"Don't you think it's time to have another baby, sweetheart? It's best to have them right after each other. You're not getting any younger, you know. Don't say I didn't warn you!" I am on a video call with my mom back home, and these are the questions she is peppering me with.
Let me paint a picture of how I look—just for fun. I had no time to brush my teeth or empty my bladder because my daughter woke up from a bad dream and needed my immediate care. My hair is tied up in a messy bun and leaning on one side like an '80s hairdo. My receding hairline looks like I've been licked by a cow, starting from my face to the back of my head.
It's a miracle I remembered to wear a bra after waking up, 30 seconds prior to this video call. It's also a miracle that I get to carve out some time to talk to my mom. Speaking with someone—other than my toddler or husband—is really nice and much needed.
"What was that, Mom? Sorry, the baby was about to throw Minnie Mouse in the toilet. Another child? Now? Oh, you know what, I think the connection is breaking off. Let me prepare her bottle and put her in bed for her afternoon nap while we wait for the connection to work."
Ten minutes later, I finally get to sit down and face the call with an ice pack beneath my foot caused by stepping on some LEGOs.
My answer to her questions about another child are just plain honest: "Mom, I hear you, and as much as I love kids, I really can't cope with another at this time. I'm all alone and I'm across the globe from you. It's just me, hubby, and baby here. Unless you can consider visiting us for a few months or so to offer an extra pair of hands with everything? I don't see how it's possible. How will I cook? Or clean? Or make time for anything?"
Her face spelled out disappointment. Truth is, asking her to pretty much move in was a bit too much.
"I raised the four of you all by myself and it wasn't until much later that grandma stepped in to help. You will find a way," she explained.
"How on earth was that even possible for you mom?" I wanted to scream. It's not just time for the house and for my child I'm struggling with, it's also time for my husband and ultimately time for me.
How did she manage the four of us, house responsibilities, errands, different school schedules from pick-ups and drop-offs, and cooking?
Most of all, how did she do that and still look like the superstar she is?
With my dad working long shifts to provide for our family, my mom's life revolved around raising us every single day and night. She was only 18 when she had my oldest sister. Most of my memories as a child are with her actively present. She volunteered at our schools, sat in the audience during theatre recitals and cheered us on during softball practice.
Looking back now, I can't even understand how she accomplished all of this. I wonder, how many times did she have to skip her cup of coffee or breakfast? How many times did she put herself last in order to put us first?
With just one child, I eat standing up and in a rush every day. At times, remembering to eat something (or anything at all) is difficult. With these circumstances being true now, it goes without saying that I can't even begin to imagine adding more children to the current equation.
My mom sacrificed her time for her four children. I know it's possible but I also know the consequences are tough. We are who we are because of who she gave up to be and who she decided to be instead: A dedicated, selfless mother.
I want to possibly have more kids, but the way I mother might look a little different.
With our only child finally becoming more independent with feeding, cleaning up, and going to the potty all by herself, I am just starting to feel more in control of my world. As a family, we want to soak in our moments with her as an only child. My husband rushes home from work every day just to steal the few moments he can share with her before bedtime and even that doesn't seem like enough. Adding a sibling at this time, would add more pressure and guilt to us both that we aren't too sure we can bear. We eventually want her to have a sibling when the time is right for us. Perhaps, when she starts school. That way we can raise our new addition with the same amount of one-to-one connection, correction, affection, and focused development.
For now, I want to enjoy the present, the happy and the chaos. The laughter and the tears. Because it's enough for me for now. Having one child is more than enough.