The Absolutely Definitive Answer to How Many Children You Should Have
Have you been wondering how many kids you should have?
Have you read article after article telling you you’re selfish if you have one, you’re crazy if you have more than two?
Have you been spotting endless Dear Abbys and Dear Prudences asking HOW MANY SHOULD I HAVE? and then letting the whole world weigh in?
Have you just been hopin’ and waitin’ and wishin’ that somebody would just TELL YOU WHAT TO DO?
Here’s the answer.
It’s nobody’s damn business but yours and the person with whom you’re raising the kid.
I hear you. Dilloway, you low-down dirty double-crosser. That title was nothing but click bait! Something to get you on this page! That’s no real answer! WHERE ARE MY PARENT VS NON PARENT WARS? THE LONELY ONLYS VS ONE AND DONES? All the other manufactured debates about parenting invented to get your eyeballs onto pages and to whip up froths of parenting controversy?
Okay. Let’s talk about this a bit more.
How about this?
SHOULD I EVEN HAVE A KID?
Are you a selfish person if you don’t personally experience the joys of parenthood?
There are already too many people in this world who have kids they don’t have any interest in raising. Too many who thought, “Eh, I SHOULD have a kid b/c that’s sort of the most socially acceptable thing to do” but they really don’t want one.
However, if you don’t want a kid, then you shouldn’t be joined with someone who does. And vice-versa. That’s just not fair. If your partner says, “I never want kids,” then don’t think, “Okay, I’m going to marry this person anyway,and then change him!” NONONO. Give me your best friend’s phone number, so I can tell him or her to slap you. Lovingly.
I HAVE ONE KID, SHOULD I HAVE ANOTHER?
Having had 1 kid, do people always ask you when you’re having another? And you’re considering it, just because you think you *ought* to? Do people say stuff like, “Oh, only children are always spoiled” or “so lonely” blahblahblah?
Don’t do it.
Only have two if you really want two. If you can sustain, emotionally and financially, two.
I know lots of only children who are perfectly fine.
I HAVE TWO KIDS, SHOULD I HAVE THREE?
That is a discussion not for me but for you and your partner.
After you have two kids and they’re out of diapers, do you really want to get up all over again and do all the diapering/preschool/etc AGAIN?
Are you and your partner strong enough to take on three? Do you have enough SUPPORT? Do you have enough money?
The reason we had her is because we were always feeling like there was someone missing. I’d set the table and look at seat three and wonder, do I need to set three places? No?
I HAVE THREE KIDS, SHOULD I HAVE FOUR?
Cadillac, the youngest of four, wanted four originally. “That way we can have even numbers at Disneyland,” he said. Totally legit reason for having another human being, right? Well, that got kiboshed quickly. Me+pregnancy=not pretty. I think I might honestly die if I got pregnant again. Like, literally for real. Not just metaphorically. ]
Plus, the third did us the f in, in a big way. Like, you feel all energetic and stuff with two, and you’re in a groove, and handling things, and then THREE hits, and it’s like being flattened by a boulder. I have heard the same from others. Obviously not from everyone, because I know families with four and six and eight children who seem to have it more together.
I HAVE FOUR KIDS, SHOULD I HAVE MORE?
Again, beyond my experience. Therefore, it’s up to you. You can have as many as you like, provided that you don’t hire them out for reality TV. I think that’s a pretty good clause in the unspoken parenting contract.
The bottom line is, there are pros and cons to everything. An only child might have more chances to do more stuff because he has more resources spent on him, but a kid with siblings has different experiences. No one answer is right for every single family or person on earth.
Do what’s right for you, and don’t pay any attention to anyone who tells you how many kids you “should” have.
After I had Little Girl, I ran into a woman I knew at a preschool event. She looked at my kids and shook her head and said, “Three? You’re crazy, girl.” And let me tell you, that was an incredibly helpful statement to make after, you know, I ALREADY HAD THREE KIDS.
So the final piece of advice: if you think X should have Y number of kids, please. Keep your mouth shut about it.