Before even having one kid, most people have an idea of the number of children they would like to have some day.
I think my ideal number was two, and I wanted to space them around two years apart, which is pretty standard I think. After having one, I never really gave thought into having another, no matter how many times people asked me, "So when is baby number two coming?" The question used to annoy me ever so slightly, after all, let me enjoy being a parent to one child before my womb is occupied and a very draining pregnancy begins again.
Now the question intimidates me more than anything, because for the first time in my life I'm feeling the desire to have another baby. I start to question myself and wonder when another baby will be on the way.
It started a few weeks ago when my boss's daughter stopped by the salon and had her newborn son with her (she also has a daughter around Natalie's age) and I was hit with the emotion know as "baby fever".
Not to sound like a psycho, but I wanted her baby. I wanted to hold him and snuggle him so much. Then I immediately wanted one of my own.
That feeling lasted a few hours, until logic set in, but it is such a powerful feeling to yearn for a baby. I'm pretty sure if my husband would have been near by (and I wasn't at work) I would have dismissed rationality and said, "Let's make a baby right now!"
There are so many good reasons we just aren't ready for another child right now (or nine months from now), but as time goes on I want one more and more. At some point I know baby mania will outweigh sensibility, but for the time being here are the reasons we haven't taken the plunge into second time parenthood:
Finances. This is very important, for clear reasons. I know families survive and live happily and comfortably with less of an income than my husband and I make, but with an additional person to take care of we would be stretching our finances pretty thin.
Freedom. I like time to myself, or on occasion with friends. (I like time with my husband too, but dates are so rare because we don't have a lot of babysitter options.) If after work I go have a drink with a co-worker or plan a girl's night out it's not a big deal. Matt can feed, bathe, and put Natalie to bed on his own. Add another kid into the mix and I think I'd feel too guilty to enjoy myself while spending time away from home knowing how much harder it is to feed two kids, bathe two kids, put two kids to bed, etc.
Child care. The reason my work schedule is so unconventional (2 days that equal 20 hours a week) is because the cost for daycare/a nanny in my area is more than I bring in on my puny hourly wage, even if I worked full time. My in laws so graciously watch Natalie one day a week and then Matt is with her on Saturdays. My in laws love spending time with her and never complain about the long hours, even if it's just one day, but we're maxed out with our weekly child care from them.
Sanity. I mean absolutely no disrespect to parent's of multiple children by adding this to the list and I'm not implying people with more than one kid are insane. Not at all. I have three siblings and we used to beat the crap out of each other and fight a lot. We always made up and I love them and am so happy to have them, especially as an adult now, but I know first hand how much children bicker and argue. That can't be fun for parents and would drive me crazy! On top of that children require all of your attention, all of the time. I can't imagine what daily life would be like trying to divide my attention between two needy people at once.
Space. When I say I have a very small house, you don't understand. It's a tiny row house with two small bedrooms and one eensy bathroom. The kitchen is so frustrating to cook in because I have no counter space/storage space (which is the reason for my culinary mishap here). Anyway, as little as babies are, they sure do take up a ton of room with all their stuff. I literally don't know where I would put any of a baby's things, let alone where the baby itself would go. With all the gifts from Natalie's birthday and Christmas, we had to turn her nursery into a toy room. Natalie has slept in our room since the day we brought her home and and in our bed since about six months. Obviously we aren't living in a box or anything, and we could make it work, but I am starting to feel cramped and like we're very quickly outgrowing our home with just three people.
Sleep. I think lack of sleep is the number one complaint new parent's have. I want to say I remember so long ago what a pain in the ass it was waking up many times a night to feed a child but I'm currently still going through that pain in the ass. Natalie still does not sleep through the night. Matt and I are to blame for this one, because we cater to her and give into her wants in the middle of the night. She's over two and still drinks from a bottle several times a night. It's ridiculous, it's pathetic, but at this point we are so deep in I don't know how to change it. If I had another baby I would try my hardest to do some form of sleep training, because I honestly regret not doing it with Natalie.
When I sit down and type out all the long, rational arguments for not making another baby it completely overshadows my impulsive eagerness for one. To be quite honest, Matt and I feel completely complete with our family of three. Another child would be great, but we don't feel it's necessary.
It makes me feel even better that Natalie has four cousins, the oldest 8 years older than her and youngest three years older, and we're in close proximity and she is emotionally close with them. She even refers to my nieces as her sisters sometimes.
Cousins can't replace siblings, I know this, but it is a good enough substitute for now.
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