In for the penny, in for the pound. That’s my response when people comment on how many children I have. (For the record, it’s four; they were born within five years of each other. Yes, on purpose.)
“In for the penny, in for the pound,” is an old British phrase that means the punishment for owing a penny is the same as the punishment for owing a pound – so you might as well owe the pound, right?
That’s how I feel about parenting. The “punishment” is the same no matter what. Once you have one child, every date night has to pass the, “is it babysitter-worthy?” test. The end of Daylight Saving Time no longer means you get to sleep an extra hour. Your house is suddenly overrun with toys. And, that subdivision in the suburbs with the good school district starts seeming dreamy.
I know there are exceptions to this rule (cough, cough, college tuition). But, for the most part, I feel like if you’re going to dedicate a few decades to raising children, you might as well be all in. In fact, when my husband and I were discussing the pros and cons of having more children, after the birth of our second baby, he said, “Two kids is average.”
Oh, he knows how to ignite the overachiever in me. I’m sure my subconscious responded with, “Two kids is average? Ha! I’ll double that then!” And, double it we did. In a short amount of time.
My life is non-stop. Somebody is always crying. Somebody always needs something. But, I know this season is temporary. And, in some ways, I’m starting to see why people always say, “After the –nth child, it starts to get easier.” In the past, I never understood that. How could adding another human being to your family make things any easier? But, I’m now realizing that the adjustment gets simpler.
There’s a study that backs up how I feel. For me, juggling three kids was the hardest.
I’m a pro at this now. I know better.
I found a grocery store that delivers for free. I have a mother’s helper come in each morning to help us get out the door. I put the baby in the Otteroo at bath time because I’ve officially run out of hands. (A wise nanny told me once that if evolution were perfect, moms would grow two new arms with each childbirth.)
Most days, I feel like I’m losing my mind. But, I know moms of two kids who say the same thing. For me, it’s, “in for the penny, in for the pound,” (and hopefully, they’ll all get scholarships).
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