Deciding on #3 (Part 2)

A week into Hub’s decision making process regarding having a third or not, he shared that while he was praying for an answer, he didn’t feel a strong answer either way. I emailed our Pastor for perspective and insight and the main thought that stuck was, “Are you deciding based on FAITH or FEAR?

Hubs confessed his reluctance to have a third was based on fear. Fear of not being able to financially provide the best opportunities and reasonable comforts for his children. Fear that three will be too much to handle without extra family support and help. Reasonable and practical fears. But fears nonetheless. There was no “good reason” to have a third. Yet he couldn’t bring himself to close the door. How to process through it? 

Interestingly, encouragement and support came through his clients at work the next couple of weeks. 

“If you can have three, you should do it. Not everyone can though they might want to.”
“The finances will take care of itself. You will never regret having another child to love.”
“You won’t regret not working more when you’re old, but you might regret not having a third.”
“You should totally do it! I’ve always wanted three kids, that’s my perfect family size, but I barely made it to two so we have to stop.”

Hubs reconfirmed that he could see us as a family of five. While his prayers about whether or not to proceed with having a third weren’t answered by a clear yes or a no, he felt God might be saying either choice wouldn’t be a bad one. The vision of a family of five would be there for him to respond in faith to. 

So, at the end of the month he told me, “Okay Hun, I’m still afraid, but I’m going to take a step of faith and say, ‘Let’s try for #3!’


Deciding on #3 (Part 1)

Some moms and dads know: One and done! or Two and through! 

We were more like: Three? um. Mayyyyybe?

Right after giving birth to Obiwan, my immediate thought was, “I don’t feel done.” I waited for it to hit during the 3am feeds but it didn’t come. I still didn’t feel done. Even while juggling two and being hit by sporadic waves of feeling overwhelmed, if I envisioned my family a few years out, we were a family of five. I knew the early childhood years were going to be in the trenches but a blurry third child was in my mind’s picture. And it was going to be fun. Chaotic but fun. It wasn’t a rational thought, I knew. People would comment, “Oh you have a girl and a boy! Perfect! You’re all done!” But my gut said, “Well, not really.

I remember when we had our ultrasound with Obiwan and the technician told us we were expecting a boy. My husband was relieved that we could be done at two. And I was relieved that we don’t have to worry about having three girls in the future. (And if you have three girls that’s FABULOUS! I just wanted some variety and less PMS drama.)

Which leads me to how my husband felt. He thought one of each was great and two was a good number to stop at. I asked if he could see us as a family of five and while he could, he felt, practically speaking, two would be easier on the finances and scheduling and future opportunities and on us, as the majority of our families are out of province. Yes, I agreed, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I would regret not trying for a third. I read up on parent forums where others were asking similar questions about how parents decided to have more than two. The advice that came back:

“Do it! You’ll never regret it!”
“Yes it’s tight on finances and life gets chaotic but everything works out and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“If you don’t feel done, keep going!”
“The only way you’ll stop wondering is if you just do it.”
“They go through SO. MUCH. MILK. but seeing the three playing together is best thing ever. We’re so glad we had three. No looking back.”

That confirmed it for me.

But life isn’t always about me is it? Hubs and I were a team and both had to be equally on board otherwise someone is going to get resentful. Resentment is a marriage killer so no way we would do that to our family. But how to move forward? I decided to just stay quiet, pray and give him time. Obiwan turned one. Then he turned two. Still, while Hubs was kind of open to the idea, a third remained an impracticality in his mind. The age gap to the potential third was growing bigger than I liked, and I wasn’t getting any younger, so I finally asked Hubs to decide; if it’s a firm NO, then out of love and respect for him, I would release my vision of a family of five. And I gave him a month.

Stay tuned for Part 2.


Childwise is kicking my butt

21 months, Obiwan
47 months, Nessness

I’ve been told it’s the Terrible Twos, Threenager, F’in Fours and Fearsome Fives. Then things are fun and lovely until the Tumultuous Teens. Well, I’d like to mitigate the f’in fearsomeness as much as can be reasonably expected. Because, if it’s possible, then why not?

I’ve found the Babywise and Toddlerwise series to be quite helpful with the principles they provide to guide parenting decisions and practices. Ms PR foresaw what I might appreciate next and sent me Childwise (THANK YOU!), to assist in parenting three to seven year olds. Well, Hubs and I started reading the book together. We got through the Introduction and reached the list of 15 Childwise principles before feeling a little kicked in the butt. Some of the principles we’re already working on from the earlier books in the series, but some principles really highlight where things aren’t going well right now. We have work to do.

Here’s the 15 Childwise Principles:

  1. Great marriages make great parents – YES. This is difficult in the early “in the trenches” years but I believe it’s so important to be intentional about maintaining connectedness and carving time for each other, above what might be nice for the kids to have. Kids will leave you one day, your spouse shouldn’t.
  2. Use the strength of your leadership early on, and the strength of your relationship later – This opened my eyes a bit….leadership now, relationship later. I’m sure it doesn’t mean that relationship formation isn’t important through ALL the years, but perhaps that leadership from parents now is foundational to having a good relationship later.
  3. Parent now, be friends later – similar to above. And I totally agree, my children will have friends at school, etc, I need to be a parent. My worry is how to be a parent they’ll want to be friends with later.
  4. Instill morality into a child and his behavior will fall into place – This is something I’ve been trying to keep at the back of my mind for a while….related to building character and not conforming behavior.
  5. What you do not yourself desire, do not put before others. Do to others what you would have them do to you – The Silver and Golden Rule. Easy to forget.
  6. Other people count – Yes, we’ve been working on this since they’ve been able to reach for our stuff.
  7. It is not enough to teach your children how to act morally, they must learn how to think morally – And my question is HOW to teach them to think morally?
  8. When teaching virtue, a positive example is better than a thousand lectures – I’ve been terrible with this. My impatience. My curt responses. And Nessness is copying my tone and attitude. SIGHHHHHH.
  9. Discipline is heart food for your child – I hope so
  10. If learning didn’t take place, correction didn’t happen – OMIGOODNESS….have I taught her nothing then?
  11. Allowing a child to progress into his new and expanding world in an orderly fashion greatly enhances learning and decreases the need for correction – I know there are different opinions about this…but this makes sense for me.
  12. Constantly reminding a child to do what is expeced only means you have no expectation – GAAHHHHH. But I thought I had expectations! It must be coming out all wrong.
  13. Verbal affirmation is never redundant – Definitely need to work on this too.
  14. Wise parenting is better than power parenting – Oh I’ve been power parenting for sure and can’t wait to learn how to be wise instead.
  15. An ounce of self-control is better than a pound of trouble – Not exactly sure what this means but self-control is a fabulous thing in this world of self-absorption and self-centeredness.

Words I Parent By

Don’t start a habit you’ll need to break later.
Start the way you mean to go.

The principle came from BabyWise which I found totally made sense. If I want my kids to sit through a meal at age 6, then I expect them to sit through a meal at age 3 and likewise at age 1…at restaurants and at home. If pulling things off someone else’s bookshelf or coffee table isn’t okay, then it’s not okay at home either. If taking my keys or phone without permission isn’t okay at age 16, then it’s not okay at age 2. It’s unfair to a child to not set rules or expectations at home but then impose them when they’re in a different environment or age. It boils down to being consistent.

Credit Card Parenting: Either you pay your dues now, or you pay it later, but plus interest.
Win the early battles.

Raising little humans is hard. That’s an understatement. There were so many things I wanted to just let go because dealing with tantrums is just not my idea of a good time. But I kept telling myself, if I don’t deal with this now, and correct or modify the attitude/behavior, then it’s just MUCH harder later when they’re a few more years set in their ways. And lippy. And heavier.

Mean what you say, say what you mean.

I saw this quote on a poster in church once. Words mean a lot to me so this stuck with me since as a mantra to live by. It’s particularly impactful when talking to little kids because their brains are making incredible connections that sounds can make words and words mean something and now they can communicate. The few words they have is so important to them. They also take what I say at face value. Do I want to teach them that my words are not to be taken seriously? No. So if I say, “Finish your fruit or we’re not going to the library” then I must mean what I say. This requires really thinking about what threats I can follow through on. Little kids also don’t have concept of “later” so the consequences must be fairly immediate. I’m also trying to be careful about saying exactly what I mean. “Touching public toilets and then touching your face is really gross” as opposed to “You’re so gross.” See the difference? I still say the wrong things but am trying to live by this because I want my kids to believe my words, to take what I say seriously, and to not have to guess at the meaning. I also don’t want my words to wound them. One day, soon, I hope they will be people whose words are true and meaningful as well.

Make parenting decisions centered around your End Goal.

This is a harder one to do. Without an End Goal in mind, it’s easy to just react to whatever situation/crisis/episode my kids unleash on me. My reaction could just be to get them quiet and make it through grocery shopping/church/car ride. But what does that teach them? I can get what I want by making a scene. Mere behavior modification isn’t enough either. Kids are smart and can put on a convincing performance to get their way too. In reading Sacred Parenting (not done yet), I’m challenged to raise kids with good , Christ-like character. Character and behavior are two different things. Character includes attributes like patient, kind, honest, brave, integrity, endures, faithful, etc. This is much harder for me. But that’s my End Goal, so it gives a frame of mind for me to check if my response to my kids will be helpful in moving them towards the End Goal. It helps me make decisions about what to do or not do. This has been a three steps forward, two steps back kind of progress.

What are some words you parent by?


A couple minutes this NYE

It’s a rare moment that both are napping at the same time, giving me a chance to nap. Even rarer is when I wake and neither of them have woken yet. SCORE! For the few minutes I have before being pulled back into the fray of motherhood, I’m gathering my reflections as the last hours of 2016 count down.

I think living life well with children can be summarized with this one quote I read this year:

If it only takes five minutes to do, do it now.

Because….oh they’re both awake now. See? I need to get better at this. Gotta go! ha ha.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy and Memorable New Year!!