*This article is my personal experience of living as an MFM V Triad with our 2.75 year old toddler and 8 week old infant*
It’s 2:30am, and I’m exhausted. I’ve had about 1.5 hours of sleep. My eyelids will not stay open. My head is drooping, my mind is drifting off to dreamland. The infant in my arms is fast asleep but will wake up as soon as I try to set him down in his bassinet. I make myself stand up and drift down the stairs to the bedroom. My husband is sleeping peacefully in his queen size bed, having just gone to bed at 12am. In the queen size bed next to him, I shake my boyfriend awake. He had been asleep since 9pm and now it’s his turn to care for the baby until he has to go to work at 6am.
That is just one example of a benefit of poly parenting: more hands to help with the children. More sleep for everyone. I honestly cannot remember how my husband and I did it alone with our first son. How do two-parent households do it? Or single parents? When do those people sleep? Obviously, I know that it’s not only possible, but the norm, to only have two parents, or even one. But I cannot imagine it any other way than the three of us breaking up tasks, taking turns, and supporting each other.
More hearts to love the children. More alone time for everyone. More attention for the children. More date nights and fun nights. More adults to keep the kids safe.
How A Third Parent Changed Our World
My boyfriend, Rob, joined our family when my first son was a little over 1.5 years old. Rob and my husband, Brandon, have been lifelong friends, growing up together since they were 8 years old. Now, 20 years later, they decided they would be okay with sharing one woman, one house, and multiple children. Believe me, the way that came about was not simple in any way, but that’s a story for another article.
When Rob moved in with Brandon and I, our parenting world changed in so many ways, all for the better. Rob took over the fingernail clipping, the baths, the afternoon/evening playtime. All without asking. He is a natural parent, one of the many things that attracted me to him in the first place. Now Brandon and I had more opportunities for date nights with each other and more opportunities for alone time. And when Rob and I wanted a date, Brandon was available to watch our son. Or if the two of them wanted a friend night, I was home to care for him.
Now, 1.5 years later, with a new infant in the house, the benefits of having three parents are even greater. Brandon can be putting our oldest to bed, while Rob takes care of the infant, and I go to sleep before my late-night baby shift. Rob can take our oldest to the park, while Brandon recharges himself playing video games, and I care for the infant. I can have exclusive playtime with my oldest, while Brandon holds the baby, and Rob reads a book. One of us can stay home with the kids while the other two get the massive grocery shopping done, or the massive pile of dishes done, or the massive bags of trash taken out. (Yeah, a downside of 3 adults is the larger amount of groceries, dishes, and trash. LOL). The possibilities of who’s doing what is endless.
The Benefits of Different Personalities
Having three different personalities in the house is so beneficial for the kids because we all give them something different. Our oldest knows that with Daddy (Brandon), he’s going to work on projects around the house, make runs to Home Depot, and work with tools. With Bobby (Rob), he’s going to get very focused and hands-on playtime, tickling, wrestling, playing outside, and being silly. With Mommy (me), he’s going to get cuddles, read books, sing songs, and walk around the mall.
You can see the difference in personality when we all care for the baby as well. Brandon is the most likely to set him down in his swing, bassinet, or bouncy seat, so that he can buzz off and do something; whereas, I’m most likely to be parked on the couch for hours holding and cuddling him. Rob is most likely to be holding him and either walking around the house or trying to play with the oldest.
A Con of Multiple Parents
The only con to having three parents that we’ve really run into is when we disagree on parenting style. You think two parents have lots of disagreements on how to raise the kids, wait until you have three adults with different opinions. I’m generally more of a softy than the men, though we all have the things we let slide that the others won’t. “Hey, Logan! Throw me that ball.” – Rob. “Don’t throw balls in the house, you could break something.” – Me. “We eat at the table, not on the couch.” – Brandon, as I stuff chips in my mouth with Logan on the couch. “He needs to stop sucking his thumb.” – Rob. “Nah, he’s fine. He will stop eventually. No need to rush him.” – Me.
Why I Wouldn’t Change It for The World
At the end of the day, no matter what small things we disagree on, we are a team and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The benefits of having three parents far outweigh the cons at this stage in our lives. I know as the kids grow older, we will have to deal with either hiding or explaining our situation to their friends, their school, the other parents. But for now in this toddler and infant stage, we can blissfully get our extra sleep, our extra date nights, and give our extra love and attention to the kids.