double the...fun?

I am so grateful to have amazing friends who had children before me, who could offer their wise advice to the overanxious first-time mom that I was. And yet, now that I have two kids, I want to yell at some of those very same mama friends, those who had their second or even third child before I had my second, the ones who told me when I was pregnant with our second child that having two was "different." No, my dears, it's not "different." I think the words you were searching for were "hard," "insane," and "may drive you both to drink heavily." Looking back, I honestly don't know what I was bitching and moaning about when we just had one child. All of those hours lost worrying about sleep (or lack thereof), about every little morsel that he ate, about development and milestones and blah blah blah. What a waste of time. I should have just instead enjoyed how EASY that time really was, back when it was just me, hubby, dog and son. Oh how easily we fell prey to all of the unnecessary and ridiculous first-child worries and woes. Oh how we thought everything was so damn difficult then. And I'm sure, at the time, it was. Our son had a tumultuous first two years of life, and we were first time parents: of course it was hard.

But here we are now, with a son who is 4.5 and a daughter who is 20 months old (yikes! how'd that happen?!), and now we know better. On many levels, we're wiser, which makes it all the more annoying sometimes. Two kids isn't double the work, it's 10 times the work. And that is something no one told me until RIGHT AFTER I gave birth a second joyous time and the madness truly began. Before two kids, it was all "oh you'll love having both a girl and a boy!" "Oh, it's so great to have two and watch them grow up together!" "Oh it's so much easier the second time around!" Yes, those words are all true. HOWEVER, they all failed to mention we would probably never have a "relaxing" night or weekend ever again, our shoulders will ache even more than ever before from double the constant lifting, we'll be spending WAY more time cleaning up than ever imagined because of double the toys, clothes, junk, food & other odd object smearings all over the place, and that never again will we want to set foot in a grocery store or any other store because taking two kids into a store? IT IS HEEELLLLLLLL. Nobody mentioned any of that. Nobody mentioned that even at such early ages would the two have drastically different schedules that we'd be running around like mad more than before. Nobody mentioned the inevitable constant screaming that would happen with two kids who both want the same thing at the same time...All. Day. Long.

Thanks, friends. Thanks for no warning!

But then... as crazy as it is, there is no other way I would have it. You knew the cheesy part was coming, right? Well here it is. Just as those with one child or three or four couldn't imagine their lives any differently, neither could we. Our house is louder and our schedules are busier, and we're always tired and sometimes in physical pain, but it's almost this perfect imperfection that makes us so very happy and fulfilled. We love that our kids will grow up with each other, having each other for support in difficult times as they get older, to grow up together and get in trouble together and lie for each other or tell on each other. We love that they'll be siblings, friends, confidants, enemies, cheerleaders all at the same time and in different ways throughout their lives. We love watching them now. Their bond grows everyday, and it's so amazing... of course they fight and scream and are pretty violent with each other sometimes, but they also make each other laugh like nobody else can, they hug and kiss, and they hold hands. It's so freakin' adorable I can't stand it! These two perfectly flawed little beings are the best parts of my life, and even though having two can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining, it's also the most exhilarating, soul-filling part of my life.

I do, however, wish that moms would be more open about how much harder it is to have two than to have one. Damn you all for your silence. Hmph.


Katherine Gray said...

I hear a lot of people say two is harder but that just wasn't the case for us and I'm not exactly sure why. We thought the transition to parents was a big shock. By the time the second one came our lives were already set up for kids so we didn't have to make that transition. Maybe it was also because my second was a relatively easy baby. And maybe because I scaled back on work and started to say no to a lot of things. (Which is hard for me.) Am I really the only one? But know that I'm not having another. I'm pretty sure a third would tip me over the edge.

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Jillian said...

I think we moms are good liars by nature, given the way our society is set up! I mean, I tell my friends who don't have kids how wonderful it is all the time! You don't want to scare them away from the beauty of it all.

I loved this blog post...it was so honest and made me smile. :)

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marlynn said...

Dear Katherine,
I hate you.
Love & Kisses,
PS - just kidding! I think it obviously depends on your kids. Things were easier for us when C was still a baby, but the older she gets, the harder it gets with two kids for us. Our kids both have VERY strong personalities - they are fiercely independent and goal-oriented and LOUD - which I am sure will serve them well later in life, but now, it makes daily life super extra crazy for us. I AM glad the transition was easier for you though! :)

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Kelly R said...

I am sure this will relate to me a lot more in a few months. My son is still content to stay in one place, doesn't get offended when his sister yanks a toy from him, and isn't off and running...yet. He is also a very easy baby. My daughter had colic so I still think of those first six months with her as hell.

I am tired but have been tired for so long now that I forget what awake truly is. The hardest part for me with two kids are those nights when my husband isn't around to help with the bath and bed routine. I am already so exhausted at that point and yes, it is much harder with two!

So, I guess it doesn't seem SO much harder yet. But again, I have a feeling that my "easy infant" time is about up. Easy baby equals not-so-easy toddler according to some friends. When he does finally start running, being loud, grabbing at toys, etc. it will be a rude awakening for my daughter as well!

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anita said...

Oh I loved this blog post! We have one and it took us six years to convince ourselves that even one would be a good idea. And we long for those six years again, although like any parent we couldn't imagine life without our son. However, we are firmly convinced from just one, that we will NOT have another.

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Anonymous said...

The second wasn't too bad, but it came only 20 months later. I was too sleep deprived to notice another baby. The third was a whole new ball game. She is 4 and we are still adjusting to be out numbered. At my wedding Wells' aunt told us if we wanted 3 kids we may as well have six. I thought she was crazy. I get it now.

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Amy said...

I think the key is, no one will tell you when you are already pregnant with your second one how hard it is because there is no turning back. Our two kids are 22 months apart and it has been pretty hard sometimes, especially when even going to the store is such a major expedition. But, as they get older it is getting easier and it will get better. People just forget/block certain stages. Maybe misery just loves company. (-:
Amy H

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helena said...

Okay, well if you decide to have a third, it is INSANE!!!
Consider yourself fully warned. You were only given two arms, and even though women are born to multi-task, keeping track of where three little people are at all times will drive the soundest mind stark raving mad.
And four-- need I say more???!!! THAT is only for the clinically insane, such as yours truly...
I adore them even if they are going with boys who ride dirt bikes competitively and know how to set up their own parental controls to avert the watchful eyes of NetNanny.
Life would be ever so dull without them. And quiet. Sigh.

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Erica said...

If you have two (or more) you can't openly say how hard it is to those with fewer kids. It sounds so condescending - "oh, you think you have it bad, I have it way worse". Besides, kids personalities are so different. I do think the true test is taking small children out to eat. One is possible (maybe even slightly enjoyable), two is horrible and more expensive to boot! I can't imagine even trying to go out with 3 or more.

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marlynn said...

Erica - I think people SHOULD say how much harder it is, if that is in fact the case. Why not, if it's the truth? They would just be speaking of their own experience, and if the person to whom they are speaking thinks that they are being condescending then I think that person is taking things more personally than they should (you know, like all of us moms tend to do about sensitive parenting topics! ;). I really do wish moms would be more honest about their experiences. It makes it more difficult, esp. those of us who deal with borderline PPD, to prepare for the realities of what's to come and to have more manageable expectations (although I've learned to have NO expectations now :).

I want to reiterate that like all blog posts, I am merely stating my own personal experience in that in retrospect, having one for US was easier than we made it out to be comparatively.

On the food front, I can think of many families who would argue that taking one child out to eat possible, much less enjoyable! Personally, we used to love going out to eat with one, and even two in the beginning. Ah, those were the days... *sigh* :-)

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Laird Family Blog said...

M. I agree.

We have friends with just one child and the other day they were complaining about how we have only seen them twice this fall. Well, with two kids (1 and 5) and a husband who travels frequently, it can be a real bear going to a social function with the our two girls. Annie is into everything and Grace is just independent enough to be unpredictable!

We are thinking about another baby. But, we realize that we will probably never take the kids out to eat (it's just not fun any more) and that there will be lots of adjustments. There are just simply some things we no longer do together as an entire family.

I do know of super amazing people who have many kids and can still sit down at Denny's and have an enjoyable evening. . .that's just not us. . .right now.

We love all the special moments with our kids but there have definitely been some major adjustments that Mommy friends did not warn of. . .

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