kids was ‘not that bad.’ Liars. Consider this your warning,” Colleen begins. “First of all, it’s crazy how quickly you forget, time and time again, what the newborn stage is like. Yes, it’s fleeting, but the exhaustion packs a punch.”

Alongside the newborn exhaustion, there’s also the struggle of enduring middle-of-the-night and bedtime shenanigans from your toddler. “His water’s not the right temperature. His arm’s a little stiff. He actually wasn’t ready for us to leave the room five hours ago,” she jokes. Between these struggles and her three little ones, Colleen notes that her and her husband’s evening “free time” has vamoosed.

We used to live for 7:30 p.m. After a long day of being ordered around by people who are two feet tall, at least you got those last couple of hours to unwind,” Colleen said. “Now after we get the big kids down, one of us is cleaning the kitchen, making lunches, dealing with the mountains of laundry that make nice little stepping stones down the upstairs hallway, while the other person does plyometrics to try to get this one to calm down and go to sleep. Wishing hours started at two weeks. I’m not saying don’t have three kids. I’m just saying, “Holy sh**.”

In the comments, parents chimed with their validation for all the moms of three and their own experiences. “Three kids did us in. Three kids is HARDDDDD,” wrote one parent. “My body permanently adjusted to 4-5 hours of inconsistent sleep every night once I had 3. I fear I’ll never sleep again,” chimed in one mom. “The transition from 1 to 2 about killed me. I am GOOD,” joked another.

Still, some parents in the comments shared their differing opinions. “2-3 was genuinely so easy for us. I think it really depends,” noted one parent. “0-1 was the hardest, 1-2 was easy, 2-3 wasn’t bad. Mine are 2 years apart. Now that they’re in activities I have no life though,” added another mom.

If you are struggling to find some rest and peace no matter what transition you are in, check out these science-backed tips for getting baby to sleep through the night.

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