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!
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
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.
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.
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.
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)...
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,
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!
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!
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
I'm actually really glad for my own sanity, perhaps because I'm just not as patient as some other moms, that I am having the age gap I am having beween my two. I had always thought that I would have an age gap of 18 months to 2 years, but things just worked out so that it will be close to 4.5 years. My daughter has really come around since last summer when I was pregnant and she is so much more aware of things now. I could just be counting my chickens before they're hatched, but I'm hoping I have a little easier time of it since my daughter now sees herself as a "girl" and has weaned. For a long time she was very intent on not growing up and got very angry when I suggested that her shoes and clothes didn't fit because she was growing. And she definitely didn't want to share nursing! Yesterday I was holding her, kissing her and telling her she is my baby. She said, "No, I'm not, your baby is in there!" as she touched my tummy, then she ran away to play.
I had two sisters, one a year younger and one almost 5 years younger. I thought having 2 sisters was great!
I am the oldest of nine chldren and I will give you the +/-
+ I always had someone to play with
+ I learned early to be responsible and independent
+ I learned to tutor
+ I learned to share (big time)
+ I knew how to care for a newborn long before I was ten
+ As a teen age girl, I really knew I better not get pregnant
+ I could relate to other people regardless of age b/c I always knew my sibs friends
+ Knew alot about housekeeping
+ I know the world does not revolve around just little old me.
+ Learned patience (big time)
+ Being all grown up, I have lots of professional connections through my professional sibs to doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants, tutors, teachers, policeman, etc.
- Never any privacy
- Grew up too soon
- Little sibs going through your stuff and playing "rat fink"
- being expected to babysit
- house constantly in a mess, and I was expected to clean up b/c I am the oldest and know better.
- as a married adult, my parents "expected" me to continue to help.
- not everyone grew up well. One brother grew up, dropped out of high school, never got a job, uses lots of drugs, embezzled my dad's and aunt's $, and the "justice system" has not been just so he has gotten away with it.
- We are NOT one, big happy family.
- My mother was/is a chronic drunk
Of the nine-
3 finished college and graduate school ( one of them is me )
3 had some college
2 did not finish high school
1 died (SIDS)
I guess it is like everything else in life; there are no guarantees
and life is not fair.
From these 9 children, there are 12 grandchildren.
I myself had four children.
The oldest dd is in college and works. DS is in the military. DS#2 is graduating from high school and has been accepted to three colleges of his choice. DS#3 is 11 and still homeschooled. They are all apparently respectful of each other as individuals and they do get along and speak to and of each other with respect.
That is all you can really ask for.
3 have advanced degrees (M.A. or above)
2 have bachelor's degrees
2 graduated high school
3 (all girls) had to leave school to care for the younger siblings (i.e., go to work so the youngers could go to school)--they may have gotten GED's later, I'm not sure
On the positive side, boy do we all have a blast together, and I love love love the fact that ds and dd have 28 cousins to play with (ranging in age from 34 years to 2 months) and be loved by.
1) Semi-off topic: My mom was the oldest girl (she has 2 older brothers) in a family of ten and also was expected to pick up the slack and help raise her younger siblings-- partially because her own mom was an untreated manic-depressive. In the case of this fairly dysfuntional family, I don't think my mom's parents ever really thought about whether it was fair to her, I don't think they thought much at all about having children at all, they just did it.
2) I'm really too biased to speak to the "fairness" of having 3 kids, as I'm and the 3rd (and last) in my family. My brothers are 5 and 7 years older than me. This spacing may have allowed me to get more attention as a child, but I also remember feeling really lonely, too. Maybe part of the dynamic was that they were both older and both boys, so they just had more in common, but I remember feeling left out. After elementary school, we never went to the same school at the same time. I remember feeling left out even as late as when I was in my early teens and both of my brothers were in college and would go see rock concerts together.
Now, they both practically clamor to spend time with me when I'm home for the holidays. So, all's well that ends well?:
Another thought-- I've always wished I had a sister, but then wondered if the competition would have been really hard on me and my ego. But, then again, maybe it would have made me tougher. Who knows?
I had one sister who I never got along with as a child. As adults I have lots of problems with her. I always wanted a brother. To this day I sometimes think it's too bad that I didn't have more siblings because then I might have a chance at a good sibling relationship. The sad reality is, if I had more siblings we'd probably be just as distant because of the way we were raised.
Anyway, I'm having 3 kids We spaced these two out 3.5 years and I think #3 will be closer to 4 years spacing (I do NOT ever want a toddler and infant at the same time I know my limits!!! I know some moms can handle it but I'm pretty sure my head would explode). So far, dd adores her brother (though she wants him out of her STUFF!) and he thinks she's the cat's pajamas. I am trying to be a better mom than I had and we definitely have a better, more loving marriage than my parent's did so that's a huge plus in our family life
Oh and dh was the middle of 3 and thinks 3 is a fine number (though he does not get along with his baby sister at all but my older SIL is great).
I am just glad that I am responsible. That is the most positive thing I gained from being the oldest/second mother.
My own father was the youngest of seven, but he was very spoiled. After we were all grown, he exhaustively said that he knew now why his older brothers had one child each.
My mom was an only child, very spoiled also.
I really had no cousins to play with when I grew up.
If you do read about many famous people and geniuses, they were the youngest in their family. Benjamin Franklin was the youngest (#13) of a second family of a man whose first wife had died. Leonard DaVinci, Karl Marx, were the youngest. George Washington was the oldest of a second family that a widower had started with a younger woman. George Washington looked up to his older brother Lawrence as a male role model more than his father who died when he was eleven.
I always felt every baby born into the world brought hope. Some more than others, now that I am older and wiser
My second was a surprise, at first I was upset about being pregnant because I'm not the kind of person who likes surprises. But I love my son with all my heart and soul and I am so glad he came when he did. I think it would have been harder for dd if I waited til she was older.
My dh and I up until now had agreed to stop at 2, but now I find myself wanting a third, at least try for a girl so my dd will have a sister, something I feel i missed out on. I realize how different my two children are and how much each of them has to give and how much I have to learn from each of them. Having another would truly be a blessing.
Of course I would have a full head of totally grey hair by then!! It's been so hard to meet the needs of both of them, diffrent ages & stages, and still have time to brush my teeth in the morning!! But things are getting better, easier and I'm learning how to be a good mother to them, and they're teaching me how to be a better person, a better example for them.
PS, I also thing that when siblings grow up together they learn how to respect each other and they have each other to rely on when mom or dad can't be there. My dd helps her brother all the time and is so proud of herself for it!