“Are you having any more?” a simple, unassuming question which more often then not, has its roots in conversation starter territory rather than a place of judgment or snooping. I am not too ashamed to admit that in almost every first conversation I have had with other new mums, I have asked them this question.
But, is it really OK to ask a woman if she is having any more children?
When someone has asked me if I am having any more children, I begin with a classic answer… “No, no more for me”, which 99% of the time is met with “You say that now…”, or “you’ll change your mind” or my favourite; a look of shock and perhaps mistaken pitty followed by “Really!? Why don’t you want any more?”
I then have to go into the pre-prepared speech about the fact that we would have to move house, I would have yet even more time off work and career progression would slip further and further away from me, the fact that my children have a 7 year age gap and another baby would mean my littlest one would get a shiny new playmate and my older one would be out on her own, and the biggie….
I don’t want to struggle financially.
For some reason, the last reason seems to rub others up the wrong way. I find it interesting that others take such offence, it’s my life, my family and my decision. I am not for one minute suggesting that all big families struggle financially because of course this is nonsense, but I started my career late (at 26) and to be frank, I’m not earning what I would like to be earning at 29.
I work hard for my money and, once I’m earning a bit more, I want to enjoy it. I want to be able to afford to take my children on holidays, I want to be able to take them out for dinner without it bankrupting me, I want them to take part in extra-curriculum activities and these all cost money, I want them to have slightly over-the-top birthday parties, I want them to have lovely, trendy clothes. I want to be able to get them everything on their birthday and Christmas lists, and I want to be able to take them to the zoo, the theatre, pop concerts and all the other places they want to go. These things are not essential for a good childhood, but I want to be able to provide my children with these experiences. I just do.
It’s funny how I feel like I need to justify my decision to stop at two children. Surely its up to my husband and I to decide what is right for our family? And, if for some reason we DO change our minds, then we will inevitably be bombarded with the sympathetic “Was it planned?” question. And what if a surprise pops up at some point? Are people going to assume that we are really upset about it and don’t really want it?
You see how a simple question can actually become very personal and complicated?
So to all the well-meaning mummies, friends and family, at this point in my life I have no plans to expand my brood.
…But hey, a girl can change her mind.
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