Should You Have Two or Three Kids? 12 Reasons Two Was Best for Us

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two or three kids

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.

Date kids

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.

Alone time

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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39 thoughts on “Should You Have Two or Three Kids? 12 Reasons Two Was Best for Us”

  1. I can really relate to all of your points. I have 2 now (1 of each) and I would love to have many more, but my husband wants to stop. We both go back and forth all the time though and a lot of your reasons are things we think of. However, I just don’t feel that our family is complete yet. I don’t want to look back when I’m too old to have any more and regret not going for a bigger family. Even this summer while I’m chasing around my toddlers by a pool to shove food in their mouth, watching their every move so they don’t drown, while my Pina colada melts, and I can’t even hold a 2 minute conversation with my friends, I think, I can’t wait until I’m out of these baby years. But will I miss it when it’s over? That I don’t know!

    • It’s a really tough decision to make, and my husband was similar to yours, he was ready to be done before I was. I can totally to your story, my life is absolute chaos right now but someday I’ll look back fondly as these years and wish I could go back. Thanks for reading!

  2. I just wanted to say… as a fellow blogger I have always planned to write on this topic but you pretty much summed up EVERY feeling I’ve ever had on the topic so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel haha … and just share instead! Great post! Very relatable.

      • I went for the third. Two boys and we were blessed with our daughter. Wouldn’t do it any differently. The more the merrier. You find the time and love for all. No middle child syndrome. I ensure I spend time with each one individually. They now are 21, 19 1/2 and 16. All work and do well in school. They are fun, get along and keep me young!

        • Thank you for sharing! How was your experience with 3 Kids when they were younger?
          I have 2 now, one 5 year old, one 1.5yr old and cant help but want to add one more.

  3. Wow, loved this post! We are currently pregnant with our second boy. My husband and I were both only two siblings, and I always thought i’d have at least three children. For my husband we are definitely done at two, but I am still back and forth. These are some great points to consider to make sure it’s not just the idea of a certain number one like, but is actually practical and if you are willing to make the sacrifice it takes for any number you decide on. Thanks so much for sharing.

      • Amazing read…I relate to everything you’ve shared and it has just reinforced our decision to be done at two. Pregnancy and childcare particularly have been very hard for me and goibg through it a third time would be unthinkable for me.

        People forget that women also have careers to pursue and that becomes harder the more children you have. Thanks for sharing!

  4. We have 2 boys and this article is all the reasons why we are done. I snuggle my 7 month old tight because he is my last baby, but the thought of being pregnant again is just not even a consideration. Thank you for your honesty and candor.

  5. There is no greater gift you can give your child than a sibling. All of the sacrifices that are required are worth these new and wonderful souls.

  6. Hi this post is timely for me..I come from a family of four and we are two of each..I have a chronic condition that doctors recommend to not conceive,but we are blessed to have two,girl is 4 and a boy just turned 1.our boy came after diagnosis,but I keep going back and forth about ever conceiving since my pregnancy was smooth sailing.😁 to top it off am African down in Zambia and two is not a typical number of children to make a family 😁. So your article has given me confidence and contentment to go forward with just sticking to what God has give us,given my health condition.
    Thank you for the post.

    • I’m glad you found the post helpful, and I’m happy to hear that you were able to successfully overcome your health condition to have children. Best of luck with your little ones! Thanks for reading 🙂

  7. Thank you for writing this! We have two boys (7 and 9 years old). I’m a stay-at-home mom who is going to be looking for a job soon and being a SAHM has been my life for so long that I can’t believe it’s time to go back to work. I thought for years that I was done and talked my husband (who wanted to try for a third) into a vastectomy about 5 years ago. I feel horrible and selfish for doubting that decision now. Your post has made me remember all the reasons that I wanted to stop at 2 and that they all still apply though.

  8. Great read. I’m a new mom, just gave birth almost 3 months ago. And it’s hard work. And this is on top of having so much help around the house, especially my first 3 weeks. My MIL and her husband stayed with us for 3 weeks to help out. I felt like we were at a restaurant every night because they cooked fresh meals. But that’s beside the point. My husband and I always agreed that 2 is max for us if we were lucky enough to have kids. And the reason being that we don’t want to be outnumbered by our kids. At 1 child, I’m actually even on the fence about having another. More on selfish reasons though… I had an easy pregnancy compared to a lot, but I gotta say, acid reflux… I hated it. But definitely, everything you said, is exactly why my husband and I want to max out at 2. Thanks for the good read!

  9. Great article with many things to consider. I am in a bit of a different situation… I have a step-daughter (50/50 custody along with ALOT of helping out on my part) and a biological son. I always dreamed of being a mother of two, but it changes a bit when one isn’t biologically yours. My husband would be fine if we were done, but I’m not convinced. However, your points on travel expenses and extracurriculars really make me second guess having another child. I want to give our current family members the world. I feel selfish for still wanting another.

  10. I really needed this! Thank you. I hadn’t noticed that many of my reasons for going for a third really were about me, and not about what was best for my kids. That “sad feeling” of wanting to welcome a new baby will never go away because that’s what we were made to do. You’ve given me a lot to think about, and it’s just what I needed to hear. Thank you!

    • This is a really well written article. We have a 3 yr old boy and 1 yr old girl. The thought of pregnancy/new born stage/hormone shifts/postpartum body all kinda makes me think I’m done with birthing. I think that longing that they say never leaves may be to remind me that there are other children out there that need my love/home/support. I think adoption might be in our future. While these are great insights, they all seem to pale when I think of kids with no one to love them.

    • The reasons not having a third are selfish too. I want attend the courses, I want to travel, I want my body back, I want an easy life, I want to pay for them…

      • Since when can moms not have wants and wishes of their own? RECOGNIZING our needs as Parents is as important as meeting the needs of our chIldreN. You cAn’t be a good mom on an empty gas tank. If 3+ kids is what you want, then have them. But don’t shame anyone for doing what’s beSt for tHem AND their family.

        • Oh, and two kids doesn’t mean an “easy” life. I work my butt off every waking hour making sure my 2 are happy and well taken care of.

          • iM not so sure, you come across as someone who has a very easy life with your 2 kids. i dont think you know the meaning of the phrase ‘work my butt off’.

  11. I have three children and you’ve made a lot of good points in this. However, it doesn’t quite play out this way. It’s not so simple. I wanted three and my third child is a total handful and much more challenging than my older two. But I can’t express how deeply in love I am with him and am SOOOO glad I went for it! We didn’t “need” a gender, we already had one of each. We needed him. Coming from experience, I feel like the parents that *truly* want three will always have that yearning when they opt out of the third for convenience. I know personally of a few moms that I’ve watched regret not having the additional baby they always wanted even though they tried for years to convince themselves otherwise. Ultimately, I say follow your gut and your heart. If you truly want another and keep coming back to it, you probably just want another, and even numbers on a roller coaster ride and extra vacations won’t change that. Again, I am in the *truly* desiring three camp, so for me, it’s totally worth the sacrifice for the person I could never replace. Good luck to the moms that are on the fence!

  12. This is wonderful, yes to all of those thoughtful considerations! I’d also like to add (maybe I missed it) Mental health! 🙂 I always thought we’d have 4 kids (like my fam) and love the idea of having 4 kids (plus their partners) come home for holidays in 20 years! Once I was pregnant with my second I started to think maybe I might be finished already! We live away from both our families and it was pretty tough not having help close at hand to get a bit of rest here and there. Our second is almost a year now and I am still struggling with mental health (mildly, but it feels like a mountain as I haven’t faced it before) and I feel very strongly that if I were to have a third my mental health unravel exponentially and I’m just not willing to pay that price or to have my kids experience me as an extraordinarily cranky (really, angry -but not at them – is how the inside feels) mom! It is not something I expected to experience but I think it’s worth paying attention to our mental health and what supports we have access to! Every day I feel reassured that we did make the right choice (not even that I’m looking for it)! Our family feels so complete and I’m so in awe of how true it’s been that you’ll “know” when your family is complete!
    Happy Family Planning everyone!

  13. I strongly feel every couple has to determine what works best for them. My husband and I have 5 children. Our oldest is 20 and our youngest is 5. I personally couldn’t imagine having two. I am very close to all my children and I spend one on one time with them. We still take a yearly vacation to a different city trying to show them everything we can. They have all been in a sport(s) they chose and we have encouraged them to take piano, guitar, gymnastics. I make sure to attend everything I possibly can and because I have a flexible work schedule I very rarely have to miss anything. My husband and I have been fortunate enough to make a very good income through our own hard work and have taught this to our children. I have six sisters and I couldn’t imagine them not in my life. I’m so happy that my parents chose to have a large family and my children love coming from a large family too. I guess my point is that you can give everything you mentioned to all your children if you choose to have a large family too. I’m definitely not saying a large family is better than a small family or vice versa, just that there’s a lot of benefits of coming from a larger family too.

  14. Three kids is too expensive, too much mess and tOO much stress. Not to mention that the older two kids are missing out on activities and outings. EVERYONE warned us to stop at two and I really regret that we weren’t more careful about birth control after the second baby was born. If I could go back in time to our happy family of four I totally would.

  15. With all thEse decisions firmly set in place, if you accidentally became pregnant wiTh a third, would you still feel the same way? (Asking for a friend)

    • I think all children are a blessing and I don’t think I’d regret having more. But given the choice (and assuming no whoops) I’ll be stopping at 2. I know many families with 3 and they seem very happy, so it’s just a personal decision for everyone.

  16. I appReciate most of your points, but as A parent who lost her only child, i disagree with the section about the “spare.” It does mak a difference if a mother has more children to moTher if she loses a child and if a sibling Gets to keep being in that role to others if she loses a sibling. That section just seemed like maybe you haven’t had this experience or known anyone who has had this experience. The lOss of a major life role in addition to a loved one is very hard and having more Children, siblings, eTc. Does mean something during those tragedies (i wouldn’t use the term spare though).

  17. I Know This was written a while back so i hope this message finds you. We’re also STRUGGLING with thE idea of adding a third. Logically EVERYTHING says 2 is beSt, buy my heart Wants A third. My Question to yoU is if you can speak to being a siBling of a trio. Are you close with your SIBLINGS? Did you feel one person was alWays left out as a child? Was there ganging up on each other? Did/do you like having 2 otheR siblings? I know day to day having 3 kids will be tough but im more CONCERNED wiTh rElationship Dynamics. If 3 is going to compromise relationships between them i rather Have 2 but i also dont want to regret not having a third

  18. I love the point about not needing a Boy the most. I really can’t take the pretentiousness of people who have 1 of each and say that’s their reason for stopping, like families with one gender are “less than”. A kid is a kid regardless of gender, he or she are their own person.

  19. Be confident in your choice and don’t be so sensitive aBout other people’s comments. What you perceive as Too much information or too much questionIng is often well meaning and sometimes just mean. Always let it go and don’t let it stir you up.

  20. Thank you for writing this article. we only have one child so far but another on the way, both myself and my husband are one of 3 and we always talk about how much we like the idea of 3 because thats what we were a part of, but not sure if we can actually physically handle it, especially since we both have a disability. You’ve noted points I hadn’t even considered -ie. what would happen if my husband was to pass and to consider the children in my family when making the decision, not just what we want. so thank you! whilst my decision is not completely made just yet, i feel better about looking at it based on what it best for my family rather than what everyone else is doing or what might seem like a nice idea. we will probably only have two! 🙂

  21. Thank your for Laying this out. I have a 1 year old and a 4 year old, both boys and I have always dreamed of a daughter, I also love the new baby moments because they are so special and amazing, but you are totally right, I will always love that new baby time and I dont think that will change with one more. Truth is, we are really at capacity with two. My husband and I love our freedom and careers and want to have fun with our kids. Sometimes it is just hard to let go of the idea of not adding another little person into our family. Anyways, thanks for posting this, you have a lot of good points.

  22. Thank you for writing about this. I always thought i wanted three, but now that i am at a difficult second pregnancy, I have been thinking more and more about only having two children, and what the benefits of that would be. I appreciate your honesty and it has helped me while I contimplate what is best for our family (not just me and my spouse).


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