I am done having kids.
There. I said it. Commence weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I am one of five children. My husband is an only child. We agreed before we ever got married that we wanted “at least two” kids. Any more was up for debate. He was done after Monkey #2. I was the holdout. I wanted my chance at a girl. But also, at 29 years old, I just wasn’t ready to say it yet. So one October night, we made the agreement that if we weren’t pregnant or planning to be so by the following July, we were done. Fast forward to Christmas break, and we found out the number would be three. Needless to say, we were done then.
Our life is totally crazy with three boys 5 and under (and yes, we know what causes that, thank you store clerk, neighbor, or random stranger who thinks it’s funny to make that comment). And there are days that I really do wonder if I (or my kids) will survive until their adulthood. I refuse to count how many loads of laundry I do each week. Or think about the fact that my life revolves around planning the next meal or naptime. My house is a constant whirlwind, and that’s not likely to end soon.
But there are times.
Knowing that Monkey #3 is the last one just does something to my emotions. I sit and watch him sometimes, playing with a toy or “reading” a book. I watch the way his little fingers move to grasp things, or catch the gleam in his eyes as he sways to the rhythm of his favorite musical toy. I kiss his chubby little feet sticking out from under his blanket while he’s napping. I love watching kids this age learn new things. It’s always been my favorite stage. But I almost hate every milestone that he reaches, knowing that he’s that much farther from baby-hood, and closer to not needing me as much. I thank God often that he is a cuddly Mama’s boy.
**Still learning how to say “no” to this face**
There is something that I’m learning about motherhood these days. Each stage is amazing, it’s true. There are blessings and there are trials with every year. But “having children” is such a large part of who we are as women, and comes with so many emotions. Those who have struggled with infertility can tell you about the deep wounds and feelings of failure when your own body works against you (as a side note, KMB contributor Kristen has been doing a series on this on her personal blog: http://www.whenathome.com/). Then there are amazing moments in pregnancy and childbirth, where a woman can feel amazing and fierce, like this is what she was made to do! After such emotional experiences, I think it’s hard to know where your part is, especially between PB&J sandwiches and potty training! Our identity can be so tied up in child-making, that it can be a hard transition to solely child-raising.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy not being needed as much these days. I enjoy the fact that I am *this* close to being done with diapers. I love that I can let other people help feed them. Daddy occasionally takes them for a boys’ day, and gives me some quiet time. I am enjoying #3 learning to say Mommy just this week (saying it 50 times in an hour is another story). That #1 can read now, and loves to do it. And that #2 wants to say night time prayers on his own. Watching them grow, and seeing the people they are becoming is downright amazing.
And although I swore to myself that I wouldn’t treat my youngest like the typical baby of the family, I’m starting to realize that it’s just not possible. Between this, and the fact that he’s my last grasp on my introduction to motherhood, I know he will always be just a tad different to me. And I’m okay with that.