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“THREE BOYS! ARE YOU GOING TO GO FOR A GIRL?”


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September 20, 2006

“THREE BOYS! ARE YOU GOING TO GO FOR A GIRL?”

Anne Tergesen

When I walk around the city with my three sons, I’m asked that question all the time. The answer has varied over time, from “definitely” (shortly after # 3 was born) to a more realistic (and beaten-down), “well, maybe.” Today, while I still have flashes of baby envy, I’m more inclined to say, “I just don’t have the stamina.”

I find it very hard to close doors. Never very decisive, I envy people who—after one or two or even three kids—are adamant that they’re done. I also envy people who know—just know—they want to stay home with their kids or continue to climb the corporate ladder. Me? I work part-time, so I can avoid having to choose one way or another.

I can relate to colleague Lauren Young’s August 2 post “One and Only?" about her simultaneous desire to have a second child and her reluctance to take the plunge. I, too, know what it’s like to think about having another child nearly every day. As one of four kids, I’ve always assumed I’d have a fourth—and another boy would be just fine, thank you. I’m close to my siblings. When I’m with my kids, I can’t shake the feeling that someone’s missing.

But I also know how hard it is to “do it all.” I fear that I wouldn’t have enough time or attention to divide among four—especially while working. With three healthy kids, I worry about pushing our good luck. And with my youngest about to turn four and increasingly content to play with his brothers, I’ve also become reacquainted with how nice it is to have some free time.

But while I seem to have finally managed to arrive at a decision, I reserve the right to change my mind. I’ve been feeling pressured by my biological clock. But my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, both near 50, remind me that there is another way. They’re about to travel to China to adopt a second daughter. Now that’s a sure way to get a girl.

10:17 AM

Choices

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As a working mom of 2 young boys (and one of four sisters!), I can identify with the struggle of figuring out the best choice for-- you name it-- job (FT/PT?), living situation (suburb/country?), school (public/private?), etc. etc. Luckily, the one thing my husband and I have continued to agree on was the number of kids we'd have. One didn't feel right, and, for us, three seemed to leave an odd man out (never mind the idea of doing it all again). Whenever I get the "How about a girl?" question (usually from a relative), I just point it in the direction of my three younger sisters. I think it all comes down to a matter of what feels right in your heart and your situation. Best of luck to you wherever this journey takes you.

Posted by: Lisa at September 20, 2006 02:40 PM

I have to agree with the writer. My wife and I find it difficult enough to keep up with one child, let alone two. We can give our child the needed devotion and attention.

Posted by: Augustus Carter at September 21, 2006 10:03 AM

I thought I was reading about myself! Except that it's girls, not boys.

I work part time, have 3 girls and struggled with the decision to have a 4th. We essentially decided no but we didn't do anything to prevent it. Having had fertility issues with the 3 girls we thought it extremely unlikely.

Not that our youngest is turning 4, I'm 21 weeks pregnant with out 4th! Very happy too!

Posted by: Kate at September 27, 2006 03:48 PM

I was still in the delivery room after giving birth to my second son when my doctor asked me when I was going to to have my girl. I responded, "If I go for a third child it will be another boy." Five years later, it was. After that, whenever my husband and I were asked when we were going to try for a girl I would respond with a straight face, "My husband can have his girl with his second wife." They never asked again.

Posted by: ellen at October 3, 2006 03:33 PM

Oh, I'm going through this exact decision process. I too so wish I had that "I'm done" feeling. Enjoyed your post!

Posted by: Kris at March 17, 2007 08:27 PM


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