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How To Make SURE You Have The Perfect Number of Kids

I think she has reached her max.

She looks like maybe she has reached her max.

The answer is really so simple. Are you ready? The ONLY way to make sure you’ve had the perfect number of kids for your family is…

HINDSIGHT.
 
Some of you are mad at me right now for oversimplifying the solution to this quandary. Please, hang with me through the whole article and let me explain myself. Listen, I’m like you. I toiled – TOILED – over this decision after the birth of our second daughter. My husband was done, but I just wasn’t sure. And, honestly, I felt a little panicky: pressed between a rock (my husband’s certainty) and a hard place (understanding my fickle feelings). 
 
What if we never have another and I always regret it? But what if we DO have another and it’s too overwhelming for me or wrecks the family dynamic?
 
I prayed and prayed for direction. And then I listened. Finally I heard. “Live contentedly with what you already have.” I realized that there is no magic number. There is no “missing my destiny” or screwing up what was supposed to be my perfect family. One day I’ll be past my child-bearing years and will look back on my life and know it was right, rich, and full. Everyone who was supposed to be a part of it, was. Your 1 or 7 or 4 kids were just right. Hindsight.
 
It’s the same mentality I use with knowing I married the “right” man. He’s The One because I married him. Even on the days when either or both of us think, “Uh, The One for me for sure wouldn’t have hogged the last serving of Rocky Road.” We both committed to each other for life and that’s how I know with total confidence that he’s the right guy. Not destiny. Not stars aligning. Just living in the moment with joy, perseverance, hard work and, well, hindsight.
 
If you clicked on this article, you were probably looking for some very practical pointers to help you decide. You’re in luck. If you’re wrestling with the question “To add or not to add?” when it comes to the children in your family, maybe you’ll find some direction from the following list of…
 

Not-So-Good Reasons To Have Another Kid

1. Competition – I’m going to start with this one because, although it’s maybe the most absurd motivator to reproduce, it totally works on me. When one of my best friends called to tell me she was pregnant with her third, I immediately knew I needed another. Maybe to prove I could do it, too. Keeping up with the Jones’. Not wanting to feel “less” of a mother with my mere two children (HA!). Whatever it was that stirred my competitive nature, it was not a good reason to have another kid. Little did I know at the time, I was three weeks pregnant with our third. So that’s how that story ends.  

2. Trends – Maybe you feel like everyone has 3 kids so you should, too. Or maybe you feel like everyone has 3 kids so that’s absolutely the number you DON’T want to have. Don’t let group-think family plan for you. 

3. Someone Told You To – Thankfully, this isn’t a big influencer for us, but I’ve heard stories about families and in-laws really putting some serious pressure on couples to keep having babies. In the end, Grandma isn’t raising those babies. You are. Whatever you feel like your limit is, embrace it and feel no shame! We know you are working your tail off at motherhood whether you have 1 or 8!
 
4. Following Your Heart – That’s right. I’m saying following your heart is NOT a good reason to add to your family. I know tons of people who followed their hearts straight into self-destruction. Affairs, debt, addiction…yikes, things just got serious. I’m a big advocate of using your head way more than you use your heart. The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can understand it? “Follow your heart” comes in other quippy sayings like “trust your gut” or “chase your dreams”.
 
One caveat to this family of cliches is what we call “motherly instinct” which I believe in doing. If you really break that down, instinct is more head-led (based on observation and you knowing your child more intimately than anyone else does) than heart-based (which are almost always feelings-guided). I know this sucks some of the romance out of it, but consider the most basic, logistical things when you’re contemplating such a monumental decision: how you divide your time, room & board, finances, health (physical, mental and emotional). Bottom line: if you’re in a situation at home where you’re already feeling overwhelmed, don’t get so wrapped up in the nostalgia of remembering the newborn smell that you forget having another child is a big commitment and responsibility with, of course, very long-term ramifications. 
 
If you retain one thing here: Be content and happy with who you have. Maybe you’ll have more, maybe you won’t. But when you are fully satisfied with and grateful for who you’re holding in your arms and tucking in at night, you’ll spend much less time worrying about the numbers. There will come a time to grieve the end of this era of having little ones – it’s not easy to finally part with all the baby clothes and gear. Do take some time to be sad. But don’t second-guess yourself. I’m willing to bet that 65-year-old-you will look back on her life – her children and grandchildren – and say, “Yes, this has been just right. My life was rich and full with the ones I have.”

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