Monday, May 22, 2017

Why I'm OK With Stopping At Three

    I used to be the type of person who never wanted to have kids... Like ever...

    If you think about it; kids take up so much time, are only cute to their parents, are rude, dirty, smelly, and loud. I just didn't want kids and I know that many women feel that way.

    Then my husband- boyfriend at the time proposed to me. Babies were suddenly everywhere I looked. We were engaged at college so what were babies doing on campus? But it was true, babies started to show up everywhere. The possibility of having kids had become more real and it was something that my fiance wanted. With every baby that I saw, the baby blocking wall of my heart began to chip away, one piece at a time. I would see kids and then look at my husband and say in a creepy way, "Soon! Soooooon!!!"
    When we were married a year later, we had decided that if we were to have kids, that we would want three, preferably spaced two years apart. We each came from a family with three kids and thought that it was the perfect number. I don't know if this just happened because we were newly married and in love, but I suddenly couldn't wait to have kids and my husband was the one telling me that we had to wait. It was a complete 180 on my feelings towards kids.
    The first April Fools that we celebrated together, I told the whole Facebook world that I was pregnant as a joke. (This was before there were posts every April 1st saying to not post things like that because it wasn't a joke to other women who weren't expecting.) My family was excited, his family was excited, and the rest of our world was excited.... until they heard, "April Fools!"--- Then they were ticked off.
    The joke, however was on me. I was actually two weeks pregnant that day and hadn't known it. When we told our families for real, I had to show them my pregnancy tests... My sister Natilee had actually ridden with me to the Hope Pregnancy center to make sure that those tests were correct. It was only until she vouched for me that they all believed. (My family tends to not always take me seriously since I am 1. Sarcastic 2. A decent actress and 3. A known bad humored prankster.)
    The day that my son was born, I looked into that ugly, wrinkly face and was in love. How could she say that about her baby? Well that's easy! When babies come out of that long tunnel after being smushed in a small space for months on end, they come out with little squished faces and aren't a super flattering color. After a few hours, they lose that squished look and are perfect! It's when all of those hormones kick in that you realize that you gave birth to the most beautiful baby in the world- which I so did!
    Everyone treats you so well when you're in the hospital. Everyone is super helpful and they all tell you how wonderful you did. They tell you that you look amazing for someone who was in pain for hours and they all want to help you. As a mother, you feel incredibly loved upon. From the time that baby is born, you are a superstar.
    When you take that baby home, you are in constant amazement at this little wonder. Their first smiles (even ones from gas) just make you love your baby more.When they urp up all over you, you don't get mad at the baby, puking becomes cute. Hormones are weird. They make gross things wonderful! Our brains get muddled up and suddenly, we as parents find that our topic of conversations are about the color of our baby's poop or the humongous snot bubble that shot out of their nose and was unpoppable.
    As your baby gets older and begins to move around more and those days of, "Awww, so cute" become, "Guess what naughty thing your child did today", you start to reminisce about how little they were and you can't believe how big they've gotten. You start to foster ideas of having another baby. You and your spouse talk about it and decide, "Yeah! Let's try for another one!". So you try again. Then ideally 40 weeks after conceiving, another baby is born and your first baby becomes an older sibling.
    The pattern begins all over again. You can't believe that you can love two little humans so much. Then the younger one gets bigger and you see that someone you know has just had a little baby. You see the other baby and you might even hold that baby. Your uterus begins to ache and you realize that it might be time to start another round of baby making. 40 weeks after conceiving comes again and if you are lucky, a new baby is born. You are really becoming a pro and it seems to be easier and easier to do this family thing.

    Having babies is almost addicting. You are treated like a princess. People help you with things and you get doted upon and you feel so proud when you hear about your children's accomplishment and that amazing thing they did to help another child out. Your older children are talkative and old enough to have really philosophical conversations with you. You have little homemade friends and when you gaze upon those faces, you just know that they love you almost as much as you love them. It's an amazing feeling.

    Then it happens again. A friend has a baby. In this case, my sister gave birth to my nephew. When I heard of her pregnancy and I watched as she got rounder, those familiar feelings surfaced again. Did I want a fourth child? Three hasn't been too difficult to deal with, right? My husband and I talked about it a few times, but decided to wait. Feelings about having another child would resurface from time to time, but we waited it out.

    So why have I had a change of heart? Why am I fine with having just these three kids?

  1. My arms are finally free-   My nephew turned one in January. We went to his party and have even watched him for a night when my sister came to visit us. (We live two and a half hours away.) Whenever my sister would leave the room, my nephew would cry. The only way to get him to stop was to carry him around the house. My arm muscles weren't used to carrying a small child for that amount of time. My kids were all walking and fiercely independent.
  2. We can stop childproofing- We had finally removed all of our baby gates because our youngest knew how to drag things over to the gate to climb over them so having them up was a moot point. Having my nephew around, we had to constantly get up to stop him from crawling up the stairs. There was no just sitting down to relax.
  3. My time is starting to become my own- my youngest is almost three. He doesn't need or want me around every second of the day. He loves to play with his siblings and he's old enough now and talking more that the older two are glad to play with him. That means that I have the time to write this post. I just have to keep my mom ears on to make sure there isn't a strange silence signaling shenanigans or excessive shouting because one of them has decided that the fly swatter is a weapon. When my nephew was here or when we go to visit, we have to keep him distracted. We had to constantly watch him to make sure that he wasn't putting things in his mouth that don't belong there or that he wasn't climbing things or walking up the stairs.
  4. I am almost getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep- Oh my goodness! Mom's with kids know how amazing this is! My almost three year old is finally sleeping almost through the night. With summer almost here, it's pretty bright at 6 AM. So once the sun starts to shine, I hear those little feet walk towards my room. So I get up and I take him back to his room and I lay down with him for the hour before everyone else has to get up.
  5. I'm starting to feel human again- Most of this has to do with actually getting more sleep. I realize that I'm not stuttering as much or forgetting the end of my... sentences. Lack of sleep or exhaustion reverted me to a cave-woman. My vocabulary was mostly grunts and no amount of caffeine ever made it better. Now that things are getting more restful, I can say a sentence and most people understand what I'm saying.
  6. I am going to get 3 hours- My almost 3 year old is able to go to preschool if we want him to when August comes around. I'm going to have 3 hours alone. I'm never alone. I could decide to work part-time or I could clean the parts of the house that I've neglected over the years because it's difficult to do that with curious kids.
  7. I can save money on not having to buy a bigger vehicle- Ok, so this one doesn't have to be a reason, because I actually would like to buy another vehicle and it would be nice if it was bigger so I didn't have to hear the kids fight in the back of the smaller car. It is, however, not a necessity.
  8.  I can start to declutter the house- I have saved so many things over the years in case we had another baby. There are things that we don't need anymore. We don't need bottles or baby toys. We don't need to keep all of those old baby clothes. We don't need to store the baby swing or the crib. We can get rid of those things by donating them or selling them. It may be painful to do that at first, but we'll have more room for other things. 
    I love my little nephew, but having him around from time to time reminds me how much easier parenting has become. Whenever that baby fever begins to strike, I will just need to make a visit to see him so I can be like, "Oh yeah. This is hard" and then snap out of it.

    If my husband and I were to ever have another child again, it wouldn't be the end of the world. We would love this little child as much as it's brothers and sister and I'm sure that taking care of that child would be a piece of cake- like riding a bike, right? But for now, I'm at peace with stopping at three. Who knows? Maybe I'll feel differently in a few years. We'll keep the option open and reevaluate in a few years.

    Do any of you feel this way? What are your thoughts? Did you have a stopping point?

   

2 comments:

  1. Glad my child can be your inspiration. Lol I'm sure there are plenty of other parents out there who feel like you do. I love you. Parts of your post made me emotional. Must be the hormones from baby #2. Hehe

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lol! Which parts made you emotional? If I knew other babies, they too would remind me that 3 is ok.

    ReplyDelete

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