Local nonprofit directors dedicate their lives to the common good. photos by Keith Borgmeyer Cheryl Howard, Nora Stewart Early Learning Center As a former graduate...
It seems like at each stage in my adult life, I’m being groomed by my peers to join the next stage in a big ‘ol hurry. Just six years ago when I got married, everyone asked, “So, when are you going to have kids?” Then, after we had our first child, it was, “So, when are you going to have another?” And to both questions I’d like to ask, “When did it become any of your business?”
When you’re pregnant people ask, “How much weight have you gained?” What? What kind of question is that? Then, they touch your baby belly like it is just part of the furniture.
Lately, the million-dollar question people keep asking me is, “When are you doing to have a third kid?” As if there’s some kind of kid quota I’m missing. I had two already. I therefore replaced me and my husband in the population count and plan to raise those kids to work and pay taxes. Guess I missed the memo that I was required to have more.
When did the family size get a minimum stamp on it? Some families have one child, some families have ten, while others have none. There’s nothing wrong with that. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the woman you’re asking about having another child is undergoing fertility treatment or on a list to adopt a baby because what she wants more than anything in the world right now is to be a mom?
I try to explain my own values and life situation to those who ask me. Or just pretend like I didn’t hear the question. I work. I run a company. My husband is a successful man as well. And we love each other, so we don’t want to have more kids. We just want to love the heck out of the ones we have.
I think each family is different. Some families live for their children, and that’s what helps build their family. They have a “more is better” mentality, and I respect that. At times I envy it. There’s nothing more powerful that the love a mother has for her child, so I can see why it’s hard to imagine why I wouldn’t feel like I want to make my children my life’s work.
I can’t tell you how many times I have wished that staying at home and raising my children would make me feel fulfilled and happy. My husband and I have spoken about it a thousand times — how much easier would our lives be if one of us would dedicate each day to keeping our family in shape? We joked for years about how if we just had a wife, our lives would be complete. Then we finally broke down and hired a nanny and I must admit, I do feel pretty spoiled. It’s awesome to have someone who looks after my life and remembers all the little things I seem to forget.
One day I had a gentleman say to me, “God wants you to stay at home and raise a family. Work will still be there when your kids are raised.” That’s a pretty powerful perspective. To which I replied, “I had a conversation with God before I conceived my second child, and we made a deal. I told God if I can have two healthy children, I won’t ask for anymore. But if it’s your choice to give me more, I’ll love them all. And do you know what God said? “Get to work.’” And so I did.
What will ultimately make our children most happy is my husband and I making choices that keep us happy. So, two is good. And work is good, which makes a good mama and daddy too.