Three kids sitting in a modern chair

I have three beautiful babies.

The first is almost 13, and we are eyeball deep in tween sass, crazy trends, football games, and everything that comes with raising a middle school girl. To say she keeps us busy is an understatement.

Our middle is a boisterous almost four-year-old and the true definition of a “wild child.” He never sits still, he takes everything apart, and he throws some pretty epic tantrums.

The youngest is my 18-month-old “trick baby.” What does this mean, you ask? He is so fantastically wonderful that he could very well “trick” us into having another child, because in my mind, they must all be just like him. Sure, he has discovered the fine art of tossing food onto the floor, and he most certainly spends his days whining for everything that he wants because he can’t fully communicate yet. Overall, though, he is a sheer delight.

We are at max capacity over here, though. Trust me.

Every child has his or her own bedroom.

The youngest is starting part-time preschool this August, so I finally feel like I have some breathing room.

I am super career focused right now and just launched a second business. I can say for the first time in my life that not only do I love what I do, but I’ve worked really hard to achieve this flexibility. I want to keep growing professionally, and a newborn isn’t part of that plan.

Our family has a perfect balance. Our little boys will grow up close in age, something I yearned for my entire life. Our daughter is old enough to where we can have separate bonding time with her while she still gets to experience the magic of siblings.

I want to give my kids things like overnight camp, family vacations, healthy food, and fun experiences that we would certainly have less of if there were more in the picture.

In short, three has proven to be pretty perfect for us.

But then…there’s a little part of me that melts every time my middle child picks out three of something, like lollipops at the doctor’s office, because he insists on giving one to each of his siblings.

When I hold the baby in my arms and rock him before bed each night, and he nuzzles ever so perfectly into the crook of my neck — I find myself thinking, is this it? Is he truly my last one? 

When my kids pile into a group photo and it’s an epic hot mess, I think — adding one more to this mix would be so fun.

As moms, do we ever truly feel done having kids? Will I always wonder what one more would have been like?

These moments in motherhood are so fleeting. Each stage — the sleepless newborn, the wild toddler, even the busy elementary kid — it passes so much faster than you could even imagine. I sat down and realized that my oldest will be off to college in only six years! Part of me can really picture us with another child — another family member who will grow up finding his or her place in the world, so loved and supported along the way.

Being far away from family, though, I also know that our hands are especially full. When sickness strikes or we need a break, there is nobody to fall back on to step in for us. This has made our marriage rock solid, as we truly rely on each other as the pillars of our little family. This also makes me think that another child would be even tougher on us, bringing us that much further from the days of sending our kids on the plane to visit their grandparents — because believe me, those days are coming, and they’re going to be amazing.

Sometimes I’ll meet moms who tell me that without a doubt, they’re done having kids. Many of them mean it, but many of them are also eyeball deep in the toughest stages — the chapped nipples, sleepless nights, and toddler tantrums. These stages are so fleeting on your parenting journey. That strong willed little person is going to become this incredible being, completely separate from you yet simultaneously your entire self. It’s beautiful chaos.

We’ve been asked by many people if we’re done having children.

The answer is yes. It really is, I promise.

But the real answer is — will I ever feel done?

Looking at my almost thirteen year old and listening to her hopes and dreams, watching her be the best big sister, and being so proud of the person she is becoming…

Or listening to my middle child talk about his day and swooning over the flower he just picked me…

And watching the baby discover his belly and squeal in delight when you find his nose…

I think to myself, what does it mean to feel ‘done?’

Just like most moms, my kids are my world. I can’t wait to see who they become, what they’re passionate about, and who they bring home someday. I can’t wait to know every part of them. Isn’t that what life and love are truly about?

A wise woman once said, make the decision to add to your family based on how faces you envision sitting around your Thanksgiving table, not from the hard moments like pregnancy ailments and cluster feeding sessions. Those moments pass so quickly. I understand where her wisdom stems from, and it is for that very reason that we once decided to try for just one more. Graham is the most deliciously fantastic human that we could have ever asked for. He is a ball of wild, auburn curls and sheer joy, mixed with a little bit of rebellion. When I say I can’t imagine my life without him, I truly mean it. He has my entire heart.

Back to the question at hand, though. Will I ever feel done? Probably not, and that’s ok. I have made peace with the fact that while my heart can yearn for more babies and more magical moments, my logic and day-to-day reality know that we are complete. I can simultaneously mourn and celebrate that this season of my life has come to an end. Though it is both liberating and also a bit sad, my little family is perfect in its own way — and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful.

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