So, am I done?

There are two things that I have heard constantly since having Robby. The first:

“Wow, looks like you have your hands full!”

Everywhere I go someone says this to me. Ev.Ry.Where. It started as soon as I began showing, only the verb tense was different - “Wow, looks like you’re gonna have your hands full.” - to which I would smile and nod. Mmmm, yes, thank you for pointing that out. I really appreciate that. Thanks. And it has continued into my daily life now that I am the mother of two, like when I am desperately trying to get the three of us up the stairs while Robby is screaming and hungry and Sam is refusing to walk and insisting that I carry him - “WOW! Looks like you REALLY have your hands full!” - Yes! Yes, I do! Now can you wipe that ridiculous smirk off your face and stop rubbernecking like my family climbing the stairs is some sort of fatal car crash that you’re passing by? Did you just shake your head at the situation? Did you just chuckle to yourself as you kept on walking? Thanks. I REALLY do appreciate that. Thanks A LOT. I sure do hope I made YOUR day a little brighter . . . Jackaaaaassssss . . .oh, I’m sorry, did I say that last part out loud?

Anyway, total strangers say it to me, without fail, every time I leave the house. I grin and bear it because yes, my hands are fairly full right now, and if people want to sort of look at me and think to themselves about how great they’ve got it in comparison then they can go right ahead. Glad to be of service.

But the thing I cannot get used to is this one:

“So, are you done?”

Every time I get my haircut the woman asks me if I’m done having kids now. Now granted, I don’t get in there for a cut very often at all, but she asks me every single time. In fact, she started asking me this before Robby was even born. And she’s not the only one. I hear it a lot, next to the whole hands full thing.

My answer was always something like, “Well, I don’t really know. I figure at some point I’ll feel like my family is complete, or I’ll feel like someone is missing and we’ll go from there.”

And then, the other day, I felt it. Like we were complete. I really did . . .

I think I might be done.

But man, how do you really know, right? Especially when there are so many factors that can influence something like that, like, for example, already feeling like my hands are really, really full right now. But I have to say, I’m pretty confident about this.

According to my husband, I felt the same way when Sam was a baby. I don’t recall that. And I don’t recall feeling this way. I don’t remember having a sense of completeness when it came to our familial unit. I just remember being exhausted and having no time or energy to even entertain the idea of more. Perhaps I’m going through that again. Perhaps I won’t know for a long time. Perhaps I will know, and then I won’t know. Or perhaps I’ll be wrong.

But if I were to go get myself a haircut right now, and she asked me again, I’d probably say yes. Yes, I think I am done.

Does that mean that when we move in 6 weeks that we will be getting rid of all “the gear,” the toys, the clothes? That’s a toughy. I’m tempted to say we do. I’m tempted to let go of the infant car seat, the stroller that goes with it, the swing, the gym, the newborn clothes, the little linky toys. I’m tempted. But could I do it? Could I really pass on those little onesies? Wow, I don’t know.

How do you know?

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16 Responses

  1. Some women say they know without doubt they are done.

    I have never felt that way. It’s a door I can’t shut. I envy those who are decisive about this issue, either way.

  2. Don’t know for sure, I just know that I am not done.

  3. I don’t think you ever know. Even with 4 children, I still have a hard time saying, “I’m done,” even thought that more than likely, almost certainly, highly probably, we won’t have ny more children. Even when I say it, I’m not sure I can fully believe it. It’s the finality of it all, you know?

    As far as getting rid of things. After my second son was born I kept a lot of stuff because I thought we might have one more. When the next child came along, I found that the stuff was worn, out of style (and I’m not a fashionista), stained (even though I thought it was clean when I put it away), fragile (elastic and cotton fabrics degrade over time) and boring. I got so many cute things for the new baby as presents, hand-me-downs, and that I bought (half the fun of being pregnant!) that I didn’t use much of what I had. I wish I would have passed the old stuff on so someone else could have gotten some use out of it earlier. Plus, things like carseats, strollers, and baby gadgets are constantly being improved for safety and convenience.

    Currently, I’m sorting through clothes that my infant has outgrown. I divide them into two piles - keep and donate/pass on. In the keep piles are items that I’m sentimental about. I put them in a box and each time my son outgrows the next batch of clothes I sort through the box again. I tell myself that I can’t keep more than one box. I find as time goes by, I’m not so attached to the items.

  4. I don’t know! I do like to hear what people have to say when they do say they “know” they are done. I hope I feel that same completeness. So far we’ve only both known that we *weren’t* complete, so that’s how we knew we wanted a fourth. BUT I will say that after this baby comes we both agree that we feel this could be it. We just want to see once he or she is here.

    Steph

  5. If you decide to get rid of things it will probably be easier to sell them at a yard sale in a neighborhood than where you are now. I would at least keep the stuff and move it.

  6. I know I am not done if that helps. I just had my 2nd boy too and I am already planning when to ttc for #3. After 3 I’ll evaluate again, but I don’t have that complete feeling yet. I want at least one more still, possibly two. Good lick figuring it out!

  7. I don’t have anything intelligent to say, as I am just having my second one now, but I think it’s something many mothers struggle with. Lifestyle wise, cost wise it seems to make the most sense to stop at two. Once you go to three you need the bigger house and the bigger car. But sometimes I cannot imagine having more kids, meeting them….

    Jenn

  8. When someone says to me, “looks like you have your hands full,” I always reply with, “BETTER FULL THAN EMPTY!!” With a huge grin on my face and then walk away!:)

  9. I can totally relate! We have three ages three and under. When people ask me pointedly if I’m done I say “What business is that of yours?” and tell them how irritating I find that question to be. Oh, wait, no — that’s what I do in an alternate universe where I’m a confident, assertive person. In reality I just laugh politely and say “gee, I don’t know” and then call my husband to vent about how rude people are. :)

    As for being done, I love the idea of just taking it one month at a time. My life has changed SO much in the past five years that it’s just so hard to say what it will be like and what our family will feel like five years — or 10 years or even one year — from now.

    Anyway, thanks for your post!

  10. Someone just said that to me today!!! “Wow! She’s so big, how old is she now? And when are you due? You’re going to be busy!”

    No kidding. The thing that ticks me off the most is that a number of the people who say these kind of things were in the same boat at one time. Perhaps with children even closer together in age. Is it that they are so relieved to have gotten through it, and lived to tell, that they can’t keep their comments to themselves. Or do they wish we would choose differently than they did? Who knows.

    As for me, I am done. I know it. In my bones. I just can’t do this again. In fact, I feel a bit of apprehension about the difficulty of what lies ahead of me and keep telling myself I will make it through. Let’s hope I’m right!

  11. I get that ALOT too. Always followed by “You gonna try for that girl?” Or they say, “Are you done, or are you going to try for a girl?” Like the only reason we would try for another is to get a girl. *sigh*

    I’m on the fence about whether or not we’re done now. All I know is that we are not ready for another right now. I think we will be eventually, but now’s not the time. It’s funny to think that when the older boys were the age the baby is now, I was already more than halfway through my next pregnancy.

    I say enjoy what you have now. At the very least, you’ll know when (if) you are ready for another blessing of the baby variety.

  12. Having three boys I get a lot of comments. “OH! THREE BOYS!” and yes, the “Are you gonna try for a girl?”

    I always just smile and say “Yes, I’m SO happy I have three boys! I have four sisters so I no, I’m not trying at all for a girl, I’m happy just the way we are!”

    I’m glad the hormone levels at home will all at least be the same, ha ha!

    We gave away all of our baby stuff because my middle son was five, the I got pregnant. We really haven’t had to buy that much this time, and Lynanne is right, stuff is so different now, I’m glad we’re getting new. You really need much less than you think anyway.

    :-)

  13. What an interesting post! If you had asked me that question about six months ago, I would have said no way. A part of me even now with my daughter being one and in that difficult stage, still yearns for another baby. Yet, there are days that I am perfectly content with my son and daughter and I dream about all of the adventures our family can go on within a couple of years.

    I think for many women, it is difficult for them to know if they are really done. If I had the choice, then I would definitely go for one more but unfortunately my husband is tapping out and is happy with our two children. Sigh …..

  14. I get that ‘hands full’ comment alot too…don’t you love having a toddler and a baby both be ‘unhappy’ at the same time?!?!

  15. O.k., I just found your blog. I love it. I’m going to “Bloglines” you right now. :)

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