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How Do You Know When Your Family is Complete?

December 2, 2014

The one question people ask you in your twenties…..

“So…. are you going to get engaged soon?”

The one question people ask you in your late twenties…

“So…. are you going to have kids soon?”

The one question people ask you after you’ve had one or two kids….

“So…. are you done having kids????”

Yes! and YES! Were my confident, adamant answer to those first two questions. But the third one???

I have no freaking idea.

how do you know when your family is complete

So how do you know when your family is complete?? Some people just know. They know how many kids they’ve always wanted. If they are fortunate enough to have kids, they have them, and know when their family is complete.

But me. No clue.

Am I perfectly happy with my family of five? Yes. Could I picture one more? Well, sort of.

And to be honest with you, I have nooooo business having another child right now. I am in over my head. My children are insane and drive me insane 80 percent of the day. I haven’t exercised in a month, I haven’t seen the bottom of my laundry room floor in three months, I am scared to put my hair in a pony tail because the grays are multiplying by the day (totally my littlest one’s fault), I spend at least 37 minutes of each day on my hands and knees picking up food, I release a dramatic “Oh God” at least 3 times per hour followed by a heavy sigh, eating the crust of my kid’s peanut butter and jelly has become an acceptable lunch, and sleep……? I’m gonna call 5 consecutive hours a win. But with all of this craziness, it doesn’t mean I’m ready to send my hubby to the doc and gift him a bag of frozen peas for Christmas….

When I look ahead 20 years from now, I think to myself, “How many people do I want around my dinner table?” The answer is simple:

A lot.

Maybe its greed, or maybe its the fact  that I’m from a big family and don’t know what to do with myself when it’s too quiet. But that sign you are supposed to get when your family is complete, well, it hasn’t jumped out at me quite yet. If you ask my mom she would say everything mentioned in that list above is a sign. But she had 5 kids so her opinion is automatically disqualified.

So let me break it down for you in terms of having kids and associated levels of anxiety.

When you have your first kid:

Holy crapoly you feel like you’ve just been annihilated.

When you have your second kid:

Holy crapoly….. wait a minute, I think I actually know what I am doing! But… oh wait, where is that first child…. Oh no, panic……. Okay, yes totally annihilated, yet again.

When you have your third kid:

Ahh there we go. Can’t stop me now! I can cook dinner, change diapers, nurse a baby, and check instagram all at the same time, baby. Juggling act = accomplished. Yeah there is some “ish“, but you know now that things don’t have to look perfect to be perfect for you.

So what’s one more, right?

Some people would argue that its quality over quantity. And to that I agree. You can’t be in more than one place at one time. There are only so many hours in one day. And how many of those hours are you willing to dedicate to your kids? All valid points. But coming from a big family, I know that what you lack in individualized attention from your parents, you gain in a sibling. And by no means did I ever feel slighted by my parents. In fact, my mom had the gift of making each of us feel like an only child…. a serious feat. And there is always enough love to go around. It’s exponential, not dividable. Especially when you see them playing together, or laughing together, or, heck, even beating the crap out of each other (just shows they care enough to duke it out). Think about it, you don’t fight with someone that you aren’t close to, do you? Ok, that might be a stretch, but you get my point.

I wish I had some profound answer for you all. Maybe some of you just know when your family is complete. But maybe some of you are like me and are all wishy-washy.

It goes something like this:

Kids are playing nicely together…..“Ohh! I so want one more baby!”

Kids have thrown toys all over the house and covered the walls in blue marker…. “That’s it! No more kids!”

Kid kisses you on the cheek 10 times  in a row….. “Ohh! I so want one more baby!”

Kid throws his entire dinner on the floor… “That’s it! No more kids!!”

Kid gets off the bus, runs to you, and jumps in your arms… “Ohh!! I so want one more baby!”

Credit card bill comes in the mail…. “That’s it! No more kids!!”

You see a pregnant lady…. “Ohh! I so want one more baby!!” (baby bump envy is a real thing, people)

Kid wakes you up in the middle of the night. Every night. At 4am….. “That’s it! No more kids!”

Yeah. So I don’t really have the answer. I do know, however, that these things are trivial enough to not really be taken seriously. In other words, I would not have another child because my credit card bill didn’t makes us cringe enough (is that even a real thing??) and likewise would not NOT have another child because it did.

So while I bask in my trivial, indecisive state, I’ll leave you with this:

Yesterday when I was changing the sheets on the top bunk, I hit my head and thought to myself, “Thank GOD I’m not pregnant and doing this.”

So maybe that‘s a sign….

Or maybe it’s not.

After all, my 5 year old (excuse me, 5 and 3/4 year old) is getting old enough to change his own sheets, right?

So what do you all think? Did you know when your family was complete or are you still waiting for a sign? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

  • Lindsay
    December 2, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I know my family is complete when I find myself writing a letter TO MYSELF swearing that I will NEVER get pregnant again and have a fourth. I am in so much pain from my sciatica, plus my kids drive me nuts…and I can’t even have my wine! I need to remember how much pregnancy sucks and NEVER DO IT AGAIN.

  • Natalie
    December 2, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    such a great post! I think people KNOW when they are done. They are saying “I’m done. I don’t want anymore kids” and they don’t think twice about it. They are confident. When you are questioning like above, you want more! but it’s HARD! so you are thinking wait should I do THIS?? Three sends you over the edge (at least it did for me) but that “10 years from now” is what I picture. And it makes me feel better when you say “I know that what you lack in individualized attention from your parents, you gain in a sibling. And by no means did I ever feel slighted by my parents. ” bc that is one of my biggest concerns. I look at the people with 2 children and UNDERSTAND. I see all the attention they can give their kids. I feel like I lack in that. I need the secrets for making each kid feel like an only child. Please ask your mom to share that!

    • Sisters to Sons
      December 2, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      I know, natalie!! we are so in the same boat! I would have 6 if I could afford a few nannies :)… I don’t know how my mom did it. Maybe ill have her write a post to shed some light!

  • Courtney
    December 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I hate to say it, but our decision to stop at two was based on the cost. Daycare for two kids is crazy and I don’t know how we could possibly pay for a third. If I didn’t have to work and money was not a worry, I would have a 3,4 maybe even 5 🙂 Oh to dream!

  • Dutchy
    December 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I thought i was done after 4… although never really thought about it… had one to many
    margarita’s after paddle… oops #5…best day of my life! My team was complete!

  • Tina
    December 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    We just had our 5th and I’m still asking myself this question. Good luck 🙂

    • Sisters to Sons
      December 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      ha!! Congrats! Im one of 5… its the best!

  • Megan
    December 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    This is such a great post!! I only have one child so far and know I at least want two but I think about it all the time and question if two is the right number or if I will want more and if that is the right decision. I came from a family of 6 so I want that for my kids but I also know that things are different now with the cost of college etc. Having 3 sisters was the best gift my parents could ever give me and I want to pass that along. My clock is ticking so I’m stressing out over it! Glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what to do. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sisters to Sons
      December 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks for reading, Megan! Glad it resonated and glad Im not the only one!!

  • Marci
    December 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Fabulous post. We never had a wonderful newborn stage as my twins were born at 30 weeks. The first year was so scary and fragile. When I see how much easier things get and how much we can do with 4 year olds, like traveling and camping, I couldn’t imagine starting over. When I see people with newborns I feel relieved to not be in their shoes. That’s how I know I’m done!

  • Katie
    December 3, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I thought I wanted 3 (I’m 1 of 3), but then I had my 2nd and I thought-that’s it, we’re done. I feel I’m in over my head with work and trying to take care of my family. Not to mention the cost. If I were home and money wasn’t a factor, I might have 3…
    Then I have those moments where I feel sad about never being pregnant again and never raising another baby. That’s when my husband reminds me that I yelled in the delivery room, “We’re not having any.more.kids!” He is definitely done.
    It’s ok to not be sure right now, but I think you’ll know when you are done. Or not done 🙂

  • Lauren Giedgowd
    December 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Love this post! I’m totally in the same boat. Once I finally “got my girl” I thought I’d feel done for sure but I’m not! My husband says we are though. Who knows…if it happened, I think I’d be excited- I definitely have baby bump envy & baby fever! Sadly, my only dissuading factor is thinking about going through a 4th C-section. But then there’s always adoption… 😉

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