Best of Both Worlds podcast: Giving thanks — the (mostly) little things we are grateful for this year

It’s Thanksgiving week for our American listeners, so many of us have gratitude on the mind. While we are always grateful for the big things, like family and our health, thinking about the little things that work well can particularly nudge us toward an optimistic mindset.

In this week’s episode of Best of Both Worlds, we talk about little things we are grateful for in various categories, like technology, kid-related matters, and consumables. We were also grateful to be recording together in person! Sarah and I recorded this episode (and next week’s) while sitting on a couch in her hotel room in Key Largo during our recent retreat. We are grateful for the technology that allows us to run a podcast together from afar. But it is also nice not to have to use that technology sometimes.

In the Q&A we address a thorny topic: when partners want different numbers of children. A listener wants a third child and her husband does not. What advice do we have for her? We welcome your advice on either addressing a partner’s concerns, or making your peace with a smaller family.

5 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Giving thanks — the (mostly) little things we are grateful for this year

  1. I just wanted to chime in to offer encouragement to Sarah to hold firm about the dog. We got a puppy this summer. I was not fully on board but my girls and husband were very excited. It’s been challenging. On the plus side I take more walks. However, it did affirm my decision to not have a third child (which I made about a decade ago). It is getting easier but it takes up much more mental load than I anticipated or wanted.

  2. I read a blog post from Sarah Bessey years ago – I can’t find it online anymore but it was something like “In which I learn to live with the ache” where she talked about finding peace with being done with having babies. There was a time when I wanted another child but my husband was firmly done with two. I would feel a pang of resentment or jealousy when yet another friend or acquaintance was pregnant with a third child, I would tell him “3 is the new 2”. Now that my youngest is 8, I can without a doubt, say stopping at 2 was the right decision for us. I’m thankful my husband stuck to his guns and grateful our marriage is one where such honesty was allowed and respected.

    Ultimately, I believe that if you have 2 babies or 10 – eventually you’ll have the Last Baby. You have to cross that threshold. Moms do their hardest but most invisible work on this side. Pregnancy is self-evident; you never have to explain why you’re tired at work or are skipping a social event, you just point to your bump. And we all know how society looks at women who are post-fertile (when is the last time you heard a man described as past his prime?)

    Yeah, it aches, but that doesn’t mean it is the wrong decision and if one partner feels strongly that their family is complete, you’ll learn to live with that ache. The same way you’ve lived with the other aches of other chapters ending.

    Love your podcasts – listen to them all!

  3. I completely agree with the previous commenter’s thoughts about “living with ache”. Sometimes our hearts want more babies than our circumstances (bodies, partners, money, or other life goals) will allow. That can be hard, but it isn’t necessarily the wrong decision. (And watching that Last Baby get bigger and bigger – is that without regret for anyone?).

    When my husband and I were deciding on a 2nd baby, we found it helpful to think in terms of another *child* rather than just another baby. It’s easy, with very little ones, to imagine that another baby will just be more of the same, perhaps forever: more pregnancy, more nursing, more sleep deprivation and diapers and tantrums and all the rest.

    But, as Laura always reminds us, babies do grow up, and they will be big kids and adults for far longer than they are infants. How many kids do you want in five years, or ten, or twenty? Bryan Caplan wrote in Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids that you should imagine how many people you want to see around the dinner table instead of how many babies you want to stay up all night with. (He has four kids. I would love to know what his wife thinks about this.) That doesn’t necessarily solve the problem, but if the issue is that one parent wants more adorable babies to love and the other wants to finally be done with diapers it can at least shift the conversation a bit.

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