When two is enough.
Picture this: an old home, blooming with character and brimming with stories of the past lives, lived within its walls. A frangipani tree flowers the façade and an old caravan sits patiently in the driveway, awaiting its next adventure. The house nestles snugly into its country landscape while the smell of the nearby ocean fills its red-brick lungs. Three kids play out the back at dusk, swinging on an old tyre hung from a sturdy, old oak tree. Watching on from the kitchen window, Mum and Dad listen to an old vinyl, sip on red wine and make pizzas from scratch to be devoured under moonlight beneath that same Oak tree.
Sounds pretty good right? I wrote that description a few years ago before the birth of my first child, in the hopes of manifesting a similar future. I still desire everything that narrative depicts, except one: I am pretty sure that after having two kids, I am well and truly done. The romantic notion of a tribe of five has been stomped on by the beautiful chaos that is two kids. The leap from one child to two has been so much bigger than I ever could have imagined. I have found it so deeply challenging, so utterly exhausting but I have also been left feeling completely content.
Sure, the sleepless nights were to be expected but what I was unprepared for was just how relentless this Mothering gig was to become. It Does. Not. Stop. There is zero personal space and zero down time. You are juggling the needs of two (in my case, very different) individuals who completely rely on you for their survival. Getting out the door in the morning is an hour long process that requires supreme negotiation skills, peak cardio fitness and a strong-ass coffee. Juggling naps requires military precision and the bedtime routine will literally have you on your knees. Pass the wine! And just when you think you’ve got them all figured out, they will simultaneously, self-combust in a public place and remind you exactly who is boss. Like I said: deeply challenging and utterly exhausting.
But don’t despair. Remember that other thing I said about being completely content? For me, that’s true too. Witnessing my daughter soothe her crying baby brother for the first time with a loving kiss on his forehead will be etched in my mind forever. Seeing the way my son’s face lights up when his big sister enters the room gives me mini heart explosions on the daily. And watching them happily play together and look out for each other while they don’t know I’m looking, makes me so proud to be their Mum.
Loving them is easy, but loving me? Not so much. Being a Mother is all-consuming and in these early years of my children’s lives, there has been little time for me. After almost three years of being either pregnant, or breastfeeding, or both, I am ready to start putting a little more time back into loving and caring for myself. I look forward to my body being mine again, to prioritising some much needed alone time and to be able to put some energy into work and projects that light me up. To have a third child would mean putting all of these things on hold and for the sake of my children, my husband and my own mental health, that’s just not a sacrifice I am willing to make.
Some families may want more, some families may want less. But for my family, four of us, is just enough. And what about that red wine-sipping, vinyl-listening, pizza-making Mum and Dad I mentioned earlier? Now, it’s their time: to get their groove back, and start dancing in the kitchen again. And as we edge towards our second-born’s first birthday, we are starting to see glimpses of a life less dictated by nap schedules and feed times and more conducive to moonlight dinners and impromptu weekend adventures. Now we just need to buy that caravan.
Image by @georgykeenphotography