Strangers love to talk to me about my ovaries. In particular, strangers seem to have a regular hankering to discuss my high functioning ovaries. That is to say, everyone I've never met wants to know if I'm going to have more kids.
At the park, a nanny I've never met may say, "Your children are so beautiful, why you only have two?" as if I'm below my child-bearing quota.
A UPS man delivering packages to a house that isn't mine will yell from across the street, "Have more kids so your boy and girl have someone to play with." My kids have 42,000 toys, but that's not enough. Now, I have to get them another person.
Or a teacher on her way to teach at a school that my kids do not go to may roll down her windows at a stop light to tell me, "Wouldn't it be great to have just one or two more?"
It's all I can do restrain myself from yelling, "F*ck no!"
There are a lot of things I want more of, but children are not one, two, or three of them.
Which I've come to learn, you're not supposed to say outloud.
When I tell people I don't actually want more children (let's put aside how rude it is for people I've never met to feel the need to stream-of-conciousness with me their ideas for the future of my family,) they look at me like I've just said the most horrible thing.
When you tell people you don't want more children, they look at you like you hate children -- in particular your own.
So for the record, I don't want any more children. And the reason I don't want more children, is because I love the two I have. I know how to do a good job for them. I don't know how to do a good job for more.
To me, being thoughtful about my own limitations seems like good parenting. But somehow, there's a notion out there that parents are supposed to like every aspect of parenting -- so much so that we want to keep on doing it over and over until the doctor or our spouse says, "No."
Honestly, I don't like all aspects of parenting. I think admitting that makes me a better parent. I kind of couldn't stand the "infant stage," which isn't to say I couldn't stand my infant. But say that aloud and a hush falls over the room, worse than if you say you think Britney Spears is a model parent.
People seem to have a hard time separating the idea of being a parent from loving their children. There's nothing about my children I don't love -- temper tantrums, ear infections, farts and all. But do I love going to the park? F*ck, no. It's boring, I get sand all in my everywhere and I always feel out of the loop on the latest Lord of the Flies rules that everyone else seems to know.
Do I love sleeping less than prisoners of war? Hell, no. I'm tired. Have a nightmare during the day, Kidoo. That's when I'm alert, supportive, and not trying to sleep.
Did I like sleep training, swaddling, onesies, baby Bjorns, lugging car seats around and spending the duration of my time out to dinner outside the restaurant chasing my kid? F*ck, no.
So I'm not going to do it again.
Because I've got a two-year-old and a five-year-old. That means my big one is well into the "Here's an ipad. Now don't cry for the rest of flight" stage of life. My little one is a year or two away. That means there's vacations in my future, ones where I actually get to feel like I'm on vacation, too. Not working harder than I do at home.
There's freedom in my future. My family is getting more flexible, which to me is more fun.
My little is one is on her way to saying, "Hello undies, goodbye diapers." And my big one is about to have his first sleepover and is learning to ride a bike. I like the stage we're in. My kids need stuff and they need me, all the time. They're just not quite as needy as an infant, which is exactly what I need.
My best friend Kari called me the other day. (Totally not giving her a fake name -- while having her three children, she got a Ph.D, educated the youth of Stanford, and managed to be the Fundraising Gala Mom at her kiddo's school. So, she doesn't really need to go inblognito.) "My baby isn't napping," she said. "So I'm taking him with me to the mall. Call me." When her kids don't nap, Kari goes to run errands. When my kids don't nap, I go to therapy.
Some people are cut out for lots of kids, some aren't.
Parents with one kid must look at those of us with two like we're nuts. And those who chose not to have any kids at all, must look at us all like we're out of our minds. And maybe we are.
Having kids is a tough job for all the obvious reasons. But it's also the only job you'll ever sign up for where you have to be good at every aspect, even stuff you don't know how to do. A doctor isn't expected to also be a fabulous painter. A lawyer isn't expected to be a really good baker. But, a Mom has to be good at everything.
Some people love that infant stage. They want to sit for hours on end with a baby sleeping on their lap. I tried that. I always had to pee. Or, my limbs went numb hour two into the nap. Or, I wanted to take a nap too.
In our "bigger is better" world, maybe a bigger family isn't always better. Sure, I love the idea of my four grown kids coming home from college and filling my house with joy. But how the f*ck am I paying for all that college? And how many times did I have to go the park to get there? So, I'm fairly certain my kids will have friends and they'll fill my house with noise and dirty laundry and chaos.
And it will be wonderful.
It just won't be permanent.
Follow Meredith Gordon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/therealbadsandy