Many couples today who already have two children are torn about the decision to stop at two or have a third child. For some, the decision is based purely on the financial aspect of raising another child. Others are concerned about how adding another child to their family dynamic will change the amount of time and attention they have to care for the two kids they already have. These are legitimate concerns that should be given ample consideration. However, there are some factors that you may want to consider that most parents don't think about when making this decision. While perhaps not as important as finances and how you will find time to give each child one-on-one attention, these are factors that are worth considering as well:
Meal Planning: Once your third child starts eating table food, you will need to start buying enough "real" food for five people to eat. Unfortunately, however, many of those pasta mixes, fresh packages of meat and so much more do not come with five servings available. You often will need to plan on cooking a meal for six or even eight people, or otherwise trying to scrimp by on portions suitable for four. When kids are younger, cooking for four may still be feasible. As kids get older, though, you may find that your grocery bill increases greatly as you have to buy an extra package of meat and so forth for each and every meal you make. On the plus side, this inevitably means that you may be able to plan for at least one night of leftovers each week.
Dining Out: If you view the layout of any given restaurant, you will see that most tables and booths are designed to accommodate four people. All restaurants will have a few larger tables as well as the ability to move tables together to create space for five. However, when you visit a restaurant with five people during peak hours, you can expect to either be cramped into a table meant for four or to wait longer than others will wait for a table.
Traveling: Just as restaurants are largely designed for parties of four, the same holds true for hotel rooms. When your third child is an infant, traveling may not be too difficult. After all, you can simply bring along a "pack n play" for your baby to sleep in. However, at some point, your little one will be big enough to sleep in a big bed. Some hotels will allow you to borrow a rollaway bed, but they often will not allow you to reserve a rollaway bed. You may not find out until you check in if there is a bed available for everyone in your family to sleep in. Further, in some areas, it is a fire code violation to put a rollaway bed in a smaller hotel room. You may need to spring for the suite in order to have a rollaway bed in the room. In some cases, you may simply need to pay for a second hotel room.
Vehicle Options: Another factor to consider is how a third child will limit your vehicle options. While most sedans and smaller SUVs can accommodate five passengers, the prospect of putting three kids into a small backseat may sound like whining and arguing just waiting to happen. Further, while these smaller vehicles may say they accommodate five passengers, they typically will not accommodate five passengers when two or three of those passengers are in car seats. With this in mind, you can see that it is almost a necessity for a family of five to purchase at least a seven or eight-seat vehicle. These vehicles typically are more expensive to purchase, more expensive to insure and more expensive to fill up the gas tank. Further, your style options are limited.
The fact is that we live in a society that really is more well-suited for a family of four. The above factors are those that you will have to live with on a regular basis when you have a family of five. While they can be inconvenient and can add additional cost to your life that you perhaps have not been considering up to this point, the fact is that the addition of a third child to your family is nonetheless a blessing.
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