My husband and I have 2 beautiful boys. We have often talked about whether we want 2 or 3 kids, and lately I have really felt that given a few years to recover from 2 pregnancies in a row, I would like to have a third. My husband isn’t totally sure – but he isn’t opposed to it either. Nataly over at Work It Mom Blog posts about whether your job influences your decision to have a certain number of kids. She references an interesting Wall Street Journal article called appropriately, “The Juggle” about this topic as well.
Due to the fact that both my husband and I work, and both of us work together on our own company, I have often thought about what a third child would do to our schedule. Luckily though, my husband and I have an excellent working arrangement that allows us to work and run a company of 40+ people, but still have time for our kids. We live in Eugene, Or which is a nice small town. We have no commute (It is less than 5 min between office and home) and my family is in town to help take care of our kids. Every Friday my mom takes the kids. If we need to travel for business, we either take the kids with us, or leave them with their grandparents. I can go to work early and leave earlier, my husband takes the opposite schedule. We are both home every night for our 6pm dinner.
Choosing to move to Eugene was a hard decision for us. When we moved we did not have kids, but were ready to start a family. We lived in London, and before that San Francisco. We loved big urban places and were afraid of the smallness of Eugene. But in the end we knew that this town would afford us a different lifestyle a better lifestyle when we had kids. And we were right! We chose to forgo an urban center with lots and lots of restaurants and night life, a place where we had lots of friends and a very busy social calendar, and a place where we needed to commute an hour plus every day. And instead we get a beautiful (albeit rainy) town with tons of outdoor activities, affordable housing, no commute, grandparents a few blocks away, good neighborhood public schools (yes public!), and a family business with flexibility and support.
The downside: running a family business means we are ALWAYS working. At the dinner table in between discussing what my 3 year old did at preschool, and singing songs with my 1 year old, we talk about work. When we drive to the mountains to take the kids to the snow, they nap, we talk about work. The very few times my parents babysit on a Friday night for us to go out to dinner, we talk about work. You get the picture.
But at the end of the day the choices that we made allow us to raise our kids, and not be restricted by career when we plan our family. I know we are lucky. I know not everyone has these choices. But I think that there are always compromises that can be made that will help you accommodate both career and the family you want. And maybe one day we will live in a country where all businesses will be family friendly and will help parents with the ever present work/life balance.