This is What the Truth Looks Like: Considering a Third

Is that an answer over yonder?

My husband and I consider having a third kid. It feels like a secret that I shouldn’t share.

I can feel the judgements coming on. People close to me will take one look at the tilt-a-whirl state of our lives, and wonder why we would deliberately pile on more. Then again, most people won’t bat an eyelash, we’re all consumed with our own lives.

We have two healthy girls, a kindergartener who is happily into school and her chosen activities, and a spirited toddler. My husband works long days, and my career as a deadline-driven consultant is intense. We like to play, travel, and go on dates, and in between we fulfill the endless tasks that keep family operations going. By all accounts, we have our hands full.

But, I can’t get rid of the feeling that we may not be done. We never closed that door. Some of my friends knew for certain that one, two, or three was their magic number. As in baby is born, hubs got a vasectomy, end of story. I envy their certainty. I’d like some of that.

Growing up in a two-kid house, I begged my mom to have another baby (a brother, specifically) between ages 7-9, and my parents also wished for a third, for a time.

Two is even. One parent per kid. One hand to hold each child. Our society accommodates parties of four easily. But somehow, deep down, three could be the magic number.

My head pulls apart the question How would we manage all that again? Then my gut responds, Like anything, you take a leap, muddle through the initial chaos, delegate, fuck up, and figure it out. It’s an endless loop. My husband’s in a similar frame of mind. We toss around, almost interchangeably, “Why would we EVER do that?” and “Why wouldn’t we? We’re already in the thick of it!” Yes, more expensive and more to manage, but logic doesn’t drive every life decision.

In elementary school, both my best friend and sister’s best friend were from three-kid families. Their home lives seemed so full. They were also boisterous and had tons of toys and snacks, so maybe the culture of their families appealed to me.

Sure, I enjoyed it as a spectator, but would it be as satisfying as the ring-leader? Hard to say. How do you know?! Researching “should I have a third kid?” on the internet only gets you so far. The internet doesn’t hold the answer. There’s no right answer.

As for our childhood friends, their moms stayed home full time. To me, there is a chasm between being a working mom of one or two, and of ratcheting it up to three (or more!). People do it. My fellow bloggers do it. However, I suspect that managing the logistics, my job, and my own mental and physical health would be, to borrow Anissa’s term, “soul crushingly hard” (I keep reading her post!). I have to be honest with myself about what more I have to give, and what my priorities are.

As the seasons pass, as the baby swing in the attic stands stoically, we consider a third.

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