There's an interesting discussion happening on the CafeMom boards about the number of kids people thought they wanted growing up and the number they actually have. When we're talking about real kids and real life rather than just those just in our plans, things often change in ways we could have never expected. In my case, they changed big time.
Most of my life I didn't want kids at all. I didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a mommy; I dreamed of traveling the world and doing exciting things. Then after meeting and marrying my husband, the ache for a family came on hard and strong.
I went from wanting zero to four kids rapidly, and just assumed that's what we would get. I'm the oldest of four children, and growing up, I honestly found families with just two children to be beyond boring. I could not fathom just one sibling, and the lack of activity and chaos. Mostly I thought about the holidays, and how odd it would be with just one other sibling with whom to share it.
As we grew older and all went away to college and other cities for work, I loved nothing more than the flurry of airport runs to collect everyone, the reunions, and late night Scrabble games as we all congregated for special occasions. How dull if it was just me and one other sibling, I thought.
So when the baby bug bit me, all these thoughts came flooding forth for the vision I had for my own family. Four children it would be.
Then came infertility, and miscarriages, and secondary infertility. And all of a sudden, not only was I looking at life without a big family, I was looking at life with an only child. Then the surprise of my life came when I found myself pregnant with my daughter, and suddenly I had two. We were on our way to four after all ... until we weren't.
As lovely as her arrival was, I quickly realized, holy hell, this is hard. Strong-willed doesn't even begin to describe her, and the first three years of her life were beyond challenging as we juggled both children and jobs and life. Don't get me wrong, we were glad to be doing it, but to think of going through all of that again, two more times ... let's just say, we're not up the challenge.
And the fighting. Good lord, the fighting. With two of them, it's bad enough, but to think of putting two more in the mix ... makes me think of putting my head in the oven. I'm also a big fan of order and organization, which took a HUGE nose dive in our house when we were managing not one but two children. I shudder at the thought of it tanking even further.
I could go on, but the bottom line is that I found my limit, and it was much lower than that I dreamed of. I love my children dearly and would not trade a minute of the chaos for anything (okay maybe I'd trade a few minutes of the bickering), and I have nothing but the utmost admiration for people who do raise big families. I, however, have definitely traded in my dream of a big family for the one my younger self found so boring. And for us, it's not boring at all. It's perfect.
How many children did you dream of? How many do you have?
Image via Julie Ryan Evans