In what felt like minutes after giving birth to my second child, people were asking if my partner and I were going to go for kid number three. While I was annoyed I wasn't necessarily surprised: debating the best number of kids to have isn't anything new, and everyone seems to have their own, usually unwavering opinion when it comes to the size of families and what's "best." While I'm firmly in the "you do you" camp, I have to admit that now that I'm a mom of two, I think two kids is absolutely the best number of children to have.
Yes, I'm biased, but after four months living as a mom of two I have quickly learned how beneficial having two children, and just two children, can be. Because I'm parenting with a partner we can divide and conquer; a parenting technique that, I assure you, works wonders and has made me feel like we're evenly splitting parenting duties. There were moments after my first son was born when I felt like the whole parenting thing was falling solely on my exhausted shoulders, but with the added responsibility of another child we've been forced to openly communicate about who needs to do what, and as a result have been more equitable with the division of labor. I also have the opportunity to watch my oldest grow into his role as big brother, and while knowing my youngest will never feel left out because he's "the baby" and no one ever forgets the baby of the family.
Sure, being a mom of two is difficult, and there are moments when I wonder why my partner and I decided to blow up our lives and have another child. We had a good thing going with baby number one, had just started getting a solid eight hours of sleep every night, and were even sending our kiddo to pre-k, which gave us a little more free-time to enjoy one another. But in the end I know our family wasn't complete without our newest addition. And now that I have two kids I know we have the perfect number of children in our family, and can call it quits on the whole reproducing thing. Here's why:
No, really. A 2007 study found that the majority of Americans believe 2.5 kids is still the ideal number of children to have, and six out of 10 Americans believe "smaller" families — with two kids or fewer — is the way to go.
Because They Can Entertain Each Other
Currently I have a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old, and you better believe I am counting down the days until my youngest is old enough to play with my oldest. Not only will my "big kid" have someone to play with (he's social by nature and loves having an adventure buddy with him at all times), but I will be called on far less frequently than I currently am to entertain both of my children. I call that a parenting win, my friends.
Because You're Not Outnumbered
If you're parenting with a partner, you can still use your standard man-to-man defense when parenting. One parent can take on one child, one parent can handle the other, and when necessary you two can switch. But if you have three children, well, you're outnumbered. And if you have one child you'll be in more of a zone defense, and more often than not someone is going to end up shouldering more of the parenting responsibility. (Hint: that person is going to be the mom, because patriarchy.)
Because You'll Get More Sleep
Look I'm not a scientist or a researcher of any kind, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that less kids = more sleep. That's just a scientific fact. Are you going to be sleeping on the regular with two kids? Nope. Trust me. But you'll definitely be sleeping more than if you had three or more kids.
Because Climate Change
Contrary to popular belief and the musings of one Republican senator from Utah, falling in love, getting married, and having a bunch of babies is not going to solve the crisis of climate change. Look, I'm not about to blame the destruction of the planet on people who choose to procreate. I believe we should be pointing the finger at major corporations dumping toxic chemicals and trash into our oceans and polluting our air in the name of profit margins. However, because there is an however, I do think we should all take pause and think about how we're going to sustain future generations when we're destroying the planet. Overpopulation is a problem, to be sure, so procreating less and recycling more — while holding those major corporations accountable, moving to clean and renewable energy, and issuing regulations that limit pollutants and reward the use of sustainable energy — can help combat climate change in a more substantial way.
Because There's No "Middle Kid Syndrome"
Middle child syndrome is real, and kids who aren't the oldest but not the youngest are said to feel forgotten, ignored, and short-shifted. As a result they can feel resentful and grow rebellious as a way to gain the attention of their parents. But if you have two kids, you don't have to worry about that! Problem solved!
In 10 years, between 2000 and 2010, the cost of raising children rose by 40 percent. As of 2015, the average cost of raising just one child in the United States is a reported $233,610. That. Is. For. Just. One. Child. Now I don't know about you, but just thinking about that figure doubled is making me ill. Tripling that number? Or more? No thank you.
Because It Works For Most People
American moms have 2.4 children, on average; a number that hasn't really changed since the mid-'70s. In 2014, 44 percent of moms at the "end of their childbearing years" reported having two kids.
Of course, what works for one family, or even the majority of families, doesn't necessarily work for all families. I am convinced two kids is the perfect number for my family, but I know that's not the case for so many other people: sometimes one kid is the way to go, sometimes three or four kids makes a family complete, and sometimes families are kid-free and made up of couples and friends. In the end, and always, you do you. But if you are wondering what is the "best number of kids" to have, and at least want to take into consideration what seems to work best for other people and why, at least consider the magic number two. Because I can tell you that as a mom of two, it's pretty damn great.