Monday, January 20, 2014

Meaty Discussion Time

Let's start our week with a nice, meaty discussion.  Do you get a little uncomfortable when someone says 'meaty discussion'?  I do.  Meaty discussion.  Meaty.  Gross.

I found the following article through a link on my Facebook newsfeed the other day: So, You Would Like to Have Three Children?  The title is relatively benign.  The content is relatively alarming (and a bit annoying).  Basically, author Laura Garwood Meehan is giving you reason upon reason upon reason to not have three children.  She lays it on thick like buttah.  I stopped reading halfway through because it was getting repetitive and unnecessarily dramatic, so I may have missed the happy conclusion. If you get through the whole thing, please let me know how it ends.

Here's the thing - a lot of families have three kids.  And some families have more than three kids.  GASP.  People of all kinds, all financial means, all over the world have three kids.  I'm not trying to downplay what it must be like or what it must require to be a parent of three.  My world was rocked with the addition of one child, so I have no doubt that the impact of two would be exponential, much less three.  But, I still wasn't buying what this article was selling.  Maybe it was the article's tone?  It felt like a warning: Do Not Under Any Circumstances Think That You Are Capable of Handling Three Children.  You Aren't and You Can't.

It reminded me of that crazy annoying phrase, "you wouldn't understand because you don't have kids".  When I was not a mother and a mother would say this to me, I would cringe and viciously bite my tongue.  Adding the word "three" into that statement doesn't make it any less patronizing and misguided.  How many kids does one have to have in order to "understand" whatever there is to understand?

However, my point is not simply to criticize the article or the author (too late).  My point is this: If you have any pearls of wisdom to bestow upon those embarking on a journey you've already taken, keep in mind that no two people and no two journeys are alike.  So, typically, generalizations are stupid.  And, typically, generalizations about parenting are wicked stupid.

When I make my transition from a single serving to batch, I will certainly be asking for advice.  But, hopefully, the advice I receive will be slightly more positive and balanced.  Namaste.

Update (1/23/14) - Thank you Time Magazine for your (slightly dated) article on something positive to consider about adding a third child to your family: finances.  The money it takes to raise a second child is far less than the cost of the first, and the third child is down right cheap.

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