Statistics say that the average American family wants 2 kids, with 6 out of 10 Americans believing that smaller families with 2 kids or fewer is the way to go. Many families believe that 3 or more is clearly out of average and is an indication of being irresponsible, while with one, you’ll always have only child issues to deal with. Many factors may prompt this, including cultural and societal pressures, financial stress, your wife’s health and age, and also fertility issues. Your wishes as a couple as well as the temperature of your marriage also matter greatly in the best number of kids to have as a couple, as it takes two to tango.
The number of children you have is quite a personal matter.
For some of us mums, it’s not even a choice for us to make as our fertility levels decide for us most of the time.
The ultimate question is sometimes decided by choice and sometimes by chance.
Yet it’s a serious question every person needs to wrestle with some time in life, even if the answer is zero.
Factors to consider before deciding on the ideal number of kids to have
So how might you plan or not plan for how many children to have?
Here are a few factors to consider to help you make a suitable choice for you and your family.
1. Your wishes as a couple
Having a child is a monumental decision, and if both parties involved are not sold on the same number, tension and resentment are bound to arise.
Talk it out directly with your spouse and possibly let the discussion play out over several years because each new baby brought into the home will mean an adjustment, including your firstborn.
Sometimes, couples want fewer children because it is convenient and easier to fly in an airplane or eat at a restaurant when they have two children compared to, let’s say, eight.
But some couples want more, and that’s fine too.
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of fathering your baseball team, or perhaps you want to start your family rock band, but never make this decision immediately after giving birth.
2. Your wife’s health and age
According to experts, the best age for a woman to bear children is between 20 and 35 years. Beyond this age, bearing children is still possible but more difficult.
While expecting, even the best of pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s body, and she may be plagued with morning sickness, leg cramps, body aches, dizzy spells, sleep problems, indigestion, numbness, or tingling hands, and more.
After having the baby, she may have to contend with a leaky bladder, hip soreness, stretch marks, possible postpartum depression, and permanently wrinkled stomach skin.
Your wife is strong, but each birth packs a wallop. Think of her first.
3. Your age and health
Experts note that men are biologically able to produce offspring well into their senior years, but when it comes to the man’s all-important fluid, the sperm, the necessary child producing count declines with each year of a man’s life.
Most babies fathered by older men carry an increased risk of genetic disorders.
Beyond the potential complications, being a good dad simply requires a truckload of both physical and emotional energy.
So if you’re in your 30s now and have always dreamed of fathering a party of six, then get cracking buddy.
If you’re 50 but still want one more pair of kicking feet, bear in mind that you’ll be in your retirement zone by the time the feet are kicking out of high school.
4. Your finances
Having any baby doesn’t come cheap, but when they arrive, you find the financial picture isn’t as quite as bad as it first appeared either, and it’s surprising how you can make ends meet when you put your mind to it.
Still, having each baby will cost you.
You’ll need diapers and wipes, clothes and toys, food and medicine, strollers, and health insurance. You might also need to buy a bigger car or house.
Who takes care of the child also becomes part of the larger cost analysis.
Will one of your parents help? Will you be a stay-at-home dad? Will your wife quit her job, and if so, for how long? Or will you both go back to work and pay for childcare?
Daycare can greatly vary depending on where you live, and prices range from about $300 and $1500 per month. So if you want another child, be prepared to dig.
5. The temperature of your marriage
Having more kids results in a louder, more chaotic, and a not so tidy house. To some it’s fun, but to others, it equals purgatory.
You and your partner might be energetic, easy-going folks unfazed by a crowd. If that’s your case, then procreate to your heart’s desires.
But if the both of you enjoy abundant peace, lingering over leisurely dinners, and whisking away for weekends to Aspen, then having a smaller number of kids may be the answer to your question.
The temperature and stability of your marriage are very important.
Good parenting takes a lot of patience, love, and flexibility. The children will feel the storm if a marriage is on the rocks.
6. The individual attention question
It’s a trade-off. If your family is bigger, your time with each child is spread thinner.
As a parent of many kids, you have less time and money to spend on each child individually, but their children seldom feel lonely.
Parents with fewer babies can invest more resources into each child, yet the children receive fewer sibling interactions.
Thinking positively, at Christmas time, you either have one happy child with a load of presents all to themselves, or you have a brood of happy kids all playing with oranges and wrapping paper.
7. The unknown factor
Sometimes you make your list and consider all the sensible factors, yet your decision still comes down to what can’t be put down on paper.
It might be a gut feeling, or it just might be religion and culture.
Are people with children happier?
Evidence suggests that having children can make you happier. It can also make you feel unhappy or constantly stressed or anxious.
Overall, having children makes your emotional experiences more intense than if you don’t have them.
Do perfect parents exist?
The truth is, there’s no such person as a perfect parent or a perfect child.
Overall, parenting is complex, and at any one time, on average, school-age children have about five or six traits or behaviors that their parents find difficult.
Of course, what works for one family or even most families doesn’t necessarily work for all families.
Sometimes one kid is the way to go, sometimes three or four make a family complete, and sometimes families are kid-free and made up of happy couples and friends. In the end, and always, do you