Guest What? The Cost of a Third Child

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Welcome to the second week of a new feature on my blog entitled ‘Guest What’. This gives writers of other blogs the chance to submit a post and put it up on my site. It may be that they write here about something they wouldn’t normally say or put up on their own site, or may be they would like my readers to know more about them…whatever your reason you are very welcome here 🙂

This week is the turn of the lovely Jennifer Dixon who writes over at My Mummy’s Pennies. She is dealing with the turmoil of whether or not to have another child. Something many of us can empathise with.

siblingsRecently I have been thinking about the size of our family and whether it may be time to add to it. As an only child myself, I’ve always wanted three children, it’s something my husband and I talked about quite early on in our relationship and easily agreed. We both see this as our ideal family size, for me it’s wanting my children to have something I didn’t; siblings, companionship, just company I guess. I grew up as an only child in a single parent family and I remember loneliness being an overwhelming emotion of my childhood.

For my husband it’s the same aspiration but for a different reason, he wants our children to experience what he was lucky enough to have. He was one of three boys, the middle child, and had what I always dreamed of, both an older brother to idolise, whose footsteps he could safely tread in, whose mistakes he could learn from rather than repeat, and also a younger brother, someone to teach, to look up to him and follow his path.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that I am looking through rose tinted spectacles to something that I have not known myself. Siblings fight, they are rivals, they disagree and they are not all sweetness and light, (my mother in law has many stories of visits to A&E that were the result of ‘brotherly love’) but even accepting this I still feel that having someone to grow up with would have been better than having companionship only from the contents of my bookshelf. Than imagining myself as a member of one of my favourite fictional families, desperately imaging what it would be like to be Anne from the Famous Five, with Julian and Dick as big brothers to look out for me.

So it was decided we would have three children, and we wanted them to be fairly close in age. Though as life often happens before we can dictate to it the path we want to follow, things don’t always work out as planned.

On my son’s third birthday I was seven months pregnant, soon to give birth to his baby sister. Next month my daughter will turn three. At times it only seems like yesterday when her little head popped out of the water for the first time, but it’s not, it was almost three years ago. My children have what I believe is a really good age gap. Ben was old enough to be interested in his baby sister but not be too jealous. He wanted to help look after her when she was a baby and then play with her and introduce her to the world around them as she got older. Despite the odd row they get on really well and have a really strong friendship.

I would love to say that I am expecting again, that we will be soon to introduce another member to our family, but I cannot. I can’t even say that we have been trying.

Those innocent plans and naïve dreams of our future family that we had in our early twenties have been hi-jacked by the harsh reality that is life. The truth of the matter is we just can’t afford another child at the moment. Even with a recent rise up the ladder career wise for my husband, my salary is still the main one in our house. If we could somehow find a way of dealing with the loss of my income for a period of time, it wouldn’t stop there. A third child is pivotal is so many ways, it means a bigger car to fit three car seats across, a bigger house with a third bedroom, and of course yet more childcare costs when I did return to work (that’s if it would even be worth my while doing so if we had two lots of nursery fees to pay as well as after school club costs).

So at the moment we will remain a family of four. I am really glad that my children have each other and get on so well. Maybe in the future our finances will allow us to expand our family again, but I worry that when that time comes too much time will have passed and I won’t want to go back to the baby life, to breastfeeding changing nappies, sleepless nights and weaning. What if our eldest is a teenager? Would I want to be dealing with adolescence and toddlerhood at the same time? I guess I can only answer that myself when the time comes.

My Mummy’s Pennies . Also on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

My Mummy's Pennies

Next Week’s Guest What? post comes from Loubelle at More Than A Momma (you’ll need tissues!).

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10 Comments

  1. October 17, 2013 / 12:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We only have one child and though I always dreamt of having three kids, we might just stop at one! There’s no saying what the future holds, but raising kids is always hard work, and yes, it comes with a cost.

  2. Cushy Cow
    October 16, 2013 / 5:20 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I have 2 daughters ( 3 and 6 YO). I love them to bits and as many of you I always wanted to have 3 kids. Both of our families leave abroad so we have noone to help out, which is fine, but hard ,specially when someone in the house is unwell ( we’ve had lots of poorly times in our house)… So until year ago I found it really difficult to give up on the idea of having another child.After lots of thinking and tears and conversations with my husband ( who by the way doesnt want any more kids) I think I have finally came to terms with having only 2. It is hard work and not only financially challenging for us as a couple,but also emotionally draining. I think my kids are happy, and they get enough attention to keep them happy and fullfil their needs, but with another baby I think it would be really hard for me to give them enough of that attention. Or maybe I am wrong… I will probably never find out…
    I grew up as one of two girls and we shared bedroom…It was great when we were little but as we became teenagers we really needed our space. It caused lots of arguments and definately affected our relationship.We survived, of course, but I don’t know if I would like my girls to go through their teens squashed in one bedroom… probably NOT…

  3. Alexandra Mercer
    October 15, 2013 / 9:23 pm

    If you look on the bright side you have already got two children but I know exactly what you mean about wanting more. I have now got six children and still feel broody! My children have a lovely life together, they get on so well and they always have each other to play with and look out for. As for A&E trips, we’ve only had one in 15 years so it isn’t necessarily an issue for everyone.
    It’s always scary when you look at the financial side of life but remember: this is your one and only life, it’s not a practice so if three children is what you really want then go for it, everything else will fall into place, it always does.
    Good luck 🙂
    Alexandra Mercer recently posted..Baby StepsMy Profile

  4. What a really thoughtful & balanced post Jen. We also always agreed to have three but after two sensibly knew we couldn’t afford it. Yet here we find ourselves with the decision taken out of our hands & baby number 3 due very soon. We can’t ‘afford’ our 3rd baby – we havent got enough room in the house nor a big enough car but everything happens for a reason as they say and we shall manage. We might struggle but Baby will be loved.
    I hope you work things out in the best way for your family x
    Colette (“We’re going on an adventure ….”) recently posted..Yu! Healthy Fruit Snacks – Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  5. Katie @ AMotherThing
    October 15, 2013 / 2:04 pm

    Great post. My hubby and I have been contemplating a third child. Early in our relationship we agreed on three, but since my first son turned 2 only 4 days after second son was born, it has been quite a big stress on us. Not to mention that my pregnancies were not easy on me. Hubby wants to stick to two now, and while I get his reasons, I really want three. Like you, it seems ideal for all of them having playmates, etc. But financially we are stretched, and I do think we should wait another couple of years before we try again, and by then I’ll be over the age I wanted to ever have kids at. So who knows what will happen?
    Katie @ AMotherThing recently posted..Wedded BlissMy Profile

  6. October 15, 2013 / 1:04 pm

    This is certainly something I can relate to! My husband always wanted three and we’ve got them! Three in under five years. It hasn’t been easy, emotionally, physically or financially, but of course I wouldn’t be without them for the world! It is a big step up from two to three as the world isn’t really geared up for families of five. And we’ve had plenty of those trips to A&E!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted..Optician successMy Profile

  7. October 15, 2013 / 11:07 am

    Great post Jen, all I can say is that at least you’re both young enough that it could be an option to wait 5 or 8 years if you need to. I don’t think anyone can truly afford a child, unless you’re very comfortably off but, as you say, a third child will make a significant difference in terms of cars, houses etc so that needs to be considered. I think there is another baby in your future, I don’t know why, just gut instinct but,until the time comes you have two gorgeous children to enjoy xxx
    Red Rose Mummy recently posted..Slash Your Energy Bills and Save!My Profile

  8. October 15, 2013 / 10:43 am

    This is a great post, and sums up the reality a lot of people have to live with.

    I’m in the opposite situation – for us baby #3 was a complete surprise, and is due to join us just three days after his sister’s 2nd birthday (we also have a 4yo). I work two days a week, and for at least a year after I go back to work almost all my salary will go towards childcare. But then when my toddler is 4 and goes to school fees will drop down, and when they’re all at school it will drop down further.

    Hubby and I have had to make our peace with not going on holiday every year, and we don’t drive or intend to start any time soon. Fortunately having two girls first will make room sharing manageable, but nothing will be easy for those first few years.

    I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason though, and if a third child is meant to be a part of your family it will be and you’ll make it work when the time comes…
    MummyTries recently posted..Recipe: Choc Chip Cookies #letkidsbekidsMy Profile

  9. October 15, 2013 / 8:04 am

    I sympathise.

    My OH is one of three and I am one of two. When we talk about numbers we say three if we can afford it. I think not only of cars and houses but also of holidays, meals out and university support. Also when each child is lucky enough to have some one special in their lives that makes a family of five a family of eight.

    It is really sad that families have to make choices based on finances. A sad state of affairs.
    Mummy Morkus recently posted..Free Books with BooktrustMy Profile

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