Author Topic: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?  (Read 9732 times)

PoutineLover

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Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« on: January 29, 2018, 02:10:46 PM »
I don't have kids yet, but I've been having discussions with my partner and we're starting to think about when to have them and how many to have. My partner wants to have at least 4, the more the better. I like the idea of a large family, but I'm a bit concerned about how expensive and difficult it might be to raise that many, and how to time them, and the impact on my body and career and early retirement.
We're both 26, and I could see myself having the first around 30 and spacing them about 2 years apart (of course, you can't plan everything exactly, but that seems like a good scenario). However, I'd be out of work for a decade or only working for short times between babies, and I'd have lots of young kids to take care of for a good chunk of time.
I was curious to hear from parents, especially those with large families, who might have more insight into what that size of family involves and whether it's realistic. We are in Quebec, so we get good maternity and paternity leaves and subsidized daycare, so that should help.
Is 4+ kids crazy? Is it career suicide for me? Should we do any tests to make sure that we are both fertile/healthy if we are planning to wait a couple years before starting?

Hula Hoop

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2018, 02:28:22 PM »
I only have 2 kids but all I can say is that before having kids you have absolutely no idea what having kids will be like.  There is no way you can plan your family size with 0 knowledge of what having kids entails.   My advice would be to have that first kid and see how you and your partner feel then about having a second one.  After having the second one, see how you feel about a third etc.  I know people who wanted large families who are now the happy parents of only children.  I also know people who only wanted one who went on to have three kids.

That said, I always wanted to have 2 kids and ended up with 2 kids.  But after having the first one both DH and I went through a phase of wanting to stop at one until we changed our minds when our older child was around 2.5.  I think this is unusual though.


Beard N Bones

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2018, 02:32:46 PM »
My wife and I have 3 kids.  I don't think 4 is too many (I have 4 siblings).  It isn't crazy.  I know of a family that has 14 kids.  That is crazy. 

I'd suggest to you that kids aren't free.  They need food, clothing, shelter, and most importantly your time and love.
If your career and the cost of having kids (food, shelter, clothing and your time & love) is the biggest concern, don't have kids.
I think they are one of the greatest things that a person can have - a huge blessing.  But they don't come with their challenges.  They aren't career suicide.
Having kids is also hard on a woman's body.  It is far more than the 5-minute-pushing-scene portrayed in our media.  It is a marathon, not a sprint.

The best tests for determining your health - do you exercise regularly?  eat healthy? sleep soundly and wake up with energy? have mental fortitude?  have good relationships?  If you answer yes to those, you'll be healthy.

Fertile?  Have sex.  Lots of it.  You will find out soon enough.

ixtap

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2018, 02:38:01 PM »
I dont know very many couples who have the number of kids they expected. Some have fewer, some have more.

Have a kid, see how it goes. Did you spend two years and $50k getting pregnant? Do you miss work? Did your partner take over a large chunk of caregiving and give up their career? Does the kid have medical issues that require more time than you expected? I could spend all day asking these questions.

bogart

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2018, 09:44:05 PM »
I only have 2 kids but all I can say is that before having kids you have absolutely no idea what having kids will be like. 

Yes, that.  Though I'd say if you think you might want a bunch, it's better to start early (younger women have healthier pregnancies and healthier babies, on average) and to save as much $$$ as you can before you start.  Of course those goals are somewhat at odds, but so it goes.

MDM

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 10:38:10 PM »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 10:42:49 PM »
I'd start with having a kid and seeing what comes next. Unless you win some bizarre genetic lottery, you aren't going to have all 4 at once, so no use planning that.

Lots of people have large families. And many of them work, and many don't. If you want 4 kids and can have them, go for it

But what ive learned in my life is there is no much you can do for planning. Things happen you don't expect. One living child was never my plan, but it seems to be my reality.


Though may I gently suggest, if you want 4 to start sooner rather than later. You did mention spacing 2 years a part, which is mostly realistic, it also would rely on really good fertility, which is ever declining. Although there are obviously many successful outcomes spaced closer, for health of mother and baby, 12 months from birth to conception is recommended for spacing, 18 months for a casearan. Mother's body needs time to heal, nutrient stores replenished, etc.  So 2 year apart spacing is on the low end unless you can conceive very quickly each round and always manage vaginal births. 

Starting sooner also gives you more time if unexpected set backs take place.

MindfulMoney

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2018, 04:54:04 AM »
I only have 2 kids but all I can say is that before having kids you have absolutely no idea what having kids will be like.  There is no way you can plan your family size with 0 knowledge of what having kids entails.   My advice would be to have that first kid and see how you and your partner feel then about having a second one.  After having the second one, see how you feel about a third etc.  I know people who wanted large families who are now the happy parents of only children.  I also know people who only wanted one who went on to have three kids.

That said, I always wanted to have 2 kids and ended up with 2 kids.  But after having the first one both DH and I went through a phase of wanting to stop at one until we changed our minds when our older child was around 2.5.  I think this is unusual though.
+1 on this
 
Know that it's hard than you can imagine and you have to take it as it goes.

Immediately after giving birth to my daughter the first thought I had was " l can't believe anyone would choose to do this again".

It's though I don't criticize anyone who chooses not to have kids. Not everyone should have them.


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Linda_Norway

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 05:50:58 AM »
If you are concerned about the impact of many children on your body, than look at adaption as an alternative. You can also combine e.g. 2 children of your own with 2 adopted.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 06:31:05 AM »
If you are concerned about the impact of many children on your body, than look at adaption as an alternative. You can also combine e.g. 2 children of your own with 2 adopted.

I have no idea your involvement in adoption, perhaps you have many adopted children, but I wish adoption were as easy as people on the internet make it out to be...  It is not a simple way to build a family at all.

It is can work for some people; but certainly not for everyone.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 08:35:10 AM »
To answer your main question....no, 4 kids is not crazy as long as you have the money and mental bandwidth to mange them. We always thought we would want 3-4 kids and just recently had our second. We will almost certainly go for the third unless something unexpected happens.

A few thoughts in line with what others said:

Age - if you want a large family I highly recommend starting sooner than age 30. It takes alot longer than expected to conceive for most couples, and miscarriages are very common. In fact most women who have numerous children have usually experienced at least one loss. Miscarriage is not only heartbreaking but it can mess with your ferility timeline and family planning as these "false starts" can eat up considerable time between successful pregnancies. In addition, fertility starts to tank by 37, so any time after that is really hit or miss if you are trying to conceive.

Impact of pregnancy and birth - Even low risk, healthy pregnancy and birth damages the body to a degree. Complicated ones can wreck havoc on a woman and cause permanent damage. The more babies you have the more opportunities for damage and most women with many babies have very weakened pelvic floors which increase the chances of problems like vaginal and bladder prolapse, incontinence,  etc. You will have to take family planning in stride and with every passing birth reasses how your body is doing....can it handle another birth without incurring severe damage? For some women they can go to 3, 4, or even 5 babies without any significant impact but others have to really reassess after just one or two.

I am very lucky...I am fertile, and despite having a couple of miscarriages,  I have two healthy children and a history of low risk pregnancies, vaginal deliveries, and minimal damage/impact of pregnancy and birth on my body. This is why it is reasonable for us to go for 3 but even after that, we will likely be really pushing it in terms of strain on my body if qe decide to go for 4.

PoutineLover

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 08:50:49 AM »
Thanks for all the advice so far. I am pretty certain I want at least 2, because I don't want to have an only child. I have spent a lot of time babysitting and volunteering with babies and kids, so I know I like them, but it'll be a lot more responsibility and effort when I can't just hand them back to their parents afterwards, plus I've heard a lot about the sleep deprivation and that sounds brutal. My partner has two much younger siblings, so he has also spent a lot of time helping to care for kids and even saw his little brother being born, and I'm sure he will be a very hands-on parent.
I am pretty healthy, I eat well and I'm active, and I hope that my body will be able to handle multiple pregnancies. I'd like to do natural births and breastfeed. I was thinking 30 because I still want to save up more and get a slightly more established job, and have a few more pre-child adventures, but I could potentially start trying sooner. This is all a bit hypothetical still because I don't live with my partner yet, but we are about to, and that has to go well for us to continue moving forward with our plans for a future together.
I guess my takeaway so far is don't plan too much, but if I want a large family, start sooner rather than later to have the best possible chances and to account for unexpected issues, and be flexible. That larger family thread is pretty interesting, I am going to have lots of discussions with my partner about our ideas on parenting, like about sharing responsibilities, kids activities/lessons/sports, saving for college, sharing bedrooms, etc. We've already talked about this a lot and we have a similar mindset, but it hasn't been put into practice yet.

NeonPegasus

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 10:03:19 AM »
LOLOLOLOLOL ;)

Start with one. Reevaluate after that.
Have another if you want. Reevaluate after that.
Rinse and repeat.

Only you can answer your questions and, unless you get hit with multiples, you have plenty of chances to answer them. You may pop out babies with almost no physical effects. Or you may have hyperemesis the whole pregnancy and eat through a tube until a horrible delivery that leaves you with 4th degree tears. I've known women on both ends of the spectrum.

You may get easy babies that make it a joy to be a parent. You may have colicky babies that make you swear off any more. You may have one or more children with special needs such as autism.

You may have a super helpful involved partner or you may find yourself surprised at just how inequitable the work division becomes.

You may find your meaning in making and raising kids. You may realize that the limit you can handle was lower than you thought. And you may feel like you're missing someone until you have that someone and realize you are completely full, end of story, don't want anymore, thanks.

So, work on your relationship first. Make sure your partner shares your desires. Don't just assume that because he took care of his siblings, he'll be a great dad. Plenty of kids in that same position grow up and decide they've had their fill of raising kids. If you're both on board, I highly recommend getting married before proceeding. I am not religious in the slightest but our society has set it up so that marriage provides a legal framework that simplifies matters in the case of parents breaking up/divorcing, dying, etc.

PoutineLover

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 10:31:07 AM »
So, work on your relationship first. Make sure your partner shares your desires. Don't just assume that because he took care of his siblings, he'll be a great dad. Plenty of kids in that same position grow up and decide they've had their fill of raising kids. If you're both on board, I highly recommend getting married before proceeding. I am not religious in the slightest but our society has set it up so that marriage provides a legal framework that simplifies matters in the case of parents breaking up/divorcing, dying, etc.
He is definitely very excited about having kids and being a dad, and from what he has said and how he acts, he plans on being very involved. I wouldn't have a family, especially not that big, without being sure that I would have an equal partner in raising them. Once we live together, we'll see how splitting the housework goes and that should be a good indication. We also need to talk more about how we plan on supporting our family and whether I'll work or be a SAHM, but that will depend on what kind of jobs we get and our financial situation too.
I do want to get married before starting a family, and he knows this. Neither of us are very religious, and we don't want a fancy wedding, but I think it's important to be married before having planned kids. We've also talked about what would happen if we had kids with disabilities, and how that might impact our plans, and what we would do if we got that news while I was pregnant.
This is all in the very early stages but I just wanted to get some input from people who have been there. These are big life decisions and in my own family and friends I don't know anyone who has a very large family, and not very many of my friends are at this stage of life yet. I do think that we have a very strong relationship and lots of potential for a future together but I don't want to rush into anything and I want to make sure that we are really ready when we take these next steps.

ABC123

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2018, 10:34:07 AM »
I always wanted 4 kids.  Then I didn't have my first till I was 31 so I then decided I wanted 3 kids.  Then I had my second kid and realized that 2 kids is a lot of work.  So I decided I was done.  And then I had my oops at 39.  For me, chasing toddlers in my early 30s was much easier than chasing a toddler at 40.  But plenty of people have kids in their late 30s early 40s and have no issues at all.  With all 3, I took only a 12 week maternity leave.  I would love to be a SAHM, but it has never worked out for me. 

Kids can be expensive, or less expensive.  The most expensive thing in my experience is either putting the kid in daycare, or being a SAHM and losing out on that income.  Other than that, put out the word that you will accept any and all hand me downs, and put practical things on the registry when you have a baby shower, and that can take care of most of the necessities for the early years.

ysette9

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2018, 10:45:50 AM »
I concur with the many others who have said to have one and see how that goes. In my experience everything related to TTC, pregnancy, and kids is utterly humbling. We are engineers and I suspect the people on these forums tend to skew to the type who research and plan and have a checklist for life. That works really well for school and career and investing but it goes to hell when you try to have kids. Mother Nature is fickle and she doesn’t much care about what you want or what your life plan is.

Many people get pregnant when they want and have healthy babies when they want. Some people can’t get pregnant (my friends), or get pregnant but can’t stay pregnant (me), or have children with issues of some variety. You will likely be surprised by some aspect of this when you think you know yourself. I was surprised by how depressing and isolating it is to be home caring for a baby. I adore my kids but I am happier at work. I would be a disaster of a stay-at-home parent. My husband would do better than me but would probably go a little batty also.

Advice to start earlier is good. I got pregnant for the first time just after my 30th birthday. I got pregnant on my second cycle. Same for the second pregnancy, also when I was 30. Both of those needed up with 2nd trimester miscarriages. Getting pregnant at 31 took 7 months. Getting pregnant the fourth time took a year and a half, half of that time working with a fertility clinic. I was days away from putting IVF on the credit card when I got my positive weeks after turning 35.

My babies are an absolute joy. They are also the hardest thing I have ever done in life, hands-down. In my journal after my first one was born I kept excruciating details of how difficult everything was and how awful my life was in that moment to make sure I would never be tempted to do that again. Clearly biology programs us to forget sleep deprivation torture and remember how adorable baby smiles are, because we did it again. This time I am smart enough to know not to go for a third. :)

And on the body, I am unlucky compared to most and had two c-sections. They are brutal on the body. Pregnancy sucks. Thankfully it is all worth it, but damn, it is tough.

mm1970

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2018, 10:55:43 AM »
Start with 1 and be flexible!

I didn't really want kids.

Had one. He's adorable.  One and done!
He was so cute though, at 3 asking for a baby sister.

Alas, by then I was pretty old.  We tried, gave up.

Gave away the crib and BOOM, #2! (At age 42).

So, I have friends with 4 and friends with 3 and friends with 2 or 1.  And friends with 4 grown kids and 2 younger adopted kids.

Just roll with it.  At one point a friend with 3 was still working and her take home pay after childcare was $100 a month.

acroy

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2018, 11:00:24 AM »
Is 4+ kids crazy?
No. we have 7 and are the most sane people I've ever met ;)

The first is very disruptive, you stress the most, learn the most, etc. Understandable since you’ve actually never done it before – like the 1st job or 1st year in college. We jokingly refer to the first born as the ‘practice’ kid. 2nd, hey you got this, you’ve seen it before, not so scary. 3+, it’s cake, throw 'em in. We had (3+4) together, twins Bazzle twins!!! And that was a bit tough, but kid 5 was super easy in comparison.

It does take full commitment, you have to commit to actually be a different person. If you try to stay the same person you will be miserable and resentful. Doing it right requires serious dedicated selflessness. Doing the right thing even though you don’t wanna, it’s hard, you’re tired and you’ve done the same dam’ thing a thousand times already and why haven't they learned yet…because you should.

Some of it is awesome, most of it is hard, but hard is good! Honestly, the hard parts are the best; it forces you to grow, it forges you into a better person.

Timing: there is never a ‘perfect’ time, there will always be reasons ‘not to’. I’d suggest start sooner than later. Easier on your body as well. Spacing them out a little is a good plan, we've paced them to roughly 2yrs using NFP and it has worked out well. The 2yr old is getting pretty self-sufficient by the time the next baby comes. By the time kid 4 comes, the 6yr old is getting to be a big help.

for new moms (immediately following all births) highly recommend carefully sticking to the Triumvirate of Good Health:
-nutrition
-exercise
-rest

it is super easy to short one or more of the above with a newborn in the mix and then baby, it’s all downhill. Consciously prioritize those 3 for both mom and dad and you will have 99% of it right.

good luck!

Hula Hoop

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2018, 02:41:08 PM »
If you are concerned about the impact of many children on your body, than look at adaption as an alternative. You can also combine e.g. 2 children of your own with 2 adopted.

I have no idea your involvement in adoption, perhaps you have many adopted children, but I wish adoption were as easy as people on the internet make it out to be...  It is not a simple way to build a family at all.

It is can work for some people; but certainly not for everyone.

+1000 - having seen several friends go through the adoption process, it's a long, tough and expensive journey.  Not something that you can just do without a lot of commitment to taking that path to parenthood.

RFAAOATB

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2018, 11:00:44 AM »
My opinion is you shouldn't have a bunch of kids unless you are Kennedy rich.  I've got one now, still want one more.  An heir and a spare should be enough.  Doubling our aviation expenses after two kids is going to be a hit.  Tripling your aviation expenses after four kids for vacation sounds like a severe limitation.

For all the talk of wastefulness in automobiles, house size, and consumerism this blog moralizes about, wouldn't we apply the same eye on environmentalism and economy towards family size?  Every child you have after your first is less resources going towards your first.  Less trips to Europe.  Less travelling sports teams.  Less one on one time.  Less financial security.

Why isn't one or two enough?  Do you have enough money to support 4 at at least an upper middle class level?

ixtap

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2018, 11:07:33 AM »
My opinion is you shouldn't have a bunch of kids unless you are Kennedy rich.  I've got one now, still want one more.  An heir and a spare should be enough.  Doubling our aviation expenses after two kids is going to be a hit.  Tripling your aviation expenses after four kids for vacation sounds like a severe limitation.

For all the talk of wastefulness in automobiles, house size, and consumerism this blog moralizes about, wouldn't we apply the same eye on environmentalism and economy towards family size?  Every child you have after your first is less resources going towards your first.  Less trips to Europe.  Less travelling sports teams.  Less one on one time.  Less financial security.

Why isn't one or two enough?  Do you have enough money to support 4 at at least an upper middle class level?

Did you really just criticize someone for using resources, then tell them that they should be supporting their kids at an upper middle class level?

I would love to see the per person carbon imprint for the upper middle class lifestyle that involves flying for every vacation and travelling sports teams vs a lifestyle in a smaller house, lived more locally.

RFAAOATB

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2018, 11:50:27 AM »
My opinion is you shouldn't have a bunch of kids unless you are Kennedy rich.  I've got one now, still want one more.  An heir and a spare should be enough.  Doubling our aviation expenses after two kids is going to be a hit.  Tripling your aviation expenses after four kids for vacation sounds like a severe limitation.

For all the talk of wastefulness in automobiles, house size, and consumerism this blog moralizes about, wouldn't we apply the same eye on environmentalism and economy towards family size?  Every child you have after your first is less resources going towards your first.  Less trips to Europe.  Less travelling sports teams.  Less one on one time.  Less financial security.

Why isn't one or two enough?  Do you have enough money to support 4 at at least an upper middle class level?

Did you really just criticize someone for using resources, then tell them that they should be supporting their kids at an upper middle class level?

I would love to see the per person carbon imprint for the upper middle class lifestyle that involves flying for every vacation and travelling sports teams vs a lifestyle in a smaller house, lived more locally.

I'm saying the quality of life of a small number of people with a higher carbon footprint is better than a large number of people with a smaller carbon footprint.  Wasn't there a report a few months ago that stated the biggest thing you could do to reduce your carbon footprint is have one less child?  Some complained of the fuzzy math of attributing all the child's contributions to your action of having them, but the point remains.  Supporting one kid at an upper middle class level is better than supporting a bunch of kids at a lower middle class level.  Paying off tuition for one kid with your savings is better than telling a bunch of kids they have to take out loans to finance their education. 

We can support a lot more people eating beans instead of steak, but then we would lose the enjoyment of eating steak. 

Why would we add more than replacement rate to an already stressed population if their quality of life is going to be lower middle class compared to upper middle class?  If they won't have the resources to climb up the socioeconomic ladder beyond their parents and grandparents?

Prairie Stash

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2018, 12:54:33 PM »
but I'm a bit concerned about how expensive
We are in Quebec, so we get good maternity and paternity leaves and subsidized daycare, so that should help.
Is 4+ kids crazy? Is it career suicide for me?
Yes, its career suicide. If you take 4-18 month maternity (it increased from 12 months in 2017) leaves you could be out of your field for 6 years, you may work 6 months between kids (kid every 2 years). That's 7.5 years of watching childless colleagues pass you by while you worked 18 months total. It doesn't matter You will have your own life to live, you can't compare your life with 4 kids to someone with no kids and a career. If you and a female colleague share stories at age 40, pretend she doesn't have kids, she will likely be farther in her career, you will be farther in raising a family. Flip it around to paternity, it can hold anyone back from their peers. Large family size is very hard on a career if you take all the maternity/paternity for one person, if your career is really important strongly consider short leaves and splitting with your partner.

Expensive? Stay away from any American comparison. In Canada you can be eligible for $6,400/kid till age 6 to cover expenses; $5400 to age 18. Sure they cost a lot, but the government also subsidizes a lot...Say your husband makes $30,000/year, you would get an additional $22k/year until the kids turn 18. Can you raise a family of 6 on $50,000 (tax free money)? Even more if you maintain your career in 6 month increments and collect EI during the leaves. As a coworker just discovered when he went on leave from a $40k/year job, he makes the same on paternity leave with all the programs as he did while working (first child).

From everything I've read and experienced its easier to raise kids in Canada. We have cheaper tuition and healthcare and more safety nets for children. The biggest one, 18 month paid maternity.

newgirl

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2018, 01:00:18 PM »
If you are concerned about the impact of many children on your body, than look at adaption as an alternative. You can also combine e.g. 2 children of your own with 2 adopted.

I would not just assume that the OP is concerned only about the aesthetic impact of children on her body. Pregnancy, and LOTS of pregnancies in particular, can cause a wide range of long term impacts including pelvic floor damage, bladder issues, diastasis recti, postpartum depression issues... the list goes on and on. Saying "if you care about the impact to your body you shouldn't have children" is being too dismissive, to me this is an entirely understandable and legitimate concern. I have had only one pregnancy and I'm trying to gear myself up for another, but the changes to my body are profound, likely permanent, and have nothing to do with visuals.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2018, 01:07:19 PM »
If you are concerned about the impact of many children on your body, than look at adaption as an alternative. You can also combine e.g. 2 children of your own with 2 adopted.

I would not just assume that the OP is concerned only about the aesthetic impact of children on her body. Pregnancy, and LOTS of pregnancies in particular, can cause a wide range of long term impacts including pelvic floor damage, bladder issues, diastasis recti, postpartum depression issues... the list goes on and on. Saying "if you care about the impact to your body you shouldn't have children" is being too dismissive, to me this is an entirely understandable and legitimate concern. I have had only one pregnancy and I'm trying to gear myself up for another, but the changes to my body are profound, likely permanent, and have nothing to do with visuals.

I feel the same.  I'm not concerned by how I look and it's probably not obvious to others how my body has changed but the changes are profound.  Also, my entire outlook on life has changed with only 2 kids.  I imagine that with 4 this would be an even more profound change.

Beard N Bones

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2018, 01:21:29 PM »
My opinion is you shouldn't have a bunch of kids unless you are Kennedy rich.  I've got one now, still want one more.  An heir and a spare should be enough.  Doubling our aviation expenses after two kids is going to be a hit.  Tripling your aviation expenses after four kids for vacation sounds like a severe limitation.

For all the talk of wastefulness in automobiles, house size, and consumerism this blog moralizes about, wouldn't we apply the same eye on environmentalism and economy towards family size?  Every child you have after your first is less resources going towards your first.  Less trips to Europe.  Less travelling sports teams.  Less one on one time.  Less financial security.

Why isn't one or two enough?  Do you have enough money to support 4 at at least an upper middle class level?

RFAAOATB, I see that your priorities are as follows...
1. Having a net worth.
2. Having a luxurious place to sleep.
3. Have two vacations per year.
4. Buy your kid's education.

I'm glad you aren't my parent.  You are clearly living for the money & comfort, rather than other (more important) priorities.  Even "sacrificing" today for your comfort and luxuries in the up-and-coming decades.  And this frees you up to what?  Spend time and money solely on yourself?  It makes sense that you don't see the value/privilege/blessing of having more than one or two kids when your priorities aren't family or friends.  I'd suspect that many people like the idea of FI because it allows them the freedom to spend more quality time with family and friends.  Not you apparently.

Making a decision to have more than one child had better not be all about the money or vacations.  I'm comfortable saying that my oldest child has benefited from having siblings - she has learned that life doesn't revolve around just her, and her parents have also grown in their parenting as well.  I see that my investment in my family is more important that in the sh!t that I buy and the house that I live in.  My kids would rather know that they have parents that love them, than live in the nicest part of town in the nicest house, with a cool mil or two in the bank, riding in the swankiest vehicle out there.

robartsd

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2018, 01:45:11 PM »
My opinion is you shouldn't have a bunch of kids unless you are Kennedy rich.  I've got one now, still want one more.  An heir and a spare should be enough.  Doubling our aviation expenses after two kids is going to be a hit.  Tripling your aviation expenses after four kids for vacation sounds like a severe limitation.
If expensive vacations are a priorty, don't have kids. Large families can have great road-trip vacations without huge expenses. I grew up in a large family - family vacations were mostly camping trips and/or visiting extended family (most often camping with or near extended family) - only time all of us flew to the same location was a cross country trip when about half of us were adults paying our own way.

For all the talk of wastefulness in automobiles, house size, and consumerism this blog moralizes about, wouldn't we apply the same eye on environmentalism and economy towards family size? 
On a per-person basis, generally larger families are more efficient (partially because they have to be).

Every child you have after your first is less resources going towards your first.  Less trips to Europe.  Less travelling sports teams.  Less one on one time.  Less financial security.
One on one time is the only real concern I'd have on this list.

PoutineLover

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2018, 01:59:08 PM »
I'm concerned about the cost of raising multiple kids in the sense of being able to provide adequate shelter and food and some "enrichment activities", be it sports, music lessons, etc. I don't believe in spending excessively on children, and I don't think it's necessary to pay for their entire education, but I would like to save something for them. The more kids I have, the less I can spend on or save for each, but there are probably economies of scale. Spending quality time with all of them is a concern too.
Vacations are nice, but I'm fine with low key camping or road trips to visit family while they are young, when I was a kid most of our vacations were like that. But I would like to do some more international travel before they are born, because I've always loved to travel and I realize that it's way more expensive and difficult with a family.
I did mean impact on my body in the sense of health issues, not aesthetics. Best case, I get conceive easily, have a low risk pregnancy, natural birth, recover easily and breastfeed. Obviously, lots of things could go wrong and then I'd have to deal with the consequences to my own body and impact on future pregnancies.
I'm not opposed to adoption, but there are a lot of things to consider with that, like raising older kids who have previous traumas, waiting a long time or spending a lot of money to get a child, and potentially raising a child with a different racial background that I'm not familiar with. Not saying I wouldn't do it, but having my own kids is preferable if at all possible.
Career wise, if my partner earns enough to support the family, then I think I'd like to be the primary caregiver and household manager. I think it allows more time to spend with kids, more insourcing of household tasks and the time to cook healthy meals and save on daycare and commuting. Best case would be to FIRE before starting a family, but that seems highly unlikely given the timeline. It might be possible to save a lot, leave it to grow, and live off one income, it would really depend on our income and expenses. If I did work between kids, it would just be for short periods and I'd have big gaps by the time they were in school and I'd go back to work, so my lifetime earnings would definitely be affected and I need to figure out if I'm okay with that.
There's so much to consider, but the discussion here has given me a lot of stuff to think about. I feel like I'm quickly shifting from young, unencumbered student to being a grown up with serious decisions to make, it's exciting and scary at the same time. I like making plans but it's hard when there are so many shifting variables involved, and I have to accept a certain amount of uncertainty with this kind of thing.

Jrr85

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2018, 02:01:02 PM »
My opinion is you shouldn't have a bunch of kids unless you are Kennedy rich.  I've got one now, still want one more.  An heir and a spare should be enough.  Doubling our aviation expenses after two kids is going to be a hit.  Tripling your aviation expenses after four kids for vacation sounds like a severe limitation.

For all the talk of wastefulness in automobiles, house size, and consumerism this blog moralizes about, wouldn't we apply the same eye on environmentalism and economy towards family size?  Every child you have after your first is less resources going towards your first.  Less trips to Europe.  Less travelling sports teams.  Less one on one time.  Less financial security.

Why isn't one or two enough?  Do you have enough money to support 4 at at least an upper middle class level?

You mean beside the fact that the human race would literally die off if everyone thought one or two were enough? 


Jrr85

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2018, 02:11:17 PM »
I don't have kids yet, but I've been having discussions with my partner and we're starting to think about when to have them and how many to have. My partner wants to have at least 4, the more the better. I like the idea of a large family, but I'm a bit concerned about how expensive and difficult it might be to raise that many, and how to time them, and the impact on my body and career and early retirement.
We're both 26, and I could see myself having the first around 30 and spacing them about 2 years apart (of course, you can't plan everything exactly, but that seems like a good scenario). However, I'd be out of work for a decade or only working for short times between babies, and I'd have lots of young kids to take care of for a good chunk of time.
I was curious to hear from parents, especially those with large families, who might have more insight into what that size of family involves and whether it's realistic. We are in Quebec, so we get good maternity and paternity leaves and subsidized daycare, so that should help.
Is 4+ kids crazy? Is it career suicide for me? Should we do any tests to make sure that we are both fertile/healthy if we are planning to wait a couple years before starting?
As other people have noted, you don't have to decide on a number right now, but if you want to keep the option of having four, waiting until 30 to try is probably a little late.  Fertility is already declining at that point.  Barring a history of multiples in your family, your third pregnancy will very likely be a geriatric pregnancy if you wait until 30 to start trying and your fourth almost certainly will be; and that's if things go well.  Nothing wrong with geriatric pregnancies, but probably not something to plan on/count on if you think having a lot of kids might be important to you. 

talltexan

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2018, 02:38:06 PM »
It seems as though Mustachian Values can be maintained by families of a variety of sizes. I suspect the marginal cost of additional children is really closer to $100,000 over years 0-18 (many studies give a figure of more than double this). This is not large relative to the minimal retirement 'stache that will support a modest lifestyle for you.

A four child family is going to change the calculus about both spouses working. If you're looking at this goal, be very specific with your spouse now about how you think life will be structured between child1 and child2, and later. Unless one of you has a BIG job, it won't make sense to hire the child care that will allow both of you to work full time with four, or probably even with two.

ditheca

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2018, 08:39:39 PM »
DW and I originally thought we'd have about a dozen.  After the first three kids, we ended up staring at some harsh realities regarding DW's physical disabilities (finally properly diagnosed) and the hereditary genetic issues that are already causing problems for two of them.  We called it good.

Fully agree with those that suggest you start with one and see how it goes!  In our case, DW ended up needing to drop out of school and employment to wrangle the kids.  At 28, with all three kids in school full time, she's finally started working again on her career and finishing the degree.

As for the expense, I wouldn't sweat it.  You're on a forum for high achievers who take life intentionally.  You'll manage just fine.  Including food, utilities, activities, and the extra cost of a house big enough for three kids, I suspect we're paying at most $3000/yr per child.

Do the things that matter!  I like how Thoreau put it:

Quote
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived... I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life..."

-Henry David Thoreau

Caroline PF

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2018, 08:40:51 PM »
Everyone has covered everything well regarding timing (earlier is better if you absolutely want 4 or more), money (each kid costs more money, but costs don't increase linearly), and career (long maternity leaves vs maintaining your career).

But I thought I'd chime in with an anecdote that you are not alone in your plan. I also planned on 4 kids, starting around age 30. We actually started trying at age 31, and I had my first at 32, and second at 35. I'm now trying for #3 at age 38. Nothing is guaranteed, but you're not alone in your crazy scheme. I know several women who had babies after 40.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2018, 09:21:50 PM »
I only have 2 kids but all I can say is that before having kids you have absolutely no idea what having kids will be like.  There is no way you can plan your family size with 0 knowledge of what having kids entails.   My advice would be to have that first kid and see how you and your partner feel then about having a second one.  After having the second one, see how you feel about a third etc.  I know people who wanted large families who are now the happy parents of only children.  I also know people who only wanted one who went on to have three kids.

That said, I always wanted to have 2 kids and ended up with 2 kids.  But after having the first one both DH and I went through a phase of wanting to stop at one until we changed our minds when our older child was around 2.5.  I think this is unusual though.

I was going to say exactly that.  So instead, +1.  Have one, then reassess.  Your inner planner will chafe at the whole process.  You'll learn to roll with the punches more (because you'll have to) and simply figure it out as you arrive.  Your kids may be different (easier or harder), too.  There's just no plotting it out that easily. 

Caroline PF

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #34 on: February 01, 2018, 07:15:52 AM »
Your inner planner will chafe at the whole process.

There is so much truth in this statement for me!

PoutineLover

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2018, 07:48:03 AM »
As other people have noted, you don't have to decide on a number right now, but if you want to keep the option of having four, waiting until 30 to try is probably a little late.  Fertility is already declining at that point.  Barring a history of multiples in your family, your third pregnancy will very likely be a geriatric pregnancy if you wait until 30 to start trying and your fourth almost certainly will be; and that's if things go well.  Nothing wrong with geriatric pregnancies, but probably not something to plan on/count on if you think having a lot of kids might be important to you.
Well my grandmother was a twin, and my other grandmother's family had three sets of twins, so I'm kinda hoping I got that twin gene too. All of my grandparents came from very large families though, like 6-14 if I remember correctly, so more chances to get multiples. They probably started younger too. I know twins are a lot of work, but I would love to have them. I've read that fraternal twins are genetic, but identical are not, but I'm not sure what the twins in my family were.

talltexan

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2018, 09:33:30 AM »
My wife and I have two. One reason I don't think we could handle more is--frankly--my lack of skills. My wife is the better parent, AND she is probably better at job/career stuff, too. She's working 80% now to give her more time for home stuff. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2018, 09:43:36 AM »
As other people have noted, you don't have to decide on a number right now, but if you want to keep the option of having four, waiting until 30 to try is probably a little late.  Fertility is already declining at that point.  Barring a history of multiples in your family, your third pregnancy will very likely be a geriatric pregnancy if you wait until 30 to start trying and your fourth almost certainly will be; and that's if things go well.  Nothing wrong with geriatric pregnancies, but probably not something to plan on/count on if you think having a lot of kids might be important to you.
Well my grandmother was a twin, and my other grandmother's family had three sets of twins, so I'm kinda hoping I got that twin gene too. All of my grandparents came from very large families though, like 6-14 if I remember correctly, so more chances to get multiples. They probably started younger too. I know twins are a lot of work, but I would love to have them. I've read that fraternal twins are genetic, but identical are not, but I'm not sure what the twins in my family were.

My sister has twins. She had a singleton first.  She said the twins were easier than the single. YMMV though.

The issue with twins is the outcomes for both mother and babies are significantly riskier; you are much more likely to have complications in a twin pregnancy, and to have unhealthy children.   Not necessarily that they are 'harder'.   That's why a lot of fertility clinics will no longer help people have multiples.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2018, 04:41:45 PM »
Your inner planner will chafe at the whole process.

There is so much truth in this statement for me!

Your post reminded me of my wife.  And me.  That's why I chimed in, even though I don't normally post in the kids forum.

Some things in life just can't be planned that well: finding a spouse, number of kids, precise tax burdens in 2018...

Petuniajo

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2018, 11:11:32 AM »
I'm pretty much echoing what others have said, but I'll chime in anyway. You just can't know how many kids you'll want, until you see how it works for you and your partner specifically.

For example, I always wanted to have around 4 kids, too. Even after my first, I wanted several more. Then when my second came along, I was like "nah, this is good". Two is a lot more work than one, and although friends with big families have assured me that kids 3 and beyond really aren't that much extra work (going from 0-1, and 1-2 are the big shifts), I was happy with 2, and I was happy as they got old enough to be potty trained, be independent, be up for adventures, etc. I didn't want to go back to the newborn/baby/toddler stages.

That said, it's good to have an idea of what you *think* you might have, because if you think you will want that many children, you may want to start a little earlier.

hdatontodo

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2018, 02:59:05 PM »
This is sort of tongue in cheek

:TOP
Have one kid
Pay off 4 years of prepaid 529 (this is like $40K in MD)
If not exhausted then Goto TOP

mynameisbob

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #41 on: February 11, 2018, 05:44:16 AM »
That said, I always wanted to have 2 kids and ended up with 2 kids.  But after having the first one both DH and I went through a phase of wanting to stop at one until we changed our minds when our older child was around 2.5.  I think this is unusual though.

I don't think it is unusual. We always wanted 3 kids. After we had 2 we were done and wanted to stop, but then we thought long term and decided to grin and bear the baby years one more time.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2018, 05:10:53 AM »
I don't have kids yet, but I've been having discussions with my partner and we're starting to think about when to have them and how many to have. My partner wants to have at least 4, the more the better. I like the idea of a large family, but I'm a bit concerned about how expensive and difficult it might be to raise that many, and how to time them, and the impact on my body and career and early retirement.
Speaking as a stay-at-home father of two... start with one and see how you go. Seriously.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2018, 07:22:25 AM »
This is sort of tongue in cheek

:TOP
Have one kid
Pay off 4 years of prepaid 529 (this is like $40K in MD)
If not exhausted then Goto TOP

Wish it was that easy!

vivian

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2018, 07:06:54 AM »
One additional note about having four kids starting at age 30.  Not only is having a baby at age 40 hard on your body/hard to do, but most of your peers will be done with babies by then. We are 39 with a newborn. Our third, following many years of infertility. We wouldn’t change our path, but our friends are already or on the verge of having all kids in school. Which is a bit of a different lifestyle than infants.

I know lots of people don’t have kids until their 30s. But the families with 4+ kids that I know tend to have started younger.


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TheWifeHalf

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2018, 11:50:41 AM »
We have 3 kids and when they were 8,6,5, we took them to  Cedar Point (midwest's big amusement park)
One of the kids remarked "Why did you even havexxx?"
There was always an extra person, all the seats on multi rider rides were for even numbers.

So, I suggest an even number of children.

PoutineLover

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2018, 11:58:37 AM »
We have 3 kids and when they were 8,6,5, we took them to  Cedar Point (midwest's big amusement park)
One of the kids remarked "Why did you even havexxx?"
There was always an extra person, all the seats on multi rider rides were for even numbers.

So, I suggest an even number of children.
Haha good point. My mom was a middle child, and she always said I should never do that to anyone. And I don't like the idea of only having 1. So for me, 2 or 4 seemed right.

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2018, 12:00:36 PM »
We have 3 kids and when they were 8,6,5, we took them to  Cedar Point (midwest's big amusement park)
One of the kids remarked "Why did you even havexxx?"
There was always an extra person, all the seats on multi rider rides were for even numbers.

So, I suggest an even number of children.

Is this something that you really encounter a lot on a daily basis? Enough to really consider changing how many kids you want? I’m genuinely curious.

Yeah, I get the whole restaurant booth/hotel room comment. But when I read your example the first thought that came to my head was “couldn’t someone invite a friend to tag along?”

Do you notice that one of your children gets more left out than the other two? We’re really thinking about 3 kids.

alanB

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2018, 12:46:14 PM »
We have 3 kids and when they were 8,6,5, we took them to  Cedar Point (midwest's big amusement park)
One of the kids remarked "Why did you even havexxx?"
There was always an extra person, all the seats on multi rider rides were for even numbers.

So, I suggest an even number of children.

Is this something that you really encounter a lot on a daily basis? Enough to really consider changing how many kids you want? I’m genuinely curious.

Yeah, I get the whole restaurant booth/hotel room comment. But when I read your example the first thought that came to my head was “couldn’t someone invite a friend to tag along?”

Do you notice that one of your children gets more left out than the other two? We’re really thinking about 3 kids.

I have 2 kids (for now).  You need at least 2 so you can play Catan, 4 is the limit if you have the 6-player expansion.  3 could be OK because that is the most you can squeeze into the back of a sedan. 

Just think about how left out that 3rd kid will feel if she were never born...  jk you are good either way!  I respect everyone's decision to have X kids!  I am the youngest of 4 siblings and very happy to be alive.  Breed away fellow breeders.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Planning a family - is 4 kids too many?
« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2018, 01:08:37 PM »

I have 2 kids (for now).  You need at least 2 so you can play Catan, 4 is the limit if you have the 6-player expansion.  3 could be OK because that is the most you can squeeze into the back of a sedan. 


You can play Catan with 3 players. So if you have 2 adults, 1 kid is okay.  If you are a single adult, then you'd need 2. 

/cannot wait to have a third player in our house! She just doesn't seem to understand the rules yet.