This question is from Dean in Galveston, TX.
My wife is a stay-at-home mom and I work in construction. I make enough money to support my wife and two young sons, but I stretch my paycheck to the limit every time it comes in. The issue here is that my wife is constantly on me to go for a third child. She says it’s because she wants to “try for a girl,” but I’m not having it. It’s hard enough coming home after long days in the Texas sun to be a good dad to two kids, and I know I wouldn’t be as good of a provider, husband, and dad if another kid was added to the mix. But she won’t stop bugging me. How can I get this through her head??
Honestly, Dean — I have a ton of respect for you. It takes a real man to acknowledge his limitations like you just did. Hell, I’m with you. I look around on these streets and see families with five or six children and I have no idea how they do it. Before I became a dad, I knew I only wanted two kids because I felt I’d be extremely shitty at the job if I had more (not to mention, kids are damn expensive). No to mention, there are many men out there who are choosing to go under the knife to keep their families from growing, so you aren’t alone.
I think you need to tell your wife exactly what you laid out here, but don’t just say, “I’m not doing it.” Try by asking her some questions instead.
“Where will we get the extra money to take care of another child? Are you willing to go back to work to help us financially? If so, how will we pay for childcare?”
“Why must we ‘try for a girl’? Why aren’t you content with our two amazing sons?”
“Let’s say we had another boy, how long would this continue for?”
“When I get home from work, I’m exhausted. I do my best to be a great dad, but I don’t think I would be one if another child was in the mix. Are you willing to risk our great family dynamics for that?”
These are fair questions that she needs to answer fully. You’re not being an asshole who says, “I pay all of the bills, so I have the final say,” but you’re certainly letting her know that you’re not about that large family life because of your legitimate concerns. I wouldn’t budge on this because there are way too many families out there who struggle because they don’t know their limitations (financially, emotionally, etc.), and you don’t want to be one of them.