2 Children Per Family? Why Is This The Norm? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I were sure we were only going to have 2 children when I was pregnant with DS last year. We always said we wanted 2 and we had a DD and then a DS and we were content. We have changed our minds. You would think that we wanted to do something really radical by having more children based on what friends and family keep saying. And the comments are always off-hand jokes, which makes them seem like they are flippant and not to be taken seriously, yet I know they are. And the kicker is that I am not even pregnant again yet! I guess they are trying to talk us out of it?

What is the deal? If you have an only child you get questions about why not give the child a sibling and if you want more than 2 people think you are crazy. Why is this? I just can't imagine making some of the rude comments to other people that I've gotten about wanting at least one more child, possibly 2 more.

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#2 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 10:54 PM
 
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I am pregnant with our third and I get those comments all the time too. I think most people think three or more is just hard to deal with. It's honestly made me a little scared. I also think people think there is no way you can afford more than two. What is easy about two is that you and your husband or partner can double team them, but when there's that extra one maybe it's a little harder. I'm excited about our third, but people do put fear in my head when they make their comments. I wish I had a better answer, but honestly I'm not sure other than those answers why someone would say that.
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#3 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 10:59 PM
 
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If each couple only has two children it equals zero population growth, the holy grail to some people. I think that this is what it ultimately comes down to, it's supposedly irresponsible to 'increase and multiply' anymore.


So we say, 'One of each' and that's supposed to be enough.

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#4 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:04 PM
 
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Actually, 2 per couple is less than zero growth - it will result in an overall pop decline, which causes lots of problems for things like social security, etc. Europe is in this predicament, and it's weird - it's the first time in history that a population has chosen not to replace itself.

Maybe it's because we come from Catholic families, but my mom came from 10, my dad from 5, my mil from 3, my fil from 6, me from 4, and my dh from 5. I have over 75 aunts, uncles, and cousins. We want at least 4, and would be happy to have more if there's time (we like a bit of spacing). If you only have 2, what if they don't get along? Who will they have for company? I love big families, and they're totally manageable, from what I've seen.
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#5 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:14 PM
 
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I want to have more kiddos too, but it does feel a little strange to go past that somehow magical two number. Maybe we have an excuse to have another to "try for a girl"... although that is not our reasoning.. just the only reason others seem to have for having more than the standard two.
I have recently talked with my parents about having more than two kids (it was just me and my brother growing up, but both my parents have 4 siblings). Both of my parents (divorced) wish they had had more children. My dad said he didn't realize life would be so long, and feels like he rushed life in the beginning. My mom says she would have liked to have two more, but there was an rh factor issue and the doctor told her it could be unsafe to have any more babies...
I have been feeling recently like someone is missing from our family. I was playing with the kids today, and it felt like someone else was wanting to be there. I do get nervous about it. Three seems like a lot to me since I have a hard time handling two some days.
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#6 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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It kind of does seem like a family with two kids is somehow the standard, and families with one child or three+ kids are forever hearing remarks about it. I wonder why that is.

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#7 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:33 PM
 
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I'm from a big family. My mom says that the change in the amount of work going from one kid to two is exponential. After that it's just additive. I think with greater than two, you get economies of scale.

Most folks are from smaller families, so they might not understand the different dynamics in larger families.

That said, for us, two are a gracious plenty.
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#8 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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I always thought 3 kids was norm, thats what most people have in my town and where I grew up. Most of mine and DH's family is large, so we want to have 4 kids. Haven't gotten any negative comments about it yet.
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#9 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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I think it's just because kids are a ginormous amount of work and most people can't imagine taking on that much.

As joyous and satisfying as that work is, it still takes its toll on a person - I think it's just that most parents feel they can't give more of themselves to 3, 4 children - but with 2 they more or less manage,financially, time-wise, etc
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#10 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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It's interesting, in the area where we live, three seems to be the new two... We live in a very family oriented neighborhood, so that probably has a bit to do with it.

The odd thing is, the idea of four seems to be really strange to people... Having three, I can't imagine how one more will really tip the scale for us.
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#11 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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#12 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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I think its mostly down here because of finances and people being strapped with two dont want to be in poverty with 3. I think a lot of people down here would have more children if they could afford it.
I know Im happy with my one and I constantly get pressured not only from strangers but from my own family to have another. Fortunatly Im having my hysterectomy on Nov 6th and it will be a non-issue
I try my best not to judge (something I am occasionally guilty of) but when I come across people in Grocery stores with several children buying their food on food stamps and they are pregnant - it irks me slightly. We stopped at one because we felt that financially we were comfy with one. We can afford to put her into dance, voice lessons or whatever her heart desires. We can go on family vacations without budgetting for an entire year first. We didn't want to have children if we couldn't afford to take care of them by ourselves.
I understand things happen - and who knows - maybe the family DID have a great job and really COULD afford those kids up until the market changed and they got laid off. I have no idea. But I think its a bigger factor here than the "stereotypical" family of "one girl, one boy = done" KWIM?

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#13 of 179 Old 10-27-2008, 11:55 PM
 
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DH and I each have only one sibling, so our plan when we got married was to have two kids. We liked the way we grew up, and two seems easy to us. We had a few reasons.

We ended up with one boy and one girl, so that was nice, although we would have been happy with two of one gender and wouldn't have tried for the other gender.

We like two because when one of us is alone with them (usually me), that parent can get his or her hands on both kids at once. I can carry two tantruming children out of a store on my own. Three at a time would be a major challenge.

We felt that with two kids, their fights would be pretty evenly matched. One against one is okay, especially since our kids are only a year and a half apart. With one more child thrown into the mix, we'd be concerned that two would gang up on the third, which would be a bummer.

It was hard enough for us to find a house we could afford with three bedrooms; four bedrooms would have been out of our reach and we'd have to figure out who would share a room. College costs would also be much more difficult with more than two little ones.

DH and I like amusement parks. With our family of four, the two kids can ride together, or each parent can ride with one child. With three kids, the logistics would be more difficult.

I don't know.... maybe these reasons seem petty. But they, plus our gut feelings on the matter, meant that two kids was it for us. However, we are certainly supportive and delighted when others make a different decision and have more or less than two children.
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#14 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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I think we *may* have decided on only two kids, but for us it's because I have a uterine shape that causes my babies to be in the frank breech presentation (which I found out after DS2 turned just like his big bro and would NOT go back) and I don't think I could handle another c/s.

However DH is from a family of seven and I am from a family of six. People always make remarks about us being "catholic" which neither of us are.

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#15 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 12:16 AM
 
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There is a stigma to having an only child. Its generally thought that your child will be lonely and will grow up to be selfish.

But kids are more expensive now than they were generations ago. They "need" electronics, sports, lessons, activities, designer clothes, loads of toys, etc so more than 2 is too expensive for many families.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#16 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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Beats me. For us, having three children was easier than having two. Four is definately more work, but I wouldn't go back to having less. I like that there are more kids to play with each other and hang out with.

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#17 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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I had always said I didn't want kids at all, then I had ds and knew that I wanted at least one more. Right now we're sticking with just 2 because we can't really afford to add another one to our family at this time (nor do I want to be pregnant again so soon after giving birth ) but we are open to possibly having another in 5 years or so. My mom is the youngest of 3, my dad and his twin are the middle of 5, and dh is the middle of 3. My mom and dad just had me and my brother, but I think I would like to add on again at some point.

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#18 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jmmom View Post
Actually, 2 per couple is less than zero growth - it will result in an overall pop decline, which causes lots of problems for things like social security, etc. Europe is in this predicament, and it's weird - it's the first time in history that a population has chosen not to replace itself.
It's the first time in history people have had the choice.

Two seems natural to us. We can divide and conquer, plus we all fit in a sedan.
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#19 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 02:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LaLaLaLa View Post
DH and I each have only one sibling, so our plan when we got married was to have two kids. We liked the way we grew up, and two seems easy to us. We had a few reasons.

We ended up with one boy and one girl, so that was nice, although we would have been happy with two of one gender and wouldn't have tried for the other gender.

We like two because when one of us is alone with them (usually me), that parent can get his or her hands on both kids at once. I can carry two tantruming children out of a store on my own. Three at a time would be a major challenge.

We felt that with two kids, their fights would be pretty evenly matched. One against one is okay, especially since our kids are only a year and a half apart. With one more child thrown into the mix, we'd be concerned that two would gang up on the third, which would be a bummer.

It was hard enough for us to find a house we could afford with three bedrooms; four bedrooms would have been out of our reach and we'd have to figure out who would share a room. College costs would also be much more difficult with more than two little ones.

DH and I like amusement parks. With our family of four, the two kids can ride together, or each parent can ride with one child. With three kids, the logistics would be more difficult.

I don't know.... maybe these reasons seem petty. But they, plus our gut feelings on the matter, meant that two kids was it for us. However, we are certainly supportive and delighted when others make a different decision and have more or less than two children.
This is our situation too, and I agree with all of these points, except for the amusement park. That never came up when we were thinking about it, LOL.

Also, the sharing of rooms issue for us was not a big deal. In fact, we've decided to put the two in the same room for the next few year until they can deal with being on a different floor from us parents.

But most of the above arguments ring true for me.

I'm 99% sure we're done at two, at least that's what I tell everyone who asks. DH sometimes jokes about having a 3rd, but I tell him where to go pretty quick. I do, however, get a little nostalgic holding someone else's newborn. . . .

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#20 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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We have 3 children and our family is complete now. 2 just didn't feel done to us. We got a lot of comment about why would we want to have another child when we already had one boy and one girl (we ended up with a second girl). I just told them because we want to and we are the ones raising the family so it's no concern of yours! 3 is more difficult in some ways. Vacation packages are priced for 4, most restaurants seat 4, etc. Do what your heart tells you. Sure, it would have been easier to stop at 2 but I honestly cannot imagine my life without DD2. I think when you get to the end of your life you are not going to regret the children you DID have but you may very well regret the ones you didn't.

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#21 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 02:18 AM
 
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I suspect that if you come from a 2 child family, you feel that two is fairly normal.

I also suspect that people choose not to have more because of lack of community and family assistance and due to social expectations about what kids and families need to have and do to be successful.

For example, I come from a three-child family, and I have always thought that four children would be good. However, my husband wants one because he feels that work demands a lot of his emotional energy. I'd be fine with two, because we live in a very expensive city, eat organic food, and we like to travel.

However, I always say that if I lived in a different place and with a different job situation, four would be great.

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#22 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 02:25 AM
 
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Ohhh... four would be heavenly!!! We stopped at two because of my age (41). My babies were big (dd 9'9" and ds 8'15") and I had two rough c-sections. No more scalples!!! lol. Still, if I was younger... even mid-thirties, we'd try for #3 & 4.

A friend of mine just had her fourth son, and people make comments all the time, like why so many kids, etc etc. I don't get it - I think if you have the time and resources, why not. Siblings are the greatest gift you can gift your kids, and big families are wonderful :-)
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#23 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 02:27 AM
 
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I think a few significant factors have influenced the change in the family size norm. Mainly, increase in the rate of divorce, later age of child-bearing, significant increase in the cost of raising children, lifestyles becoming more hectic, lack of familial support network, people choosing to marry late (as in age).
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#24 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 02:34 AM
 
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beats me as to why, but my mom always says i should be happy with two..........i always tell her its ok i'm just having the one my sister chooses not to have, my sis has an only child and plans to keep it that way i've got two but am going to ttc #3 in about a month......
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#25 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 04:57 AM
 
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I have no idea why people would think it was the norm. I grew up in two way different cities. Until I was 10 my family lived in a town setting, one or two children was the norm. We were thought to have a large family with three. Then we moved to a more rural city where 5-10 was more the norm and we were the smallest of the families we knew.
DH comes from a family with 5 children, I have two brothers. We would love to have a large family. We both love children. We haven't set a certain number though. We have got a couple of questions about when DH's going to get snipped now that we are expecting our second. I just ignore them.

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#26 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 06:42 AM
 
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I'm in the process of trying to sort out how I feel about this.

Logically two is good for us. It means that we don't need a bigger car or bigger house. There's one parent per child. One knee for each child. One hand for each child.

In my heart though I think I want more. Say three or four. I come from four and that seems normal to me.

I just worry about getting older, and wishing for more kids, but not having the option anymore. Financially I really don't think we could afford another child at this point in our life, but I'm scared that when we can it will just be too late.

What do you follow? Your heart or your brain?

It's complicated.
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#27 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What is most frustrating about this to me is that friends and family who have had the nerve to weigh in on this very private decision are basically suggesting that we are either naive or stupid and have no real idea what it is going to be like to have more than 2 children. We are two reasonably intelligent adults, a self-supporting family, and I stay at home with the two we've already got - I think we have a clue.

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#28 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 09:19 AM
 
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I think zero population growth is a good idea as far as the environment goes, but on the other hand people should be free to have as many children as they want, and enough people never have children to balance things out in the US anyway.
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#29 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 09:25 AM
 
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I think maybe some people are only able to see what they themselves can handle (in my case, I bore one of each in only two tries and I was relieved that I was absolved of any obligation to keep trying for whichever gender we didn't have) and then they project that onto other people and assume others would be overwhelmed as they might be, or that others could easily handle as many as they could. And I imagine sometimes there's a discrepancy between partners as to how many children is enough and "one of each" seems like a fair enough compromise all around if it happens as easily as it did for us.

I know people who couldn't wait to get snipped after the one child they wanted, and others who have 5 and would welcome as many more as they can be blessed with, and others who want as many as they can have, plus foster kids to raise and possibly adopt, and still others who don't even see the sense in bringing new people into the world when there are already so many kids in existence who need parents. And I don't think it's anyone's business how many children anyone else feels is enough for their family or from whence these children originate.

So to summarize, my opinion is who cares whether anyone else approves of how many children you want to raise. Perhaps you could suggest that they mind their own and kiss your butt if they don't like it. But then, I'm excited (to a ridiculously stupid degree) every time I hear there's another Duggar in the oven, so there ya go.
I totally agree with this! I think that large families are often easier than 2 child families, but it's totally dependent on the parents and their personalities. I know a lot of people who have 1-2 kids who have to have their children involved in every activity imaginable, and that's their choice. A lot of them also have every toy, gadget, trust/college fund, etc. for their kids, with little emphasis on family time (keep in mind we live in an upper class area where 2 working parents and nannies are the norm). Thus, the thought that more than 2 kids is somehow unaffordable (they think I'm crazy when I tell them our budget has room for many more kiddos).

We would love to have a very large family, and we'll see what God has in store for us. I respect my friends who have made the decision to only have 1-2 children, and they respect me for my choice to have more. Yes, my kiddos wear hand me downs and thrift store clothing, and have fewer toys than other kids, but they're very happy, love to go to the library to pick out new books and movies, and are waiting for more kiddos to love on.
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#30 of 179 Old 10-28-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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We always wanted more until our second was born and now we both feel totally completely done. While we dealt with fertility issues ttc our second, I heard constantly how my oldest needed a sibling, how I couldn't wait too long, etc. Very helpful.

Now I have the whole problem of the fact that I have 2 boys. All the time I get comments about how I should try for a girl. It really doesn't help that he's got long hair and people think I want him to be a girl since I already had a boy. I'm very very happy with my 2 boys and can't imagine life any different.
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