I always knew I wanted children, which trust me, surprised everyone in my life, because I have never actually really liked kids. But, that aside, I knew I wanted my own. Now, after two pregnancies filled with vomiting and heartburn, two natural births, and two little humans that test my sanity and tolerance (both for chaos and alcohol) on a daily basis, I am questioning whether or not I am prepared to do it all over again.
My husband has always wanted a large family, “at least four kids,” he says. I remind him constantly that his part of the deal is pretty sweet, as I am the one that carries them in my own body for nine months, peeing 20 times an hour, as they use my bladder as their own personal trampoline, and then birthing them, which is not a walk in the park by any means.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not opposed to having a third child. There are definitely days when my ovaries literally ache at the sight of moms and their new babies, and during those moments, I feel like I am not ready to be done with the sweet baby snuggles and kisses. The amount of love I have for my kids is endless and it is a love like no other. So, there are times when I feel like I’d be crazy not to do it all over again. But, with that being said, I definitely have some reservations.
First, a third child could very likely turn into four, giving my husband exactly what he has always wanted. See, I am an identical twin, who comes from a family with twins sprinkled throughout the generations. When I was pregnant with my second child, my doctor saw me at my 10 week appointment and said “wow, you are really showing, we should check you for multiples.” Let me tell you, those were the longest three minutes of my life. I sat there screaming on the inside, “Just tell me! Tell me how many are in there!!!” Turns out there was just one. A sweet little boy, who I would now clone if I could, because his smile and kisses make me melt and he brings so much joy to my life on a daily basis.
So, what else is weighing heavy on my mind? Cost. Seems like a silly reason, but one that is justified. Having children is the equivalent of saying “take all my money.” My husband and I both work full-time and I literally cry an ugly, ugly cry, every time our daycare bill is paid. It hurts, not just a little, but a lot. That being said, I know it is so worth it in the long run, even though the damage to our bank account will never be undone. The amount of activities my children get to do, friends they make, and skills they learn, are worth every penny. But, it is a lot of money, and adding a third child into daycare is not something we can take lightly.
In addition to daycare costs, there are others. For one, we’d need a bigger car. Three kids across one row would provide many challenges, not only logistical, as there is literally not enough space for three car seats in our current vehicle, but also the likelihood of my children killing each other would go up exponentially.
Not only would we need a bigger car, but we would also need a bigger table anytime we went out to eat. There would no longer be the option for a cozy booth or cute four-top in our future, we would need that awkward round table in the corner that restaurants reserve for big parties. Sigh. And, most likely the wait would also be longer, as there would be fewer tables to appropriately accommodate our small circus.
Aside from the financial implications, adding a third child would also immediately make us outnumbered. No more man on man defense for our family, we would strictly be dedicated to playing zone, and everyone knows how that turns out. Right now, when my husband is home, we can divide and conquer, and that makes life so much more manageable. But, my husband is a firefighter and works 24 hour shifts. Anyone who has a partner who works shift work knows that you are often all by yourself.
On these days, my number one goal is survival. Making sure the kids are fed, clean, happy, and not killing each other over who gets to play with the green ball first, is my goal. I am succeeding most of the time right now, but if the scenario evolves to be three against one, instead of two against one, the odds are definitely not in my favor.
My fear is that Pat will come home to me being held hostage, my life boiled down to feeding my kids a bazillion snacks, because they refuse to eat meals, while they watch Masha and Bear on repeat on the couch. Dear lord, help me.
The days can be long and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some days when I cry more than my children do, because I feel like I am completely failing at this motherhood thing. I do everything in my power to stay calm, speak positively, feed them real food (organic even sometimes), give baths, play games, read stories, and not yell when I lose my patience, but there are days when I absolutely lose my cool and go to bed feeling guilty and sad all at the same time. There are days when I plop them in front of the TV with Happy Meals and sit at the counter sipping a glass of wine hoping to calm my already frayed nerves just to survive until bedtime.
So, the questions remain. Can I survive a third child? Probably. Will I be able to love a third child as much as I already love my two baby beasts? Yes, absolutely. Can I picture my life with just two children? Yep. Can I picture my life with three? Definitely.
So how do I make that choice? Some people say they just knew they were done having more kids. I can’t say that I’ve had that feeling, so does that mean I’m not ready to call it quits?