Critical Mass: Survey Says Having Three Kids is the Most Stressful

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There is no doubt that once you have kids, your stress level will go up. I know that I am more stressed and it's totally understandable. As a parent, you're now responsible for the lives of others. You have their nutrition, happiness, safety, education, and social life all in your hands and if you've got a perfectionist personality, it can get very stressful.

It certainly doesn't help that there is a lot of criticism that comes with parenting. We get it from experts, from friends, from family, and other moms. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how to "do it right" that it's no wonder that the stress just keeps piling on.

Related: 6 reasons sibling rivalry is actually good for kids

Parenting is quite an adjustment and with each new child added to the family, a new routine has to be found. That alone can be stressful, but I believe that it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. A survey that was released exclusively by on Monday, asked more than 7,000 moms to answer questions online based on stress-levels and mothering. The results - they were interesting:

Average Stress Level
The moms who took the survey were asked on a scale of 1-to-10, how stressed did they consider themselves (with 10 being the most stressed). The result: the average mom put themselves at an 8.5.

Self-Pressure vs Others
The moms surveyed said they were more stressed out by the pressure they put on themselves to be perfect vs the pressure and judgement they get from other moms.

Stress From Partner
This stat I found quite interesting -- 46% of the mothers surveyed said they are more stressed by their husband/partner than they are of their kids.

Stress Stress
This figure from the survey proves to me that moms are way too hard on themselves. 72% of moms stressed about how stressed they were.

Biggest Cause of Stress
The mothers surveyed said their biggest reason for their stress was not having enough time to do everything. 60% of the participants answered this for their number one stress.

Girls vs Boys
60 percent of the moms answered that raising girls was more stressful than raising boys.

Fit and Attractive
Nine out of 10 moms surveyed said they were stressed about staying fit and attractive. While I think it's good to worry about being healthy, this seems like far too much importance, but I totally would fit in that category.

Three is the Most Stressful Number
Mothers of three children stress more than moms of one or two, while mothers of four or more children actually report lower stress levels. Apparently the more you have -- the less you stress out. Good to know!

For me personally, when we added a third child to the family, I didn't find this transition nearly as difficult as I did going from zero to one. That was the biggest adjustment for me as I was learning how to mother, how to read cues, function on little sleep, navigate all the conflicting parenting information, and trying to find my groove. When we had baby number 2, I was still relatively new at the whole mothering thing, but I was already in the groove. By the time I had three kids, that transition was the easiest for me because I already felt like I knew what I was doing.

It's amazing what that confidence can do for a stress-level. I have never really felt too much stress about being the "perfect mom," but I always feel like I am doing the best that I can. I am not afraid to make mistakes, apologize, learn from them, and move on without too much dwelling. I know that there is so much pressure put on us by others (and ourselves) to be that "perfect mom," but I have very quickly learned that most of us are all doing the best we can.

I asked my Facebook friends to share what number of kids was the hardest transition for them and the answers varied quite a lot:

"I only have one, but I would say 0 to dog was harder! ha." - Sunny

"1-2. With the first he just fit into our lives and we lived around his schedule. 2nd was harder as trying to do a baby schedule with sleeping and feeding while having a 4 year old wanting attention and to do things." - Nolie

"Going from 0-1 was SUCH a life adjustment. Going from 1-2 was easy because I already knew what to expect." - Jen

"I seriously don't think I could handle 3! 2 is good for me and I didn't find either transition difficult. I think at this point the biggest hurdle is money and time. At what point does'one more' affect the others abilities to be involved in organized activities etc. I think that was the biggest deciding factor for us to stop at 2." - Jacqueline

"1-2 because you are then out numbered lol and 3-4 because your older ones are in sports and school and you are just pulled in so many different directions, all at the same time." - Summerlea

What was the hardest transition for you? Is there a number of kids you think you'd just get used to it or is there a "too many" limit for you?

- By Devan McGuinness
Follow Devan at Babble

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