This summer I read an article in the online version of Elle Magazine, which read in part:
Sometimes, I can see us living in a smaller, older home somewhere, selling this one, and adjusting to accommodate life with a third child in a home that is definitely anything but a dream, but then I overhear our boys having a blast playing in our big, beautiful, safe backyard, or listen to their laughter billowing out of the colorful playroom space we have created and designed just for them, and I know this was always meant to be our forever home. This is the American dream and we are in it, living it, every day, just the four of us.
With that said, the sacrifice has been made. Because we live in this dream home, we can only afford to have two children. It’s our quiet sacrifice but it’s also our beautiful life, well-earned and fully-lived.
I don’t even know where to start with this. I mean, I understand that not everyone feels like they can handle a big family. And believe me, I know that there are financial concerns involved in the raising of children. But when I think of the families I knew growing up, with nine and ten kids in average-sized houses, two and three kids sharing a room, I wonder which of their siblings they might have liked to give up for the privilege of living in some dream house.
When William was born, we were living in a three-bedroom, 1400 square foot home. We had to pick up his cradle and move it in order to open our dresser drawers. We didn’t even have a minivan; we had to wedge poor Jake in the middle of the front seat of my Mercury Sable when the whole family went anywhere. We were a one-car family for long stretches of time. We moved into what seemed like a dream home to me, but was actually a 120-year old money pit. Everyone had a bedroom, until Lorelei came along. She slept in our room, we kept her clothes in William’s room, and her toys were in the den, but she didn’t care.
Little kids DO NOT CARE about dream houses. They don’t need their own rooms and they don’t need a colorful playroom space. Those things are nice, but my kids liked playing in the woods behind our house and making mud-holes with the hose and swimming in their plastic pool with their siblings.
Something is wrong with a society that equates the American Dream with having All The Things, especially when it means putting those things before people. When parents have another child, they aren’t taking something away from their existing kids, they are GIVING them something, something much better and longer-lasting than any material possession.
Someday those boys in the article will grow up, and they won’t play in that backyard or laugh in that playroom any longer. What they will always have is each other, and what they WON’T have is another sister or brother.