If you know me well, you know that I love babies. I’ve always dreamed of having a big family. In high school I thought six kids would be the pinnacle of the perfect (not-so-little) family. By the end of college (read: after several years working as a nanny), I’d
wised up revised my number to four babies.
Of course, this was long before I was married. Once Brad and I got hitched, there was another person with a say in how many babies I had. Brad toyed with the idea of two or three and on rare occasion agreed that four kids might be fun.
After being married for three years, Brad and I were ready to start a family. While I was pregnant with Vivi and oh-so-sick in the first trimester, I decided that I could definitely be talked down to three babies, maybe even two.
I had fleeting moments of doubt and jubilation during the first few months of being a new mom. Some days I thought to myself: I’m ready to do this all over again – bring on baby number two! Other days I thought: I’m. never. doing. this. again!
In the last few months we have settled into our new normal as a family. Honestly it’s hard to imagine life without Vivi. On the flip side I’m also finding it hard to imagine life with more than just her. I’ve given serious consideration to being a only child family – crazy, right? (Well, crazy for this baby-crazy lady!)
Don’t get me wrong, I still love babies, and Brad and I are nowhere near to making a final decision. I’m just flat-out surprised to find that my perspective has shifted in such a big way that I’m even entertaining the possibility.
There are a lot of factors, and in some ways, I worry that my reasons might be considered selfish. Vivi has changed our lives in the best possible way; I love being a stay-at-home mom, and I love seeing Brad as a father. I also love… traveling, eating out at foodie restaurants, working in the marketing industry, and being a dual-income family. To fulfill my stay-at-home mom dream, I gave up on – or at least put on hold – some of those “loves”. I have absolutely no regrets, but I do find myself thinking how many of those things could be part of my life again in a few years once Vivian is older. Life will never be as it was B.V. (Before Vivian) – and I wouldn’t want it to be – but if we add other little ones to our family in a few years, there’s that element of “starting over again”.
I get that having a child – of any age – isn’t a piece of cake; every stage brings with it a new set of challenges. Though I’m sure it’ll never be easy, I imagine that traveling with a four-year-old, for example, is preferable to traveling with a baby. I have no doubts that leaving an older child with a babysitter is easier than leaving your breastfeeding baby with someone else.
If Vivian is the only little Ray, I’ll be a stay-at-home mom for 5 or 6 more years. If there are more babies, we could be a single-income family for 10 years or more! Again, these are absolutely our own choices – choices that we are happy with – but I can’t help but wonder. Would being a one-child family be the best of both worlds?
On the other hand, would Vivi miss out on special relationships without a sibling? Heaven knows that not all sibling relationships are great ones – it’s a toss-up either way. I’m very happy that I have a little sister and brother, and Brad loves his sisters, but not everyone does.
Something interesting: a few weeks back I posted a question about “only children” on Facebook and got some opinionated statements, mostly expressing that only children were often selfish, socially awkward, or lonely people. I think the topic in general is intriguing (you know I love analyzing intrapersonal behavior). My opinion is that just about any child – “only” or one of multiple children – can be selfish, socially awkward, or lonely; I think good parenting as well as providing plenty of social interaction with other (non-related) children is key to raising well-adjusted kiddos.
Luckily, there’s plenty of time for this big – and very personal – decision. For now, we are 100% happy with Vivian and looking forward to spending a few years as a family of three. I imagine in a year or two, we’ll start discussing in earnest whether we will expand our family or not.
So, have you ever experienced a surprising shift in perspective about something, whether it be child-related or otherwise?