Taking that leap…

I had a couple of cheesy mothers day moments this past weekend. The first was when I woke up on Sunday to find that after running around all day Saturday then going to a party that night, the mountain of washing waiting for me in my laundry had been transformed into clean washing flapping on the line, all ready to be collected and folded. My mother in law, bless her, had noticed how busy I was, and decided to take care of it for me. Forget flowers and expensive pressies, that was a huge gift.

I also read {with much head nodding}, in the Sunday papers about a TV presenter who is having her third child after a ten year age gap. I have the same age gap between my last two children, and while her new baby is down to a new relationship, there was so much I could relate to. All the puzzled looks, the comments that we must be crazy, the older-body aches and pains. But if you read this blog regularly, follow me on Instagram, or know me in real life then you will know how it was the best decision we ever made. I also read an article about a woman in her mid 30’s wondering if she would ever have children, as she waited to feel “ready”. But as every parent knows, sometimes that moment never comes. You pee on a stick, think holy crap, then have nine months to get ready.

I decided when I was eighteen that I wanted four children. I always loved the idea of a full and slightly chaotic house and had notions of having that full and bustling home where someone was always coming and going and various friends were always around. The first three kids came along pretty quickly, in less than five years. Then as the years flew and they grew older and we started leaving the baby years behind life started to venture down a new path. Suddenly there were holidays, restaurants, gigs, no more nappies, and a full night’s sleep. We would smirk at each other and pat each ourselves on the back at having started young and being able to have fun now.  But every now and then the voice in my head would speak up and say to me, don’t forget there’s still one more, and I would think, yes I know, and put it aside.

Until that voice started getting louder.

And I had to say something.

Was my husband surprised? Yes he was. Not least because we both loved where our lives were, and maybe because sometimes men don’t understand that voice, that instinct, that whatever-it-is that calls to a woman and tells her she needs one more child. The trouble was that in my head I could see every reason that I didn’t want another child. I loved sleeping in, loved having children who were growing more and more independent every day, loved working, loved being at a party and not having to chase a toddler around. I loved my life and saw a new baby as somewhat of a step backwards to a place I had left behind.

But my heart thought different.

We went back and forth and another few years passed. Our three children were now even older, two were teenagers and in high school. Why were we even talking about this?

Because while we were both content with our family and loved the perks of having bigger kids, this is what it came down to: we both knew that at the end of our days we would regret not having had one more child. But we would never ever regret having him or her. We didn’t have the space, didn’t have a spare bedroom and in fact had no idea where it would sleep after leaving our room, had long ago thrown out every baby item, in fact the only thing we did have that was big enough was our car, but nonetheless we closed our eyes and took that leap.

And that’s what I want that woman in her 30’s to know as she waits for the lightning bolt. Sure, there are couples who consciously decide that it’s the perfect time to start a family, and if they’re lucky, that’s exactly what happens. But for so many it’s not that straight forward. There is never a perfect time to have a child. What, do you suddenly decide that you really feel like being exhausted, covered in vomit, and dealing with shitty nappies at 3 am? No, I think not. The truth is that even the most unplanned {surprise!} pregnancies can be best thing you never even knew you wanted.

Our lucky number four has transformed our home. He has injected that bright sunshine-y joy that only small children have into all of our lives. He is everyone’s favourite, and is the glue that binds us all. He has wrought changes on his father and I that we never expected, and we are the better for it. 

And just like that, in the blink of an eye, he is already at school, and once again we are in big kid territory. Baby stuff has been donated for the final time, nappies are already a distant memory, and a good proper nights sleep is once again the norm. All those years of should-we-shouldn’t-we seem so far away, and what a waste of time they turned out to be. Our home is full to bursting, there is a minimum of eight people at dinner every night and often a few extra, I cook a lot and swear even more, it’s always noisy and never clean, and Mister Five ended up sleeping in pretty much every bedroom at one time or other.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Til next time,

Ana.

  1. Beautiful piece. The baby in the family certainly holds a special place in everyone’s hearts for a variety of reasons.

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    1. They certainly do. Thanks Cathy. X.

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  2. That’s a lovely story.

    It’s so weird, every now and then I get the thought that perhaps there is one more child on the horizon. I think there is a teeny tiny part of me that would love one more, but there is a huge part of me that fears it. I am finding 3 children incredibly difficult to manage. People always comment about how good a mother I am, but seriously if only they knew how stressful it is for me. I really don’t cope! My kids drive me insane. They constantly fight, the incredible amount of mess they create is astounding I’m left wondering how it is that I clean so much yet my house is constantly a pigsty.

    I think if I were to accidentally fall pregnant it might just be my breaking point.

    My mother had 4 children herself and I never remember it being so chaotic. Quite the opposite. I don’t know what the hell it is that I’m doing so wrong. Admittedly my mother had her kids rather spread out. There is 14 years between me and my youngest brother. I’m sure having older kids who could help out or at the very least fend for themselves helped.

    Your youngest one sounds like such a delight though! He’s the one that keeps you young and on your toes no doubt.

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    1. Kristy I’m positively certain that you’re not doing anything wrong. It is stressful and demanding, but I do think that a large age gap is what changes things. Having our fourth has sometimes felt like having just one child, with all the experience of having had four. I dare say you still have time up your sleeve, never know…

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  3. See my youngest is 2.5, oldest just 6 and a 4yo and there are times I want one more, but hubby had snip because we both agreed that after No.3, a surprise, that was it, but I still have yearnings. But he’s 42 this year, hubby, and our financial status isn’t great, and it would take a lot of convincing to change his mind. But you never know. I wonder if you ever really feel finished? Thanks for sharing this sweets x

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    1. It is an interesting question, do we ever feel finished. After my third I didn’t, but age combined with a large family means that I now do. And amen to that says hubby!

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  4. I actually appreciate this post in another way. My oldest brother is 8 years older than me and we barely speak. He was out of the house and far away at college by the time I began junior high. I previously thought that our age difference was the factor that’s pulled us apart but I’m re-thinking that. Sure he’s much older and wasn’t around much but he also moved out of state after his college graduation in a few different spots including an almost 15 year stint in Colorado-that’s really far away! Might not be age but rather distance. Physical, geographical distance.
    I have to agree with you. The age differences aren’t the issue that people make them out to be…at least in my experience and I think the 8 years age difference between my brother and I qualifies me to have some say. If he’d stuck around the area or come home several times per year to visit things might be different but he was incredibly independent, chose to move away & travel extensively outside the country and really be on his own and rarely come home. That’s not age differences that’s just a personality and presence.
    Great post.

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    1. I agree, it’s distance more than age gaps. And maybe different personalities too. Age gaps mean nothing in some families who are close regardless.

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      1. Yep, and I’ve known enough siblings who are each a year or two apart that don’t speak much as adults either. In fact two of my oldest friends are sisters, one year apart, and they’re always at each other’s throats so they don’t spend time together beyond holidays or family gatherings.
        You guys come off as a tight knit crew. The fact that you read your son’s blog & share his posts & allow him to be himself and express his thoughts is something, that’s a clue right there. It’s not that my Mom wouldn’t have been proud to do so if we had been in that same situation it’s just that I would’ve felt awkward or embarrassed or she wouldn’t have liked the language I used or something and that can be a bit damaging. You’re doing something right. It’s very nice to see the comfort you guys share(from the itsy bit I see you know what I mean) and it’s pretty obvious your kids will prove that age gap issue wrong in time.

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        1. We are tight as a family, and respect that the kids have their own thoughts and minds. But a lot of what I have done as a parent has been through seeing what I don’t want to do, know what I mean?

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          1. I know what you mean!

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  5. I never make any excuses or apologies to Mr Nineteen; Mr Five is my favourite in the family xx

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    1. Lol, no one even pretends otherwise. Xxx

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  6. I used to feel finished. After number four I was like ‘this is it, our family is perfect’. But then number 5 made an unexpected appearance and all of a sudden I’m finding myself thinking ‘this can’t be it, we can’t be done yet’. But we are. Five is insane – I love it, but it’s insane.

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    1. Emma I am so with you on loving the insanity. And yours are still young! Maybe six is your magic number? I sometimes think I could have gone for six. But you know by now how your heart, mind, soul, and home can always expand to fit in one more. But even trying to have regrets and saying go for it, it’s just not that simple.

      Btw, I am so jealous of your girls having all those sisters. Xxx

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