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Is more than 2 children fair to them?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I can't stop thinking about this question... I have always wanted 3 children. But I struggle with the two I have now. By struggle, I mean I don't feel like there's enough of me to go around. Ds is under a year, and he is physically demanding. I carry him everywhere, nurse, etc. Dd (3.5) really really misses spending time with just me. I'm always saying things like, "When I get Max down for a nap..." or "We can't do that while Max is awake..." or "Be quiet because the baby is asleep." I never ever said a cross word to her until the baby came.

So, I'm looking for experience from moms of more than two... Do you find you can give them the attention they need?? Is it unfair to them??

This is in NO ways a judgment against people with more than two. As I said, I'd love to do it, but I sometimes think about my own personal limits and wonder if ever I *could* do it. And wonder how on EARTH I would ever meet everyone's (including dh's!) needs! I feel outnumbered already, as it is!
post #2 of 28
I think of it as just part of learning that the world doesn't revolve aorund them.My children seem pretty much unscarred from the decline in attention they get when a sibling comes along (although if Lily had been my first this would have been much harder because she is 10 times as needy as Madeline and Madeline gives her alot of the attention she craves) and the pay off is sibling that worships them (when they aren't beating each other senseless. )
post #3 of 28

Ask me in 8 more weeks...

If you'd asked me even a year ago if I'd ever have 3 kids, I would have said no.

However, sometimes life (and the unexpected happen). I look at this as a big lesson for ME as well as Fia. I also think that some of the stuff I'll be facing in this journey is a bit unique to moms with a singleton + twins (for example, how will I give two newborns the same level of undivided attention that I gave their sister for the first few months? She literally never left my arms except when she was in the arms of her daddy. Short answer: I won't be able to.)

So even if one planned only 2 kids with permanent sterilization at that number...things still have a way of not entirely working out like you expected or how you think should be ideal. Come to think about it, I don't think I've been a perfect parent thus far to my firstborn. I'll just have to hope that she will forgive me for my faults as she grows older.

I'm not sure that having to share another person's attention is ever 'fair' from a child's perspective...but it *is* reality. There are also probably steps one can take to minimize the impact--tandem nursing, having Daddy/Partner step into a starring role, relaxing and trying to guilt-purge so that you don't pass tension onto your other children, ect.
post #4 of 28
For me it was the close spacing of my 2nd and 3rd that almost did me in. I recall when my third was born that I was constantly stressed out with the alternating demands of a baby and a toddler. This was a whole new experience for me since my oldest had been 4.5 years old when we had #2, which was relatively easy in comparison.

Eventually the needs of these 2 youngest of mine balanced out. Whew!

Apparently stress and sleep deprivation caused some brain damage leading me to think that I can effectively parent 4 children! Just wait, I'll be back after July with a " What was I thinking?" thread.

post #5 of 28
I think spacing has a lot to do with this - their perception of a new sibling, how they get along, how you cope - emotionally, physically and financially.

I was one of three children and cannot imagine life without my sister and brother. I cannot imagine my kids' life without the three of them (there are only two now - but #3 will be here end of next month). I never felt cheated out of my parents' time or love - and I was the oldest.

I know my dd1 is going through some "who do you love most" stuff right now. She and her little sister can go from one extreme to the other within minutes. One minute they are playing so sweet together it could rot your teeth - next minute older one is crying about something (dd2 has somewhere learned how to push buttons like nobody's business). But I didn't expect it to be all roses. I have every belief that they are close now and will be close when they are 20 and 16 and when they are 70 and 66.

I have to suggest the four year spacing - it worked SO well between dd1 and dd2. Somewhere along the line, we forgot how well that spacing worked and baby #3 will arrive when dd2 is just 2 and 3/4 years old. So we'll see how that spacing goes... I think it will be harder on me - what was I thinking???

So the short answer to my long-winded reply is no, I don't think it is unfair to the kids. I think siblings are always a gift.
post #6 of 28
I also think that siblings are a gift. There were four of us growing up (and Mom and Dad had three of us in three years!), and my parents have adopted two more.

I never felt that I missed out on parental attention - we all played really well together growing up, and Mom and Dad were generally available as well...it usually just felt like a lot of fun to have a lot of people around.

Funnily enough, I've always felt sorry for kids with only one sibling - as I've always thought how much more fun we always seemed to have. One of the reasons I've always wanted more than two (#3 is due in September)...
post #7 of 28
I have four children 18, 16, 14 and 9...........................

They are each others closest allies and greastest friends.

Our brothers and sisters are the people that we share the greatest part of our lives with. They are there during our childhood, before spouses and our own children and they are there at the end of our lives, after our own parents have passed on. It is the one relationship that spans our life time.

I consider each of my children a gift and a treasure for the others. They know each other best. Many times better than I do.

Once some one asked my son if he wished there was another boy in the family and if he wished he was the only kid. He said, "No, I am the big brother and they need me!!"

Just my 2 cents,

post #8 of 28
I'm single with 4 kids. I think it very much depends on you as parents. Some parents are really comfortable with the chaos that comes from a lot of kids and thrive in it. Some prefer a more serene environemnt. I'm one of those people who thrive in activity and don't have a big problem with many small people crying and whining. It doesn't get to me and I handle one at a time. My kids don't act at all underattended to. They spend a lot of time with their siblings. They mostly prefer to play with their brothers (I have all boys) than even with toys.

Basically, I'd suggest you think about what makes you comfortable? Do you prefer tons of activity and big challenges or do you prefer to have lots of one on one time with your children and responding to their every cry. My kids definintley wait longer to get attended to than kids in smaller families. There are positives and negatives to all sizes of families the important thing to think about really is what do you and your partner want?
post #9 of 28
I am the mother of three. the last being a "bonus" baby! Can i tell you he is truely delicious, yummy, and i am so attached to him...i cannot get enough of this child. ok, now that i got that off my chest....

I had my first two kids 3 years apart. my daughter was very high needs, colicky, a total nightmare. I am being honest here. it wasnt till she walked that she turned into a gem, a real joy. then i had my son, who was an "easy" baby, coupled with a great 3 year old you'd think i would have had it great. wrong. i struggled for at least 3 years to get a handle on having two. that being said, i always wanted three, but never did because i felt i had my hands full with 2. and the older my second child got, the less i wanted to "go back" to diapers, nursing, diaper bags, etc. kwim?

anyway, when my kids were almost 12 and almost 9, i found myself pregnant. at first i was completely freaked out. i thought i was too old (32!), and the thought of forever being in the "toddler pool" ( i lived in florida at the time) really bothered me. besides, the other kids were so much older i thought they would never relate, and that the baby would impede on soccer games, hockey games, karate, whatever. anyway, he is here and he is a doll. ok, so he is a handful, and i cant go anywhere, but he fits right in, and i am so happy i cant stand it. i love love having three, and would love to have more! at least one more! having three, to me is easier than having two. the kids love him and are very close to there baby brother.

but, i am not sure if i would have had three willingly, on purpose so to speak. i doubt it. am i making any sense?

post #10 of 28
I feel guilty saying this but I have always felt I didn't get the attention I needed growing up and I was the second born of only 2. My brother and I were only 1.5 years apart and he was firmly in place on the top of the totem pole when I arrived. I have never held it against him because I totally adore him too but I have never really forgiven my mother.

So here I am with one almost 3 year old boy and I'm asking the same questions as you. Geekmoms advice hit home for me. I am not good at letting him cry or whine while I finish what I'm doing, it drives me crazy. I do not like the mayhem that comes with allot of kids (like this weekend with all four cousins!). Maybe my Mom was the same way. But DS LOVES kids and I think would really like another one around here (although some times he says I'm a kid - the ultimate compliment Maybe the four year spacing that Kirsten recommended.... That means we have to have sex though, right?
post #11 of 28
As someone who has one child and is debating whether I want to even have two for this very reason....I have often see a decline in attention that the 3rd baby gets. If they are spaced out, its better.....but personally, I wouldn't have more than 2. My busband was the 3rd of 4 kids and he felt totally neglected growing up. His mother never read him a story once or ever asked if he'd done his homework. He said the best year of his life was the year that the 2 older siblings were in school and his mom was pregnant with her 4th.

I know there are those who are amazingly dynamic & great parents to more than 2 but I just know that I would not be one of them. If I had more than 2, I couldn't afford to send them all to college and money would be so much tighter...I'd rather give 2 kids a better life.

The arguments such as I can't imagine life without my other siblings....of course you can't because they are *here* but if they weren't you wouldn't know you were missing anything. For example, I only have a brother & not a sister and I don't go around feeling deprived that I don't have a sister.
post #12 of 28
I'm one of three (big sister to twins 2 1/2 years younger than me). From what I've seen in other families and know of mine, spacing and numbers are a big part of it. We always got along better as a group when there were foster kids in the house, too, preferably one about my age. We had an unhealthy 2 vs. 1 dynamic growing up in their absence that I see as a problem common in families with 3 kids. It happened to my mom growing up, too (her younger and older sister would team up against her). So I plan on having at least 4.

Sibling rivalry and lack of attention aren't inevitable, even with 3. I think ours wouldn't have been nearly as severe if our parents had a more stable relationship--they "stayed together for the sake of the kids" and fought a lot, and my sisters especially got a lot of that vibe for how to interact (they were around for the worst of it after I joined the Navy at 17). But none of us ever felt cheated of parental attention, and I never felt that I lost out by having sisters, both the blood relations and foster sisters, one of whom is basically a permanent adult sibling now, in our hearts. On the contrary, even when we don't get along I love them, and always will.
post #13 of 28
I guess I'll throw in my two cents. I am the mom of three...about to be four in two more months.

I really think that it all depends on you and your personality. I really didn't think that I was cut out to be a mom to more than one or two. When I had my first, I was pretty uptight and anal about everything. Everything had to be just perfect. I had to control the uncontrollable. I have a total type A personality.

I have found that with each child I have grown more as a parent. I have learned to have WAY more patience. I have learned to be laid back and just go with the flow.

I don't think that my younger kids are missing out on anything. I have cared for them all the same way. I carried them all in slings until they prefered to walk. I bf, co-slept...all that good stuff. Eventually they grow up and they would really rather play with each other than have my undivided attention.

I know that my kids really love each other. I couldn't imagine not having any of them. Yes, sometimes it gets crazy around here, but I think it just adds to the fun!

I think that you just adapt as a parent. I remember wondering how on earth there would ever be enough love to go around when I was pregnant with my second. I don't know how, but its just there. No one gets replaced, you just find more time and more love.

Hope this helps!
post #14 of 28
Treasure - I really like that! I always say gift but some people take that wrong and say if you want to buy your child a present, get them a dog. Blessing doesn't fit for me as I am not religious but I am always at a loss for how to explain it. Treasure...

Yep, to get that second baby, you do have to have sex.... ha ha!
Reminds me of a friend I have - they had their first baby and when he was a year or so old, her dh told her he didn't think they should have any more. Friend was heartbroken. They are now ttc #2 - I think his change of heart came when ds moved to his own bed, friend was getting more sleep and less constant baby touching so was more open to affection from her dh. She also got to a place where she was ok leaving him with me or another trusted friend so she and dh could go out to dinner once in a while. She was and is a very AP mom (much more than me) and sometimes I think some dh feel left out and miss their wife the way it used to be. I know that life is not the same after kids as before but I also think there can be a huge discrepency in the amount of attention (and sex) that some dh see. They are only human and maybe this could lead some to thinking another baby is not such a good idea. Anyway, this is my long way of saying that spacing kids a little further apart (I personally like 4 years) has advantages like that too.
post #15 of 28
I am another one of those moms that thrive on "chaos" and activity. My 3 girls were born within 2 years 9 months. Dh and I are ttc our first baby together and hope to have 2 within about 1 1/2 years, after that I think we'll be done (but who knows?!)

None of my girls have ever lacked attention, not as babies, toddlers or now. Granted there are times it was (and is!) exhausting but I also feel energized from them. I've found that as the family grew I just became better at getting everything done. People think I'm crazy but I found that it was easier with 3 under 3 than with just one or two children.
post #16 of 28
I've found that as the family grew I just became better at getting everything done. People think I'm crazy
post #17 of 28
i am an only child and have to say i really wish i had some siblings. i didn't really wish i would have had siblings until my adulthood (I think i didn't realize what i was missing until then). i would love to have a big family (3 or more), although i'm still trying to convince dh. i do worry about keeping my sanity (what's left) and giving each child enough attention, however i think if i can space them at least 3 years apart it will be ok. of course, the only problem with my above plan: not sure i can fit in 4 kids before my eggs shrivel up......
post #18 of 28
Oh, I felt the same way when dd was the age your ds is...my ds was 21.5 months when dd was born, so it was very very hard those first few months and even though we'd originally planned to have 4 children, I knew that wouldn't be happening. Now, dd is 2 years, ds is almost 4, and I can see getting pregnant again and having another, even though I still struggle with the idea of spreading myself ever thinner. It's actually moot, because dh is completely against having anymore children and has had a vasectomy (another post entirely), but I probably would have tried for a third this summer sometime, had it been up to me. Now, as to the question of whether it's "fair", I think that's a personal question--in terms of varying from person to person. For me, I think it actually would not be very fair...even though I'd like a third, the intellectual side of me realizes that I'm far too high strung to do it in the way I envision, and that I'm a far better parent to two children. OTOH, I see other parents with loads o' kids (tongue in cheek) who are wonderful at it, and I watch longingly and admiringly, all the while knowing that I could not do that with the same measure of , I don't know what, sanguinity? calm? whatever it is, I don't have it in that amount.

I have two sibs, and I love them dearly, and don't feel like I ever missed out on a thing as a result of having them...I'm the baby, but I suspect they like having me around too. So I guess I do believe on some level that the benefit of having siblings far outweighs the disadvantages...
post #19 of 28
I am getting teary-eyed thinking about your question. Often I wonder if I was somewhat selfish trying to have a third (i had two ectopics and an ovary removed before that lovely third baby was conceived). There are many days when I feel like all I have done is yell and stop the older kids from hurting or teasing one another. My five year old just runs into whatever place I am in every ten minutes or so and makes some extraordinarily loud shriek or groan just to remind me that he is there. My three year old isn't potty trained and continually escapes from his carseat when we are going 75 down the highway. The third is only six months old and has been in the hospital twice for asthma and has cried for two hours virtually every morn and eve. I can't complete a thought. I MICROWAVE my coffee every hour or two. I rarely get to read to the kids anymore because the baby rarely sleeps and when he does there is so much to do and I need a moment to collect my thoughts. IT IS CRAZY and I feel like a subpar parent. I have been nursin and slingin one or two since 1998..and we all still share sleep. We are CONSTANTLY washing clothes and diapers and as much as people like to say kids don't need much, THEY WANT EVERYTHING and everything costs money. I say think about it all...what everyone's been saying and your own financial situation and your stress factors and then keep in mind that all the moms I know with three LOVE ALL OUR KIDS and are not sorry we had any of them and many of us even want more... despite the difficulties THE KIDS LOVE EACH OTHER. my five year old proclaimed today..."I can't wait to see what it is like to have another one year-old living at our house again!!!" What a cutie!
Good luck. WHAT A sensitive and sweet parent you are to ask these questions...you must be a great family and any baby would be lucky to be born into that love.
post #20 of 28
I can't pass this one up!

My first two are 22.5 months apart. It was tough at times but we managed. My little one came when the two others had just turned 3 and 5. He has been nothing but a delight. His big brothers didn't get to see him born since I sent everyone out of the room while I was pushing (needed to concentrate while VBACing a 9lb 11oz baby) but they saw him a minute or so after he was born. It was love at first site. The adore each other. Not that they don't fight but for the most part they get along. It can be hard to deal with everyone's needs at once but since I enjoy having a lot of kids around I don't ming so much.

I really do think it's unfair to say that the third (or later) child is always neglected. A lot depends of factors like spacing and family dynamics.

I'm even crazy enough to want another. Dh isn't sure though. We'll see.

Mary Beth
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