I've always liked the idea of having 3 or 4 children, not 100% sure why. I have always liked the aliveness of gatherings with my extended family (loads of cousins). I have one DS who is 18 months and I have adored getting to know him so far and each new stage of his development, which makes me very keen to get to have future little people to get to know. I also (as an adult) like having a sister, even though we're not particularly close, so would like DS to have at least one sibling.
But a few things are pulling me the other way. DS was always a terrible sleeper (did really well last night, 7.30pm-4.20am before he woke - normally he still wakes a couple of times for a BF - but when an hour and a half of trying didn't get him back to sleep after that we got up) and I barely hold it together sometimes. I can't imagine how I'd meet the needs of older DC if my subsequent DC slept as badly - we're intending to home educate so wouldn't even get the break of school. I also hated pregnancy, and fear another miscarriage when I think of getting pregnant again. I also have a hobby, I don't want to out myself so will be non-specific, but it has a longterm goal that I may or may not meet in my lifetime and it has to take some delays when DC are very young.
I guess my problem is I like both lifestyles! I was my biological father's only child, and it was lovely having the devoted attention, the financial ability to go on daytrips etc. But I feel like DH and I would miss out on so much if I don't have a brood. I'm not sure life and our family would feel 'complete'.
Tell me what you love about having 3 or 4 children?
I loved the fact that my children are all so different, they are all very independent (now in teens) and they are all very sociable. I was a way better parent third and fourth time around too. Because you have loads of friends who think "one more child will be no real burden to them" you get lots of visitors and life is never, ever dull.
You get such a lot of love (to go with the funny looks from strangers). Compared with my friends, I would say me and the boys are closer by far, though that might be because we were also a single parent family for a fair stretch.
Downsides - huge expense of any holiday, house, car, day trip. Mahoosive amount of work. Children don't get as much input in homework etc (though all mine are v successful). If you separate, finding a new partner who will take on a unit like this is also a big ask!!!
I have a six year old, a three year old, a two year old and a 3 month old. My first was a terrible sleeper, and the birth was really traumatic etc, so I didn't really want to do it again... but we always wanted four so I allowed myself a bit of time afterwards then we tried for ds. He had reflux, and I had post-natal depression after having him, it was really hard going and I found the change from having one to having two quite chaotic. 2 years later we had dd2 and she was a dream, apart from not sleeping. Then in September our fourth, another girl, arrived, and we moved house three weeks later as we were fast running out of space. People always seem to want to 'borrow' our children e.g. take them out with them to e.g. cinema, or come to visit to play - as there are so many of them and at different ages and stages, so people seem to like that!! They entertain themselves so much of the time, with elaborate games involving all of them. Its like having three other friends round on a play-date.
From our point of view, I just couldn't imagine what it would have been like if we'd have stopped at two. They say you never regret the children you have got, just the ones you haven't... The dynamics are great - each child has a different relationship with each sibling, and there are so many combinations for doing things, either all together, or in smaller groups. (At Christmas though it was a bit daft to think each child would buy a present for each of their siblings and parents, 30 odd presents later that I'd basically had to choose, buy and wrap... .
Its always noisy, always busy, always bordering on chaos but dh and I wouldn't have it any other way. On a practical level the work is never done - washing, cooking, cleaning... am sure it is like that however many children you have, and I know there are far bigger families out there!! People always cite holidays, cars and houses as big obstacles. We might have to get a bigger car in the future, we've just moved house because we had a teeny three-bedroomed house and literally no space. But children can share, you can always find holiday options and the fun far outweighs the negatives that other people can always come up with. I have a friend who was outraged that I wouldn't be able to afford university places for them all... what will be will be is my attitude. We'll either be earning/saving more, or we'll have to make decisions at that time based on our circumstances. People manage.
Everyone said Christmas at our house was going to be great this year, with our final family member here - and it was. It is really great - if you let your heart decide, then you'll never regret it. If your head focuses on the work/financial aspect, you might talk yourself out of it!!
ps I hated pregnancy, hated birth, and each time I was considering doing it again posted on MN asking whether I should or not, given that I was barely holding it all together. Now I think I cope a lot better than I did with one or two children - you just get on with it, and become more efficient, better organised, and less anxious.
I have a 20yr old, a 12yr old and a 5yr old. They are all at different stages and I love the fact I can enjoy all their different stages at the same time.
Firstborn was a bad sleeper and not particularly academic, second loved her bed and is a top student, third has ASD and despite the ever changing dynamics depending who is in the house the best thing is when they are all here together (eldest lives with his GF) and the house is bouncing with noise, laughter, debate, life in general. Our kitchen is the main room of the house and its where we all usually end up gravitating to for some reason!
I didn't enjoy my pregnancies really but I enjoy having a bigger sized family. I am one of 4 myself (a year between each of us) and had siblings to support me or play with when growing up. I loved christmas growing up and this past christmas, I had all my family around the dinner table (inc DS's GF for the first time) and I had the biggest surge of happiness sitting down watching everyone having a great time.
Only you know what is right for you but I couldn't be without the noise, argument, protests and love that exists in our house because of our children.
(YY about becoming more efficiently organised without realising it the bigger your family get!)
Absolutely you become superefficient. I can do things with one hand that I never imagined I could do with two. Multitasking to the max is how I survived.
Also, oldest left home last year able to cook a Sunday dinner and have a fair crack at fixing cars, changing nappies, dressing wounds, etc - he will make some lucky lady a lovely husband and is the resource all his more pampered flatmates always turn to for practical advice!
Thank you all. Yes, that's what I want, the life and chatter and love and different wonderful children and then young people to get to know. I think I am torn head and heart somewhat, though it's not quite that simple as I can feel some 'heart' pull towards sticking at one or maybe two too.
I've noticed already DH and I are both a lot more efficient only having one than having none, so I can really see how that would carry on!
Aww that's a lovely post happynappies I'm due no4 in July and will have similar ages to yours and hoping that this little one will make our family complete. It's amazing how you adapt to things, I couldn't have imagined coping with 3 pre-schoolers when ds1 was a baby but we did it! For me the key is having a very supportive husband who believes in how important it is to share the load- not just me telling/asking him to do stuff. I'm starting to get really excited about no4 though I'm sure i'll have have a pre- baby panic come June!
We are both only children, and always know we wanted at least 2. Not because we had crap childhoods (well I didn't it was ace, less good for DS) but partly because our 3 will have no aunts or uncles, cousins etc and other extended family.
We have 3, and would have had more if we hadn't got started so late (and been collectively crap at money management).
The best things are the love, friendship and companionship they have with each other. There is always someone to play with. More chatter. More ideas and perspectives.
DH is also pleased with how having more children affects the cost per use of the pram, cot and other stuff. Ironically.