Have a child is hard work. There’s no doubt about it. I don’t know any mother’s that would say it was easy – and if they did, I’d know they were lying. From the moment we get pregnant to the moment we say goodbye to our children when they fly the nest as adults – we’re busy. We’re tired. We’re cranky. And yet we’re the happiest we have ever been (and could ever imagine being).
When I had my first child, I wondered if it was worth the effort of having number two. I’d actually always imagined I’d have 3 children; but after number one – I was too tired to even consider another. Once she was a toddler, however, that changed. And my husband and I decided it was time for number 2. I’m not getting any younger, as they say.
Toddler vs newborn
There’s always a lot of fear about having a second child. But with my daughter officially 2.5 years old (and very bright) when my son was born – I really had nothing to worry about. She took to him like a mother hen takes to her chicks; and 16 months later – she still does. Having a toddler and a newborn was tough – I was tired and they both needed my attention as much as possible. They napped and slept at different times, and I felt completely overwhelmed. But as they got older, things got easier.
If you’re considering number 2 but you’re not quite sure yet, here are 5 great reasons why 2 kids are better than 1.
- You have someone who is more than willing to help; to grab you a clean nappy and some wipes when your hands are covered in baby poo. Maybe it’s because I had a girl first – because I have friends with older boys who weren’t so keen – but my daughter was more than happy to help change his nappies (and her dolls at the same time).
- You can finally sit down for 5 minutes, uninterrupted – OCCASIONALLY. Okay so this one is more relevant when they are older, but these days, with an almost 4yr old and a 16 month old, they play together. And although they seem to have a radar that tells them the minute my bum hits the couch, sending a signal of “let’s go ask mum for something we can’t reach” or “mum needs us to crawl all over her”; I do occasionally get a few minutes to myself while they make a mess in another room. Bliss.
- You will learn so much about the personalities of children. Having one child, you’re bound to think every child in the world is either an angel, or satan. Having two children, generally gives you the best of both worlds. You aren’t likely to have two children with the same personality, so you’re bound to have a lot more fun, laughter, challenges and intrigue from two children. Let me just add here, the difference between boys and girls as babies is unbelievable! It’s amazing how he is automatically drawn to throwing everything around, being noisy and pushing race cars along the ground; while she has always been very relaxed in her play. He is also very clingy, while she has always been very independent.
- They get to grow up together, looking out for each other and helping each other learn. The amount of things my daughter has taught her little brother astounds me; and visa versa. She shows him how to first stand on chairs; and then sit on them. She teaches him how to draw all over himself; but “don’t draw on the walls”. She teaches him how to build with blocks. He teaches her how to knock them over again. He has also taught her how to have more compassion, and when he hurts himself she wants to be the first to give him cuddles. He has taught her about protecting people you care about – and if anyone pushes him over or upsets him, she’s the first to step in. They are so young yet, but based on what has happened already, I’m looking forward to all the lessons they will learn as the years go by.
- They learn how to share and how to settle conflict. My son and daughter play very well together, but of course they also get in a lot of fights. There are numerous occasions every single day where my son grabs something of my daughters; or visa versa. And the other ends up in tears, both running to me with their side of the story (though my son isn’t talking yet, so his is more just running to me for cuddles in frustration). I usually just tell them to sort it out themselves; remind them about sharing; and tell them to apologise and give each other a cuddle (when an apology is necessary).
I guess if you’re going to have a child, or children, you need to consider how you’re going to raise them and of course there are families of children who still don’t share or settle conflict, don’t play nicely together, or don’t help each other out. It’s all in the parenting as well. But although having a newborn and toddler is tough, I certainly think as they grow older, having two children is much easier than having one. And so much more rewarding!