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More Babies or More Stuff?
It’s almost here. My sweet baby B turns one this week. It’s a day that seemed just too far away to ever be a reality. I was just busy pinching chubby fat rolls, having snuggle fests, and pretending to eat tiny toes to notice how quickly the year was going by.
And now my baby is a toddler. It’s bittersweet for so many reasons. I love the baby stage. I love the tiny clothes. I love that I can snuggle or rock her to sleep. I love gummy grins. Babies are just so unbelievably awesome. On the other side, I love watching her learn new things. She’s walking and talking. It’s so much fun to watch her become a real person.
But she’s not my baby anymore. Perhaps though, the saddest part is that B might be our last baby. We haven’t definitively decided this, but we are leaning more and more in that direction. And it makes me heartachingly sad.
I’m from a family of five kids. Our house was busy, chaotic at times and always so much fun. Having a large number of siblings was like being a part of an exclusive club. We get each others’ humor, we covered for each other as kids, we laugh at the same inside jokes about our parents, we retell the story of my baby brother screaming at the car wash at least twice a year, and we can call or text anytime for help, a laugh or a babysitter. It’s so awesome. Because of this, I have always wanted to have a large family of my own. I don’t necessarily want five kids, but three has always been my minimum. That is, until modern day has hit me straight upside the head.
Having a child is just so unGodly expensive now. After you pay the several thousand bucks to the hospital and doctors for having your new bundle, there are diapers, a crib, formula (if you’re not breastfeeding), clothes, blankets, the million and one apparatuses everyone tells you that you need, and if you have to put the baby in daycare, you may just have to work to pay for that huge expense alone. The list of expenses grows quicker than the kiddo does.
Once in the toddler phase, there are swim lessons, dance lessons, preschool, doctor’s appointments, new car seats, new beds, and the clothes to replace the ones that they outgrew in just a matter of weeks. Then, once they reach school age, the costs skyrocket. My sister has three school-aged children and I choked on my lunch the day she told me how much it costs to have her oldest in football, her middle child in gymnastics and her youngest in soccer ON TOP of what she paid to enroll them in school. They went on a Disney vacation a couple years back and ended up renting a small condo because Disney was going to require them to pony up for two rooms to stay on the resort because they had three kids. Their rooms are only designed for a family of four.
I just don’t think having more is going to be feasible for us. I want to be able to allow our kids to participate in extracurricular activities, go on fun vacations, and be able to eat healthier foods than fast food junk every night. But I feel like I’m having to trade a child (or two) for a certain quality of life.
And that makes me feel conflicted and kind of icky.
I don’t want to miss out on the joy of having another child to love, but I also don’t want to have to tell my kids that they can’t enroll in dance class because we have to be able to eat that month. We don’t have to make the decision today or even tomorrow, thankfully. But it’s there in the back of my mind every time B hits another milestone.
For now, I’m packing the baby stuff in the attic and hoping that we are able to feel good about the decision we have to make in the somewhat near future.
Weigh in: How did you decide how big to let your family grow?