Study Finds This is the Most Stressful Number of Kids You Can Have
Let's put this out there first: All children are a blessing. There, we said it. Now, let's get real.
Kids are adorable, lovable, and cuddly. They are also messy, time-consuming, and gray hair-inducing. But, according to a survey by Today Parents, three children are simply more stressful than one or two.
According to a survey of more than 7,000 mothers in the United States, mothers of three children reported experiencing more stress more than moms of one or two. But, somewhat surprisingly, mothers of four or more children reported lower stress levels. According to Today, that may be because those moms have hit a "critical mass of kids," making life feel a little easier.
But, that's not to say mothers of one or two babies have it easy. According to the survey results, on a scale of 1-10, the average mom put herself at an 8.5.
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As to what is stressing moms out the most there are a few usual suspects like money, demands on their time, and attention. And, 72 percent of moms got meta about it, saying they often stress about how stressed they are. Ninety percent of moms who responded said they stress about maintaining their personal fitness, while 60 percent of moms said raising girls is more stressful than raising boys.
However, according to Today Parents, the biggest stressor on mothers is the pressure they put on themselves.
A full 75 percent of mothers surveyed reported they stress more "about the pressure they put on themselves to be perfect than they do the pressure or judgment they get from other moms," Today Parents wrote.
"You always hear about the mommy wars, but I feel like we're judging ourselves more harshly than anyone else," Jill Smokler, author of "Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)," told Today. Smokler herself has three children and noted that she absolutely agrees with the survey results.
"Going from one to two was an easy, breezy transition," she said. "Two to three, everything was turned upside down. I did not feel like I had it together...just crossing the street and not being able to physically hold all their hands I found tremendously stressful."
As to why four kids may feel less stressful than three, Dr. Janet Taylor, a psychiatrist in New York and mother of four, told Today the answer is simple: You just don't have time to care anymore.
"The more children you have, the more confident you become in your parenting abilities," she said. "You have to let go… and then you're just thankful when they all get to school on time.