7 Reasons Why Two Kids Is (more than) Enough for Me

7 reasons two kids is enoughA whole bunch of my friends are having third babies right now. Seeing the sweet little pumpkins and their perfect little baby faces gets me more than a little melty.

I love babies. Always have, always will. So sometimes my uterus twitches a bit when I hold the little bundles of joy.

But then I come to my senses.

Hubs and I are so all set with our two girls. Our family is complete. And I’m pretty sure if we we had another kid, the very delicate, slight bit of balance we’ve finally achieved would crumble to sad, pathetic little bits.

There are so many reasons why two kids is just right for me and I really don’t need a baby in my life…

No more diapers. There is just nothing pleasant about wiping excrement off a person’s butt, no matter how cute that little butt is. And I do not miss diaper blowouts in carseats or on my lap. Or projectile poop. Not one bit.

Man-on-man defense. Right now, if both kids are tantruming, Hubs can deal with one and I can deal with the other. What would we do if there was also a screaming baby? The idea makes me want to crawl into the fetus position and start sucking my thumb. I can handle the truth: I’m just not mom enough.

No minvan needed. I know, I know, many of you love your minvans. But for me, getting a minivan is a symbol that I’ve succumbed to mom servitude. It’s a sign that I’ve conformed to suburban standards. It screams, “I AM NO LONGER COOL.”

Sure, all this may actually describe me and my life, but I’m not ready to admit it. And with only two kids? No need to.

We are finally sleeping again. Gracie didn’t start sleeping through the night until she was 3.5 years old. I really am not sure how I made it through those years. Or how she did, either. I can’t do that again. End of story.

Playing with my kids can be fun now. When my kids were toddlers, “playing” with them meant doing something over and over and over for their enjoyment. Build a tower. Let kid knock it over. Repeat 324 times. Yawn.

Now we do interesting things! We go to fun places! And I don’t want to gouge my eyeballs out from sheer boredom!

I get dumber with each kid. My slowly-declining IQ can’t handle me having another kid. I swear each child has melted my brain cells. Hubs too. We have conversations that make so little sense, we don’t even understand them while we’re having them.

Here’s how it goes: We begin to have a reasonable discussion for a couple of minutes. Soon we start to trail off mid-sentence without finishing our thought. Then we forget what it was we were talking about, give up, and jump to another topic. Nothing gets fully discussed or resolved. Which is why nothing ever gets done around here. Ever.

More than enough hormones in this house already. I swear my seven-year-old is already PMSing along with me. And the four-year-old copies her. If we had another kid, it would most certainly be another girl, and I don’t think Hubs could handle that.

As it is, he has gotten a terrifying glance into his hormone-filled future and has decided to start a six-year-long business trip when Annie turns 12. Thanks, Hubs.

Are you in the two-kid club? Or are you a brave soul who’s outnumbered by your offspring?

 

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Dealing with the loss of my dad – three years later

dealing with the loss of my dadThree years ago yesterday, I became a part of a club that no one wants to join. I knew just a few people in it and I hoped I would never be forced to be a member. But unwillingly, I was inducted into it one chilly spring day.

Three years ago, my dad died suddenly of a stroke. He was just 66. Looking for Honest Voices

My dad and I had a complicated relationship. My childhood wasn’t always idyllic and I have some terrible memories of things he did and said. He was a man whose life did not turn out the way he planned it to, and it often made him bitter and angry.

Now that I am an adult and have been battling depression, I understand a lot of my dad’s actions stemmed from his own untreated depression. The passage of time has given me the needed space to see this. And I’ve realized that a lot of what I battle against are qualities my dad had, too.

Short tempered. Easily frustrated. Sad for no apparent reason. Wanting to shut out the world and retreat into a solitary hobby. Social with others, yet feeling isolated deep inside.

All of this describes both of us.

Yet these are not the things I dwell upon when I think about my dad. And unlike my dad, I reached out for help. I am trying to manage my depression and not let it beat me down. I know I don’t want to end up bitter and angry and I’m working hard to prevent it.

And there are many positive qualities I got from my dad: I love to garden. I am intelligent (though this whole motherhood thing has zapped many brain cells, for sure). I enjoy helping others. I am (well, I used to be) a good tennis player. I read and absorb books quickly, love the internet and social media, have meticulous attention to detail when it counts, and have a goofy sense of humor.

All things I got from my dad.

My dad mellowed out as he got older. His temper calmed and he got slightly more laid back. He really liked Hubs and truly enjoyed having another guy around. When he became a grandfather, I saw a whole new side of him. Or maybe it wasn’t a new side – maybe it was the dad I knew when I was little.

I feel robbed that he was taken from me too early. I’m angry that just as he was becoming the dad I wanted, he was gone. I’m pissed that Grace will never know him and that Annie barely remembers him.

I’m resentful that I’m in the club I’m in – the club of people who lost a parent too early.

But I try not to let the resentment and the anger and the sadness take over. That’s the stuff I fight against. And one of the ways I manage those negative emotions is through the beloved hobby my dad, mom, and I share – gardening.

On or near the anniversary of my dad’s death, I get out and I garden like crazy. Here in the northeast, late April is usually the beginning of the gardening season, and it’s therapeutic to see new life popping up all around me.

I get my hands dirty. I wear myself out digging up and dividing hostas (my dad’s favorite plant), digging big holes to transfer plants to, filling those holes with sweetly pungent dirt.

I water the plants the way my dad taught me – put the hosta in the new hole, flood the new hole with water, let the plant absorb it, then fill with dirt, fertilize, and re-water.

The physical work helps me release the sadness and tension in my body. I exhaust myself and then sleep peaceful, dreamless sleep.

The next morning I look upon my work and know that my dad would be proud. That he is proud. And I swear that I can feel him smiling down at me as he digs in his big hosta garden in the sky.

 

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photo credit: Leonard John Matthews via photopin cc

Your mom guilt isn’t Pinterest’s fault.

play with meI’m standing in the kitchen, doing dishes. The beginnings of a crock-pot dinner are strewn about the counter. While I scrub, there are seemingly endless tasks swimming through my mind:

Call the kids’ doctor. Switch the laundry. Email the class mom. Follow up with the potential new client. Do I have time to run to Target before Annie’s bus comes? Don’t forget to sign Annie up for gymnastics camp.

reminder

Both my mind and hands are racing as I rinse a pot. I plot how it’s all going to get done in the next four hours.

Then a small hand tugs at my yoga pants.

“Mommy, will you play with me?” Gracie pleads.

I look at my four-year-old, who is still sporting bedhead and her nightgown at 11am. “Honey, mommy is trying to get stuff done. Can you play with your animals for a little while?”

Her hopeful baby face falls as the corners of her mouth turn down, and she sulks off to the playroom.

And as the hot water washes over my hands, my mommy guilt washes over me.

Every day that Gracie is home with me she constantly wants me to play with her. And every day, at some point – at most points – I turn her down. I say “no” to playing more than “yes.” I want to say yes more often, but I am being pulled in two directions.

I could put the pots and pans down and go play, as many moms would admonish me to do. They’re only little once. They’ll grow up before you know it. The chores can wait. Play with them!

Or I could expect Gracie to be happy to entertain herself, as another camp of moms instructs. Kids can’t depend on their parents for fun all the time. You are not her 24/7 entertainer. Our parents didn’t spend every second doing Pinteresting crafts with us! We entertained ourselves!

More often than not, I am in camp #2 and I lean toward expecting my kids to entertain themselves without me. I tell myself that it’s good for them to be bored and figure out how to have fun on their own.

So I send them off to play by themselves with promises of playing together later when I’m done with my tasks.

Then I feel guilty about it. I fret that I’m ignoring them and they feel rejected by me. I worry they’re going to end up in therapists’ chairs someday, lamenting that if only their mom had paid more attention to them, their lives would have turned out better.

(Actually, that’ll probably happen no matter what.)

Where is this crazy mommy guilt coming from?

Honestly, I look back at my childhood and I don’t remember my parents playing with me all that much. I didn’t even have siblings to occupy my time. I played with the neighborhood kids. Played in my room. Read books. I have fond memories of times with my parents but they weren’t my constant playmates, for sure.

So why do I feel pressure to be MY kids’ constant playmates?

Well, I’ll let you in on a little epiphany I had recently. And it’s may not be one that you expect.

People love to blame the perfection of Pinterest and societal expectations and peer pressure for the excessive mommy guilt in our culture.

But I’m going to say something totally, completely radical:

I think it’s me doing it to myself. I create this guilt.

I’m LETTING the world around me guilt me. And it’s my own responsibility to let it go.

Because really? I’m doing just fine at this mom gig and I need to chill the F out with the guilt. And so do you.

When I start feeling like I’m doing a crummy job, I need to take a deep breath and look around me. My kids are happy and healthy. My house is not falling apart. Sure, I have an overflowing inbox and an endless list of to-dos, but if those things sit for a while while I play outside with my kids, will the world come crashing down? No.

And if I tell Gracie I can’t play with her this very second and she gives me the look that says I just won the “least likely to succeed” mom award today? She’ll survive.

We’re doing just fine, mamas. And we need to stop blaming the world around us for our guilt and just let. it. go.

Now go finish that laundry. Or play with that kid. Whatever floats your boat. Just don’t feel guilty about it, okay?

Are you a guilt-monger? Or are you good at letting it go?

 

Honest Voices linkup at HonestMom.com