Should we have a third child?
The question has been pulled and pushed around my home many times since our second child was born. Within days of his arrival I felt an urge to have another baby. Yes, through the sleep deprivation and healing from labor and all that goes with adding another member to your family, I felt quite strongly that I wanted another child.
There is nothing rational about wanting a third child. The list of reasons to keep our family at four is long. We live overseas and have no family support on a day to day basis. We’re older parents. We like living smaller and without a lot of scheduled activities. Tick, tick, tick for staying at two kids.
Sharing my desire for a third child with friends has lead to many interesting conversations and even the unsolicited advice to “not bother and stop now.” It seems this is a hot topic as most of the people I know have just two children and plan to keep it that way. Even those that have a yearning for a third have told me that staying at two is the easier choice. Less time out of the work force, more resources for the two children they already have and so much more. I took it all in as people shared their very personal reasons for choosing a family size with me.
Despite all the great reasons to not have another child, I still wanted a third. So did Chris.
There are some unique things about our life here in the Isle of Man that actually make having a third child a bit easier. I don’t work outside of the home. This is mostly due to my desire to both be at home with my kids but also, to work on my writing career. It’s also due to the very limited career opportunities available to me. This is a small island. There aren’t that many employers. If I wanted to work in the area I did before having children it might take well over a year to find a job.
In January a fantastic opportunity with a great company was posted. Even though I wasn’t actively looking for work the job was such a great fit for me that I applied. I was happy to get an interview. Then I had mixed emotions about not getting the job. Glad to still have time with my kids and to work on my writing career but disappointed that this “one in a million” opportunity was not mine.
So I’m still on the work for myself career path and mostly being “home manager” for my family. Our lifestyle here in the Isle of Man works well for having children and working for myself. It’s quiet here. There aren’t too many demands on my time or tempting distractions. Rental housing is much cheaper than our native Vancouver. If we wanted to move into a bigger home to accomodate a growing family we could easily afford to. Another baby might cut my work hours for several months but it’s not a huge set back.
This dilemma and the many conversations I’ve had with my husband, family and friends about expanding our brood has again highlighted one of the biggest things I’ve learned from trying to live with less: make it simple whenever you can, so you can deal with big and complicated better.
Yes, adding to our family will complicate our lives but we’ll manage it the way we’ve manage all the other changes we’ve faced. Decide what the important things are and make the rest as easy as possible.
After all the discussions and debates we said yes. The heart wants what the heart wants and despite the costs and work, we knew we wanted to add to our family. If everything goes okay #3 will arrive in November.
I know this means a lot of things for my other two children, for me and for my spouse. Less time for each other. Less sleep. Maybe even a microwave. For sure a dryer. Two more years with a young child at home. Less time for me, for writing that novel, for finally getting a pull-up at Crossfit (was an inch off it right before getting pregnant). I’ll now have three children to put to bed on my own when my husband travels for work.
This baby will complicate our lives in a wonderful way.
So I’ll do what I can to make the rest of our life, our home, our schedule, simpler.
For another take on deciding on family size when you’re trying to live with less, read Francine Jay’s lovely piece Is One Child Enough?
Anyone else face a difficult debate about family size? I feel really lucky that I even had this choice to make. That we really can afford another child and that we were able to quickly conceive him or her. I know for a lot of families a second or third child is just not a possibility.