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How Do You Decide When You Are Done Having Kids?

I have many readers that really don’t care about the finance part of personal finance. They just care about the personal part.

So I promised my aunt, who was visiting last weekend, that I’d try to focus on some more personal updates, for those of you that find finance to be truly boring. Or maybe you love finance, but you just want a break from finance topics since it’s the holiday season!

Will We Have More Kids?

So let’s dig into the one question that seems to be on everyone’s mind. Friends and family have been asking us if we will have another child, since it seems like right around the time that we announce another pregnancy.

And to be honest, for the first time, I’m not sure what to tell them. After each of the boys, I knew for certain, we’d have another baby. I can be totally honest, we wanted a girl, too. But now, I just don’t know.

We are in a rhythm right now; our kids are 1, 3, and 4 (almost 5). The oldest is in his last year of preschool and will head off to kindergarten next year, which will free up a lot of our time during the day.

Factors to Consider

So here are all the factors that I think about when it comes to family planning. (Ugh, that’s such a weird term and sounds so outdated.)

We’re getting a glimpse of non baby stage. When I took the boys on vacation [1] a few months ago, we got a glimpse at how easy it is to travel without a baby. You don’t have to worry about naps, lugging around 5,000 pounds of baby gear, and it was very enjoyable. The boys and I went to the slugger museum [2], and did all kinds of things that you just don’t do with a baby. It really made me look forward to all the fun things we can do as a family.

We sleep. For almost 5 years on and off, we’ve been short on sleep. And now, all three kids sleep. All. Night. Long.

I wanted a big family. Not huge, like the Duggars [3], but more like 4 or 5 kids. I came from a family with two kids and Scott is from a family of four kids; I’ve always thought that getting together with his family is so much fun since it’s so big.

My body. I’ve headed back the gym and finally am just finishing up losing all of the baby weight. It feels awesome. And after having my body be a warehouse for growing babies and nursing them for the last six years, it really is nice to feel some ownership of my body again!

Being pregnant is really scary. Six years ago, we lost our first baby girl when I was 5 months pregnant and it was devastating. That makes every subsequent pregnancy high risk and also makes me completely neurotic worrying for 9 months. Since then, we’ve been blessed with 3 healthy, happy kids. In a way, I feel like I’m gambling with science, and we should walk away with our 3 kids instead of facing another pregnancy with uncertainty.

Middle child. Everyone keeps reminding me that our 3 year old will suffer from the middle child syndrome. Really? Since I’m a first child, I am not familiar with the emotional uphill battle the middle children face. If you are a middle child, I’d love to hear what you think!

My husband is done. Minor technicality here, but Scott claims that he’s done having kids. Although, our daughter has him wrapped around her little finger, so once she passes the toddler stage, I have a feeling he might miss being her little super-hero dad and change his mind! Or maybe he’s just more realistic about the chaos in our house.

A sister. My entire life, I wanted a sister. So, I would love nothing more than for our daughter to have a sister to grow up with. But since you don’t get to pick the sex of the child, it just isn’t that easy.

Parenting. In general, I find the baby stage to be easy. (Although, I didn’t think that when we were new parents!) But I think I have the hang of it. What we’re focusing on now is teaching and coaching our kids, which I find takes a lot more work. I’m taking a love and logic [4] course right now, which I love! But I do feel like it’s going to get harder, especially since our oldest is one who likes to test the limits…. every single one. So we may need to save our energy to work on parenting instead of having more children.

Money. Obviously, I think about money. It’s expensive to raise kids [5] and send them to college [6]. It isn’t a huge factor, but I do think about it.

Parting With Baby Stuff. I can’t get rid of the baby stuff. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m just not ready to accept that they are growing up so fast, or because some day we might have another baby. And I hear too many stories of moms who send all their kids off to school, and then decide they want another baby. But they’ve gotten rid of all of their stuff.

So there you have it, all of random things I think about when it comes to deciding whether or not to have more kids. I find it to be a strange place to be in; not only because I’m a planner, but because I usually feel more definitive about most things.

For those of you who have been through it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Did you automatically know when you were done having kids? Or was it a gradual process you eventually just accepted?