I’ve heard it said that the biggest changes to your parenthood life are when you go from no babies to one baby. Or when you go from two to three, and they effectively outnumber you. (But I wouldn’t know anything about that only having the two boys.) But what about having your second child? When you go from one to two children? Not much is ever said about the transition that happens when you have your second child, when you move from one to two children.
It’s implied that it’s an easy transition. That you already have one so it shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system. That you’ve done the sleepless nights. The panicking over nothing. The panicking over something. You’ve cut your parenting teeth and you’re not yet out numbered by children. It’s easy. You shouldn’t complain. You have the perfect 2.4 family.
But it’s not easy.
It doesn’t matter that you’ve done it before, every baby is different. Every change in family dynamic is difficult. There is a reason why having a baby is listed as one of the top 5 most stressful things you can do, no matter whether that baby is baby #1 or baby #7.
Having your second child means…
When you have your second child you go from prioritising one child’s needs to juggling two children’s needs. Your first may have had the luxury of set naptimes, in his cot, every day. Whereas your second might just sleep on the school run, catching 20 minutes here and there as the lull of the car or pram sways him to sleep just when you don’t want him too. You have two lots of sleep schedules to adhere too, two bedtime routines to manage, two little people dependent on you rather than one.
Yes, you get there. Yes, you quickly work out what’s best for you. Yes, you work out workarounds to make things easy.
But to imply going from one to two children is easy? Not always the case.
The demands on your time change, as a couple, as an individual. It feels like one of you always has a baby, there’s no hospital pass to have a break. Well, unless you’re passing both of them.
Going from one to two children means double the love alongside double the work. Double the smiles, alongside double the tears. Double the trouble. Double the issues, big and small, arising.
Juggling the emotional needs of your oldest as they adapt to a new, small person in their life. Squashing down your mum guilt as you realise you can’t rip in two, that sometimes, someone will have to wait.
Going from one to two children is wonderful, it is amazing. It is life changing. But easy? Not always.
Going from one to two children? It’s worth all the heartache, the excess worrying, the break in routine.
Having your second child is indescribable. No book, no article, no blog post, no person can ever tell you what it will be like going from one to two children.
Going from one to two children? No, it’s not easy. Not at all like people imply. But easy or not, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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