I don't know why, but everytime I have a baby, I spend the first week obsessing about whether or not that is my last baby. I've found some funny emails with my first one swearing to my mom that daycare was too expensive and we'd be sticking with one child. But here we are with two girls, 5 and 3. And voila, I thought I would be happy with 2 and now I'm pregnant.
I found that when I tried to google 'one child vs 2' or '2 vs 3 children' there was not much out there. Even looking on forums, I felt dissatisfied with the content I was reading. I also found it to be so biased it didn't really help me.
So for your own reading pleasure, having not yet birthed the 3rd one, (I will update later) I am here to help convince you that either 'you need to stop making babies and be happy with what you have' OR 'there's never enough babies, go ahead, have that other baby.' Not because I am more experienced than any other person who has had more than one child but just because.
For those of you looking to add to your one child situation:
Having one child is so nice. I have a friend who travels to amazing locations on the regular, has a clean house, and seems to live a really chill and relaxing life...with one child... There are so many benefits to having one child. Here are a few:
- your stretch marks and messed up breasts have a fighting chance of recovering from any damage done to them
- You can afford a private college education or parochial school for your child.
- you can still be selfish and yet still provide for your child what they need
- you can still have your personal trainer, get massages and facials, and probably can get them for your child too
- you can travel
- you have a built in best friend
- babysitting is affordable
- having more siblings doesn't mean that they will be close or play together. It's all a toss up if having more will provide the companionship and closeness that you hope it will.
Do you have any comments to add? I'll add it to the list!
The Cons of having just one child are that;
- the child can be needy, requiring your constant attention and interaction
- they can possibly be spoiled because they're your only one
- they will not have a sibling to lean on in troubled times
- if you love babies, just having one flies by so quickly, having more let's you savor motherhood
- I've noticed that many only children friends spring for more kids when it's their time to have kids, maybe because they felt a little lonely?
But having read the above, why do so many people go and have another kid? The biggest reason it seems is so that your first child has a playmate. It seems odd that the 2nd one serves no other purpose than to be some accompaniment for the older one but such is the order of birth. The second one is never quite as critical as the first one and yet their presence both alleviates and adds to to complexity of the parenting game. Though it seems like a silly reason to have another, I have noticed that as children get to the age of 6 or 7, they do crave the friendship that a sibling would bring. That's around the time that moms could go back to work and mom and dad get a chance to return to normalcy and you can go back to talking like you did before you had kids... Maybe kids then miss having the younger tone of a sibling and feel like they are stuck in an adult world.
Being actually in this situation of currently having 2 kids, here are my pros now that I've been in the 1 child and 2 child category.
- you forgot how cute babies and toddlers are and now you get to relive the experience but with an entirely new person and babies are cute
- you get to get some mileage out of your maternity clothes and baby gear, making it feel less of a waste of money
- your firstborn has a playmate and someone to fight with over everything, yet someone to share childhood with and someone to teach
- babies make you feel younger on the inside
- you get to redo anything you missed with the first like 3d ultrasounds, getting the newborn hand print, shaving their head, trying something new like cloth diapers or sign language...what else am I missing?
- if they're the same gender you don't have to buy anything new
- It still looks cute to go to the store with 2 kids and you get a lot of empathy and kindness from others
- the bond between siblings can be really strong
- they are entertaining when they create inside jokes and come up with funny things that only you and your children understand
- missing anything? sound off in comments
Cons with 2 kids:
- you postpone getting back to work or getting to be at home without the kids
- 2 kids will fight with one another
- you have to be fair and buy 2 of everything
- traveling just got more expensive
- grandparents now have to split gifts 2 ways
- your kids will go to community college first
- it's hard to put away money for retirement and 2 kids' education
- your body has less chance of bouncing back
- you might need to get a station wagon or minivan or an SUV
- you might need to pay for 2 daycares which then makes you working at all questionable
- it's one thing to have one child in daycare but with 2 you really start to feel rotten about entrusting them to others' care
- the morning routine is pretty nuts
- putting two children into 2 car seats and removing them every time you need to stop at a store or other location can make you want to have everything delivered
- playdates are difficult bc not all friends want the tag-along sibling
- possibly doing two simulaneous drop offs at two schools for a really long time
- feeding 2 children at meals is challenging
- the second one doesn't get as much attention as the first sometimes and you don't curate their childhood as much as you did with the first.
Here is where I'm not an expert yet so all of this is conjecture. I'll update when I have real data available. When I read others blogs about this they usually said that 3 kids was really hard and nothing about it was good except that they "wouldn't have it any other way." #rollseyes
It makes you wonder, really: why do people have 3 or even more kids when you already have that playmate? Here are some speculations on why people have 3 children
- biological clock is going nuts, all reason is out the window, and your body decided to bust one more baby out
- though the families of 4 at restaurants look so peaceful and content, somehow you get the sense that you're not "done" yet and 5 family members just seems right
- though most moms with 3 seem like they aren't really living in the moment, you think you might be the exception and win at this parenting thing
- in the case that two hate each other, you have another in the wings to mend relations
- a bit dark, but some parents worry that if one passes before you do, that would leave you with one lonely successor
- you just love babies and your baby gear still has a lot of life left
- I have 50 cloth diapers, what would I do with all of them?
- I already have a minivan, what's one more child?
- the first two children were spread out and so your 2nd still needs a play companion
- you had two of the same gender and this is your chance to try for a boy or a girl
- 3rd was an accident (this I don't get - like a statistical anomaly type of accident?)
- the 'what-if' of going for 3 would be forever settled
- once you can't have children anymore, you might wonder or regret not having another
Here are some reasons not to have a 3rd child
- everything previously said about 2 children
- now you really need to upgrade your sedan
- i have a minivan but now my 3rd row is shot
- odd numbers are not good
- hotels are meant for 4 people max, someone has to sleep on the floor
- the age old 'you're outnumbered' reasoning
- why have too much of a good thing? kids are great but 2 and you still have some sanity left
- managing school work and activities is impossible with 3 children, something's got to give
- whereas with 1 or 2 kids you could manage on your own, if hubs isn't fully onboard, you have a huge burden on your shoulders
- 3 college educations to pay for
- middle child syndrome
- one child will be left out
- kids are expensive, enough said
- getting 3 children in and out of a car is a huge pain
- traveling and paying for 5 airfares means you're probably a roadtripping family now
- 3 children may forever wreck your body and there is no way it will recover without either the best genes in the world or surgery
- you can get back to your career or other things you want to do in life now that your 2 kids are getting older, a 3rd would reset the clock on that indefinitely
- you're not that amazing, why do you need to have another clone out there in the world, isn't 2 enough?
- forget working, with the costs of 3 daycares, it doesn't pencil for you to work anymore and raising and caring for 3 kids and all of their activities is definitely a full-time job
- no one is willing to babysit 3 children at a time, so the days of dropping them off at a friends' house are officially gone if you have 3.
- world population is rising, stop having babies!
- shopping with 3 kids is a disaster
- with 3 kids, parents will need to divide and conquer - traveling separately, traveling alone, leaving kids at home with grandparents, etc. It is a challenge to go through every day tasks with so many kids in tow
Well, these are all the reasonings I can muster for or against having a 3rd. I'm sure I will have new insights later on.
I feel like I should end this on a positive note. I think the third part of this post is developing and I would be lying if I didn't say I'm excited for our 3rd. But for me personally, the decision to have children and more than 1 or 2 came down to being willing to utterly abandon the reservations I had about what I would like to preserve for myself in life. Now that I'm in full-on mom mode, I feel like the 3rd will extend this time of life for our family and also I will lose some independence I've gained in the past 18 months. But I'm still excited for it and also braced for the inconveniences that come along with it. I don't know if one day I would say 'I wouldn't have it any other way' but I guess for now it's no longer theoretical at this point and this is life and what's happening right now! What was your process in your decision to have children?
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