i’m not listening

kids clip art

 

When are you going to have kids? How many kids are you going to have? You’ve been married for five minutes… we want answers!

Does this sound familiar? As soon as the blessed nuptials are past and the honeymoon is a collection of photos and mementos gracing your coffee table, the questions begin. These aren’t your run of the mill “how’s the weather” questions, either. They are very personal, private questions that probe into your emotions, professional aspirations, and not to mention… the bedroom.

If you take the time to Google the phrases: “should I have kids?”, “when should I have kids?” or “how many kids should I have?”, you will receive literally hundreds of thousands of search results. The world appears to have an opinion regarding the fruit of your loins. Do you listen?

My husband and I were married very young (before the age of cell phones and digital cameras!). I had just turned 20 years old, and he had recently become the very mature age of 21. From the beginning, we had a plan of waiting for five years to have children, and we made that very clear to our family and friends.

wedding

But… life happens, and before we knew it, we were approaching the ripe old age of 30; still no children. This was a choice we were making, and our family was past the point of asking questions. The possibility of holding a grandchild was becoming more and more implausible.

Enter in… Child #1 – Violet. As the first grandchild on both sides of our families, she was doomed to a life of coddling, indulging, and precociousness. But she was intensely loved.

Violet newborn

Time passed as it always does, and before we knew it, Violet had turned one year old. Once again, the questions began. When are you going to have another child? You better get started; you never know what could happen. Seriously? Questions like these make my hair stand on end. First of all, it’s none of your business. Secondly, my body is still recovering from the last one!

My husband and I had already prepared for this bombardment of questioning. “Four years” was our go-to answer: never more than one kid at a time in high school, driving, or in college. We had a system and a plan.

However, this time, the inquiries didn’t stop at that. Much to our dismay, it turned into advice.

  • You definitely shouldn’t wait that many years between siblings.
  • Four years is too long; they’ll never know each other.
  • You really should have all your kids in diapers at one time so you can get it over with.
  • You don’t want to be in a wheelchair at your child’s high school graduation.

And my absolute favorite: Do you really have enough time to wait that long – isn’t your biological clock ticking away? Yikes. At this point in the conversation, I am nodding my head as I mentally prepare next week’s dinner menu and grocery list.

For several years, we were able to politely ignore the onslaught of advice from our friends, family, and even strangers.  We had a plan, and we were sticking to it.

Enter in… Child #2 – Henry. Our plan worked. Violet and Henry’s due dates were exactly four years apart to the day – April 15. We planned for four years, and that’s what we got! I’ll admit, the arrival of the second child is on a completely different playing field. The fuss, commotion, and excitement are much more refined and predictable. But nonetheless, Henry was also intensely loved.

Henry newborn

When Violet arrived at the hospital to meet her baby brother, she was disappointed for two reasons. She was expecting a baby sister (yes, we were surprised with both pregnancies, and Mom may have mentioned that we were probably having another girl), and she also didn’t care for the name Henry. She was intending to name her new baby sister “Cinderella Rapunzel,” and now there was a huge kink in her carefully thought out plans.

But when she walked into our hospital room, her small pouty face vanished immediately. Sheer wonder and amazement crept over Violet’s entire countenance. Her naturally buoyant, jaunty demeanor gradually softened with tenderness, affection, and warmth. It was truly a remarkable transformation.  The most surprising aspect to this new adventure in raising siblings is the consistency in which Violet has related to her little brother. Without fail, she is nurturing, loving, and unswervingly attentive. Please realize, I am not naive. I understand that sibling rivalry will come into play eventually. I am just astounded at the relational cohesiveness at this moment in time.

We have two children: ages five and one (almost). They are perfect together in every way. To respond to all the naysayers over the years:

  • We are grateful we waited this “long.”
  • I’m relieved they are not both in diapers.
  • I have a feeling they will know each other very well over the years; they’re already off to a great start!
  • And I won’t be in a wheelchair anytime soon!

I wouldn’t change a single thing. No regrets, what-ifs, qualms, or misgivings. I know there are those of you out there who have four children under four years old, and I commend you for that! You are making the right choice for your family, and you are a super-mom! Bottom line: Our world loves to dispense free advice on the topic of bearing, adopting, and raising children – if, when, how many, how often. Don’t listen! It can drive a woman crazy! Listen to your heart (and your spouse), and you will know the perfect structure for your own family.

So… We have two children. The societal questioning has already begun. Is it time for number three? Any advice? (Just kidding!)

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8 Responses to i’m not listening

  1. Heather
    Heather March 4, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    I LOVE this!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story. The world can and sometimes does have so much influence. Thank you for the reminder that it’s important to create our own STORY!

  2. miranda March 4, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I needed to hear this, this morning. My family its relentless about their wanting another grandchild and my oldest….1 and 1/2. So thank you!!!

    • Erin March 4, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      You have plenty of time! It’s your family and your decision! Thanks for reading!

  3. katina March 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Great article! My first two are 4 1/2 years apart and the 3rd came 12 years later! She is now 3 and we can’t decide if we want 1 more. All of the children get along.

    • Erin March 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

      Thanks for reading! I’m still debating on the third. It would be nice to have some older kids to help out! 🙂

  4. Nonie March 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Your plan is perfect, Erin! Although, Divine Intervention sometimes comes into play in things like this! You never know…..

    • Erin March 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Very true! Our way is not always the Right way.

  5. Laura March 7, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Erin,
    I loved your article. Difference is what colors our world, & everyone’s life is different in its own way. I have always believed that the best advice for moms is, “no one’s way is right for everyone, trust your instinct.” In my case instinct has always served me better than advice. I stress less when I don’t listen to everyone else’s advice. 🙂

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