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Midweek Musings: How Do You Know When Your Family’s “Complete”?

It’s mid-week pals – how are you doing?  The concept of a new feature, Midweek Musings, has been stewing for a while now.  I even started it on the DL way back here but then got distracted and have yet to officially launch it.

That’s partly because I’ve noticed a tendency in myself to be really excited about a new series for MPMK right up until the time I introduce it. Then I promptly lose all interest in the topic and the thought of coming up with fresh ideas for it on a regular basis feels like pure drudgery (see evidence of series started and never returned to here).

This one, though, WILL be different.  It’s another part of my 2013 goal to increase the conversation (on that note: thanks so much for taking the time to answer our new questions of the day and to comment on posts – I’m so grateful when you all share).

Think of Midweek Musings as a virtual conversation between friends – the types of talks you have with your best buds over coffee or during a play date.  We’ll cover parenting, for sure, but other stuff too – marriage, friendship, self-care, guilty pleasure… your basic girl talk (although dads are always welcome in the conversation!).

To begin, as a sort of act of faith, I wanted to dive in with a very personal topic: How do you know when your family’s “complete”?  

When it comes to family planning, to date I have been a very private, if not down-right sneaky, individual – not really letting any friends or family in on the fact that we were trying until the trying was done.  But recently something strange came over me.

I don’t know what happened. I looked at my two littles, who are only 20 months apart and for all intents and purposes BFFs, and thought, “Holy sh*t! If we’re going to have a third we need to act SOON for him/her to have any chance of penetrating S and C’s inner circle.”

And ever since then I can’t seem to shut myself up about it.  These days I’m wrangling every mom I see into a conversation about if/how they knew their family is complete.  Because I don’t.  I have neither a clear conviction that there’s another soul out there waiting to join our clan nor a firm belief that we’ve hit capacity.  What I do have, is a persistent and loudly ticking clock in my head rudely reminding me that I need to make a decision – and soon.

There are so many factors that go into a choice as big as this one (do they get any more life-altering?).  Oddly enough, one of the biggest factors for me could be used as an argument both for and against another baby.  I don’t have a lot of extended family, you see, and our kids don’t really have cousins (nor the prospect of cousins that will be close in age). A big item in the pro third kid column is simply adding to S and C’s family.

Let’s face it, parents don’t have a lot of control over how close their children are as adults.  And, despite my best efforts, there’s the chance that my children may not be close due to a whole host of factors ranging from personality to geography. Adding another sibling into the mix ups the odds that each child might have at least one sibling they see as a bona fide support system – something I REALLY want for them in their adult lives.

On the other hand, as I said, S and C are very close in age and really are a tight-knit duo.  I worry that even now the age difference between a new baby and each of them (at least 5 years for C and 3 1/2 for S) might be too big to overcome.  When I take the kids out now to parks, indoor play spaces, etc. they always have a blast because they have a built-in buddy.  But baby #3 wouldn’t have that.  When he or she is a toddler, C will be in school and S will be in preschool several days a week.

And there are a few more minor things to consider – Can I have three small children in the house and maintain my sanity? Will they all fit in our house?  Can we afford to feed, clothe, and educate them all??

So that’s me – Miss Gray Area.  What about you…

Question of the Day

Do you know how many children you’ll have?  What factors have gone into your decision making?

P.S. I threw up a quick social survey on the topic here – take a second and weigh in, should i have 2 kids or 3? (disclaimer: results are not binding).

P.P.S. In case you’re wondering about the lack of opinion from my husband in this post – he certainly has one.  But as I slowly dip my toe into the pool and begin to open up a little more here, my goal is to divulge only what’s mine to share.  That is to say, I’m going to do my best to include my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences but to keep my husband and children out of it.  I believe, especially in the case of my children, that my family should have ownership over those things and should not expect that they be broadcast on the web by me.

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