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To go for #4 or not?

(8 Posts)
ricepolo Mon 26-Sep-16 09:14:03

I know this has been done to death but I'd value some opinions.

Have 3 DC: 6, 3.5 and 1 (2 at Christmas). We're considering #4. It needs to happen in the next year or so for a number of reasons: desired gap between children, my age (am not old but not getting younger!) and my work situation.

I work p/t in my dream industry on a very flexible basis (from home, fit in the hours when I want, other than some fixed meetings for which I get notice). They can't afford me f/t so the plan is to keep p/t for a few more years to build up my cv and then look for a f/t role (by this point we'll likely have moved somewhere else with DH's job where there are more openings). The upshot being that the next few years are the right time to have another baby-after that I plan on working f/t and climbing the greasy pole...

DC1&2 are in full time school and (school) nursery. DC3 is in nursery 3 days/wk for me to work and she loves it so no qualms about having her there. We can afford another financially.

DH's chief concern is the first few years and the 'black hole' of new babies. We're just getting more sleep and slightly more calm in the house! I'm not worried about that: in my view it's short term pain for long term gain. I'd be the one most affected (I EBF) but obviously he'd also feel it so I don't want to diminish his fear in this respect.

I want a child rather than a baby (cute as they are), so am confident I'm not 'addicted' to babies and will keep wanting another newborn. Am obviously slightly anxious about something going wrong but I don't want to decide out of fear (I have no medical issues or history which wd increase my risk of something nasty happening). We've never tried for longer than a weekend to get pregnant (!) so am confident it'd happen pretty quickly.

Guess my question is, what are your thoughts? How do we decide if it's the right thing to do? We've asked ourselves lots of questions and keep going round in circles. There does feel like a gap, like there's a vacancy, but maybe there always will. Maybe I just want to climb the mountain because it's there... I'd be thrilled if I found out tomorrow I was pregnant but that's partly because I wouldn't have needed to make the decision ;)

Thoughts?

Needmorechocolate Tue 27-Sep-16 12:39:41

It sounds like you've decided and you would regret not doing it. Perhaps you just need to talk through it with your DH a bit more to look at how the early years will work in practice for you both. If after that he is fully on board and you both really want another child and have been through all the pros and cons, can afford it etc then go for it.

The only thing I would say is that I've found going back to work really hard after my 4th. I was ok with the other 3 but number 4 seems to have tipped the balance and I am struggling! This might not happen for you but you need to be realistic about what is possible and be careful how much pressure you put on yourself.

ricepolo Tue 27-Sep-16 13:05:18

Thanks for your advice: can I ask what's so hard about the work now? Is it the additional childcare to organise? Or the extra amount of other things to sort out (eg forms for school, classes, etc)?

Needmorechocolate Tue 27-Sep-16 13:54:46

It is hard to put my finger on one thing, I think I just feel like I'm spread a bit too thin this time.

I'm lucky I have a flexible job (like you I really just need to be in for meetings but can do my other work to fit in) but I find this just adds to the pressure because I feel like I should be therefore be doing everything.

Organisation is hard, I feel like my brain is full, another child is another person you have to remember things for (nursery need nappies, 5yr old has forest school, it's dress up day for 3 year old at nursery, eldest needs football kit for after school club etc etc!) and that is on top of keeping up to speed with everything you need to know to be able to do your paid job properly.

The biggest thing for me at the moment though is illness - it takes so long for a sickness bug or a cold to work its way through all the kids that it means extra time off work. I then feel guilty and try to make up the work time in the evenings but this just adds to the pressure.

I'm probably being a bit negative because i'm in the middle of the kids taking it in turns to be ill (and it is bad timing after just about managing to juggle kids and work during the summer holidays!)

Buttwing Tue 27-Sep-16 21:11:52

I have four 11,5,3 and almost 2. It's ridiculously hard work, I would say do it if you cannot possibly imagine your life without four. I found the jump from 3-4 huge but I had a 13 month ago between the last two. I don't work and I do feel like my whole life is dedicated to caring for them and organising everything they need. At the moment two are at school and two are at part time nursery and every week my diary is full of stuff they need/places they need to be and trying to find time to do homework/reading etc is hard. When they all get to school it's going to get worse. They are supposed read for half and hour each night it would take me an hour and a half just to do that!! That's before homework/swimming/jujitsu....

In the plus side I adore them!!! I just went into it without thinking it through properly!

barefootbird Wed 28-Sep-16 16:37:02

We have 4 under 10, youngest is 2. Before we had DC4 I was considering all sorts of work options or running a business. 4 seems to have tipped me into another level of busy, I'm not sure why. Now I'm looking for a job that will get me out of the house and also one that I can forget about as soon as the clock strikes for me to go home. Having climbed the greasy pole before I had DC's I cannot imagine doing it again now...that said I am 'old' and DH works incredibly long hours! I am putting off going back to work until DC4 has hardened up a bit to the nursery and school bugs that they all seem to come down with when they first start!

From a non work point of view I love having 4, the older 3 adore him and having done it 3 times before DH and I are both a bit more relaxed about everything. We used to have that one space missing at the dining room table feeling, 4 was obviously our number.

ricepolo Wed 28-Sep-16 20:46:19

Gosh thank you all for your honesty. It sounds like the jump to four is more intense than I thought it would be. I found 1-2 very hard (although we were living abroad so zero family support) but 2-3 wasn't as bad. I know exactly what you all mean about the never ending admin side of the children: I'm very organised and efficient at all that, but it still often feels like it'd all spiral out of control if I took my eye off the ball for even a minute..

Your comments about work have shaken me a bit. I'm on a bit of a go slow at work at the minute for many reasons (both because of the children and the situation at my company) but I definitely do want to make a go of my career once they're older: putting in the effort now is my attempt to stay in the game rather than stepping aside entirely and then trying to get back in. Quite sobering to hear how challenging this might be.

littlepeas Fri 30-Sep-16 11:27:04

We thought very seriously about a 4th, but I am now glad we stopped at 3 (I do still get the odd pang, but it is a fairly superficial cute baby pang). Mine are all at school now and it is really full on tbh - they have wildly different interests, so extracurricular is all over the place, 3 lots of homework, 3 lots of reading, 3 lots of spellings, 2 lots of music practice (will be 3 if youngest fancies it).........My eldest is in year 3 now, so has a different sports day/harvest festival/advent service to the younger 2. Keeping on top of everything is overwhelming at times and I don't work - whenever I think about going back it ends up feeling impossible!! I found the pre-school stage much easier - we were so free!! All of the above said, I do enjoy having 3dc, I just think a 4th may have tipped the balance and I would probably be very very stressed right now!

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