“So when is the next one?” has got to be the most commonly asked question for the first five years after having a child.
My response, “Not sure, we’re contemplating.”
When in fact, I truly want to respond with, “Not sure, come over to my house after a full day’s work and tell me what you would recommend.”
As my son nears his 16th month, one month passed my scheduled second pregnancy plan, I find myself putting the next one off another three months. And, I know, once I reach the next 3-month milestone, I will probably procrastinate the “situation” another three months. This by no means is an indicator of lack of desire for more children, it really is my way of putting all of life’s situations into perspective. Although I was a “mother” before I had my son, he was my first 24/7 baby. And although, as I excitedly wait for that third birthday, I realize that our children will always be dependent on us, it doesn’t matter what age or stage they are in, we as a family will always depend on one another.
My husband and I have discussed the next one. Of course the gender has been the first thing we both disagree on, but then the timing becomes and still stands as the big question mark. There are so many factors that go into deciding on the “perfect time” for the next one.
Where to begin? There is much to consider: sibling life, stages in life, financial plans, space in home, education, extra curricular activities, travel, ETC. The etcetera stands for all the unknowing possibilities.
Sibling Life & Stages of Life:
For instance, I think about my step-daughter and financial support we must supply for her, we make sure she has her own space within our home and I’m not sure if I want to have a college student and an elementary student within the same stage of life. As an only child for the first 10 years of my life, I seriously desired another little person around and know that my son will probably get bored here in the next few years as his sister starts to reach her pre-teen years. On the other hand though, I want to give my son that independent time to spend with me and his father, so that he can form a bond with each of us without being robbed of attention due to another little person being around.
Sibling “rivalry” is inevitable, no matter the age. There are several pointers to keep in mind when dealing with siblings, close in age or a gap in age that can cause many differences.
- Try not to compare the two and their accomplishments
- Allow your child to feel angry, lead them to find ways to control their anger
- Avoid guilt repercussions by guiding their decisions to feel vs. take action.
- Step in at the right time. Allow them to settle their differences, but promote fairness by playing referee when a biased situation arises.
– Have siblings at home or considering adding to he family? Visit the Child Development Institute for more information.
We can all plan for the future or a rainy day, but in all honesty, we know that each situation comes with it’s own price. If having two or more in childcare, diapers and bottles doesn’t scare the wits out of you, well my hat’s off to you. I’ve known many mothers who by the third, some even second, decide to stay home from work at least the first five years of their children’s lives. These aren’t in my plans now, but there are so many caveats to that statement, because it truly does depend on when the next one comes. There are also benefits to having the children so close in age, save on clothes, furniture, entertainment and support. You may even be so lucky to have them so close they can share a room for the first 10 or so years!
To give you an example, I visited one of my “go-to” mommy sites to find out the average price-tag on raising a child these days. The initial indicator of how many variables go into raising a child were the number of questions I had to answer to find a close estimate. The variables include: your location, your marital status, your household income, your child’s age and if you plan on paying for their college education. Of course, we all hope for that full paid scholarship, but know that we must plan for the future. When I finally found the annual expense, education fell second, to housing and one ahead of food. I was a bit overwhelmed by the number, but came to the realization, indeed that was the number, give or take a couple hundred.
To discover your number, I encourage you to visit the Cost of Raising a Child Calculator at BabyCenter.com
Education, Hobbies, Travel, etc:
Everyday life will also be effected by children, no matter the age or stage in life. However, I do think about my friends with older children who have a student in elementary, middle school and high school. Each night is packed with a different extra curricular activity at a different field or location, and don’t even get started on what Saturday morning’s look like. Key items to remember to ALWAYS have in the car:
- water bottle
- sun screen
- bug repellent
Planning out a calendar on Sunday evenings always helps our family stay as scheduled as possible. Uniforms, work clothes and anything else is always prepared the night or Sundays in advance.
Traveling with multiple people is difficult enough, but planning for a Disney trip where the kids can have fun and create memories will keep being postponed a couple of years until the youngest is old enough to ride on the teacups.
Deciding on Family friendly vacation spots where all ages will have something to enjoy should include:
- Family Features
- Parent Perks
While some of the popular spots are all-inclusive resorts on a beach overseas or any Disney Venue, there are so many family-friendly spots here in the U.S.
For some of the top ten vacation spots in the U.S. you can start your search at Parents.com
You strike on a very good point, which is that it really is your decision as much as other people LOVE to weigh in on the topic. Thank you for bringing up so many angles to consider. This will be really helpful to couples considering having their next (or their first) kid.