Have you ever noticed how much influence societal norms can have on the family size you have? I mean, think about it—practically everything was designed for the two-kid household. Homes most often come in the three bed, two bath variety. Cars are two rows, which means two kids in the back unless you get those super narrow car seats that cost a fortune and you squeeze everyone together. Rides at Disneyland are built for even numbers, and even sweepstakes are set up for the typical family of four. Bonus points if you have one of each gender.
Heck, even the darn emoji families on your phone don’t have an option for more than two kids. What’s up with that?
So, when asking friends about how many kids they want, if someone dares to say three, everyone will look at them like they are the Duggars or something. Why on earth would you want to complicate your life like that? Don’t you know that middle children get the shaft in life? And of course, kids are EXPENSIVE. Money doesn’t grow on trees you know.
I do know. Especially in Southern California where basic living expenses are about as high as our August temperatures. So of course I don’t want three kids. I mean, I have the perfect combo: a boy and a girl with the perfect spacing of three years between them. This was meticulously planned out and achieved and I am completely content with my family size.
Until my husband told me that a third child “wasn’t off the table.”
Those were his exact words when my daughter was six months old. Um, excuse me? What the heck does that even mean?! This coming from the man who needed to be convinced for a year to even have my daughter. The man who thinks that being an only child is the greatest thing ever. He throws this emotional wrench into things while I’m still freaking hormonal. Not cool bro. I asked him to clarify.
He said that he doesn’t want another…right now. Um, ok…. But he said that he might be open to the idea in the future, but definitely not right now. This is a very mixed message if I ever heard one. And when he said this, I told him he was writing checks that my uterus couldn’t cash. I was DONE. Take out my uterus cuz I won’t need it anymore kind of done. And then he says this to me.
And now I can’t get it out of my head.
There is absolutely nothing logical about procreating again. Daycare for two kids is as much as many people’s rent, so three would be astronomical. The college fund that existed for the first one has stretched to include the second one, and three will mean that one of y’all better be really smart or really athletic (though with our genes, don’t count on athleticism…). Three means you need a special car (three rows for sure), a bigger house (unless you bunk a couple in together), and probably nothing fancy again, ever. Sorry airline travel, you just became $1000+ to go anywhere, and that ain’t happening. And it means not eating out much anymore (though really, the local Macaroni Grill has become our staple and that probably won’t change).
Three means someone will always feel left out because I only have two arms.
It means that someone is the dreaded middle child (my precious baby girl). It means that there will always be not enough time in the world to give my babies. Of course we won’t be having three kids.
And yet…he planted a seed. Now I have this little voice deep down in what I can only assume is my sad, empty womb saying “but what’s one more?” Where did that come from and how can I turn it off?
I find myself thinking of baby names.
I think about my kids playing all together and about a house filled with love and noise. I think about what my hypothetical third kid might look like what my baby girl would be like as a big sister. And I think about the years after the hard years where my kids are older and are close to each other, even as grownups. I think of a full house at Thanksgiving and a bunch of little grandbabies. I think about warmth and love and that three is basically the same as two, right?
If I were to make a pros and cons list (cuz I totally did that), most of the cons are financial things or space things or other things that seem temporary, and most of the pros are warm and fuzzy feelings of love. That’s not a fair comparison. It’s like my left brain and my right brain are fighting each other. And it’s not like this is a done deal. My daughter and her needs are still nebulous right now, so who knows where we will emotionally be in a year or two. And who knows where we will be financially or psychologically be too.
So right now, I’m done. But not DONE done. We will see how this little seed grows and what the future will hold. And IF we decide on one more, I really hope Apple comes up with an emoji for that family size.