Deciding whether or not to have more children, insofar as anyone can actually control that, is hard. There’s so much to consider. Finances! Schedules! And do you really want to return to a way of life when two hours of uninterrupted sleep feels like an unmitigated victory?
But there are some telltale signs that you’re not done growing your family, and while they might be sneaky, they’re also hard to ignore. Here are 10 of them:
1. You’ve kept everything ― and not just the cute stuff. Holding onto stuffed animals or teeny baby socks is one thing, because, well, squee. But when you’re hoarding stuff that has zero sentimental value, like the unglamorous mesh underwear you swiped from the hospital or the baby activity cube that still wakes you at 3 a.m. with flashing lights and deranged cow sounds, those are good signs you’re craving a bigger brood.
2. Some version of the phrase “It’s not really that hard,” or “It’d definitely be easier this time around” has come out of your mouth, or your partner’s. Ha.
3. Every time you hear friends are growing their family, you freak out that they’re going to steal your secret name. You’ve already polled the name forums for opinions on how it fits in with your existing kids’ names. IT IS YOURS.
4. Children’s clothing wields unreasonable power over your emotions. That moment when you realize that your littlest has graduated to 5T clothing, you begin to ugly cry right there in the middle of Carter’s. And forget about actually sitting down to fold-up baby clothes and put them in storage. That tiny newborn onesie with the whales on it = emotional kryptonite, and it should come with a warning.
5. You’ve blocked out how gross babies are. Yes they poop, but baby poop is cute poop! And spit-up is nowhere near as bad as big kid vomit, even when you’re soaked down to your bra.
6. You’re still using birth control. In one way, getting an IUD or taking the pill or whatever is an obvious sign you’re not ready for a baby right this minute. But if you’ve had a kid or kids and haven’t even remotely considered the possibility of something more permanent, like a vasectomy, there might be a good reason.
7. You won’t buy anything new for your house. Why waste money on a new couch if another toddler is just going to come along and destroy it? Same goes for repainting the living room wall that is covered in Burnt Orange Crayola. There is no point.
8. Every time you hold a baby, the parents have to awkwardly ask for it back. Your arm may be asleep and you haven’t peed in three hours, but you’re going to soak in that sweet baby-ness for as long as they’ll let you, damnit.
9. You’re never not in search of that new baby smell. Your youngest may smell like a delicious mix of Play-Doh and fresh air, but it’s not the same. When you see a new baby, you have to physically restrain yourself from aggressively sniffing his or her sweet fuzzy head like a hound. Heaven.
10. When you envision your family, many years down the road, you picture another person in it. When you imagine the family photos, you see another person standing there. Sure, you already know how unrelenting and intense it is to raise a human being, but you can’t wait to do it all over again.