Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Overwhelmed with three kids under 3!

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

We have three kids under 3 -- there's a set of twins in there! Please tell me we will survive. This is so hard. Advice on how to get through the triple-toddler years?

-- Parent

Keep them hugged, fed and alive, call in all the help you can, make room for yourself, and trust time to make it easier. The phase you can't bear right now will be a new one soon, and when you can't bear what that next one entails anymore, a new one will come along.

If you ever feel like you're stressed to the point that you might harm your kids or yourself, don't be ashamed to send up a flare. It's hard. Humans have almost always raised kids in a community setting, for good reason.


I held onto this adage for a long time, to steady myself through the three-under-3 years: The days last years, and the years fly by. It will be easier before you know it.

Of course I say this as my (now teenage) kids' events make my life an extended game of calendar roulette -- and we're also loosely governed by a new adage: small kids, small problems; big kids, big problems. But all of that is still easier than when they were 2, 2 and 1, and two of them were mouthers of any objects they ran across, and all three of them were climbers of shelves and furniture, and I treated myself to a full-body-sobbing session once a week. Like clockwork.

Hello, Carolyn!

I've lived in the same city since I graduated from college six years ago, and worked at the same organization as well. While my job has previously been great, the past two years have seen a sharp turn in the culture in my workplace, with nepotism and back-stabbing taking hold of my department. Many people I work with are wonderful, and the work I do is somewhat fulfilling. The city itself is great too, and I have a fantastic group of friends I've gathered over the years.


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