Menu

I have two kids—and I think I'm done

The idea of "more," making more money, obtaining more things—and in my case, creating more life—is not necessarily the ticket to a happier life.

I have two kids—and I think I'm done

I met my best friend Katie in fifth grade and one of our most favorite games to play was MASH. Our future fates would be decided by one "magic number" where one of us counted the rings on a spiral circle after the other screamed STOP as loud as humanly possible. "Future Husband" and "Number of Children" were clearly our two favorite categories. I remember my "magic combination," and it was marrying Mel Gibson plus having four kids.

And my plan was to do all of this by the time I reached 27. Getting married and having children would be the ultimate climax of life. At the age of nine, the pressure was on to best prepare for the long climb to the top.

I am now 34 and approaching my five-year wedding anniversary. My husband Josh and I have two girls, ages one and two. While I didn't marry Mel Gibson, I have definitely won in the partner category. My husband is my perfect teammate and we have learned so many beautiful lessons while building our family together.

My two girls are healthy, smart and thriving. We are staying constantly busy with all that comes along with nurturing a strong marriage and two kids under two. But what about Category Two: "Number of Children"? Four was the winning number, so how could I possibly be simply happy with "just" two?

By reflecting on growing my family, I have come to realize that my true fear of being done having children is the end of my own life's climax. My thinking has been that continuing to have children with my husband would slow down the climax.

The truth is that meeting my husband, planning our wedding, and creating new life has been my life's greatest joy. It seems perfectly healthy and rational to not want this chapter to come to a close. My husband also reminds me that he sometimes he pictures a son to go golfing with or to take on his guys trip every summer (and also probably to counteract the abundance of estrogen in our home).

So how could I ever accept that my family is complete?

During my most recent fourth trimester, I found the practice of mindfulness to be extremely helpful. Slowly, I am beginning to understand and accept that there is no "life climax." It has taken focus and practice to retrain myself to live in the present and not make every decision based on how it will impact me in the future.

For example, in grade school, the main reason I studied was to get good grades so that I would be accepted into top universities. My intention for studying wasn't to learn but was to better my chances of succeeding in the future.

Once in college, my goal was then to get great grades so I could get a great job. Securing a great job would make me attractive to the perfect mate, who I then would make beautiful perfect children with, therefore completing my life's climax.

I am now humbly accepting that this way of living life is not what I want to pass down to my daughters. Instead, I want them to know that sometimes constantly competing at life can leave you feeling depleted and drained. Embracing your limitations and learning when to be content with having enough is much more fulfilling.

The idea of "more," making more money, obtaining more things—and in my case, creating more life—is not necessarily the ticket to a happier life. Being truly grateful for what I have and enjoying simple interactions with things and people I love trumps my anxiety about what the future may or may not hold.

Each day, each minute and every second of being alive is a blessing. Enjoying the present moment and breathing in the smell of my daughter's beautiful hair is a blessing. I have become less concerned with what is still to come and more interested in what is happening right now.

By letting go of pursuing the climax, I am much more appreciative of my everyday happenstances. I continue to dream about what the future will bring, but now I find myself less exhausted because of it. The ordinary moments of each day have become more exciting and alive for me.

I can't help but think back to playing MASH in Katie's bed late at night when her mom thought we were sleeping. Should my daughters do the same with their best friends, I hope they will hear my whisper that it is okay to dream, but wherever they find themselves, I hope they are happy and know they are enough.

You might also like:

From Your Site Articles

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


Keep reading Show less
popular

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

Delmaine Donson/Getty

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

Keep reading Show less
Life