Should you have another child… or not?
For a long time, my husband and I wrestled with the idea of whether or not we wanted a fourth child. We had our three kids two years apart, so our hands were full. To top things off, my 14-year-old niece came to live with us. Life was quite a blur for a few years.
When the youngest kid was approaching kindergarten, we knew we had to make a decision one way or another. Yet, we couldn’t seem to make any progress on a solid decision. We kept putting off the decision until the decision kind of made itself appear: we finally reached a point where we were so comfortable with our family size and our routines–and we didn’t want to change anything.
The kids are now 22, 20, and 18 and I’m really thankful that the three of them get along so well and enjoy each other’s company.
Do we have any regrets?
Not really. Every now and then, we wonder what life would have been like had we added one more kiddo to our trio. When I see other families with four kids, I stop and think for a minute–that could have been us. Yet, we’ve been a family with three kids for so long that it just seems like we were meant to be that. The longer I waited, the more my heart told me I was content with our three kids and happy about the life we had with them.
So, if you’re wrestling with the decision to have another child or not, here are some things to ask yourself:
Do I/we have the finances to support, feed, and clothe another child?
For a child born in 2013, the average cost to raise that child to the age of 18 is $245, 340. Dollars. 245 thousand smackaroos. The Department of Agriculture translates that to $304, 480 when adjusted for inflation. Of course, you can adjust that figure down a lot if you breastfeed, use hand-me-downs, share a bed, shower once a week, grow your own food, and homeschool. Daycare is a huge expense–there’s a big savings if you work from home or have a non-paid caregiver/parent at home.
Do I/we have the space to house another child?
The kid doesn’t have to have his/her own bedroom, but they’ll need a bed or hammock to sleep in. Unless of course, you plan to have them sleep on the floor…
Do I/we have the time to devote to another child?
This is a tough one. There’s only so much time in a day to devote per child. When my three kids were in three different sports, we had to juggle the logistics to try and be at each kid’s practice or games. Two parents in three directions at the same time–impossible to do it all. Adding a fourth to the mix would have definitely challenged us beyond impossible. Something to consider: if you work full-time at a job that gives you limited time off, will you have the time needed when another child becomes ill?
Do I/we have the energy to care for another child?
Another tough one as it is impossible to predict the energy you’ll have or deplete when adding a child to the family. Consider the energy you have now and how it will stay the same or change by having another little human being in the family.
Will I/we regret if we do have another child, or not have another child?
Sometimes no matter what, we may live with some regret no matter the decisions we make. However, having said that, bottom line, after considering all the different scenarios surrounding having another child or not. look into what your heart says.
The heart never lies.