There was once a day when I didn't even think about kids. Before being a WAHM (work at home mama) and health coach, I was a consultant for a big 5 consulting firm. I worked 60+ hours a week. I lived and breathed work. I traveled full time. I lived out of a suitcase.
When I was a teenager, I babysat here and there. When I was in college, I was focused on having fun, getting a degree and hopefully getting a great job. When I look back at that time in my life, I think I wanted to have kids but I didn't know how many and I really didn't give it much thought. It seemed so far away.
When I was pregnant with Madilyn (my now 4-year-old) I watched my cousin's newborn a day a week because I needed "practice." I never even changed a diaper before watching her. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Wow, my life is very different today.
Brian, my husband, and I have always said we wanted two kids. When we got married, we had that talk. We agreed that two was our magic number. We now have two kids. We have two beautiful daughters - Madilyn, 4, and Juliana, 1. They are so much alike yet so different. Madilyn loves to dance around the living room to Adele songs. She loves to dress up. She loves anything princess. She is caring. She is emotional like her mama. Juliana is our rough and tumble one. I can see her loving sports when she is older. She has no patience for books. She loves to laugh. She loves our dog, Charli. She adores her big sister.
When I look at my girls, I feel like our family is complete but how do I really know?
Yesterday was a day I felt 100% done. Madilyn threw a fit at the doctor's office. Juliana didn't nap as good as usual. Brian worked really, really late. I felt like a single mama. I felt tired as hell. I felt drained. I was counting down the hours until their bedtimes so I could unwind with The Bachelor, a hot bath and a glass of wine.
The morning sickness, the stretch marks, the exhaustion, the sleepless nights… But then I can't help but smile and think about baby hiccups in my belly, seeing those kicks, ultrasounds, nursing another baby in the middle of the night...
On our really great days, I think about what live would be like with more kiddos. When I say this to Brian he gives me the death stare. He is practical. He thinks about college. He thinks about weddings. He knows our house works with two kids. He knows our car works with two kids. He thinks about finances, my physical health in carrying another child, possibly going through another miscarriage, my mental health and dealing with PPD again, and just the physical challenge of taking care of another child. Holy moly.
Absolutely, those are all real concerns. Then, I think about that baby smell right after a first bath, the way tiny baby toes feel, what it's like when a baby wraps those tiny fingers around your thumb, what that first baby laugh sounds like, possibly seeing Juliana as a big sister...
Is it selfish to be "done" having kids? Maybe. I admit I miss being able to walk around the mall alone, take my time, and try on clothes without an audience of mini-humans. I miss just being able to go to the bathroom alone. I miss getting away with my husband. Just the two of us. Yet, I know, this is just a stage in life. Life with the little ones is a stage. Before I know it, they will be grown up.
But how many is the right number? Here are 5 things I have been thinking about:
1. Be grateful. Regardless of what happens. Fortunately, we have gotten pregnant when we wanted to. I know not everyone is that fortunate. I am grateful and I pray for those mamas who want babies and have trouble getting pregnant. I am grateful for the two beautiful babies I already have. I am grateful that they are here. I am grateful they are healthy, full of energy and keep me on my toes.
2. Don't be in a rush to make a decision. Maybe we will have another child. Maybe we won't. I need to stop thinking that we have to make this decision today. Life is a long time. Time will tell. Relax.
3. Be a little selfish. I think it's healthy be be responsibly selfish. It makes sense for us to look at finances, emotional stability, physical demand of children when deciding how many angels to welcome into our family.
4. Know that it will all work out. Life is funny like that. Even the bad times teach us lessons. We learn from everything we go through.
5. Focus on love. 2 kids. 3 kids. 4 kids. The number really doesn't matter. All that matters is love. Love and food of course. Make this hummus for you and your kiddos this week.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
1 (4 ounce) jar roasted red peppers
juice of half of a lemon
1/3 cup tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Using a food processor, mix the tahini and lemon juice for about 30 seconds. Slowly, add the chickpeas, garlic, peppers and seasonings. Add water until desired consistency is reached.
For better digestion, soak the chickpeas overnight in water with a piece of kombu seaweed. The next day, drain the chickpeas. You can even toss in the seaweed when mixing together the hummus. You won't even know it's in there! Kombu helps reduce the amount of gas that comes with eating beans. Kombu contains enzymes that help break down the sugars in beans, which are the gas-producing culprits.