After my second child was born, a lot of my friends who only had one would talk to me about my new kid in a weird combination of awe, horror, disgust, reverence, and, for some, jealousy. The idea of having two children is often as divisive and confusing as the decision to have any at all. There’s a good reason for that. It should be divisive and confusing. It may be tempting to figure, “Well, we have one, we know what we’re doing. What’s one more?” This is an absolutely terrible assumption to operate under when deciding to have a second child. Like, OK, yes, your life changes way more after the birth of your first than the birth of your second, generally speaking, but you really probably haven’t truly conceived of the ways in which you will have to change up your entirely parenting strategy when you add a second into the mix.
Quiz time! Your first child is playing quietly in the living room as you try to put your second down for a nap. Suddenly, your first starts calling for you from downstairs. Reply and you’ll wake up the baby you just worked so hard to get to sleep. Don’t reply and your first child will start screaming louder and louder for you and eventually come upstairs. What do you do? BOOM! THESE ARE THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT! AND THEN THERE’S PAYING FOR COLLEGE, SO YEAH, A LOT TO CONSIDER HERE, GUYS.
That said, having two kids is the bee’s knees. That was just the obligatory “it’s kinda hard” moment before digging into the many reasons why having two kids is actually awesome. Here’s why.
You Can Redeem Yourself After Making All The Mistakes That All First-Time Parents Make
I don’t think I’ve met a single parent who has not looked back on their early experiences with their first child and not thought, “Oh my God I was so crazy/stupid/stupid and crazy.” Whether you were confused as to why your child wasn’t sleeping through the night at a week old, or you installed your car seat upside-down and backwards, or you rushed Junior to the ER after you thought you heard him sneeze over your baby monitor that was developed by NASA scientists that you never, ever looked away from, first-time parents do completely insane things. And of course they do. Don’t you judge us! Don’t judge yourselves! We have a lot to learn in a short span of time. It’s kind of like learning how to drive stick shift on the fly: it’s stressful, it’s going to be ridiculously bumpy, but ultimately you will eventually get the hang of it with the right support system.
But here’s where the beauty of having a second child comes into play: You can prove to yourself that you can do it now. It’s not like you get a do-over (haha, sorry, First Kid), and you’re inevitably going to do something ridiculous the second time around, too. But for the most part, when it comes to general “baby stuff”, you’ve got that crap down. It’s good for the ego and soul to be able to gloat a little bit over that and realize how far you’ve come as a parent.
You Get To Pick Another Name
And picking a name is fun. It’s also time to remind your husband how you ultimately went with the name he came up with for your first child and now you get the same courtesy. (Never, ever tell him that his first choice was your first choice. Play the game, son.)
People Are Usually More Sympathetic To You In Public
Go into a grocery store with one screaming child in tow? You’re an a**hole parent who needs to learn how to control her beast of a bratty kid. Go into a grocery store with one screaming child in tow while holding a second kid? “Oh, you poor thing! You’ve got your hands full. Here, let me help you to your car.” Some parents hate being told that they’ve “got their hands full” when their kid is kicking up. I definitely do not. It usually means whoever is saying it is about to be nice to me. At worst, it’s uttered unhelpfully but with some degree of sympathy by people trying to connect via this common experience of trying to wrangle children. At best, it’s said by someone who genuinely wants to help you out. Both the declaration of full hands and other people’s desire to help out is increased when you have two kids.
You End Up Getting To Eat More Food
Everyone knows that mothers’ meals often consist entirely of the leftovers of whatever her children ate. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich crusts, a few apples slices, half a juice box… When you have two wasteful eaters (aka, all kids ever), your table scrap lunches truly become feasts! Prepare to eat like a damn queen!
You’re Slightly Less Annoying On Facebook Than You Were With Your First Kid
Because now your statuses are divided between two people instead of the same kid over and over and over again. You’re still probably annoying, but less so.
You Can Compare Your Kids — For Science!
Noticing the differences and similarities between my kids is basically one of my favorite hobbies now that I’m a mom of two. It’s fun to discover a brand new little human and then compare and contrast them to your other favorite little human. I mean, if they’re related genetically, they have more in common with each other than with anyone else on Earth (which is basically how biological siblings work). Even if they don’t share any DNA, what they do share is a living environment, and people raising them, and it’s amazing to see how little kids respond and react to similar influences in totally different ways. It’s interesting to figure out if their aversion to clothing is nurture or nature, or guess which one of them will prevail more frequently in fights as they get older. (In my family, it’s too close to tell at this point: My oldest is a raging volcano of drama with an iron will, but the younger one is saccharinely tenacious with the determination of an Olympic athlete. It’s anyone’s game.) I like to muse over the fact that despite being raised basically identically, they are so immeasurably different, but have the same smile that makes them look like gaping-mouthed Muppets.
Three Words: Coordinated Sibling Outfits
While this is not something I recommend for the every day (it will make you look like a control-freak weirdo and your children the subject of ridicule), coordinating your children’s outfits to adorable or hilarious results is one of the simple pleasures in the life of a mom of two. Holidays? The holidays are a cornucopia of matching-outfit awesomeness. The joy that fills me on Halloween alone sustains me for the rest of the year.
You Feel Justified For All The Over-Priced Stuff You Bought For Your First Kid
I mean, yes, you could have gotten that perfectly good stroller you saw second hand on Craigslist, but you really love your City Mini. Also you’re totally going to get your money’s worth out of that high-end crib now, and the swing your first child used for, like, two months, and so many other things you bought for your first kid. (You still look back on regret for registering for a diaper wipes warmer, though. That should still fill you with shame. What were you thinking?)
Your Parents And In-Laws Finally STFU About You Having Another Baby
The vernix was barely wiped off your first child when those monsters started nagging you for “another grandbaby to spoil.” Fools, do you not see that I have just gave you a goddamn baby!? Cool your jets!
Twice The Cuddles
ZOMG THE CUDDLES YOU GUYS!
Images: Apatow Productions; Giphy(9); Jamie Kenney