**Let me start this post off by saying how much I truly love and adore my kids. I really, really do. And secondly, this post is not a judgmental one by any means, I'm just simply stating why this decision is right for our family. In fact, I envy those that feel in their hearts that they want a house full of children. So please don't think I'm knocking anyone for the decisions they make as far as family size goes! And I should note that we are beyond blessed to have been able to conceive naturally and quickly and carried to term two times. I will never, ever take that for granted and am thankful that we even get to make a decision in this matter.**
Brian and I are done having kids. There I said it. So for those of you that were wondering if there was going to be another little Ross announcement coming up, this is it. We made this decision a long time ago actually, when we were pregnant with Miss Layla...and to be honest even before then. To fully explain why let me give you a little background information....
I'm an only child. I'm the oldest, the youngest, the only, and I don't know anything different. I didn't really have any cousins my age growing up and I found it more fun to hang out with adults rather than other kids when I was young. I wasn't around babies too much and I never really babysat when I got older; I was never a "kid" person. So to say I really didn't have a lot of experience with kids is an understatement. I was pretty sure that I wanted to have kids (at least more than 1), and I really wanted to have a boy and then a girl (lucky me that I actually got that!). I was always that person saying, "My children will never act like that in public, my kids will never be like that!" Ha, yeah karma hits you in the funniest ways sometimes. Honestly I had no clue what I was getting into when I had children!
Brian, on the other hand had two siblings, a younger brother and a younger sister. He was around kids a ton growing up and has always been so good with them. He knew that he wanted to have kids and it didn't really matter the number, he just wanted to be a dad.
When we were engaged and talking about families we joke that we compromised on having 2 kids since I'm an only child and he's from a family of 3 children.
We got pregnant with Brady, had him, and our world kind of got turned upside down for awhile as we learned how to be parents. Then we got pregnant with Layla, I had gestational diabetes and just a rough pregnancy in general, and I said goodbye to pregnancy forever! Our children have certainly blessed our lives but it has made me realize a ton of stuff about myself as a person and as a parent.
1. I like to be in control and kids certainly shake that up. I was so used to making my own schedule, doing what I wanted when I wanted, go where I wanted to go, and sleeping in and that's not the case anymore. It was a huge shift for me, especially the newborn stage of being up at all hours of the day and night. And the tantrums...holy moly.
2. Parenting stresses me out. I want to do this right so badly and it stresses me out. I over-think my decisions and worry about how what I'm doing now is going to effect them in the future. I worry about how others perceive my parenting and my children's behaviors. I worry about my children when I'm not around them. And the list goes on...basically, being a parent has made me an anxiety ball of emotions!
3. This lifestyle is hard and I don't want to do this to any more kids. I honestly can't even imagine what it's like to be a military child (I hesitate to use the word brat so commonly used, so I'll just use child!). Both of my parents were always there for everything; sports games, recitals, birthdays, everything. And seeing the look on my kids faces when they said goodbye to Daddy, heart wrenching. They didn't pick this life and it's hard because you hurt so much for them when they're hurting. And being a single parent while Brian is gone is no walk in the park either. It's hard being the sole caregiver 24/7 without family nearby and I don't really wish that on anyone!
4. I need my alone time. I love spending time with my kids. And I love that one on one time I get with them. I remember when I first had Layla and I found myself spread so thin. How do I possibly give Brady everything he needs while giving Layla everything she needs? And then how do I make sure I get some time in there for me? I know you adjust with the additional kids you have but right now I can't imagine it. And I'm an introvert, I so badly need that alone time to rejuvenate myself and sometimes that time is hard to find.
5. Keeping different personalities and different ages happy is exhausting. My kids are complete opposites and I find that one thing that works well with one of them does not work well with the other. I tell Brian all the time that it's hard work keeping two little people happy everyday. I'll be honest in saying that 2, especially 2.5 was a hard, hard age in this house. I'm not looking forward to doing it again but I know that this time is the last time. And teething, oh so not fun. Layla just has 8 more teeth (including the 2 year molars and then we're done, yipee!!).
6. I want to travel and give them as much of myself as I can. *This is where I tread very lightly because I really do not want to offend anyone.* The other day we were at Orange Leaf (a frozen yogurt place) and there was a family of 5 kids and 2 parents. Their bill was over $50(!!) for frozen yogurt. It made me realize that outings like this were probably a special treat because unless they were really well off, that adds up quick! And I know that if you plan accordingly even with, say, 5 kids (or more!), you can do lots of things with them. I'll be honest, Brian and I are not super good at planning with our money. I want to be able to jump in the car and not think twice about going to the zoo or out for dinner with my family. It's important to me to be able to travel with them and show them as much as I possibly can. And I want to be able to be at all of their sporting events, volunteer at their schools, and be at every little important event to them.
So for these reasons, and probably many more, is why we're only having 2 children. When we had Layla we just knew, she absolutely completed our family. I can't imagine my life without my sweet, funny, spirited little Brady and my sweet, precious little Layla. And I know that truly only God knows what is right for our lives so if we were blessed with another child, we would absolutely love him or her and our life would be full.
So that's our story. What's yours?..How did or how are you deciding on how many children you have?