Is having too many kids just boastful? Yes, according to one American columnist.
Having one child isn’t enough. Having two, perfect. Three? Well, that’s just showing off.
New York Times columnist Hannah Seligson says having a third child is only for the wealthy, at least thats the case when it comes to Manhattan folk.
Bucking a national trend (the 2010 census found that America’s population growth is the lowest it has been since the Great Depression, with the average number of children a woman has hovering around two), a certain set of married, affluent New Yorkers are going for the third child, turning neighborhoods into veritable children’s playgrounds with arguably more amenities for the little ones than for their parents.
Having three children is expensive, but it isn’t always a choice, if you know what I mean. My third child was a ‘happy accident’ and yes, three kids is a huge expense. She’s not a status symbol, at least in my case. Apparently if she had been a choice it would have been me just showing off my wealth.
So, what of my decision to have a fourth then?
Seligson spoke to typical New York families and asked them if having a third child was an option for them. It became clear that in the expensive city, it's beyond most families. But that doesn't mean they don't want a third child.
Businessman Brian Berger was at a friend's birthday party and watched him interact with his three siblings. He was moved by their bond. “It was just an amazing experience watching the four of them, and to have all those siblings to go through life together with,” he told the New York Times. He was so touched by the experience that he and his wife Erin went ahead with their third child. They now have three boys and couldn't be happier.
So, not about status then.
It's the same with me. Wanting to have a large family has a lot to do with how close I am with my siblings. I want my children to be there for each other when they are older, to be part of a large family. It's a lifestyle choice, not me showing off about how rich I am because trust me, I'm definitely not well off.
The article goes on to discuss the fact many families are remaining in the city with larger families instead of opting to live further out in the suburbs. Australian families face the same choice. For me, I can't imagine raising my family in a city like Sydney. It's too busy, too frazzled, too filled with office workers.
Having a large family by choice can be expensive, but it is more about compromise. It's more about spending less on each child and finding a way to stretch the family resources.
But here's the thing. When you have more children, you rely less on expensive structured activities to entertain them. Every day is a play group. You don't even have to leave your house. So while we make decisions to push out our "lovely little status symbols" we're also making a lifestyle choice that works for us, and that's all it is.
Do you think having three or four children is a luxury?