I get asked all the time how I know that my husband and I are done having kids and the honest truth is that the answer is complicated and also super easy. Before my husband and I had our first child we knew how many kids we wanted. We dreamed about having a boy first and then a girl and then a boy and then a girl and then adopt. We thought we knew how many kids we wanted based on zero parenting experiences which makes a lot of sense, obviously. Our family size was perfect in our minds because, well, we somehow knew our capacity for taking care of small humans without actually having much experience beyond babysitting. It’s easy to throw out the number of how many kids you want when you’ve never actually experienced one sleepless night with a baby that is crying around the clock and can’t be consoled because of acid reflux.
Oh the joys of planning your perfect family when you’ve not a clue what you’re talking about. Here’s my biggest tip for trying to figure out how many kids you should have or when you should stop having kids, take the pressure off of you and your significant other and take it one child at a time. It’s good to talk about how many kids you want, but don’t have it written in stone. Life changes and if its written in stone and you aren’t flexible, someones going to be ticked off and your relationship might suffer.
In my mind I saw my husband and I as a four kid and maybe more kind of family. But, then my pregnancies were really difficult, I suffered a few miscarriages, my kids were and are really active, plus, our lifestyle changed dramatically. I thought I would want to be a full time stay at home mom and turns out I like to run my own business(es).
I always tell people to take it one child at a time and then assess your family as you go instead of waiting for that magical moment when you just “know” your done having kids. Waiting for the feeling of a complete family for me would have ended in ten kids. My kids are adorable and I like the Kendra/Ezra concoctions my husband and I have had so far and my emeotions are like “why stop the cuteness”? I have never felt that sense of a complete family and because of that, my husband and I are a little more practical.
You might find as you go that you want less or more kids than you planned. You might find that you need more time between kids than you originally thought you would. You could have surprise pregnancies. And you might have kids that come into your family in ways other than pregnancy. This might sound boring, but honestly these are the practical things we looked at in our own lives after each kid when deciding on how many children we wanted. Truthfully, I am 100% sure my ovaries and womb will always ache and maybe your’s will as well; in that case, you gotta look at the facts.
What Our Finances Are Like
Honestly, finances definitely played a role in how many kids we wanted but it wasn’t the end all because we know that finances can change. Like, we knew that we weren’t financially stable when we had our oldest, but we also knew that we could adjust our budgets and what we spent money on to afford diapers etc. We also knew that we had tangible goals to make more money in the future for if we decided to have more kids.
With that said, we also had to look at things like affording childcare since we both work. Would our current financial state afford another child with the money we make now or does someone need to stay home with kids? It’s hard to look at finances and be realisitic, but you absolutely should.
What’s Our Lifestyle Like
Figuring out your lifestyle is a big deal when trying to also figure out how many kids you want or when to stop having kids. Depending on your financial situation, having less kids obviously allows you to do more while having more kids is more expensive and slows down your pace of life. Every child you add to the equation effects your family lifestyle and the lifestyle of whatever children you already have. Do you both work? Can you afford childcare for another child? Will one of you stay home to take care of the kids? So, I think it’s an important thing to ask and think about while still being flexible with your family dreams because life changes and you change along with it.
What’s Our Temperaments Like
Lets get real here, some people are more equipped to handle more children than others. Some people are like the Duggars and can handle 19 kids. I think that’s insanity. Some people get stressed out easily and the thought of having one feels overwhelming. Neither is wrong, it’s just what you can mentally handle. Right now, I know that I can’t handle more than three unless we choose to space out the fourth making the older kids a little more self sufficient.
So, assess what you and your husband can handle temperament wise and be honest with yourself. Maybe you thought you would have three kids but have found that the first two did you in and that you will you loose your actual mind adding another. Hear me on this, that’s ok.
In the end, If you can’t figure it out how many kids to have and it’s a constant point of frustration and arguments, go talk to a professional. I know it might sound silly, but this is your life and there are so many emotions that come into play when deciding how many kids to have. Trust me, I know. More than anything, my husband I have found that what’s most important is to have open communication, not shut each-other down, and choose to make the choice together as a team because, don’t forget that’s what you are.