My Decision to Stop at Two Kids


I had two kids within 2.5 years of each other, both boys. I feel like as soon as I got home from the hospital, I kept hearing chatter from various folks about “the third.”

“Are you going to have a third?”
“Are you guys going to stop at two? Or go for another?”
“Are you going to try for a girl?”

My head was spinning from the sheer learning curve that is going from one child to two children. It is no easy feat. In fact, the word I use to describe it is “insanity.” When you go from one child to two children, every day is chaos. Absolute chaos. At least until you can get your rhythm and routine going. Of course, the benefit of having two children within three years of each other is that the gap between them closes with each month that passes.

What I mean by that is I’m in a sweet spot right now. I’m pretty sure we’re going to stop at two kids.

Both kids still nap, at the same time each day, eat the same meals, and share similar interests. They even entertain each other (which is why I had the second child, let’s be honest). A baby brother is the ultimate toy I could have given to my first-born son, right?

And even though twenty months have passed since I brought my second beautiful son home from the hospital, I’m still getting those questions about “the third.”

So, in case anyone wants to know when “the third” is arriving, here are my responses:

  • I think we’re at capacity, two is a lot of people. A lot of people.
  • If another baby is meant to be here, another baby will be here. I guess.
A mom and her two kids bundled up outside in early winter.

But here’s the thing, when my older son was around 20 months old, I wanted another baby so badly.

I ached for another baby.

Someone was missing from my life and I knew it was my second baby boy.

I was so envious of my pregnant friends that I ultimately knew that was the time to bring that person into the world. Fortunately, I’m one of the lucky people who was able to make that decision and execute it with no problems whatsoever.

And here we are, at the same age my older son was when I had that ache for baby number two. But I do not have that ache. I have an utter panic when I think about being pregnant with two children to take care of. I definitely am ready to stop at two kids. For real.

Excuse me while I hyperventilate into a bag.

Here are legitimate questions I have for people with more than two kids:

How do you afford them?

No, seriously, how? I feel like we are of a generation that is so underpaid and underemployed that talking about money and costs is no longer taboo and we can be open about this. Between diapers and formula and regular groceries and part-time preschool and toddler soccer and new shoes and haircuts and wardrobes and MILK, where does the money come from exactly? Do we need more side hustles? I personally do not know what the hell I did with “all the money” I was making before I had kids. In retrospect, I was rich!

How does that work?

Do the two older ones take care of themselves while you are caring for a high-maintenance baby? Do they go to childcare? Do grandparents chip in? I don’t get it. Children require so much time, and I found when I added another to the mix, the time to get everything accomplished doubled, leaving me approximately 20 minutes each night to myself (which I’m using to write this blog post).

Two kids, a toddler and a baby, lay on the floor together.

Well, I think I’ve thought through the decision to stop at two kids plenty by now. I feel comfortable and complete with two boys.

And, I know I’ve completely jinxed us by even writing these words and putting them into the world. But, as I said, if another baby is meant to be here, another baby will be here.

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Guest Writer: Jessica Cantarelli

Jessica Cantarelli is the incredible mom of two impressive boys. She is the public relations and communications manager at Centier Bank. She oversees all public relations, social media, and marketing communications for Indiana’s largest, private family-owned bank. She previously worked in print and digital media as a journalist at the Chicago Tribune for 11 years, and the Chicago Sun-Times for two years. Jessica has a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism from Eastern Illinois University.

Follow Jessica on Instagram @thejessicacantarelli


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