I knew having a second child was going to change my life, I just didn't know how. So even though I was excited, I was also worried. I had a good thing going with baby number one, and it took a lot of time and hard work to get to a point where I felt like my head was firmly above water. Was the choice to have a second child going to screw it all up? Turns out, no. While having two kids can be super-challenging, the highs have outnumbered the lows and, honestly, sometimes having two kids is actually easier.
Don't believe me? I don't blame you. Because those challenges I mentioned were intense. Like, really intense. I'm talking "break down sobbing on your kitchen floor because why does no one appreciate how hard you're working trying to make everyone happy?!" kind of intense. But the aforementioned highs? Hoo boy, are they awesome. Seriously awesome. It's like sometimes the universe just knows you've been dealing with a lot and decides to reward you in a way you couldn't have possibly imagined. And, somehow, the cosmic calculus works out in such a way that those two children together are more manageable than just one on their own.
Don't know what I'm talking about? Here's what I mean:
Double The Excuses
A downside to having even one kid means that you don't always get to do the things you'd like to. Going out with friends, last minute plans, and big vacations are all difficult to facilitate. But it also means that you have a socially accepted "good reason" not to do those things if you don't want to, which can be pretty sweet. When you have one kid, though, sometimes people will still push you, but with two? You're mostly in the clear.
"Oh! You have a seven hour long improv show? I'd love to come but... kids!"
"You know I wish I could volunteer at your event, but with the two kids I just wouldn't be able to really be much use."
You Get Your Money's Worth Out Of All Those Baby Items
The price tag on baby number one can be jarring, simply because there's so much stuff and you kind of need it all. But when baby number two rolls around, there's a good chance that you can reuse a lot of the crap you purchased for number one, especially big ticket items like cribs, strollers, and swings. Depending on expiration dates you may even be able to reuse car seats (yeah, they have expiration dates but don't worry, they're good for a while). Point is, it's really nice to feel like you're getting your money's worth as that "cost per use" goes ever downward. It's deeply satisfying.
Double The Cuteness
Not only are the cute in and of themselves, but when you put them together and you can see them interact? OMFG. It's a cuteness overload (especially when you're still working with those postpartum hormones where everything makes you cry — this is a good kind of cry). I cannot stress just how much that cuteness is going to get you through the tough times. Because, let's be real: two kids is generally harder, but the cuteness really lets you take that in stride and enjoy yourself.
They Can Translate For One Another
The first time this happened I was genuinely impressed. My younger child was babbling about something. I could understand each of the words but the way she was stringing them together made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Then son stepped in and calmly explained to me what she meant. I was like, "Oh wow! You speak baby? That's convenient!"
Maybe it's because they're closer to the baby years than we are, or maybe they have lots of secret conversations we don't see that enables them to get one another in a uniquely kid way, but siblings are often on the same wavelength — a wavelength adults cannot access.
They Entertain Each Other
Yes, it does take a while to get to this level, but once you're there? Holy hell, it's so amazing. This past Saturday my husband and I actually sat on our couch reading while the kids played together in their room. Like... what is the witchcraft?! I never thought there would be a time when the sound of relative quiet from my children's general direction would be anything other than ominous.
But nowadays they're just doing their thing. It's glorious.
It Makes Majority Votes Clearer
If you're in a family of three, a two to one vote (what movie we should watch, where we should go for dinner, etc) can be a hard sell for the one person outvoted. But a three to one vote when you're a family of four? There's no fighting that. So if you can get both parents and a child on board (or, on occasion, two kids and parent, as was the case when my husband said the day after Thanksgiving was "too early" for Christmas decorations and my kids and I were hearing none of that) that fourth domino is going to fall much more easily.
Forces Kids To Get Used To Compromising
Before his sister came along, my son was pretty accustomed to being catered to. He wasn't spoiled, but, being the only child, he was our sole focus (family-wise) and there was no one around to say they didn't want to play with this toy or go to this specific playground.
As our daughter got older and had more opinions of her own, our son had to learn how to compromise and adjust to the fact that, sometimes, you don't always get your own way. Our daughter, on the other hand, grew up learning when to assert herself and when to back off — negotiating this sort of thing is second nature to her because she's never known any other way. It's been great for everyone involved.
Makes Some Decisions Easier
As a parent, I feel like there are some decisions you can teeter-totter on and sometimes the addition of another kid can make those decisions easier by pushing you more firmly in one direction over the other. For example, maybe you were thinking about getting a bigger car when you had one kid but couldn't necessarily justify the expense. The addition of another child could easily push you to make that decision.
Makes Dividing Tasks With Partner A Bit More Intuitive
You'd think that two parents to one kid would be easier, but, honestly, I found it was actually simple to fall into the "I thought you had the baby" trap that way. But when there's two kids and two parents you're both running a man-to-man defense.
With kid number one you're going to make so many mistakes. So many. And you're going to look back on them and cringe or laugh or laugh while cringing. When you have that second child, well, you're still going to make some mistakes (because you're a human) but you can avoid a lot of the ones you made the first time around and there's a real catharsis that goes along with that. It's great. You realize you've learned something and you're capable of growth and even when it doesn't feel like it, you've got this whole parenting thing down.
You'll Be So Exhausted You Can Just Hallucinate Happiness
With two kids, even years of sleep deprivation has a silver lining.