“How did you know you were done having kids?”
“I just knew.”
What kind of crap answer is that? I want to know how many children is the exact number to have in my precisely planned future family. Is that too much to nosily ask?
As the youngest of six children, I assumed I would have a large brood too. Pregnancy and childbirth would be effortless, nursing painless, discipline strategies backed up by vast amounts of research, and sleep would continue to rejuvenate.
Planning is easy for the naive.
After giving birth to three beautiful children, I am beginning to see why a trio makes my quiver full. Here are five reasons I’m done having kids:
1. It’s Impractical
Two children would be practical, but that’s not my style. I am too unstable unconventional to be practical. I like a little spontaneity, unpredictability and chaos. I thrive on the adrenaline needed to get three kids dressed, fed, groomed, shoed and out the door by quarter-to-school o’clock. Three seems to add just that spice of life.
2. I’m Organizationally Challenged
I am free-spirited enough to take on the challenge of three children, but not organized enough for four. If we added one more, I am positive my brain would completely shut down. For someone who prides herself in remembering appointments and turning in forms on time, I am horrified when the preschool teacher reminds me to check my child’s backpack for neglected permission slips I haven’t seen for two weeks. I can barely keep my head above water with three school parties (what holiday do I need to send sugar in for this time?), three school forms (where are they going and how much does it cost?), three pairs of socks (three pairs of socks!) and three personalities (extrovert, introvert and youngest).
3. Kids Aren’t Cheap
Buying in duplicate always tugs at my financial heartstrings, but there’s something about picking out lip balm in purple, blue and pink that gives my soul a settled peace. A balance. A sense of completion. A fragment sentence.
4. My Kids Have Shared Interests Because Of Their Age Span
Their age span makes it possible for them to enjoy activities together.
Bounce House? Check.
As soon as any one of them deviates from the interests of the pack, I will be forced to hire a live-in nanny. One thing I can count on is their age differences will allow them to play with personified, inanimate objects together. So there is that.
5. I Can Sleep Again
As I gushed over the new baby, tearfully thanked the doctor for helping me survive childbirth, and modestly accepted compliments about the size of my womb, postpartum depression likely slipped under the radar of my docs at the six-week checkup—three times. Another contributing factor to my overall feeling of worthlessness was from waking up in the night, all night, every night.
I knew I was done when I listened to my heart, my husband, my bank account, and the sweet sound of silence at 2 a.m. Trying to decide if we could add another sweet baby put me through approximately one year of emotional turmoil. It was constantly on my mind, until one day, I just knew.
Of course, baby announcements make me ooh and ahh and I ache as I wonder if the smell of fresh diapers and sleepy snuggles are really over, but I remind myself that as long as my children need me, they are still my babies. Just bigger, louder, messier babies. And when they are grown and no longer need me to zip their jackets, find their shoes, brush their teeth, read stories and tuck them in for the night, I will always ALWAYS be their mom.