In many ways, having a second child was so much harder than having my first. It sort of makes sense, I guess. I mean, I was exhausted before my second was even born, and caring for two human beings is way more work than caring for just one. But I don't think it's just exhaustion that makes parenting two children difficult. In fact, in so many ways your second kid will be a bigger pain than your first child ever was, and their unique selves are going to present an entirely new set of challenges that are nothing if not daunting.
Now, don't misunderstand: I love my second child deeply. I think I was actually able to be a way better mom the second time around, too. I was more chill and had already figured some sh*t out. So make no mistake, I love being my son's mom. He was only a baby when I became a single mom, and as a result he was firmly attached to my leg, arm, or lap every hour of almost every day. It was sweet. He was my little shadow. But, eventually, I found myself wishing for my own space, my own bed, and to at least use the bathroom by myself.
One of my favorite parts of having more than one kid is that they play with each other. It's so sweet to see my children hang out and play. Not to mention that they kept each other occupied and out of my hair, which for a short time made me believe that I might actually be able to clean up messes or not have to watch them 24 hours a day. But I soon learned that kids playing with each other also means kids fighting with each other, touching each other, teaching each other how to break the rules, and yelling, "mom" every five minutes. Ugh.
So for so many reasons, your second child will totally be a bigger pain in your ass than your first. Reasons like, for example, the following:
Because You're Infinitely More Exhausted
As a first-time mom, I was tired. But make no mistake, I was not as tired as I was 3.5 years later when I had my daughter's little brother. I was sleep-deprived way before I had to deal with newborn eating and sleeping schedules.
Because There's Less Of You To Go Around
Because They Will Fight With Their Sibling
The best part about having more than one child is when they play with each other and keep each other occupied so you can do things like, you know, poop by yourself. But kids playing with one another also tends to cause siblings to fight at least 20 times a day. It's hard to relax when you have to repeat "please stop touching your sister" every five minutes.
Because They Are The "Baby"
Your second child will be your baby, which means you will probably, well, baby them. But it also means that they will come to expect to get away with sh*t, as the "baby" of the family. The bad news is that by the time you realize you're created a tiny monster human, it will be too late.
Because They Will Put Everything In Their Mouth
If you plan on having more than one child, I highly recommend that you not buy your older child anything marked "choking hazard." Like, ever. It doesn't matter if it's an age appropriate toy for them. Just don't do it. Because no matter what you do, your second kid will find it and will put it in their damn mouth.
Because You Have Expectations
When you have your second child it's natural to expect that they will be like their older brother or sister, or that you know what you are doing because, hey, you've done this before with your other child. I say it's time to let go of those expectations. Like, immediately. Because you will soon learn that children are different, especially when they have an older sibling to follow around. Even if they share the same DNA, they won't necessarily share the same personality traits, likes, dislikes, and mannerisms.
Because Your Older Child Will Teach Them Bad Habits
Your second child will learn so much from their older sibling, like how to count, which shows to watch on Netflix, and which Pokémon cards are worth keeping. Unfortunately, they will also learn things like how to push your last button, how to delay bedtime, and how to throw epic tantrums.
Because They Will Want To Do Everything Their Older Sibling Does
Your younger child will want to do everything their older sibling does, including playing with their toys, tag along after them, and inevitably starting a sh*t ton of fights. It's cute when they are a baby, but it's so hard to explain to the toddler or preschooler that they can't do things like go to the park, ride the same rides, or have the same friends as their older sibling. This will inevitably make them a pain in your ass. A cute pain in the ass, to be sure, but a pain nonetheless.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.