Par­ents are at odds over fam­ily size

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Amy Dick­in­son — Want­ing More You can con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email: [email protected]­dick­in­son. com and fol­low her on Twit­ter @ask­ingamy.

DEAR AMY » My hus­band and I have two chil­dren — a girl and boy. They are 3 and 4 years old.

I would like to have a third child, but my hus­band does not want to. He has a de­mand­ing job and so has limited time for hob­bies, spend­ing time with our chil­dren and see­ing his friends. The two of us don’t get enough time to­gether, kids are ex­pen­sive, money is tight, and hav­ing another will fur­ther de­lay our free­dom and abil­ity to travel.

He is a won­der­ful fa­ther and a hard worker, so I com­pletely un­der­stand his con­cerns.

I have al­ways wanted to have a big­ger fam­ily. I feel in­com­plete with two chil­dren. Sure, the early years are busy, but kids grow up. He sees this cur­rent phase of our lives as re­strict­ing, whereas I see it as a busy sea­son in life that will pass. I would be in­cred­i­bly sad to stop grow­ing our fam­ily now.

The last time we talked, he said he could maybe see us hav­ing another child in a cou­ple of years. We’re in our mid-30s, so we don’t re­ally have a lot of time to wait. I don’t want to have a baby past 35.

We’re at a stand­still and I’m not sure how we go about fig­ur­ing this out.

I’m not go­ing to pres­sure him; I want to make a de­ci­sion we will both be happy with. It seems like what usu­ally hap­pens is the per­son who doesn’t want another kid trumps the other. It feels a bit un­fair, but I know you can’t make some­one want another child.

How do we fig­ure this out? If we don’t have more, how do I get over this?

DEAR WANT­ING MORE » Par­ent­ing as you see it

— a few years of crazi­ness fol­lowed by calm, free­dom, and fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity — isn’t how many of us ex­pe­ri­ence it. As the mother and step­mother to five daugh­ters, I’m here to tell you that the many phases of a typ­i­cal fam­ily’s life blend and morph, one into another. I won’t say that par­ent­ing gets eas­ier as you go, be­cause — just as you’ve mas­tered one skill set, the par­tic­u­lar chal­lenges seem to change.

It sounds as if you have a part­ner who is at ca­pac­ity. He doesn’t seem equipped (or will­ing) to em­brace the messy chaos of life with young chil­dren.

The rea­son the per­son who wants fewer chil­dren might pre­vail is be­cause par­ents who are feel­ing over­whelmed, pres­sured or pow­er­less tend to find ways to exit, ei­ther ac­tu­ally (by leav­ing) or vir­tu­ally (through ne­glect).

In or­der to be in a fam­ily with you, your hus­band must now tol­er­ate some things that seem to re­ally bother him: the lack of free­dom, time and money.

In or­der to be in a fam­ily with him, you might need to learn to tol­er­ate that ache you feel for more chil­dren.

In the ab­sence of a happy com­pro­mise, you could work on your own per­sonal ca­pac­ity to be happy, any­way.

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