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