When preparing for the arrival of my second baby, I researched “going from one to two children” like a true doomsday prepper...
And boy, was my inner scaremonger satisfied. Armed with no tips and pure fear, the only thing I learned was that my life was about to end. (Thank you as always for the uplifting advice, anonymous women of mummy forums…)
Now that I’m six months into this parent-of-two game, I feel that I’m sufficiently equipped to dish out some wisdom of my own. The only catch? My opinion is a little different. Because for me, having two children isn’t just better (more cuddles, more love, more baby smiles), it may, in fact, be easier. I know, I know. Shock! Horror! Call it madness (I am existing on very little sleep … The deprivation is real), but here are a few reasons as to why I believe parenthood is easier with two children:
Your standards drop
As a mother-of-one, it was reasonably easy for me to keep life in order. Of course, there were the days when milk ended up in the pantry while laundry detergent entered the fridge, but overall, it was not particularly chaotic. When the baby napped, the house could be tidied. When he breastfed, emails could be responded to. Getting to the supermarket was a breeze, so dinner was never an issue. With two, it’s not so orderly. But rather than this being a problem, for me, it has been a blessing. House not tidy? Inbox bulging? Fridge full of old kale? Who really cares? Perhaps it was a hidden lesson in prioritisation because, over the past six months, I’ve realised that none of these things really matter. Tidying happens at 8pm, I reply to emails when I get to them and the UberEats guys know my name. I call that a win.
Stuff falls off your list
Call it first-time-mother enthusiasm or perhaps just a sucker for good marketing, but when my first-born was a baby, we did it all. Gymbaroo? Check. Baby swimming lessons? Of course. Music? French? Art and environment class? Yes, I’m embarrassed by my former self too. Needless to say, this time around, we’re doing nothing. Zilch, nada, no classes whatsoever. Days are spent at home, with a trip to the café if it’s a good day, and a park visit if the toddler is very lucky. The schedule clears, the pressure is off, and two children form the perfect excuse to lay low.
You have a buddy
Anyone who has been through maternity leave knows that it’s not a time of great socialisation. Rather, the loneliness can be crippling. Round two, there’s no option to be lonely, because you have a constant buddy at your toes. My first-born was three when his brother entered the world, and he has continually been my source of friendship, entertainment and even support while I’ve navigated life with a newborn again. Corny but true – these little ones become our very best friends (and they don’t judge when we wear PJs all day – in fact, they prefer it).
You can say no
First time around, I felt obliged to say yes to every and all social occasion. Be it a park playdate with Mother’s Group, or a catch-up with an old-and-not-so-friendly work colleague who lives on the other side of the city, the answer was always yes. With two, those things just began to fall off the radar. Time is even more precious (and getting out the door really is damn hard), and so it’s saved for only the most important people and occasions. Just the way it should be.
So, to the mothers on those awful forums, you’ve just been challenged. Sure, the nights are sleepless and the grind is hard, but a mother of one knows that already. With two, it’s double the love, double the fun, and yep, it may, in fact, be easier. (Perhaps that means it’s almost time for number three? Don’t worry, husband, I’m kidding! I think.)
Image: Julie Adams | Words: Amy Malpass Hahn