When did you know that your family was complete? Was it after one child? Two? After a boy and a girl? Growing up I always wanted 3 kids. Always. It wasn’t even a question and I had even told my now husband my plans when we were still dating. Even when my second was a newborn and I had a two and a half year old running around, I still wanted another. Despite the last month of my second pregnancy being completely awful, it wasn’t enough to deter me from wanting one more baby. It’s funny how we forget pain and discomfort when we’re in a euphoric state with a newborn. There is nothing that compares to meeting your baby for the first time. I absolutely adore babies and would want 20 if I could. Babies that is … not children. My yearning for wanting a third child was not to have another child, but to have another baby. We all know how fast that first year goes and for me, I would want to experience that first year 100 times if I could. Then I quickly remember that babies grow up and jump back into the realization that raising tiny humans to be good people, while keeping them safe, healthy and loved, is the hardest and most important job in the world. I often think I’m not cut out for it.
As my kids have gotten older I have quickly learned that the toddler years are no effing joke. To put it simply: my kids have no chill. They are constantly “on” and are only still when they’re sleeping. They have no fear of strangers or being away from myself and husband. At parks, they are the ones jumping off slides instead of sliding, throwing rocks instead of playing with them, and constantly trying to explore outside of the playground. I never take them both to the park by myself in fear of them getting kidnapped because they are all over the place, usually in opposite directions. When my husband and I take them places together nearly 100% of the time we say to each other at some point “What would we do if we had THREE?” Our kids have very strong personalities and we’ve quickly realized that they are, in fact, the only children we need to have. If Henry had it his way, it would still just be him.
There are people out there who kill it at the parent game and make raising three or more kids look easy. But everyone has their struggles, even when their social media looks perfect. I am no different. I spend a good chunk of my day yelling empty threats that I know I won’t go through with (because of course I’m not going to throw all the toys in the house away). Then I go to bed each night mentally drained from the day, like most mothers out there. It feels like I’m always waiting for 7pm to roll around so I can have peace and quiet and then I look at Henry, who will be 5 next month, and ask myself how these years have flown by. I can hardly give enough of myself to two children, let alone three or more. There have been many times that I said to myself and my husband “Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mother.” I realize I say this because of the difficult stage of motherhood I’m in, but also because I can’t bear for another child to get older, no matter how hard the days are. Each year that passes is a painful realization that these babies of mine are becoming children who will soon become adults. Studies show that parents are happiest when their kids are between 6 and 12. As much as I cannot wait for these ages to come, I don’t want them to come at all. I know one day I will look back and crave the toddler years. All the tantrums and back talking and wiping asses … there will come a time when I am not needed and that is a painful fact. Time is truly the thief of joy. Every cliche you hear about children is true. How fast time goes, how you blink and they’re grown up. I’m more than okay with the two amazing children I have because I couldn’t possibly bear the thought of not being able to give each of them the mother they deserve. So tell me your thoughts on parenting children. How did you know when your family was complete?
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” – Debra Ginsberg
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I love your honesty. I often think that maybe I’m not cut out for it either, usually on the particularly horrible days. I had no idea it would be so freaking hard to stay at home with tiny humans. So freaking hard.
I completely agree! Being a stay at home mom is NO joke. You are killing it though!
They are so stinkin cute. While my kids seem to be the opposite of yours (on the playground) two is enough for us! Being outnumbered wouldn’t probably send me over the edge to insanity. I love them dearly but I’m dead at the end of the day.
Yes, the whole outnumbered thing would scare me too!
Probably my favorite post you have written. Your honesty is inspiring. I always wanted just two kids. I agree with everything you wrote. You are not alone and it is hard being a mom, but you are amazing!
Aww thank you so much, Christina! You’re the sweetest AND an amazing mama too!
Jessica Wagner says
This is me!!! I have two very seeet high-maintenance kids! I would love more but I know it will pull me so thin! We are done and I’m ok with it! Everything you wrote is how I feel!!! So nice to know I am not alone, and neither are you! Xo
Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! Yes, it’s so good when you’re finally at an “ok” place with the decision!
I am way inexperienced to weigh-in here. My first born, my son is almost three months old and I have not yet experienced the toddler years. I’m having the time of my life. Though my son is two months and change, I’m getting replies from people that contain the phrases, “the next one.” and I’ve legit been asked, “when are you going to have your second child?” Two months postpartum and I’m already under immense pressure to have another. Between my husband and I, we’re happy. Content. Our family 100% feels complete. He wanted a boy and I just wanted a healthy child. I wanted to be a mother and I’ve fulfilled that. Plus, our baby is perfect. Starting sleeping through the night at one month and has consistently slept through the night since. I just can’t fathom another kid because I can’t see myself loving anyone else as much as I love my son. I don’t want to! I have two hands – one for my husband and one for my son. Seems a perfect fit for me. We are happy – our parents, siblings, and in-laws want more from us.
That has got to be tough for sure! I was an only child for 10 years and loved every moment of it. Pressure from family, friends and even complete strangers some time can be hard to shrug off. I completely understand how you’re feeling! Some of my family members didn’t even want me having a second baby!
This Messy Season says
Girl, I can offer you a “me too.” I always thought I would have 4 or 5 kids, until I met my kids. HAHA
Joleen Pete says
“As much as I cannot wait for these ages to come, I don’t want them to come at all.” TOTALLY!
<3 <3 <3 thank you for reading!
Erika ortega says
I love this Chanel. I feel this same way 100% especially the whole wanting a baby. But that first year goes way too fast and then those terrible 2’s come and another child is more than some might think. It comes with a lot responsibility, and the ones I have keep me on my toes all day long. I admire all the mamas killin it with multiple children. I can barely survive with these 3 I have. So I’m more certain now that this is all we need and will have.
You are such an amazing mom, Erika! Your kids are the sweetest ever. The terrible two’s are seriously INSANE!
I hear you! We are trying to decide on staying at 2 or going to 3. I love this post and your honesty!
I’m a one and done Momma for a whole lot of reasons, but I am so happy with our decision- even when other people think we’re crazy for only wanting one. You do you! <3
Nicole Banuelos says
I have 3 kids and the ONLY reason that is, is because my oldest is 13 years older than my middle child. There is no way that I could handle 3 toddlers. Toddlers are crazy. LOL
My brother and I are 10 years apart. My mother couldn’t handle two small kids at once either and now I see why!
I absolutely loved this post. Raising kids is a serious job, and when it comes to numbers I think to each his own. I think it’s great that you knew with certainty when you were fulfilled!
Shadia Brown says
Chanel I loved this. It is so true. Being a mom is so hard no matter how many children we have! It just seems so hard to imagine ourselves having more than two. You’re right though, it’s babies that we want. You are an amazing mother to your kids!! 🙂
Awesome awesome read. This mothering game is difficult…no matter what the number of kids chosen to have. Every phase has its struggles & joys for sure. If you didn’t have guilt, stress & exhausted motherly emotions well then you’d be perfect…and I’m not sure I would like you very much ??
A big hug to you. I feel exactly the same emotions you described. I have an almost three year old and prego with my second. Its not an easy job. And raising them to be good people is what freaks me out the most.. specially with all the openness and dangers around that were not present when i was growing up.
I was crying like a baby watching the movie “collateral beauty”.. I didnt want kids at all but i changed my mind after my father got sick and all he wanted was us (his children) around him. Not his friends nor relatives.. all he wanted was to see us.
Motherhood is hard. I miss my own space. And strive to balance. But i came to realize i cant have it all.
Thank you for your post. Its so honest and articulates many fears we have.
Thank you SO much for sharing! I have yet to see Collateral Beauty because I know I will be an emotional wreck. Motherhood is so mentally and physically draining every.single.day. I crave my own space and when I don’t get it sometimes I become agitated and not a good mom. And then of course I feel guilty acting and feeling that way because I CHOSE to become a mother, so shouldn’t I embrace that role 100%? It’s a never ending internal battle with myself. There is not a day that goes by that I fall asleep each night and think “wow, I was a good mom today.” It is always the opposite.
You have a beautiful family and I am so happy that you have found some peace and happiness where lou are in life!
Awww I loved reading this! You are such a good mom! I don’t know how many I want haha
Motherhood is so hard & it’s one of the reasons we have on our list for only having 1. Splitting my time doesn’t seem like something I can do right now
Chanel thank you for sharing this realness that so many mamas like myself can relate with. I am not sure how many kids I will have but having two has been a challenge. My first is strong willed and I think my second one is turning that way too so I don’t feel so alone now after reading this!