Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How many kids?

I read an article today about having a single child household by choice. Apparently, every child you have adds 120 hours of housework yearly.

I had a second child because of the unselfish reason that I think siblings are important, and the selfish reason that I wanted to experience those early childhood years a second time. I don't want a third for the totally selfish reason that it would just be too much work for me. I long for a time when I can sleep as late as I want on weekends.

What are your reasons for having one or more than one child?

12 comments:

  1. Initially wanted two, but when it took 5-6 years to get pregnant with the first such that I was 39 years old when she was born - came to the realization that a second was very very unlikely to happen without interventions that I didn't want (had significant complications from prior fertility treatments including heterotopic pregnancy/ruptured ectopic). So, we're happy with our one daughter - occasionally regret that there won't be a second, but on the other hand I'm not sure in my 40's that I could go through that first year with a new baby again.

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  2. Well, by nature the question is anecdotal, so here's my anecdote: I am an only and longed for a sibling- or many- for a couple of reasons. I was often lonely at home and wished for playmates, but more significantly, I sometimes felt smothered by my parents, especially my mother. Her focus was so much on ME that I didn't get a chance to do things on my own, to fail and succeed on my own, without her constant presence. Yes, I had great friends, some of whom I am still close to today, but it is NOT the same as having familiy members who share a lifetime of childhood memories. Now, as my parents age, wish that I had someone with whom to share the emotional, if not physical, demands of caring for them. I adore my parents and find it a privilege to help them care for themselves, but I can only do so much as one person. It would be nice for THEM to have additional people who would spend time with them.
    /
    My husband and I were blessed with fertility, so we went with it- 5 kids now in my late 30's and that's likely to be it for us for biological reasons. I want my kids to have others to share their life experiences with and I enjoy the crazy chaos of a full house. Having a big family forces the kids to take responsibility for parts of running the household in a way that I never needed to, and I think that's a great thing. I call rubbish on the "extra 120 hours of housework a year". As they get older (my oldest is 14 now), the kids learn that they have to take on some of that responsibility themselves. I can't remember the last time I've cleaned a bathroom, for instance(that job is shared by my two eldest)! The only things I really miss are the late mornings sleeping in - but even there, the older kids will often take the baby when he wakes up, feed him breakfast and play with him for an hour or two so my husband and I can catch a few more winks.

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  3. Originally, I wanted four children. My husband wanted two.

    Factors outside of our control mean it is highly unlikely we will ever have more than two (biological) children.

    Part of why we wanted more than one was so our son would have the experience of a sibling. He has autism so in addition to the fact that we just plain wanted another child, we thought having a sibling would be good for him. He'd have far more interaction with a peer that way. We did not have a second child just because of him, but it was a factor in timing. We wanted them relatively close in age, though we ended up with them being nearly four years apart.

    Turns out, we were right. Having a sibling has been an amazing thing for him. He adores his sister and she has been a huge factor in encouraging his success and independence. They are each others' best friends and while they do bicker and fight, they always have the other's back.

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  4. I have one and have realized one is really what I was cut out for. Once upon a time I thought I wanted two but having one has actually made me realize that I don't have the patience for more. Some women are naturals at balancing motherhood with all the other myriad responsibilities many women have. I'm not ashamed to say that I am not one of those women. And I think it's important that I realize and accept that about myself. In order to be a good effective mother you must be happy. I would not be happy as I would be too stressed out an anxious. Additnally I had a difficult painful pregnancy that has resulted in chronic illness that leaves me unable to be as active and proactive as I'deenvisioned. The pain and fatigue leave me miserable and barely able to handle my responsibilities. Quite frankly I have no desire to put myself through that again. Just the thought of feeling worse than I feel now with the added responsibility of a second child gives me chills. Yes sometimes I feel apprehensive about not giving my daughter a sibling (people are very vocal about their opinions of how I'm denying my daughter a sibling but none of them will be there to help me when I'm on the floor in agony from pain while having to care for two children...and they certainly won't be there to support my family financially if a second pregnancy makes my chronic illness worse and I am forces to stop working). I am so tired of defending my decision...my very personal decision about MY health and family. In the end I'd rather be a good mom to one rather than a mediocre mom to two.

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    1. Really, people need to learn to mind their damn business about personal things like family sizing. And I love this "Some women are naturals at balancing motherhood with all the other myriad responsibilities many women have. I'm not ashamed to say that I am not one of those women." We originally wanted 3...after 2 pregnancies that were uncomplicated but nonetheless physically and emotionally draining, 2 colicky babies, and 2 super-"spirited" kids...we are done. I don't know if its 120 hours of more work, but its definitely 120% more exhausting. People say "oh going from 1 to 2 is the hardest, going from 2 to 3 is cake"---well I don't really want to find out if that is wrong.

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    2. I second Ana on this. people should really stop generously worrying about others family sizing. SoJez I commend you on coming to peace with what works best for you. I originally wanted to have two kids less than two years apart but now after having one and with things not going as I intended them to I'm waiting. I really don't even know if I can handle another one but I dont want my daughter to be an only child and seriously in some ways I feel my daughter will be better off with our attention divided (especially the husband's).For now I'm still figuring how to handle one. I am an IMG trying to get my USMLE done and only when I get into residency I'll probably have another one.
      I think raising a child includes many factors and for me one of the most important one is being confidant as a mother for which I have to be a self sufficient person. at the moment which I am not.

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  5. We wanted three. We both came from families of 3 kids and it seemed doable. Now I sit in adoration of my parents and take back every bad thing I said about how they raised us. We have a 4 year old and twin baby boys and we are BEAT! Our 4 year old was the light of our world and whole universe and we wanted to give him a sibling; now I feel he never has our attention like he needs. Pregnancy is really hard, the older you get and there is no way we are "going for a fourth" or "going for a girl." By the way, we have a ton of help - they go to daycare, hubby takes care of the house and handles most of the night feedings, and we are still utterly and completely exhausted.

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  6. Only 120 hours? That's only 20min a day... As a new mother, I find that hard to believe! :-)

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  7. For me two is enough. I love the idea of a big family, but realize I don't like a lot of chaos. And I like quiet. And I am freaked out by how much it is going to cost to educate the two that I have.

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    1. Exactly. I always thought i would want a big family, and then I realized that I am a total introvert and really cannot stand even the noise my 2 boys are constantly making.

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  8. I love this thread. I wanted four my husband wanted "as many" as we could handle. We have a four year old and 8 month old. As other's mentioned our oldest was the light of our life. She was perfect in every way. I feel like I've ruined her. I'm so mean, grumpy, impatient and un-caring. I'm in love with my baby, annoyed with my 4 year old and my husband is always gone. I nurse full time and take care of everything. Every time I think of a third I throw up in my own mouth and a migraine takes over my entire existence. I love babies and I love well behaved kids BUT creating THAT is damn hard. I wish I could spend more quality time with my 4 yr old. I wish I could love and kiss on my baby as much as I want and still have a decently smelling house that is safe. But I can't. We might consider a third after residency but that's not for a while. Nobody sleeps through the night here. I don't like chaos. I came from a family of 2. I wish we had one more. But my parents would have been wise to stop at 1. They really screwed up with my sibling. And people need to mind their own business giving advice on family size.

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  9. We have 3 boys (6y, 4y and 20 months) and I love everything about it.

    After having had two I really did not feel I was 'done' - I just felt I wanted to be pregnant again, wanted to snuggle a newborn again, wanted to see first steps again, did not mind doing the hard yards again...

    Two was neat, we could be organised, we could contain chaos, there was not so much noise, we could (usually) keep them both happy. Three is messy, noisy, there is usually (at least) one running wild, but it is also rich, life affirming and it fills me with immense joy when I see my team of three boys sharing a wonderful childhood.

    I often get asked in I am 'going to try for a girl'. The answer is no - I now feel 'done', I do not envy, in any way, pregnant women and new mothers, I don't have to have a girl to feel fulfilled and I feel so blessed and contented with what I already have.

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