I was one of three and so is my husband. This made the decision between two or three kids very difficult for us. However, we decided to stop at two children.
I thought I would have three simply because that was what we both had. But when it came down to it, we realized that it wasn’t what we wanted. We took a hard look at what we wanted to gain from parenthood, the life we wanted to give our kids, and what both of us could handle as parents. For instance, I didn’t want a lot of kids if that meant I couldn’t be the parent I wanted to be.
And yes, I know (and you should to) that no matter how many kids you have, you will be happy and love every single one of them. However, I’m writing this to give you food for thought because there is a limited amount of time and money and the number of kids you have does change how you can utilize your time and money.
Please remember, I am trying to tell you why I stopped at two. I hate articles that tell you any number is great because that doesn’t help with making a decision. So, if you are trying to decide if you are done or just want someone to play the devil’s advocate for you, here are my reasons and I share them so you can contemplate and decide what is best for you and your family.
Each family has a perfect number of kids that is right for them. For us, it is two and here I share with you all the reasons why two is perfect for us. For others, it might be one or ten. To know when you have reached that number, use all of the points in this article when you are making the decision of two kids versus three.
First, do right by the child(ren) you already have
When I think about adding a little one to the family, I always make sure that I am doing right by the child I already have and not just what I want. Whenever I see articles and posts about how many kids to have, they are all from the viewpoint of what is best for the parents.
Instead, the very first question should be is it best for our family to have another. Take a moment and consider how it would affect each person already in the family and not just now but throughout the years. Consider how everyone’s health is.
Consider who your kids are and how much parenting you think they are going to need? There is such a thing as the forgotten middle child. Each child divides your time more and whether that works for your family is really based on who your kids are.
Now, my second is the most easy-going child I have ever met. Everyone always asks if she is always like that, as in happy as can be. And she is, but I feel that because of how easy of a personality she has, she could very easily become the forgotten middle child and I don’t want to do that to her.
“You need a spare”
I am so sick of people saying this. The idea is that if you (God forbid) lose a child, then your child will still have a sibling. The last time I checked, each child has a unique relationship with each of their siblings. If one did lose a sibling, the other sibling cannot in any way take their place.
I think this is even more true as kids grow up. Some siblings will be best friends for life while others will drift so far apart they might not even see each other every year. For me, I am definitely not going to have another child just in case. I would rather spend the extra time and energy I would have from not having another child on their relationship with each other.
Teaching kids to have healthy relationships is a lot of work, but a necessary lifelong skill. I then know they can go on to have more meaningful relationships throughout life. And if they do lose their sibling at some point in life, they will still have plenty of people who care about them and hopefully a family of their own one day.
One more means more money now and later
When you go from two to three kids, you have to upgrade. You usually need a new car that is big enough for your big family. You now have another child who will need childcare and preschool. You might even need to move depending on the size of your house or apartment. Even small things like your dining room table will need to be bigger.
I think most people understand that another kid means more money. But to me this is a big deal because I want to spend money throughout the years on extracurriculars. It is just a fact of life that the number of children I have will decide on just how much I can spend on their activities like dance class, summer camps and music lessons.
Additionally, I want to give my kids the best start in life and to me that also means a great financial start. Since birth, we have been putting money away for their college funds. The more kids I have, the less I can give each one. I hope to be able to help them out with college, weddings, and their first car. I want to be able to set them up to not have financial stress.
The more I can provide for them when they start life on their own, the more they can then give to their kids. They can give both time and money to their own kids because they aren’t in crippling debt. They can even decide to stay home for those first few years if they aren’t drowning in student loans. Therefore, being able to save for their future is a big deciding factor in the number of kids I want to have.
We have some friends who were able to get their mortgage for their first house through their parents, who could give them a much better rate. What a gift to be able to give your kids. Helping them get their first house and save money.
I want the time to attend everything
It is so important to me to be able to attend my kids’ events. I want to be at every dance practice, etc. I want to be involved in school functions. I want time to plan fun outings for them during the year.
The more kids I have, the less I can do this. I can’t physically be in two places. I will have to pick and choose. Therefore, by having two, I will still have to juggle but I’ll be able to bring my kids to most of their activities and also attend.
The more kids, the more complex the relationships
When you only have two, there is only the relationship between them. When you have three or more, the number of kid relationships grows. You have child one and three, child one and two, child two and three and then the relationship of them all together.
As someone on a plane told me, she had three and the biggest difference she saw was that someone is always unhappy or fighting or needing something. Keeping this in mind, I realized that I didn’t want to deal with that. I didn’t feel I could parent well, or how I wanted to, with that much chaos and stress.
I knew what lifestyle I wanted
While I didn’t know how many kids I wanted, I did know what type of lifestyle I wanted. Once I really looked at the lifestyle I wanted, I was able to know how many kids would work for us. Here are the aspects that really changed for us depending on the number of kids we would have.
Vacations with two versus three kids
I really love to travel. Additionally, all of our family is on the other coast so to just see family, we need to fly cross country. We hope to see family at least once a year and also go on vacations with our kids yearly. This means both plane flights and car rides. Traveling is expensive. Each child adds to that cost. If we have more kids, we can not travel as much.
There are a lot of books, blogs and websites about parenting. One thing I have read over and over again is how important it is to “date” your kids. Each child should have one-on-one time with each parent weekly. This allows individual relationships to develop between each parent and child. Without doing this, you can have triangle relationships develop where a child or parent can’t communicate well with each other without the other parent. It also teaches healthy relationship development so they are better prepared for relationships in their adult life.
With only two kids, it is very easy to make this happen. It becomes more difficult to prioritize this once you have more that two kids. I’m sure you can still do it but just like a lot of other things, it becomes harder.
It is pretty easy to get alone time with only two. I can easily send both kids with dad. Or they are more likely to be able to entertain themselves. The higher the number, the more times someone always needs something. The more commitments you have, etc.
I love to run and go to the gym. I love having time to do hobbies. By having two, I get to have time to myself.
Relationship with your other half
The number of kids changes how much time and energy you have for your other half. I never realized how being a mom would be so 24/7. It is so hard to find time to go out to dinner. Honestly, I even find it hard to catch up with each other at dinner or have a conversation that lasts more than a few minutes in the evening.
Now depending on your unique situation, this might not be the case for you. We don’t live near family so we can’t just drop kids off at Grandma’s to go out to dinner.
Don’t need to keep up with the Jones
Once you start having kids, everyone in your life seems to also do the same thing. All of your friends are people who also have little ones and therefore are also trying to complete their family. After everyone has their second, some will go on to have more.
Don’t feel like you have to have another just because everyone else is. You might feel like you are missing out or if they made that decision, then it is obviously a good one. The best thing for you to do is to look at your family’s needs and life and decide what is best for you.
We weren’t going to try until we had a boy
Some people try until they have one of each. This did not matter to us at all. We only have girls. I think people expect us to try for a third just because we don’t have a boy yet. I think not only does that send a horrible message to our daughters but also isn’t a good decision for our family.
Before we had our second, we talked about gender. And we both realized that after having our first, we just wanted a healthy baby. We knew we would be happy if the second was a girl or a boy. I also think there are a lot of advantages of having the same gender and very few focus on that.
Consider the unthinkable
I already touched on this a little when I said to first consider the children you already have but it is so important. Hopefully, you, your other half, and your kids are healthy. However, an important exercise to do is to think the unthinkable. God forbid, you lose your significant other or a child or your children lose both of their parents. Or even, if someone ends up very sick and in and out of hospitals for years.
First, get a will in place so you know that your kids would go to who you want them to. Second, think of how the addition of another child would affect these situations if they were to ever happen. I personally know that I would be able to handle two if I had to by myself and honestly, three on my own would really be pushing it. Additionally, if my children lost both of us, I would want them to stay together. I am not sure any family member could handle taking three more children. I do know that at least one of them could take two and still parent well.
I want my body back
Since entering “baby phase”, I feel I have given up my body. And it was definitely worth it to have kids but I am really ready to be done. The idea of being pregnant and giving birth again just doesn’t interest me. It was a well worth it sacrifice and I love breastfeeding my babies, but I haven’t worn my clothing (pre-babies) since before I was pregnant with my first. My body is constantly changing size. I am just ready to have a wardrobe again, be able to get ready in the morning and feel like myself.
For me each child is essentially a three-year commitment to since I am pregnant for one and nurse until they are two. I also have to lose all the baby weight after pregnancy.
The world is made for a family of four
This would never be my reason to stop at two but it definitely is a perk of only having two, so I put it in here. From restaurants and cars to roller coasters and planes, everything is built for a family of four. Depending on your lifestyle this could be a big advantage of only having two.
I also love how there is the same number of adults to kids in our family. We can pair up for games, etc. No one is ever the odd one out.
Your last baby
Lastly, there is nothing in the world like welcoming a baby into your arms. It is such a wonderful moment. And man there is nothing like the love you feel when holding your baby.
However, that alone isn’t a good reason to have another one. I keep thinking will I be sad that I didn’t get to have just one more baby? But I think I will always feel that way no matter how many babies I have.
Because it is such a wonderful precious moment in life, it will be sad when it’s your last. Even if you just had one, it will still be sad when you pack up all the baby clothing and say goodbye to that phase of life. And that’s okay. It does not mean you need to have another.
The more important question is do you want to bring up another child and does it fit your family? Whether you choose two or three kids (or four, or five), it has to be the best fit for your family.
Pursue your family Today
I hope that by the end of this post, you realize that for us, our perfect number was two. I gave you all the reasons we consider when choosing between two or three kids, so you could have some food for thought while you decide.
Are there advantages to more than two? Absolutely. I focus on why two is perfect because that is what worked for us.
Each family has a perfect number of kids that is right for them. For us, it is two and therefore I share with you all the reasons why two is perfect for us. For others, it might be one or ten.
To know when you have reached that number, use all of the points I brought up and consider how they apply to your family.
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