Recently my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate nine years of marriage. As we were sitting at the bar and waiting for our dinner reservation, “that” conversation came up. Rather unexpectedly to me, to be honest. You know, the conversation where one of you asks the other, “Are we done having kids?”
When my husband first said this, I almost spit my martini across the bar. I was sure we were done. Right? We have a son and a daughter, and both are thriving spitfires. We also recently acquired the “.5” in the national average of “2.5 kids” by bringing a puppy into our family. A puppy that we lovingly refer to as the “30 pound piranha that we willingly paid for.” Saying that our plates are full at this moment is an understatement. Now my husband was asking if I wanted to go back to the buffet for more?!
I should clarify that my husband wasn’t asking because he wants to have more kids. He has communicated that he is happy with our family and feels complete. Of course we would welcome another blessing with open arms (and slight trepidation), but we are not actively seeking to expand our crew. Within the last year, I have also felt that our family of 4 is enough for me. However, my husband now asking, just to double check that I was sure, suddenly made me not so sure.
On one hand, we are a completely fortunate family of four. We have two children, and both are thankfully healthy and happy (most days). We even got one of each gender! When both parents are present, no one is out numbered, and when one parent is solo, two kids are manageable. Except when in Target. Kids are expensive, but having two allows us to still get out and about without astronomical restaurant bills. It still allows us to travel. It allows us to keep two reasonably sized cars without having to resort to a mini-van or mega SUV. It allows us (personally – everyones means are different) to plan for our children’s future equally as far as financials are concerned. Our hope was to have two kids and we are blessed to have achieved that. It was important to us for our children to have a sibling…someone to lean on one day when Mom and Dad aren’t around. All in all, having two kids seems to work for us. We have been blessed beyond measure with our family. Do we quit while we are ahead?
What if we are meant to have three children? What if our family isn’t complete yet? Sure it is easy to stop at two, but does “easy” mean that it is right? I don’t want to pass up expanding our family out of convenience. My husband and I are very analytical. That is both a blessing and a curse. While temporary, mobility and flexibility would be severely limited for a while with a third kid. What if the third baby isn’t easy going at all? Our daughter really gave us a run for our money during her infancy. My pregnancy with her was not a cake-walk either (even though I ate mass amounts of cake during the pregnancy). Could I even do that again? While chasing two kids and a dog? How unfair (albeit temporary) would that be to my husband and two kids “on the outside”?
What about the excitement? Having a new family member. A new life. A gift. Another sibling for our kids to grow up with. Another person to love and nurture through life. In my opinion – all reasons that override the analytical ones. We are so incredibly fortunate with our children. Do we go for just one more? Would that be greedy of us?
Most days I feel like we are set. We have our family of four and I don’t want to push our luck. My uterus isn’t aching for an occupant, and I am enjoying being able to enjoy a martini or two. Leaving behind diapers, sippy cups, and the portable high chair doesn’t make me sad. It makes me excited for the upcoming chapters and adventures with our family. I love holding OTHER people’s babies and giving them back. Other days I look at our daughter and can’t believe that she is likely our last baby. I immediately feel guilt in that I need to savor every single moment because we might not see these phases and milestones in action again. It is absolutely a bittersweet moment to look at your spouse and say, “Are we done? I think we are done.”
Have you recently decided that you are done growing your family? Or maybe you have not? What were the factors in your decision?