For any parent of a toddler, a new acquaintance will eventually pop the question. And when they hear your answer, they will have often have an opinion AND will have no problem sharing it, especially if your answer is the same as mine. They may start with leading questions and statements like “are they sleeping through the night” (I wish), “does your little one like babies” (yes, but mostly because it’s easier to steal their toys), or “do you miss the baby phase” (it was easier to go out to eat, but I only slept like 4 hours a night, so no).
If you don’t bite, they up the ante with “what a sweet girl, she’d make a great big sister”, “I’m so glad I have a sibling”, “It’s good to have kids close in age so they can be playmates” and then……”ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT ANOTHER SOON?”
Then I have to say it, “No, we’re thinking only one”, and wait for the onslaught of judgements. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised and they say something like “good for you”, “I only have one too”, “she’ll have such a great life with all her parents’ attention” or “how responsible”. But most of the time it’s this: “You have to give her a sibling” (um..no I don’t), “you make beautiful children”, (thank you and so do others), “you can afford it”, (and you can afford to buy me a convertible), or “you have lots of extra space in the house”, (how is that a good reason to have a kid).
They will then recite all the reasons why I should have another: you’re selfish, you’ll regret it, she’ll resent you, when you die she’ll be alone, she’ll be spoiled rotten, she’ll be socially awkward….. yada yada yada. I feel like saying back, “so you have three kids, do you think that’s responsible?” But I don’t, I just either bite my tongue or share one or all of the following reasons. For those that have more than one, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have had those kids, I’m saying your choice is as valid as mine.
I don’t want another baby because….
- I like to sleep. I need 8+ hours on a regular basis and I’m just starting to get that again now. I don’t want to go back to the days of feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck every freaking day.
- I feel like my body is mine again. I can run and jump without peeing my pants, sit on a regular bike seat, wear cute, sexy, normal bras, have sex without using half a jar of coconut oil, do a sit up without worrying about my abs splitting open again, and have a couple of drinks without pumping and dumping.
- I need alone time. With another kid, there will be even less of a chance of that. And less alone time, means less sanity! See my last post.
- I like having money to spend on things I enjoy. Kids are expensive and having two would mean less vacations, less dinners out, less new clothes. Worrying about money on top of raising a kid is not something I want if I can avoid it.
- I value my relationship and alone time with my husband. Having even one kid can strain a relationship and having two would strain it even more. We love each other very much and I know we’d be ok in the end if it happened, but with just one, we can still steal a few moments or two for just us.
With all that said, we haven’t closed the door completely. Although my husband does joke that he’s already had a vasectomy and just hasn’t told me. I’m on birth control and we’re very careful, but we haven’t made a permanent fix yet. So of course there is a chance I could get pregnant again. Would I be upset? Yes, I probably would, but I know we’d manage, I know I’d love them, and I do think my daughter would make a good sibling. In the end I wouldn’t be devastated, but I’m not interested in getting myself into the situation to find out.
So even though you want to know, or maybe think you are making small talk – DON’T ask me if I want another kid. And for sure, don’t tell me I have to.
PS – To my friends who’ve chosen not to have kids at all, that’s ok too.