Before I had children I thought I would like to have five, and my husband and I would live in a beautiful big house in California and be surrounded by all our children and their children and Rob Lowe would walk in and… then I realised my life is not an episode of Brothers & Sisters. (As much as I might wish it were.)
Our daughter turned two at the beginning of this year and it got me to thinking about brothers and sisters. Everyone around me seems to have embraced two as the magic number, as everywhere from the playground to my Facebook feed; people are toting their second child either strapped to their chests or in the arms of child number one.
I would absolutely love to have another child and give my daughter a sibling, but the reality of what that means keeps holding me back. It means the return of sleepless nights, it means my boobs will gravitate a few inches more towards the floor, it means even less chance of having regular sex, and it means my daughter won’t have me all to herself anymore. This last point is probably the most worrying for me. I adore my little girl more than I thought it possible to love another person. The idea of not being able to devote all my attention, time and energy to her, scares me.
I know in the long run she’ll be fine, we’ll be fine, she’ll still have my love and attention etc etc. But the idea of actively choosing to add another child to our family is one that both excites and terrifies me. Aside from the emotional pressures, there’s also the issue of money, free time… I mean I just started my toddler at Kindy, I have two days a week to myself for the first time in two years – am I really about to give that up! I must be crazy!
Plus, I have the child who won’t eat like a normal person. What if the next one is the same and I spend the next four years painting my walls with pureed sweet potato? We haven’t potty trained yet. Will I ever escape from nappy-changing hell? Parenting is a whole minefield of experiences we hope will turn our children into well-adjusted people while we try not to lose our sanity in the process.
I think as a parent I put a heap of pressure on myself to get it right. On days when I’m exhausted and Peppa Pig stands in as temporary childcare relief I beat myself up over terrible parenting. If a day’s food intake consists of a banana and piece of toast, I think I’ve failed. And if I oversleep the morning of her Kindy Purim party and she turns up with crazy, unbrushed hair, I feel like the worst mother in the world. Perhaps though, I am losing sight of what’s really important, because at the end of the day if I really was the worst mother in the world, then I wouldn’t really care…
So, a brother or sister may be on the cards in the near future, but for now, I’ll just enjoy sleeping through the night, semi-perky breasts, semi-regular sex and giving all my love to my little princess.