This has been a topic of much debate in my house recently. I am burning up with baby fever despite the fact that 18-month-old Jack still keeps me very much on my toes. I remember the first time that someone with a child about the same age as ours announced a new pregnancy, I was filled with panic on her behalf. No WAY could I imagine adding a new baby to the mix already. But my own mom had my sister when I was only 13 months old and somehow we all survived. Lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe a new baby wouldn’t be so terrifying after all. Assuming that you’re able to make the decision intentionally and not met with an unexpected pregnancy or struggling with infertility, waiting to adopt, or some other circumstance; how do you decide when it’s time to add a new child to your family? Here are some things to consider:
- If you’re a stay at home mom, are you hoping to go back to work when the kids are older? Would it make more sense to have them closer together so you spend fewer years out of the workforce?
- Does the idea of having kids who are close in age appeal to you? Maybe you think they’ll be besties for life, or that it would be easier to get through this season of caring for tiny humans all at once instead of dragging it out. Those first few years might be tough, but you’ll be able to ditch diapers and strollers altogether sooner than if you’d waited.
- If your kids are in daycare, will you be able to afford the doubled tuition? Would it be more economical to wait until your older child is in school? Many programs offer a discount for siblings, so it may actually end up being a little cheaper in the long run to have them close together; but that doesn’t make it any easier to write a huge check every month.
- How old will your older child be when the baby is born? Two years is a common spacing but having a two year old and a newborn sounds like my own personal nightmare (that is only a slight exaggeration).
- Can you handle two in diapers? Would it be easier on you to wait until your older child is potty trained?
- Are you ready to do it all over again? When you think back to those first few months you may be overcome with nostalgia for newborn snuggles, but it’s all fun and games until someone wants to nurse every hour on the hour. We had some hard days and sleepless nights that I’m not sure I’m ready to relive, especially with two kids!
- Do you really want to have a second baby? The answer for us is, without a doubt, yes, but it’s okay to call your family complete whenever you feel ready. Don’t let pressure from friends, family, or society push you into having another child if you’re perfectly happy with your family as is.
I think the decision to have another child is so personal and will be different for every family. I do want to go back to work full time when my kids are older, so the idea of having them close together makes sense; but I’m not sure I’ve got what it takes to handle another one just yet (moms of two under two, you have my utmost respect). Ask me again when Jack turns two and I may have a different answer!