Friday, March 16, 2012

How do you know when you're done?

I thought I had finally made up my mind.

After being home one wonderful year, full of very high highs and some dark, winter lows, I had come to peace with my decision (I call it ‘my’ decision because Will has left it entirely up to me.  Great.) to not try for another baby.  I have realized there are very genuine benefits to only have two children:

(1) Focusing on two bright, sparkling minds with two feisty, unpredictable personalities is work enough for three mothers, much less this learning-as-I-go, need-all-the-help-I-can-get amateur.  I want Frances and George to not just survive childhood, but thrive in it and become prosperous, productive adults.  It worries me that adding another equally energetic body could take away from my ability to succeed in my goals as a mother.  

(2) Frances and George are a perfect mesh.  They love each other and love their little family of four (or six when M&M are included).  They assign names to foursomes of things--any things, all things; the neighborhood radio towers, the characters in books, birds they see in the sky—“That’s the Mommy one, the Daddy one, the Frances one, and the Georgie one.” Why put a wrench (albeit a cute, soft, pink wrench) in their ideal little world of four? 

(3) These sweet bundles of pure joy and love are expensive and one-half of the adults in the household is no longer earning any money.  Plus, I am a big fan of financial security and hate it when I feel like we are burning through hard earned income faster than the other half of us can earn it.
(4)  A small, stubborn part of my brain wonders why I would mess with a good thing.  I am blessed with two healthy, relatively well-behaved children.  I have an incredible husband who works hard and somehow maintains a sunny disposition through any situation.  We have created a great, small, simple life and I love it—truly.  We are in sync as a family; we are all sleeping well (never to be underappreciated); we are fairly mobile now that everyone is officially potty trained; we can all fit in our small Honda; staying in one hotel room is not impossible; flying to a favorite destination wouldn’t break the bank; asking our families and friends to keep the children—now and in the future—doesn’t seem like such a burden with only two; and my days at home have finally clicked.  What more do I want?  What more could I possibly ask for?  Why am I not satisfied with what I already have?  Maybe ‘less is more’ should also apply to our lives; our children; our desires to just add more chaos to the mix.

And these are all great reasons on paper.  But my heart isn’t made of paper.

There are moments—random, unexpected moments—when I just can’t believe I won’t have another baby swimming in my stomach.  That I won’t feel those tiny kicks or the never-ending hiccups that always made me smile, even in the middle of a heated court battle back in the days of attorney-hood.  That my days of size 1 diapers, lanolin cream, middle-of-the-night nursing sessions, baby shampoo, onesies, pacies, footed jammies, toothless grins, drool, spit-up, floor kicking, tummy time, Bumbos, jumparoos, backwards car seats, baby joggers, first solids, first Cheerios, and other endless firsts are over.  Am I really done having children?  Was George really the last pea on the vine?  How do you know?  No, really, does anyone have an answer to this—How. Do. You. Know?

If I had to predict the future, I would guess that the Homillers will remain a family of four; but just typing that thought makes my brow furrow and my mind race with doubt.  My window for making the decision—the final decision—is rapidly closing.  I am no spring chicken, after all.  I also know that most of my worries set forth above in numbered paragraphs (so typical, right) will work themselves out should we decide to have a third rugrat.  And maybe that’s why this decision is so hard—it really is one I have to make from the heart and not the head.  I loved having babies; I loved being pregnant; I loved the excited energy when I knew it was only a matter of hours before I met them the first time; I loved being able to hold them in one arm; that “fresh from the factory” baby smell that lingered well into the next few months; the baby sounds, coos, giggles; the invisible current of devotion that seemed to flow effortlessly from my heart to theirs and back again.  I can’t help but think, “I was meant to do this.  I was born to be a mother.  I was born to have babies.  I want ten of them, no … twelve, and I want to teach them as much as I can and have them raised by the best father on the planet.”

But I also have to remember that one day, whether I have two or twelve children, it will all end.  It has to.  Children grow, as they should, and I can’t fix that heartbreaking reality with simply having another to start the wonderful process over again.  Am I simply trying to stop time or prolong the inevitable?

And so I end this post with even more doubt that I began – I’m sure you’re all thrilled to hear that.  The least I could have done was to make a decision after all of this baby-rambling.  What I can’t lose sight of during my deliberation are the two present-bodied children peacefully sleeping in their beds as I type this—I am their mother; I was born to be their mother; and they need me as clear-minded, as grateful, and as happy with my life decisions as possible.

And happy I am.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  


  1. I am right there with you, Lucy. Let me know if someone gives you THE answer!

    1. Will DO! And PS - you have the two cutest children ever. Maybe we should just exchange ours sometime just to get the FEELING of having another baby : ) I'm sure come Monday morning we'll both breathe a sigh of relief!

  2. From someone who didn't bother to consider stopping until I timed out, I love my four kids desperately and wouldn't trade a single one for a moment. I also loved having babies and smelling the tops of their heads as I read to them. That said, I am lucky enough to be the oldest and have lots of adorable nieces and nephews to turn my attention to and, with a 22 year old, it won't be forever before I get some grandkids to read to. They grow up fast, Lucy, but you'll have plenty of others in the queue to adore!

    1. This is so true, Katherine!! Although please tell Alison to wait a few more years; I"m not quite ready for the "great aunt" title yet.

  3. I wonder the same thing, Lucy. In my case, though, my husband is very vocal about being happy with the two beautiful children that we have. Most of the time, I feel the same, but every now and then I want more and other times, I want to sell the ones I have... Ultimately, I think whatever decision we make is the right on. I'm sure the pangs of "what if..?" will occasionally pop up, but the kids will keep me too busy to really take note!

    1. So true, Carla. As you know, there are many days that the two children FEEL like twenty-two!