There's been a lively conversation about having one child versus more than one on the SMC Forum of late.
I've always assumed I would have more than one, because it seemed like that would be the healthier choice for both me and Calliope -- to keep us from getting too enmeshed, to give her a larger family, to let me experience the joys all over again, to give her someone to play with.
But seeing one of my SMC peers, Obernon, seemingly conclude that maybe she's one-and-done, when previously she had planned to have two, really caught me by surprise. (Check out her blog post here.)
Somehow, seeing that she, whose daughter is the same age as Calliope, might be done made me re-think my assumptions that of course I should have another.
One of the questions I'm struggling with right now is how much I am being influenced by finances. (Not that that's necessarily a bad reason to decide to stop having children, but somehow, it doesn't seem a very interesting reason. Dumb, I know.)
I felt like I was doing better with money for a bit, but after a couple of more expensive months, I'm digging heavily into savings again. Our nanny costs will go up slightly next year. If I knew that I would hopefully only have a couple more years of full time childcare, I think I would breathe a lot easier. (I'm hoping and praying for a pre-k spot for Calliope in the school where I work when she turns four. If she gets in, I wouldn't have to pay for daycare at all, because she could be in my office before and after school... but it's a big "if." Otherwise I will have three more years of full time childcare costs ahead of me.)
The thought of paying for four more years on top of the two more years I currently face makes me swallow hard. I have no idea where the money will come from.
I have a second job lined up for July, working as a camp nurse. There will be free childcare for Calliope. And my friend who works for Avis is arranging for a rental car that will be extremely low cost, so I should be able to save quite a lot of money by working while simultaneously not paying a nanny. If I do it again next summer, I can also sublet my apartment and save a bit more (co-op by-laws state I have to live in my apartment for at least a year before subletting, which is why I'm not doing it this summer).
So this should help quite a bit. But I'm not sure I can make enough in a relatively low paying one-month job to offset the amount I am spending right now.
My family is supportive, and would help if I asked. But beyond asking my mother for help with things like birthday presents and baby clothing, I really struggle. It just feels wrong to ask for help paying my bills. So far, I haven't done it, apart from (major) help buying my apartment. Which my mother offered -- I didn't ask.
Money is really weighing heavily on me right now, T42 or no.
Apart from money... I'd love for Calliope to have a sibling. The question is what kind of mother would I be with two? I think I'm pretty fantastic right now, actually. I'm able to meet both our needs. Calliope gets tons of attention during the day, and I get plenty of rejuvenating alone time at night and during nap time. But with two children, that delicate balance would be out of whack.
I felt like there wasn't enough love to go around when I was growing up. I never want my child(ren) to feel that. I don't want to be a nagging, irritable, exhausted mother. I fear I would become this if I was juggling the needs of three people instead of two.
Thinking about having only one feels shocking. Like, it would be so easy. Isn't it supposed to be hard? So far I have found single motherhood to be very manageable. It feels like cheating, somehow, to just keep skirting through life.
I worry, though, about my life as Calliope grows up. With her as an only child, I fear I would be far too focused on her. Not a reason to have a second child, I realize... I could develop more outside interests instead! On the other hand, though, raising a child has been the most amazing thing I've ever done. I had no inkling of how much I would love it. How could I miss doing it again?