After deciding to have a third child, Joseph Kelly asks, when is the right time to have baby number 3?
When is the right time to have baby number 3? This is the question that immediately follows the 'should we have a third baby?' question, and it's a question Susie and I are asking ourselves at the moment.
In answering whether we should have a third baby, Susie and I had a lot of discussions on the topic. Just because we like kids didn't seem like a sustainable reason to justify having another one. Also, just because we would both like a boy to keep Maisie and Frances company seemed like a silly reason to have another because the odds are equally weighted that we would have another girl (who we would love no less yada yada yada). So in order to work out if we should have a third baby we needed to address the question objectively and scientifically. So I wrote a list:
The bad things about kids:
- They're boring for the first 12 months;
- They keep you up every night for the first 3 to 23 years;
- They demand more attention than me;
- There is nothing on this earth they can do neatly, cleanly or quietly; and
- If you end up with a bad one you're stuck with it.
The good things about kids are:
- They are fun after the first twelve months;
- See 1 above;
- See 1 above;
- See 1 above; and
- They are lots and lots of fun after the first twelve months.
Should the priority be on fully rested parents or fully adjusted and aligned siblings?
On the basis of the scientific analysis detailed above we decided to have another baby. 'But what about the effect a larger population has on the environment?' I hear you say. Well, as proved in my thesis, kids are fun. 'But Joe, forget the environmental cost for a second, what about the financial cost of raising three kids?' is something else I hear you say. Again, I point you to my research which neatly concludes that kids are, in fact, fun. 'Sorry for doubting you' is what I now hear you all say. No problem, lets move on.
So now that the 'why' questioned is settled, what about the 'when'? No matter how you look at this, there is never a 'good time' to have another baby. Some people say you should have your kids close together so you get it all over and done with. I say that if I had a staff of nannies, cleaners and cooks I'd run with that theory too. And given that surviving the fog of the first twelve months of child raising is not unlike a tour of duty in some military 'hot zone', I personally need a good rest between bouts.
But what is the best gap? Maisie and Frances are two and a half years apart and that seems pretty good for them because they can enjoy most activities together. My mum thinks that waiting over three years before having the next baby makes the whole experience feel fresh and new again. Given that mum had eight kids I take what she says with some authority, but does a longer gap prevent your kids from bonding properly? Should the priority be on fully rested parents or fully adjusted and aligned siblings?
Is there a gap that is both good for the parents and good for the siblings?
Comment on Diary Dad's blog here.