Ever since our daughter was born in 2011, my husband and I have gone back and forth on the subject of whether or not we plan to ever have more children. C is an incredible child. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s loving, and she is so much more. She’s everything you could ever hope for in a daughter and I feel so lucky to be the one she calls “mommy”. When I think of all of the amazing aspects of parenthood so far, having another child seems like a great idea. Then I start to think about what life would be like if we only had one child. We could afford to give her more opportunities than we might otherwise be able to with a bigger family. We’d have more opportunity to travel, a better financial situation to provide assistance with college tuition some day (getting a PhD is expensive ;)), and the ability to provide more (in general) for her as she grows. It’s a tough decision. Just when I thought I was leaning towards being a mommy to only one, life threw a little curve ball my way.
When I was laid off in August from my job with a small marketing firm, I transitioned into a new full-time role as Co-Founder and CPO (Chief People Officer) for my family. I love being a stay at home mom but I always just assumed I’d do something part-time when C starts school in a few years. One of my best friends and I are planning to start a small business together that will allow both of us to be available for our children as they grow and I know that’s something that I can do no matter how many children we have so that does help to alleviate some of my concerns about having my own “identity” once the kids start school. Having more children, though, means that I won’t have that free time (when C and my friend’s child will be in school) for several more years. I know that sounds incredibly selfish of me, thinking about how having more children would inconvenience me, but it is something that I think about. Please don’t misunderstand me, I love being a mom more than anything else on this planet but I know that C will grow and someday have a life of her own so maintaining that sense of identity is important to me (as I feel it should be important to any mother).
In all the going back and forth and all the discussions we’d had, I was okay with the idea of C being an only child. And then it happened, last week, my husband and I were reflecting on parenthood and looking at C and he said, “I want to have another baby”. He’s said it a few times since and he’s even said things to C like, “Do you want to have a little brother?” (that’s another conversation entirely…I get concerned that if we do have another baby and it ends up being a girl there will be a level of disappointment for C if we’ve been asking her the whole time if she wants a brother instead of asking if she wants a little brother OR sister). The thought of having another baby scares me and excites me at the same time. I’ve heard that things just work out when you have subsequent children and that the love you have for one child doesn’t lessen (rather, that your heart grows and you love them both equally). While I’m sure all of that is true, part of me worries about having to divide my love, my attention, between C and another child. Is this a natural fear?
In all of the conversations my husband and I have had about the prospect of having more children, this is the first time that either of us has come out solidly one way or another. If and when we do have another child, it won’t be for another two or three more years. I would like to be out of debt and into a bigger home before we grow our family. Until then, I think it’s good to continue having conversations.
For those of you who have more than one child: How and when did you decide to have more? Were you and your spouse on the same page when it came to how many children you wanted?
For those of you who have only one: How did you decide to only have one? Do you think your opinion will ever change?