Sunday, 27 April 2014

Guest Post // How Many Is Enough?


In this world of dual-income families with 1.86 children, I am treated a little strangely by most people for even considering ‘more’ children. I think it would be OK if I lived in America. In the States, I would be considered normal – particularly if I already had 4 sets of multiples and was homeschooling them (now that, I would NOT want to do).

The truth is I do already have three children aged 5, 3 and 4 months. With such a little baby – my husband and family think I must be hormonally deluded to consider wanting more but deep down I always wanted 4. Actually, I can vividly remember writing down the names for my EIGHT children that I thought I’d have when I was about 14. Thankfully, I’ve since realised having EIGHT would be crazy and have moved away from the names Odette and Poppy-Lou. I do, however love to watch any programmes about large familes and admire in awe…… 16 Kids and Counting, The Duggars, John and Kate, The Waltons (as in the sextuplets or both programmes actually!) – I love them all.

Now, given I’ve lowered my estimations – I think my request for 4 is totally reasonable. My husband doesn’t agree. Why on earth would I want more? More Noise, More Mess, More Laundry, More Stress…………………

I think the truth is I just can’t fathom that the ‘baby making’ part of my life is over, I always wanted a family surrounded by chaos and noise and wanted them to have lots of brothers and sisters to play with. However, also in my dreams was a very large garden for them to meander about in and climb treehouses and make dens and a perfectly tidy house and a lovely large dining table. Our garden and dining table and house would be a squeeze with 4 children *sigh*.

I think I will regret not having just one more but nobody seriously regrets having children – do they? I once met a lady who had two and constantly talked about how she wanted three. She was bitter and saddened and I don’t want to be that lady.

It’s not that my life with three children is a peaceful haven of calm. Last night, I had to throw away one of my children’s Easter eggs because they wouldn’t go to bed and If I’m being honest, it’s a constant struggle to be the kind of mum my kids deserve. Most days, I’m making a ton of mistakes. But when life with little ones feels too crazy, I am trying to perfect the epiphany moment. The moment when I remember that these fussy toddlers and high maintenance babies will become real people, with real jobs and their own families and that makes their little ‘quirks’ (such as refusing to put their shoes on the right feet……..) seem easier to manage. Right now my kids are 5,3 and 4 months and if I had another one any time soon, that would be 4 under 6. However, when they are 10,7 and 5 – things will be different and when they are 25, 23 and 20 – even more so. I prefer to think of the gains later than the stress I’m knee deep in now.

So what is the right number of children to have? If you have just one child, people consider that a little odd. They worry that the child will turn out to be an over-confident-around-adults-kind-of-wierdo who does not know how to share with others. If you have two, you’re ordinary and possibly have managed to perfect the work-life-child-centered-adult-time balance. But then people expect you to be perfect all the time. With 3 kids, you’re still considered normal but you have more stress

and no one feels sorry for you. But if you have FOUR children, then you have a free pass for everything!

If your house is messy – don’t worry, you have 4 kids! (and if it’s clean – even better because people then think you are a domestic goddess!) Your clothes don’t match, your roots are showing, you’re a little on the tubby side – don’t worry! Who expects you to have any time to look after yourself when you have 4 little ones?

So, I’ve been thinking. How do you know when you’re done having kids? Do you just wake up one morning and realise the urge to procreate is gone? Or is it a slow, steady trickle of daily realisations? Here is my compilation of the inklings that let you know you’re done with all this baby-making lark.

1. You become super excited by selling all your baby stuff on EBay and watch avidly for the money to come rolling in.

2. You buy a dog and call it that ‘perfect baby name’ you’d been saving.

3. You are excited by the prospect of your kids growing up and becoming more self-sufficient. You’ve even written a bucket list for the ‘child-free’ days.

4. You’re literally throwing the car seats out of the car and dreaming of a sports car.

5. When someone announces they’re pregnant at work, you offer your commiserations.

6. You use 3 forms of birth control…..just to be safe.

7. You practically push your youngest child into school on their first day: “yes, you’ll love it…you really will” and skip down the road without looking back.

8. You can hold a newborn and easily pass it back to its mother when offered a glass of wine.

9. You ask to be re-seated when you’re placed next to a family with toddlers in a restaurant.

10. In the supermarket, you look on with sympathy at the sleep-deprived parents in the nappy aisle.

And as for me? Unfortunately for my husband, I can’t identify with any of these just yet. I’m toying between feeling that we have too much chaos in our lives and wanting to add a little more. As one mum said to me “Don’t plan how many children you want based on the nappies and the sleepless nights. Think instead, about how full you want the Thanksgiving table.”

Today's Guest Post was written by Jemma, what a great post and a very new blogger so be sure to check her out and say hello - you can view her blog here, Twitter here and BlogLovin here. If you would like to write a post for us, please contact via twitter or email thank you :)


  1. Great blog! Great points! Just found you via Twitter. I have 6 kids and blog about them at Six Little Hearts in Australia. For me, I finally knew when I was finished having kids the moment I conceived number six - I knew just like that! Just like it happens to other normal people who feel it at two kids! My advice: have another. If you feel that's your number, you will always ache until you fulfil the

  2. Sorry got cut off! You must fill the desire I feel (though ultimately it's your decision)! ;) New follower! Are you on Facebook? My page is Six Little Hearts, message me there and I will follow back!


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