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Planning Your Family
Large or Small Is up To You

Many things have to be considered when it comes to figuring out how big your family should be.

Some parents carefully weigh the pros and cons of the financial cost, the emotional demands, and the time management required for raising another child.

Using their heads, they may decide that they simply don't have the resources needed to care for another baby, or looking beyond -- to dry their tears through toddlerhood, or advise them through the teenage years. As any parent will admit, relationships are work, and doubly so for kids.

family making financial decisionsOther parents look deep inside their heart, and if the answer is yes there's no turning back. "For me, the dream of raising of a large family makes it all worthwhile," says one good neighbor of mine (and also a parent of four) who adds with a laugh, "somehow you manage."

But can you? The first subject is almost always the financial cost. Ask any parent whose children are now old enough to be independent and they will say the financial connection to your children reaches through (at least) infinity.

Besides the cost of raising another child, the next consideration is usually the "me" syndrome. Putting someone else's needs above your own is not easy to do.

Before you have children, you can choose not to be in a relationship where your needs are not a major focus. As a parent, this is not an option. It's a fact which becomes very clear after the first 2 AM feeding!

Yes, having four children puts quite a strain on my amount of "me" time. There is never a moment that the children are not in my thoughts and very few moments when they are not clamoring for my attention. Parents who have chosen to have large families often say that, surprisingly, the more kids you have the more love you find within your heart... and yes, there is always enough to go around. "Somehow you manage."

"There will always be plenty of people to tell you what you should do."

Of all of the quandaries related to this decision on having another child, the one that stands out most for me is time management. Just trying to schedule a few minutes at bedtime is a major feat. As children get older and begin sports and other activities the schedules get even crazier.

With two soccer games at the same time at two different fields, cloning mom suddenly makes sense! Yet, even this can be worked out with the help of other parents, some creative juggling, or a video camera to catch the goals you missed for replay later.

But let's switch the point of view from adult to child for a moment.

Children just want to know that they are loved. Different children experience love in different ways. Across the board, children who are asked will say that they want to spend time with Mommy or Daddy or the special people in their lives. Does the time have to be spent doing some extravagant activity? Children will most likely say no.

paper cutouts of a familyPlaying tag, hide and go seek, play wrestling, simply going to the park, going for a walk, or being read to are just a handful of things that children like to do. And never forget that in larger families, brothers and sisters keep each other company and provide a life long source of love and support.

One eighty year old great-grandmother shared some wisdom with me years ago. As a young woman, she always wanted a large family. She had six children while most of her friends had much smaller families. Through all of the financial and emotional struggles while the children were growing, she often wondered if she had made the right choice.

Now, her friends with small families tell her that if they could change their decision they would. Her home is the focus of visits from her children, grown grandchildren and growing great-grandchildren. Does she still question her decision to raise six children? Never!

If it is time to make this decision in your family, please do not think there will ever be enough money, or enough time to give to your children. No matter what size family you decide is right for you, there will always be reasons for and against having another child. And there will always be plenty of people to tell you what you should do.

When all is said and done, the decision to have another child is one of the most personal you can make. What is your heart telling you?

About the Author...
Katrina Cramer-Diaz is a working mom with a background in education and plenty of experience in parenting. She lives in Virginia with her four children.

More about family planning around the Web:

Are You Ready for Another One?

13 Signs You're Ready for a New Baby

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