What's Your Number?

ID-10036077I have no idea how many children I want. I don’t even know how one goes about determining how many children to have. But like many, I feel pressured to make a decision sooner rather than later.

For some, I suppose it’s a feeling. For others, a calculated equation of time, money and resources. These days, it seems like 4 is the new 2 with more and more families having 3-4 children.

I’ve been polling my girlfriends about this question. I’m curious what their thoughts are and what discussions they’ve had regarding adding to their family. Most of them have the same answer: they want more children, but for various reasons they’re not committing 100% either way. There’s an old saying we’ve all heard, “You may regret not having more children, but you’ll never regret the children you have.” If this is actually true, then I guess we should all take the plunge!

Babies, toddlers and preschoolers are absolutely exhausting. I had someone tell me once, “If you’re not exhausted at this point in your children’s lives, you’re probably not intentional enough about your parenting.” Does it get any easier as your children age?

I have no idea what it’s like to parent tweens, teens and adult children. Maybe it’s just as exhausting. Maybe not. Without having real-life experience, older children seem less exhausting since they naturally become more self-sufficient. However, I’m aware unique challenges will arise with older children which may or may not equal the challenges of younger children.

There are plenty of reasons to stay a family of 4. Assuming 2 parents and 2 kids, you’ve got man-to-man coverage. Adding more kids means you have to play zone defense. I’ve heard many people suggest that as a family of 4 you fit into most economically sized vehicles. As a family of 4, you can all ride amusement park rides together and no one gets singled out. I’ve also heard the argument that as a family of 4, you easily fit at a dining table in any given restaurant. Personally, I don’t spend the majority of my life at amusement parks, I’m not considering gas prices when deciding on family size and I’m not all that concerned with how I fit at a table in a restaurant. If I’m considering how I fit at a dining table, I’m looking down the road about 40 years and trying to figure out how many kids and grandkids I’d like to have around my dining table at Thanksgiving.

When considering adding to our family, I feel overwhelmed. As much as I *think* I’d like to have at least 1 more child, I have no idea where I would get the energy or patience to add to our family. Perhaps I don’t feel my family is complete because I was prepared for at least 3 children when we lost our twin girls back in the Spring of 2011. Or maybe the feelings come from my children getting older and feeling like we’re moving out of the “baby” stage for the final time. Other times, the mere thought of having another child makes me want to run for the hills, the 2 I have challenge me daily!

Clearly this is a personal decision, and one that must be decided based on varying factors. What is important to one family may not even be on the radar for another family. It’s another situation where you almost wish for an instruction manual to tell you how to proceed! Our family hasn’t made any decisions one way or the other, but I’m curious to hear about your family!

What was your thought process when deciding whether or not to add more children?  How did you know when your family was complete?


Brandi is the proud Mrs. to her high school sweetheart, mother to 2 amazing little girls, Addisen and Charlotte, and a photography enthusiast. She’s a Fort Worth native who is intentional about her marriage and raising little ladies in today’s society. From a stay-at-home mom who avidly avoids housework to a lover of designer duds who shops the clearance racks, she’s a walking contradiction. Join her candid discussion on all things wife and mom at www.goscasta.com and follow her lovable wit on Twitter.


  1. I would definitely like to hear from people who are “done”. How did you know you were “done”? I have 2 precious babes and definitely want more but like Brandi, can’t imagine where I would find the energy…to which my husband always reminds me “and we are just getting older and more tired so we should just do it now”. I think the timing of our 3rd also seems more crucial – should I have the first one on his way to kindergarten so I am not at home with 3 full time or will that be too much change for him. Should I go ahead and have the third now so when he starts kindergarten that one will be older and can be left for a bit with a sitter so I can go volunteer at his school. Our second one was a bit of a surprise, so I must be honest and say sometimes I wouldn’t mind another surprise just so it is out of my hands and the decision made for me. 🙂

  2. I’m a homeschoolin’ mommy to 5, my oldest is 7 and my youngest is 10 months old. I like to say that “we’re done”, but its only because my body is telling me to be done being pregnant, but my heart is saying “our family is still growing”… in about 5 years, we would like to adopt a child between the ages of 3-7. I’m at home with my kiddos 100% of the time, if I leave the house, they come with. However, the hardest situation for me was having ONE child. I didn’t know what to do with all of the time, we’d play for 3 hours, watch a cartoon, read books, and color all before lunch time and I would be wore out AND wondering how to pass the rest of the day. When boy #2 came along, it gave me constant things to do, when he started walking and playing, my two boys were off together always playing (at ages 7 and 6 now, they feel like someone has cut off their arm if a brother leaves the house). When #2 was 2.5, our one and only little lady came along and I felt like that was the best age difference. #1 was my special helper and #2 was old enough to hold the baby and to love her and not feel jealous. #4 came along 17 months later and we WERE SHOCKED!! BUT, even though we didn’t order him, he’s just as cherished as the “planned ones”. Then, when #4 was 5 months old, we discovered that we were pregnant again, so our youngest 2 are 14 months apart.. so with homeschooling the oldest two, entertaining and correcting the 3 year old and keeping up with the babies, my day flies by!!! NO COMPLAINTS though! My 6 year old was teaching the 2 year old how to read a few days ago!! My 7 year old loves to protect and help his siblings and I have so much help in getting chores done, I really feel spoiled!

    • Thanks for replying Maggie! I’m really interested to hear about homeschooling, because I think some form of homeschooling is in our future also, and that just adds a whole new layer of considerations for us! Glad to hear you’re doing it, and doing it successfully! Thanks for sharing!

  3. We’re done. From the get-go we knew we wanted 3 or 4 kids. Our first Christmas as a married couple we bought stockings for the whole family – two for us and four for possible children. I come from a LARGE family. I am one of six kids, my dad is one of six kids, and my mom is one of ELEVEN. It was fun having all that family around, but I knew I would not have as many children as my mother or grandmothers because I knew I did not have the patience for it. There was no real rhyme or reason why we knew four was our number, it was just a feeling I always had. I really think you’ll know when you’re done. You’ll still get baby fever when you see other people’s littles, but there is this sense of completion. I’m not sure how to explain it, I just look at my family and know this is it. We’re good with who we are and I don’t feel anything is “missing.”

  4. We’re having our fourth in a couple months, our kids are 8, 6 & 2.5. The third was a game changer but I’m not sure if it was so much the third, or waiting so long between the 2nd and 3rd – it kicked our butts:

    I hope after this one, I feel done. My body is done. I’m older and tired, haha. And four is a great number. I just hope it hits me that this one completes our family.


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