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Deciding on number of children - Page 3

post #41 of 68
Re: older kids, IMO the expense (or lack thereof) is as much a matter of lifestyle choices as it is for babies.

I'm sure that what's normal for many people is expensive. That's not the direction our family is headed in, though. For an older teen who's really motivated to do something that carries expenses, they can offset at least some of that with part time work, and IMO they should. We will certainly try to accomodate talents and desires of each kid but it is not going to be an activity every day lifestyle. For our own sanity as much as financial reasons.
post #42 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post

So, you have to balance it between what the kids really want to do, what you can afford and keeping up with the Jones or what YOU want your kids to do, rather than what they want to do.
And sometimes, the kids really do want to do several activites, and they are expensive. Let me tell you, as someone who works full time out of the home, the last thing I want to do on weeknights and weekends is schlepp the kids all over town to lessons. And I'd love to have decent furniture. At age 50, my house is still decorated in early castoff. But my kids love their activities and thrive on them. It ain't about me.

I do know some overscheduled kids, but they are the minority. Most of the kids I know thrive on these things.

I'm a natural introvert and dislike organized activities, so I'd always assumed that most people are doing it for themselves or to keep up with the Joneses. Not so.
post #43 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
And sometimes, the kids really do want to do several activites, and they are expensive.
If you couldn't afford it (ie - had lots of cc debt, having a hard time making mortgage, etc.), would you still be paying for the activities your kids wanted to do or would you say no? Some of the folks I know canNOT say no to their kids - ever. Well, maybe unless it involves junk food.
post #44 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
If you couldn't afford it (ie - had lots of cc debt, having a hard time making mortgage, etc.), would you still be paying for the activities your kids wanted to do or would you say no? Some of the folks I know canNOT say no to their kids - ever. Well, maybe unless it involves junk food.
Well, we've never lived beyond our means. (And for us, that includes not having kids we can't comfortably afford.) If we were having financial troubles, we'd be tightening belts in all departments, obviously.

We are savers by nature, which includes ample saving for retirement and saving for college. But I am willing to go without some of my "wants" like nice furniture or nice cars, for enrichment for the kids.
post #45 of 68
Quote:
As for fostering I read that too and I have to say, I think it's a great thing, but also VERY heartbreaking at times. My SIL is currently fostering a baby girl who is suffering from Shaken Baby Syndrome, the baby has done exceptionally well in her care, but alas, she may very well be going back to her family. For myself I just don't know if I could deal with that.
this always strikes me as an odd reason not to foster. How can we say that we won't help a child who needs help, right in your own community, because it would hurt you too much? Wouldn't it hurt you less than it will hurt the child not to be loved and cared for?
post #46 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissinNYC View Post
this always strikes me as an odd reason not to foster. How can we say that we won't help a child who needs help, right in your own community, because it would hurt you too much? Wouldn't it hurt you less than it will hurt the child not to be loved and cared for?
Exactly. We've been planning and researching the foster/adopt process for 3 years now while waiting to get all our ducks in a row. Real kids need real homes and I can't let fear of being hurt get in the way. I hear it's rewarding in a bittersweet kind of way.

Oh, and I hear it's hip to have a minivan now.
post #47 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherAtHome View Post
I'm biased against minivans. I want to be one of those young hip families with the compact car and a green lifestyle. I can pull off the green lifestyle with more kids, just not the smaller vehicle.
We have three kids we were able to fit them with their carseats and gear in a subaru forrester. But we often spend time with friends and family and eventually we found ourselves taking 2 cars to a lot of things. We decided to sell the subaru and buy an older Honda Odyssey and it's been great. It's easy to drive and reliable and works for us.

We get about 20 miles per gallon, but at least in my opinion, six or seven people in a minivan is pretty green compared to 1 person in a hybrid!

And we're still young and hip. I miss my subaru some times, but I do like being able to sit in the back and breastfeed with the privacy my tinted windows provide. And I love being able to carpool.
post #48 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbrinton View Post
We have three kids we were able to fit them with their carseats and gear in a subaru forrester. But we often spend time with friends and family and eventually we found ourselves taking 2 cars to a lot of things. We decided to sell the subaru and buy an older Honda Odyssey and it's been great. It's easy to drive and reliable and works for us.

We get about 20 miles per gallon, but at least in my opinion, six or seven people in a minivan is pretty green compared to 1 person in a hybrid!

And we're still young and hip. I miss my subaru some times, but I do like being able to sit in the back and breastfeed with the privacy my tinted windows provide. And I love being able to carpool.
I agree!
post #49 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbrinton View Post
We have three kids we were able to fit them with their carseats and gear in a subaru forrester. But we often spend time with friends and family and eventually we found ourselves taking 2 cars to a lot of things. We decided to sell the subaru and buy an older Honda Odyssey and it's been great. It's easy to drive and reliable and works for us.

And we're still young and hip. I miss my subaru some times, but I do like being able to sit in the back and breastfeed with the privacy my tinted windows provide. And I love being able to carpool.
Minivans today are shorter, fatter limoes. My SIL's Odessy has video screens, automatic doors, and enough room to separate squabbling children.
post #50 of 68
The way I approached the decision was in terms of "however many I could afford to educate". My mom paid for college for me (her sister put her through) and I want to be able to do the same or better for my kids. I'm from a family of 3 and dh is from a family of 6. We initially decided on 4. Then we had our first. And dh was done. She was far more work than he'd anticipated . . . and he has lots of nieces and nephews, younger brother, so, no stranger to little ones. LOL! She's just high maintenance, high needs, whatever you want to call it. I had to beg for #2!

I never thought about our house or car, just figured we'd get what we needed or work with what we had. Now, with #2 here and not being able to pick anyone up at the airport as a family (and, with my parents and siblings living in different states, that matters to me), and our current family car having about 130K miles on it, I'm looking at new (to us) cars and trying to figure out what I'm willing to pay for the type of car I dream of having (performance) and the reality that I'm paying for pre-school and perhaps some sort of childcare for our son. But, my career choice gives me the income to have some choices here. My husband is a SAHD.
post #51 of 68
One thing I am not seeing discussed, in terms of how many kids to have, is how many more humans the earth can handle. Overpopulation is the number one reason we are experiencing climate change and so many other issues. The world our kids and grandkids are going to live in will be vastly different than the one we live in now. There will be major food and water shortages and so many other hardships we cannot even begin to imagine. Bringing a child into this world must take these things into account. Of course I understand and support that woman/couples want to experience having their own children, but when you consider doing multiples it greatens your carbon footprint more than anything else you could do. Choosing to adopt or foster kids is a great earth friendly alternative for those wanting to experience a larger family.
post #52 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
Not in car seats, they won't. You can fit two car seats in the back of most sedans. So, unless you want a gas-guzzling SUV or minivan you'll be limited to two foster kids at a time.
I just wanted to say in response to this that I've never yet seen a car that couldn't fit three of some type of carseat in it safely. Carseats are way cheaper than new cars even if you need to buy three at once. Every single time someone has posted on c-s.org which is full of carseat techs and tons of knowledgable about carseat people about needing to fit 3 across a solution has been found, no matter the vehicle.

I'm sure it's true that there are some vehicles you can't in but the vast majority you can even if you have to buy all new seats to do it. FWIW since I've seen them mentioned on this thread I've done different combinations of 3 across in different years of Civics. The primary car I do three across in is a Pontiac Pursuit (same as the G5 in the US I think?). I wouldn't want to be an adult sitting in the middle seat back there as it's squished but it's fine for a carseat no problem.
post #53 of 68
i do have to agree with the idea of starting with one from any stand point.

this will probably wander a bit.

foremost, like others, i have a specific body theology even though i do not practice a religion thta has any specific dictates. it's just what i dictate for myself. thus, we use NFP and abstinence. we have one child, and have been together 12 years. so, it works for us as a reliable method, but we are obviously open to any children that would come.

another aspect of this, though, is how we 'felt ready' to ahve children. at 26, i had an accidental pregnancy and miscarriage. this spurred us into thinking about what we needed in order to be and feel ready to care for children. we looked at every aspect of our lives and created discernable goals.

like the questioning i see in the OP, one of the things that i looked at was my self-image. that is, how i viewed myself and how i wanted to live.

this next part is not a judgment of how others choose to live, only my assessment of my *self* and how i wanted to live.

what i saw among other mothers and families was a life filled with clutter, women who had lost themselves in a flurry of children's activities and keeping up with the jones' children, and essentially a lot of stress. i saw that these women all dressed the same, had to have the same objects (cars, houses of a certain size, clothes, objects for babies etc). but what i also noted that while those things were supposed to make their lives easier, they actually made their lives harder. there were mroe things to keep up with, to clean or put away, more processes required for doing basic tasks (bottle feeding a baby is a *lot* of work!). it just looked completely overwhelming. it also looked ridiculously expensive.

so, i looked around and eventually came upon attachment parenting. i'll be honest, i really did assume that you "had to" do certain things like use cribs. i didn't even realize cosleeping existed. baby wearing? no clue. breastfeeding and home birth i did know about. i didn't get the house and car sq footage stuff. one baby requires 1300 sq ft and a yard? confusing to me.

but, i discovered unassisted chidlbirth, then a friend put me onto mothering.com, and that was that. about 2 years into my 5 years of exploring, i knew i'd found the way that i wanted to mother.

EC" fewer diapers. exclusive breastfeeding? it happens and you don't have to use bottles unless you want to. baby wearing? no need for stroller. cosleeping? not onyl up all night trying to figure out how to get a baby to sleep alone, but also no nursery needed--no bigger house, no crib, nothing.

so, i have one baby.

and it's amazing. i feel integrated. he goes with me everywhere--pretty much--and i baby wear and cosleep and breastfeed and EC and it's fab. i really enjoy it. he's well attached and happy. life is easy. we even have minimal toys. seriously, my life is ridiculously easy. it's easier now than before i had a baby in many ways. LOL

so, i found how i want to mother, and how it fits in with my minimalism and frugality.

but that leads us to that question of "how many?"

right now, my DH and i have started a business and we are getting it off the ground. it has massive potential to support us beyond our wildest dreams, and we are building it that way. but until then, it supports the 3 of us comfortably, though very simply (one bedroom apt, no car, not a lot of frills, but the basics to enjoy our lives).

we also live on the other side of the planet from family and we like to travel. that is probably our greatest family expense. day-to-day, we could easily support more children even now (money wise), but when it comes to how we like to live, one is enough for now.

there is also that consideration of time. right now, i can devote a lot of time to DS, and while he is very low maintenance (not at all high needs), i don't think i would want to care for a newborn now. it would be too much for me.

so, we are looking at waiting until DS is 4 or 5 to decide if we want to have any more children. by then, we'll have a firm grasp on how the business is going, we'll have travelled a bit with DS (back to the US, around NZ, possibly parts of Australia as well), and DS will be more independent of me at that stage. i can decide then if i want to spend more time with that little child phase, or if i want to just continue on in a family of 3.

at this point, DH and I are both leaning toward a family of 3, but open to having another child if we wish at that stage. but i'm seriously leaning toward not.

prior to having a child, we often talked about 2-4. now, we talk about one "maybe two" but not so much two.

not because of money per se, but because we are happy with one--and we feel that we can give all three of us the life that we want to live. we may or may not be able to do that with more, but we can't know that right now. so we are just not concerning ourselves with it until DS is 4 or 5 (2-3 years from now). then we can evaluate what we want with more information at hand.

but right now wouldn't be great for us.
post #54 of 68
I read through the entire thread, and wanted to comment on something that hasn't been mentioned yet.

My parents started fostering when I was about 8 years old, and eventually they ran a parent model group home when I was a young adult. I did relief work for them on weekends (ie they went away for the weekend & I ran the house with an average of 8 kids who lived with my parents as part of their family (I was away at a nearby University & did not live at home)).


One of the most difficult things I & my brothers experienced as kids was when the new foster kids were older than we were. Being older they had more privileges than we did, but being new they had no idea how the household dynamic really worked, and so there was extra responsibility on my brothers and I. We really struggled with feelings of unfairness ("we're doing extra work to help them fit in, but they still get extra privileges that we don't, just because they're older".) Through a child's eyes it was terribly unfair.

My husband & I have considered fostering, but at present we live in a 675 sq ft 1 bdrm 1 bathroom house, and I have a lot of debt from student loans & 7 years working for a non-profit that paid less than peanuts, so moving to someplace bigger or doing a large expansion are not realistic options for us. At some point in our future we will definitely look into fostering, but not until any biological children are old enough to have input and understand what is going on, and we'll stipulate that foster kids would need to be younger than our own kids.

I know this is a little off-topic, but I thought I'd throw the info into the mix, as fostering kids is a HUGE decision that has big implications for your children, and for your marriage.

hth
post #55 of 68
Thread Starter 
Thanks Sarah! I've read a lot about fostering/adopting only children that are younger than your bio kids. At this point we haven't decided if we will have bio children, we might just foster or adopt. Or maybe we'll foster for a while, eventually adopting (no idea how many, but I'll start with ONE!) and if at the end of that, I feel I need to physically give birth in order to feel complete, then have a bio child (once we're feeling more settled, not two seconds after adoption is complete.)

I'm feeling like I'd be ok with just adopting.
post #56 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by talia rose View Post
One thing I am not seeing discussed, in terms of how many kids to have, is how many more humans the earth can handle. Overpopulation is the number one reason we are experiencing climate change and so many other issues. The world our kids and grandkids are going to live in will be vastly different than the one we live in now. There will be major food and water shortages and so many other hardships we cannot even begin to imagine. Bringing a child into this world must take these things into account. Of course I understand and support that woman/couples want to experience having their own children, but when you consider doing multiples it greatens your carbon footprint more than anything else you could do. Choosing to adopt or foster kids is a great earth friendly alternative for those wanting to experience a larger family.
I didnt read the whole thread but this part I did and I wanted to comment.. We have a large family, will be having baby number 5 in December. We are by far "greener" than any other families with young children that we know, even if they have 1. I honestly disagree with you, we are raising environmentally conscious children. We are building a sustainable passive solar cob home as a family. We own one vehicle, we have a composting toilet, greywater system and rainwater catchment system. I can bet you that our carbon footprint is lower than 90% of one to two children families by FAR! I agree that the world our children and grandchildren will live in will be different than now that is why we are building a sustainable home and becoming self sufficient in our food production and also why we are teaching our children these skills. Just my two cents
post #57 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by talia rose View Post
One thing I am not seeing discussed, in terms of how many kids to have, is how many more humans the earth can handle. Overpopulation is the number one reason we are experiencing climate change and so many other issues. The world our kids and grandkids are going to live in will be vastly different than the one we live in now. There will be major food and water shortages and so many other hardships we cannot even begin to imagine. Bringing a child into this world must take these things into account. Of course I understand and support that woman/couples want to experience having their own children, but when you consider doing multiples it greatens your carbon footprint more than anything else you could do. Choosing to adopt or foster kids is a great earth friendly alternative for those wanting to experience a larger family.
This is your point of view, and you are welcome to it, but not everyone agrees with this. I don't want to derail this thread with debate, but 'man made global warming' is far from 'settled science'.

The opposite side of this is that populations are aging. Who are going to support all of the older people, if there aren't as many young people around? There was an article in the Globe and Mail today saying that by 2021 seniors will outnumber children in Canada. As a country with a lot of social programs, that could be disasterous.

To the OP, I have no idea how you decide. We have one DD now and are currently pursuing domestic public adoption, possibly of a sibling group. We also hope to have future bio children as well. How many will we end up when we are done? I have no idea. God willing, at least four. (We intend to foster at some point in the future as well, but not until the rest of the kiddos are older.)

If I were you, I would suck it up and get a van. Even if you just have two kids, if you plan to go camping where are you going to put all of your stuff? Camping in a sedan is hard!! (Been there!) We have an Escape, one kid, and two dogs and we have a hard time going tent camping even with a cargo topper. This year we are giving up trying to puzzle it all in and will be camping closer to home and taking two vehicles (DF has a Caliber). DF's car comes off lease in November and I cannot WAIT to get a van instead.
post #58 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post
My advice is to start with one.
Darn it! That's where I went wrong!

Just kidding. In reality, our twins have not affected out budget too much, besides the fact that I'm no longer working. We cloth diaper, I make their food, we thrift for things we need and have generous grandparents for things like cribs and car seats.

I know they'll get more expensive as they get older, but for now, it's been remarkably low impact on our budget.

As far as the "how many" question, we've decided on two. I could probably go for one more, but my husband doesn't want to and I'm happy with two. With two, we can afford for me to stay home with them and still put money back for college and retirement. We can afford extras, if we want them.

The biggest factor in our decision by far, however, is my health. I don't handle pregnancy well. Multiple miscarriages and finally a viable pregnancy filled with problems made the decision for us. I'm very glad my two came together because I don't want and only child and I'd be very wary of another pregnancy.
post #59 of 68
"This is your point of view, and you are welcome to it, but not everyone agrees with this. I don't want to derail this thread with debate, but 'man made global warming' is far from 'settled science'."

Actually man made climate change is settled science. The reason so many Americans believe it is not is that the coal and oil companies have paid out billions of dollars to scientists and others to make people think there is a debate on the subject. They left a paper trail when they did this and it has been fully exposed (though not by major media). You can research it.

I did not intend my post to be a judgement on those with large families. The world is changing so rapidly right now that our decisions will have to change along with it. I only meant to add another facet to look at when deciding these things. The problems we face are due to overcrowding on our planet. Our Earth cannot support this many people. Whether you believe climate change is man made or not, the reality is that it is happening and we will be facing these shortages as the erratic weather makes it more difficult to grow crops. Believe me, I wish it wasn't so, but all one needs to do is pay attention to see it happening already.
post #60 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
And sometimes, the kids really do want to do several activites, and they are expensive. Let me tell you, as someone who works full time out of the home, the last thing I want to do on weeknights and weekends is schlepp the kids all over town to lessons. And I'd love to have decent furniture. At age 50, my house is still decorated in early castoff. But my kids love their activities and thrive on them. It ain't about me.

I do know some overscheduled kids, but they are the minority. Most of the kids I know thrive on these things.

I'm a natural introvert and dislike organized activities, so I'd always assumed that most people are doing it for themselves or to keep up with the Joneses. Not so.
Totally agree! I know my dd definately benefits hugely from activities, it helps her socially, work as part of a team if it's sports etc...helps her physically keep fit, majorly helps with building kids' self esteem and confidence. You do it because they enjoy it and you know it's good for them in many ways, not to keep up with the Joneses. I also don't agree with the overscheduled kids, but that would be an activity every single day maybe, or even some kids have 2 a day...which imo is too many for the child because with schooling aswell they get tired and don't enjoy it so much and you can tell this. These things do get expensive, you have to pay to go each week or monthly, plus you have to buy uniforms for some things like sports uniforms or horse riding clothes and helmet etc, plus equipment like if learning an instrument you will need to buy or rent the chosen instrument.

From 0-3 or 4 years you don't need to worry about this stuff, but then you do. I just kind of brushed it off naively thinking by that time I will be in a much better situation financially to afford it all, but I'm not yet....still working on it.

I can only imagine how much more expensive things become when they reach the preteen and teen years....at that age and before they also have birthday parties to go to from school friends and such, which gets expensive with buying gifts and cards for the birthday child....even if you don't spend much it still adds up after several parties. Plus you have your own child's birthday stuff to pay for, they might want a party themselves or to take a few friends bowling or to the cinema etc...it all costs money.

And what about christmas and birthday presents? These increase substantially as the child gets older. Baby toys and toddler toys are very cheap compared to what my dd wanted last christmas when she was 7.
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