Having recently read a post from one of my favourite parenting blogs, Raising Edgar, on the subject of the decision to have (or in their case, not to have) more than one child, it got me thinking about why I wanted two myself. Of course there are just as many reasons for not wanting more than one as there are for not wanting any at all – the less you have the better off you are financially, the more time you are likely to have for your one child, or for yourself if you have none at all, the easier it is on your body and the way you live. Plus, no arguments to break up, no disagreements to mediate, no fights to referee…
As I said in my comments on the aforementioned post, I can’t, off the top of my head, give a really valid reason except to say that with one child it felt like we were a house with three walls and now, with our two boys, it feels like we’re a house with four walls – ie, complete, symmetrical.
Financially, childcare is the key factor that we had to take into consideration and I think timing is key on that one. Being an older mum I didn’t have the luxury of waiting for JJ to turn school age before getting knocked up for the second time, but I did, just about, have time to get him to pre-school age at which point nursery fees dropped by 3 quarters, just in time for EJ’s to kick in! In future it will of course be more expensive to go on holiday, out for a meal, day trip, anything really, but those are all luxuries that you either put aside for, downgrade or give up on until finances permit.
To us though (and I’m guessing to a vast number of other people) the material considerations are massively outweighed by the desire to fulfill our destiny as a family. I am one of two, my mum and dad are both one of two, the hubster is one of two – I guess for us two is the magic number. I can’t imagine being happier now if I’d been an only child. I love my sister and I love my nieces. I love the fact that that my boys have got cousins (albeit girls who are a decade older than them but still just as loved!) (their cousins on the hubster’s side live in another country mind you so they never get to spend time together but that’s another post).
And to the argument that you don’t need a sibling later in life because you make better friends – well, maybe that’s true, I don’t know from personal experience but I do appreciate feeling a part of something which to me, is forever, binding and unconditional. Maybe that’s not true of everyone’s families but it is true of mine.
I am also just starting to see the lovely relationship forming between my sons – even with EJ at the tender age of 15 months. JJ makes him laugh hysterically chasing him up and down, and, even though EJ is known as the Destroyer of All Things, JJ still also refers to him as his best friend.
And despite my longing for a little girl, I’m glad that I had two boys because I think they will have so much more to do with each other’s lives and so much more in common as time goes by.
To those reading this who may want but be unable to have a second child, I really hope this doesn’t come across smug or thoughtless in any way – I do realise how lucky I am and this is merely an unravelling of my own, up to this point, undefined reasoning for making my life (temporarily) more difficult. Two is not by any means better than one, or three, etc, ad infinitum, but it is nice to have been able to have the choice and been blessed with the gift of fulfilling the biological destiny which I had mapped out for myself as far back as I can remember.