Home » Surviving a year with three boys under three – the good, the bad and the ugly

Surviving a year with three boys under three – the good, the bad and the ugly

Now before I start, don’t go reading this in the hope of finding clues on how to survive a year with three children under three. Because quite frankly, I’m not your woman.

I’m just a normal mum who wasn’t ever planning on having three children, let alone three (boys) all under the age of three.

But as my twins turn one, and my toddler turns three two days later, I’m giving myself and the Other Half a huge self-congratulatory pat on the back. WE MADE IT THROUGH THE FIRST YEAR!

I have to admit, there were times back in the early days that I did wonder if I’d ever make it through ‘til morning with ‘Terry Pterodactyl’ (otherwise known as Twin Two) squawking like some kind of prehistoric predator ALL night, let alone a year. If you want a laugh at my expense you can read all about those first few nights here.

But here we are, feeling a little bit smug for surviving the first year of three under three, and already choosing the ‘this little person is one today – I can’t believe how much he lights up my life’ type vomit-inducing Facebook picture.

Because let’s face it, anyone with more than one child under the age of three, knows that yes there might be some “life enlightening” but there is also a WHOLE SHIT LOAD of “I want to lock myself in a darkened room for a week” type moments too.

So here are a few of my own experiences from the past 12 months with three under three – the good, the bad, and the ugly.


We have two babies and a toddler:

Three children under three – how did that happen? HOLY SHIT!! It’s amazing. Of course I have to say this, or you’d all think I was a crap mum. I guess it is pretty special, and we hope that with such a close age gap, they’ll all grow up as bestest buddies. Unfortunately, the fact Toddler bashes the Twins over the head every time they go near a dinosaur possibly isn’t giving their friendship the most solid of foundations.

Two of everything:

All the great things about babies, like that newborn smell, the cuddles, those first smiles and giggles and watching how they seemingly change on a daily basis – we get it all twice. Quite cool. Although I just cannot bring myself to say ‘it’s not double trouble, it’s double the love’ like lots of twin mums do. If you hear me say it, please punch me in the face.

The Toddler:

First six months of big brotherhood, and the whole three children under three thing, he totally rocked it. Basically by ignoring the Twins and not letting them impact on his pretty nice life in any way, shape or form. He loved it because it also meant he got to watch the iPad way more than before whilst Mummy and Daddy figured out how to deal with all this Twins shit (metaphorically and literally). Read about their ‘almost love/almost hate’ relationship here.

Twins are time consuming:

This might sound like an obvious thing to say, but twins and three children under three draw attention. I wasn’t quite expecting this, but you literally can’t go anywhere with twins and a toddler without someone chatting to you. It’s nice. Generally old ladies in supermarkets, or volunteers at National Trust places, and because I’m (usually) polite I tend to engage in conversation with them. This can often mean a trip to Sainsbury’s takes twice as long as it should. But I’m a chatty person, maybe a result of 15 years as a journalist, so I’ll (more often than not) happily stand around and chew the fat with the old bids and coo over my boys.

Your marriage:

If anyone tells you having kids doesn’t affect your relationship they are talking bullshit. And surprise, surprise three children under three can really test it. My Other Half works a way a lot, leaving the house before anybody wakes and returning at 11pm, if not the next day, so I fly solo for at least half the week which is exhausting. But having kids can also make your relationship stronger. When he tells me I’m totally nailing it, buys 8 tubs of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream because they’re on offer, and takes a day off to send me to the spa to escape the kids you realise you’ve got a keeper.


We have two babies and a toddler:

How did that happen? HOLY SHIT!! I ask myself this question on an almost-daily basis. When they’re all crying at the same time, when they’re all shouting at the same time, and when they’re all wide awake at 3am at the same time. I also swear under my breath A LOT. Way too much in fact but I can’t help it. Three children under three is HARD.

Two of everything:

All those annoying things about babies, like the fact they shit themselves constantly and at most inopportune moments, how they like to scream until 4am but are awake again at 6am, how their take on weaning is basically to smear face/neck/hair in food, then throw the rest on the floor, and how they just cry for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Yep? We get it all twice. Did I mention how much fun three children under three is?

The Toddler:

Second six months and the novelty of being a big brother has worn off (not that it was ever there in the first place, I don’t think). Once the Twins were moving, and in particular towards his toys, Toddler adopted the “come another inch and I’ll whack you” approach, resulting in many a visit to the naughty step, and many a dinosaur (coincidentally the big, noisy ones first) being confiscated for being used as a weapon.

Twins are time consuming:

Oh my f*cking God. Everything takes SOOOOO long. Again, I’m stating the bloody obvious, but it drives me insane. Just as you’ve wrestled one into a nappy and clothes, and you’re sweating like you’ve just done an hour’s gym workout, you have to start all over again. Then you have to do it AGAIN with a toddler who not so much wriggles, but downright refuses. In and out to the car. Then in and out to the car again. Then in and out to the car AGAIN. Up and down the stairs. Up and down the stairs again. Then if Toddler is in one of those moods, I’m up and down the f*cking stairs AGAIN. You get my drift. I won’t harp on. (You could read about how I’ll never ‘nip’ anywhere again here.) Three children under three is seriously time consuming, on so many levels.

Your marriage:

Obviously our marriage is totally fine or I wouldn’t be writing about it on here – he buys 8 tubs of ice cream in one go, I’m not about to ditch him, right? But as mentioned before, relationships are seriously tested by having babies. In our case it’s a sleep deprivation thing, especially at the start. I’m not a good tired person. Or a good hungry person. Or a good “stop those f*cking kids crying” person if I’m honest. I have been known to utter those words “I need to get away from all of you”, and bugger off to Lidl. This just about sums up my life when a solo trip to Lidl is a treat. This is apparently what having three children under three does to you.

So then everything becomes a competition – which one of you is MORE tired. Which one of you had to get up the most times in the night. Which one of you has had the worst day – 15 shitty nappies and a puke in the car seat, versus an 18 hour day from Plymouth to Birmingham and back with an important high-level presentation thrown in for good measure. (I still maintain 15 poos wins). You can have an hour’s bike ride only if I can have an hour on my laptop. Our old life living in a posh waterside apartment eating out three times a week seems a distant memory. Sigh.


I only have one ‘ugly’ thing to say and it can be summed up in four simple words… Three. Kids. In. Nappies.

So there you have it, it’s been hard work, and no doubt about to get a lot harder when they can all answer back and run away in different directions. I couldn’t have survived without my parents and friends helping me constantly. Over the past 12 months I’ve learnt there is a whole world of difference between how you parent your firstborn compared to subsequent children (but that’s for another blogpost). I’ve come to the conclusion that twins on their own? Absolute piece of piss. Twins and a toddler? Not so much. If I’m brutally honest a fair percentage of it I’ve not enjoyed (there I said it – and even blogged about it here), but luckily they’re cute so I’ll forgive them. Three children under three is a whole different ball game. And I’ve realised…


How did I do?

If you got this far – thanks! Maybe you’d like to read some more of my waffle, so here are a few suggestions. What about how the early days of having three kids under 2.5 is a total blur, or how despite dieting back to pre-twin weight, I’m getting over the fact my stomach is wrecked forever by eating cake and not giving a toss.

And if you’re lucky (or unlucky??) enough to soon have three under three, here’s my list of 10 ‘must haves’ you seriously will need to survive. Don’t worry, it includes wine.

Or if you fancy a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.

If you like what you see, how about you check me out on Pinterest,  Instagram and Twitter too. I’m all over the place!

And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here, and I’ll get back to you during naptime/screentime (!)

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

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Claire Neville 11/06/2018 - 8:52 am

Brilliant – just off for some brunch, must dash! Happy birthday week boys and may the next 12 months bring you lots of joy xx

anthea 18/06/2021 - 10:29 pm

I also have three boys under 3, so had to smile while reading about the insanity of it all. The only difference in the twins are older than their baby brother. Not sure which way is harder really, swings and roundabouts. Surviving, but it is the hardest thing I have every done!

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 24/06/2021 - 10:10 pm

It’s exhausting isn’t it? You’re a braver woman than I am going for more after twins! 😂

yasmina 20/06/2018 - 9:05 pm

First respect for raising three kids under three (I only have one). Second of all, thank you for this nice, fun, refreshing and true post!!!! Love it

Jennifer Brand 21/06/2018 - 2:16 am

Oh goodness! I feel for you! I have a toddler currently, but I also have a twelve year old girl that helps… A LOT! She adores her little sister, and I hardly ever have to do watch my toddler without an older child playing with her.

Enjoyed reading your take on parenting three little bitty boys! They sure are adorable.

Emilia 29/11/2018 - 11:02 am

Very very important article. Really appreciate your post as a new mother. You have shared your great experience that’s so informative & encouraging. Thanks a lot buddy for sharing this brilliant article. Enjoy your time.

Emilia 01/12/2018 - 10:54 am

Oh! Great post! You have experienced some great experience in your life. Real inspiring post. Enjoy your motherhood.

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 02/12/2018 - 10:48 pm

Thank you 🙂

Anne 11/12/2018 - 12:02 pm

Whoo hoo! you made it, it’s all plain sailing from now (I’m not sniggering, honestly.) I really do take my hat off to you though, I’ve only ever had two under 3 and that was bad enough (so bad I did it twice!)

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/12/2018 - 12:33 am

Twice?? Are you crazy, woman? 😂 I think life is even harder now they can move – in different directions!

Rachel - Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles 11/12/2018 - 3:57 pm

Oh this made me laugh out loud! I have every admiration for you and your hubby! Congratulations and well done on making it so far… Long may it (and the ice cream!) continue! #ItsOK

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/12/2018 - 12:32 am

Thank you! Come to think of it, I’m sure it’s time to replenish the ice cream stocks.

Kate - The Mum Conundrum 11/12/2018 - 7:14 pm

“If you hear me say it, please punch me in the face.” …Ahahahahaaah! Just one of the many many reasons you’ll always be my favourite! Seriously though very very well done to you indeed! You deserve a bloody medal! My three are crazy hard sometimes and they were actually spaced out by a year or two! xx #ItsOK

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/12/2018 - 12:32 am

No really, you can definitely punch me in the face! 😘

Jo (A Rose Tinted World) 11/12/2018 - 10:26 pm

I take my hat, coat and most of my outerwear off to you. Just one has left me a wreck, so I cannot begin to imagine how 3 makes you feel. Thank you for this post. #ItsOk

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/12/2018 - 12:31 am

Ha ha, thank you. I’m glad to have survived although I’m sure it’ll get harder before getting easier now they move!

Josie 12/12/2018 - 1:42 pm

If I had 3 under 3 I think my version of “I need to get away from you all” might have involved a trip to outer Siberia rather than Lidl, you’re a better woman than me!

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/12/2018 - 3:34 pm

Ha ha, maybe I’ll go for that next time. Clearly selling myself short with Lidl!

Nicole - Tales from Mamaville 12/12/2018 - 7:50 pm

Wow! Still getting my head around how you manage your days (and nights)! You make it all sound ok, but I can imagine what a toughie this is. But you survived the first year, the rest will just happen. Eat those Ben and Jerry’s and keep reminding yourself that #itsok;)Well done you!

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 12/12/2018 - 7:52 pm

Ben and Jerry did become quite close friends there for a while, I have to admit!

Lyn 13/12/2018 - 9:16 am

I loved reading this! I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids then, with no help, twins turned up! You are so right about the time thing. Going to the supermarket became a real ordeal. I learnt very quickly not to go on pension day pmsl. All of a sudden our friends seemed to consider us parenting gurus – how did that happen!? If we made it through the day and we were all still alive, we considered ourselves worthy of a pat on the back! I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like with a toddler as well…. Mine are now 13. It doesn’t get easier, it just changes…… #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 13/12/2018 - 11:12 pm

I’d not even thought about pension day, ha ha! Yep if everyone goes to bed unscathed we’re winning. I bet it’s going to get harder again once they can talk – and answer back!

Tracey Carr 13/12/2018 - 9:50 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I really don’t know how you do it….but every time I read one of your posts Helen it reminds me to never whinge about having a four and a two year old because really there is not too much to grumble about. You majorly put it into perspective! #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 13/12/2018 - 11:11 pm

Ha ha, I’m like a public service! My best mate tells me regularly that I make her feel so much better about her own life – with ONE child! Least I can laugh about it 😂

Noleen Miller 14/12/2018 - 8:29 am

Luckily the age gap between my two is 3 years. Even so my hands were full as the older one wanted more attention. I can just admire people with more than 2 kids who are still under 5. It takes a lot of patience and strength to get through those years. So hats off to you for doing an amazing job at it and still surviving #itsok

Caroline Freathy 14/12/2018 - 2:09 pm

Brilliant, as always! xxx I was only discussing with a random mum today about how our child-free escape to Tesco felt like a spa break, lol!! Am in total and complete awe of you – well done for making it through a crazy first year of three under 3! xxx

Momoftwolittlegirls 17/12/2018 - 10:32 pm

You’re doing a brilliant job lovely! X

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 17/12/2018 - 10:35 pm

Thanks! x

One Messy Mama (@onemessymama4) 21/12/2018 - 6:12 pm

It sounds like our households are exactly the same, I have an 8, 7, 6, 4 and 18 month old 🙂 I love having my kids so close together in age, but geesh…. A dark and quiet room would be amazing sometimes!!! #itsoklinky

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 22/12/2018 - 9:22 am

I don’t know how you do it!

Crummy Mummy 07/01/2019 - 8:51 pm

I only have one boy & simply can’t imagine 3 – he’s harder work than my 2 girls put together! #itsok

Fiona Cambouropoulos 18/03/2019 - 4:44 pm

This post brought back so many memories for me – many of which I had forgotten. I had 6 under 6 (5 boys) and much the same experience. I can safely say you are in for a treat as they all grow up. Mine are now in their teens and 20s. #GlobalBlogging

loopyloulaura 24/03/2019 - 10:15 pm

My kids are more spaced out in age but I was nodding along to this post. I certainly recognise the ‘treat’ of a solo supermarket trip! Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 24/03/2019 - 10:20 pm

Oh that’s bliss!

Jodie Homer 15/05/2019 - 12:12 pm

This ring true to me I have a toddler and a baby the toddler constantly wants to stand all over hit etc the baby and they are both awake at 3am and yes I get the one upping the husband happens loads in this house and ok you’ve had a nap when can I go and have one

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 15/05/2019 - 9:18 pm

It’s a nightmare, isn’t it!


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