The Real Reason Parents Have More Kids

There is no time I feel more grateful for my husband’s vasectomy than in the calm, quiet moments at the end of the day. The moment after I make to rounds to each of my children’s rooms, watching them sleep peacefully with parted lips and cherubic cheeks. The moment that I soak in the silence and think to myself, “how could I not want to do this again?”

It happens without fail every time I go in to check on them while they sleep. All the good moments of the day suddenly rush back to me. The giggles, the impromptu dance party, the snuggles and the trip to the park. Then those happy memories lead to more, leaving me in a swirling wave of nostalgia as I marvel over how long their limbs are growing, how quickly it is all going by. It is then, in the solemn moment of knowing that I cannot slow down time, that I want more babies…even though I really don’t want more babies.

That, my friend, is how they get you. There is something about the combination of intoxicating silence and the sweet angelic faces of your sleeping children that makes you forget about the million horrible moments they exacted upon you throughout the day, and gets you thinking, “yes, this is wonderful. I want more of this.” And lo and behold, here is the one and only chance you have to be alone with your partner and make babies. It’s a pretty ingenious trick of nature.

It is my firmly held belief that this post-bedtime witchcraft is the real reason parents have more kids. Certainly there are moments during the day that will elicit a conversation about having more children. Those fleeting moments where you find your first two children playing quietly together or when you’re out on a family walk and no one is complaining. When you find yourself thinking, “this is exactly how I imagined being a parent would be.” (You know, the moments that account for maybe .01% of the total parenting experience). Those are the seeds that bloom at night, when you’re standing over your sleeping child’s bed like a stalker.

However, the moments you are magically forgetting are the ones that come right after the calm. The moment that peaceful sibling playtime devolves into a screeching thunderdome situation. The small tumble on the walk that barely scratches your child’s knee and causes them to act as if their leg needs amputation while cursing nature and rocks and you all the way home. The moments that leave you thinking, “yeah no, my plate’s full enough with the kid(s) I’ve got.”

You find yourself using twisted logic to justify your sudden need for more babies, shifting your priorities in wildly unpredictable ways. Think of all the newborn snuggles and not the nightmare of sleep training. Think about how nice it would be to not have your period for a year instead of remembering that it comes at the cost of being pregnant for nine months then shoving an entire person out of your vagina. Focus on the sweet promise of sibling love and not the reality of sibling rivalry. Let the baby fever sweep over you and sound logic is out the window.

You get pregnant. You have another baby. Your life is filled with more love than you ever imagined, along with the fights and the messes and the screaming, which somehow double with each child even though after the second, that isn’t how math is supposed to work. Then one night they’re all sleeping peacefully at the same time, and you ask yourself if it’s all worth it, and the answer is always yes. The sleep magic gets you every time. So go ahead and check on your slumbering babies, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.