to think that two children just looks a bit too much like hard work?!

(138 Posts)
Bullets Mon 03-Dec-12 19:41:51

DS turned two in October and is such a lovely little boy, very kind and caring, I really enjoy his company. Six weeks in and no sign of any terrible twos yet, plus he's finally started going to bed at bedtime, staying there all night, and getting up at a reasonable hour, so he's okay with one of our mums babysitting meaning DH and I can have the odd night out.

DH and I always planned to have two kids, but are having a serious case of not-wanting-to-rock-the-boat-itus. I've recently started a new job that I'm really enjoying, three days a week, and childcare is all covered by DH and grandmas, so DS is very happy with this arrangement too, and our finances are healthy enough to start saving for a holiday. Life is good!

I feel happy, fulfilled and well-balanced.

We've just got back from a weekend staying with friends who have an 18 month old and 5 year old, and without wanting to sound too wet, it just all seemed a bit too much like hard work! The parents were arguing over who did what, the kids were fighting over their toys and which parent they wanted to do something for them. I don't think anyone was enjoying themselves!

AIBU to think that one child might be enough? For me and DH as well as for DS - is it fair on DS not to give him a brother or sister? Things got pretty rocky with DH when DS was young and not sleeping or feeding well, we're back on solid ground now but I don't know if our relationship could take it again.

I havent found two harder because, well, i was already doing it all. Dd1 was a horrific baby, colic, never slept and fussy eater now. She was 3.3 yrs when dd2 came along in feb. now dd2 is a very easy baby and so maybe compared to dd1 anything would feel easy.

But we already had a routine etc and dd2 just had to fit in. I had to wake her if she slept at the school run slot and push her around in the buggy whilst we wait at gumnastics but suddenly her pattern slitted in around dd1. She naps at 10 after the playschool drop off and again at 2 before pick up. Granted i cant do as much with dd1 but its not a bad thing, she's learning patience and sharing far more nowadays.

My only "issue" has been treating them the same. We have less money than we did when dd1 was smaller but i still feel like she has to get say a similar christening gift, the same swimming lessons, the same number if xmas presents as dd1 is getting. All things that she wont notice or stretches the finances but my guilt takes over.

Longdistance Tue 04-Dec-12 09:22:15

My pfb (3) was and still is a nightmare child.

I sometimes wonder if it would have been easier to stop there. But, no dd2 (18mo) is amazing, and life wouldn't be the same without her. She's a lot easier than pfb, so has made the transition from 1 to 2 easy or us.

Having an easier child first time, could make you wary of having a second. I can see that.

I'd wait a while if all's good with the first.

BartimaeusNeedsMoreSleep Tue 04-Dec-12 09:23:10

It's funny, I was saying to DH only last night that for the first time since DS was born (14 months ago) I can imagine getting pregnant again, and it's because he is now just starting to get easier (he was a very difficult baby : reflux, nonsleeping).

We're waiting until next summer for TTC though as we do want to take advantage of a few "easy" months before I get pregnant again (just in case I'm as ill as I was with the 1st pregnancy) and for work reasons.

choceyes Tue 04-Dec-12 09:24:02

YANBU at all.

I have a 4yr old and 2yr old and I'm constantly refereeing them, hardly get any quality time with them. They constantly annoy each other.

One child is soooooo much easier. At the weekends me and DH take it in turns to go out with one child and it's easier for all of us. DCs are happy and me and DH are much more relaxed. and I find that I am actually parenting them when it's one to one.

we didn't plan to have a 2nd. DD was a very happy accident. but we were quite happy with just DS.
Don't have another one if you don't think you can handle it.
I don't think siblings are that important in life really.Good friends matter more in the world we live in now.

Mumsyblouse Tue 04-Dec-12 09:31:39

I wouldn't have another if you don't want one, but I dispute one is easier now mine are older. My two play together a lot, all weekend in fact, indeed the eldest put the younger one to bed last night while I had a short spell on the sofa My friends with one child spend a lot of time entertaining that child, and personally I would find that more tiring than supervising two.

But there's no right number and if you don't feel like having another, don't!

choceyes Tue 04-Dec-12 09:38:25

Mumsyblouse Maybe it depends on the personality of the child and their ages. My 2 DCs who are 4 and 2 don't play together much, they just get in each others way. The younger one will break up the duplo the older one has done, rip his books, and the older one will grab her toys off her, pull her hair, push her etc. It all gets too much and I'm desperate to get out of the house by 9am!
And when they are on their own, they play on their own really well. They are calm, focused and just involved in their play, but put them together, it is mayhem. So I disagree with having to supervise one child all the time, I don't to it when it's them on their own, they just play on their own. I am an only child. My parents were very attentive, but I really enjoyed playing on my own - they never needed to entertain me as such.

Rebecca1990 Tue 04-Dec-12 09:45:26

I have 2 babies and although it's usually the case second babies aren't always easier. Dd had silent reflux and screamed for 4 months, now see nearly one and I can barely remember that time.
It's not a bad decision just to have one baby, the right decision is the one that's right for you . Good luck

I see some people have mentioned feeling comforted that when they get older or pass on, their children won't have to deal with it alone if they have siblings. But at least from what I see, siblings can make dealing with such things even harder -- my mum has been through this a few times with her brothers. She does everything to take care of the elderly relative, her brothers do nothing, and then they show up for the funeral demanding their fair share from the will. I would rather be on my own than deal with that!

OP it sounds like you're taking a really sensible approach and going with what you feel like. And it's great to see someone else think, 'Two? Nah, I'm too lazy' grin

Oblomov Tue 04-Dec-12 09:55:58

PurpleHonesty: "I love them both so much but I hate how my patience seems to have vanished"

Yep. That's how I feel. I find 2 very hard work. ds1(8) ds2(4).
Ds1 was an easy baby but now is a very hard child. Ds2 was a very difficult baby and is still hard work.
They are so loving and can play togther beautifully, but then they can fight and are a total pain.

But, Op it is early stages for you to be making this decision, because your ds may not have gone through the terible 2's, tantrum 3's, frightful 4's, and it goes on and on into 5,6,7,8,9, beleive you me !!

SnowWide Tue 04-Dec-12 10:00:26

Yes choceyes agree with you. Depends on the personality of the siblings for them to play together. My DD is 7 and once, I became all wistful talking to a friend who has two and said, "bet your two have fun together". She was quite surprised at the idea. Her daughter is more introverted, preferring to draw and do crafts while son is forever hanging out with friends.

Another friend's daughter hardly even walks to school with her brother, much less play with him. Dunno if its due to personalities or different gender siblings.

I think the playing together bit of a red herring, TBH. They may be there for each other as adults, but not a guarantee really. Even if they are close emotionally, it may not work out practically. My DH works in a different country while his elder brother lives in another country looking after their aged mother. So all decisions need to be made by his brother and he is effectively sole carer for MIL.

In this day and age, where your job might take you anywhere in the world, how can you expect siblings to stay in the same town? Look at it this way, whatever you might spend for a second child, spend it on your own pension and health so you don't burden your only child unnecessarily during your twilight years...

choceyes I agree with you, I think it's more personality than how many kids you have. As I said earlier, my own son plays on his own really well and I don't have to entertain him all the time -- I have another friend with one child who is similar and we're able to hang out and have long talks and relax.

On the flip side, I know people with two kids who never have a moment's peace as they are always fighting or winding each other up or demanding attention.

It just all seems like luck to me, what you end up with. So maybe us parents of onlies are just a bit more risk averse. I feel like life with one is pretty great and adding another could be nice or it could be utter mayhem, and I don't deal with mayhem very well smile

bakingaddict Tue 04-Dec-12 10:03:29

Generally I dont find two that much harder than 1, you just get a routine going.

Things like having their clothes ready the night before or having the bag for the baby always ready with nappies, wipes etc so you can get out of the house in 30 - 40 minutes as opposed to 2 hours.

Mine are 5 and 18months and overall play really well together so I can at least manage to cook a meal in the evening without much interruption

AndiMac Tue 04-Dec-12 10:07:46

I think it depends on what you consider to be hard work. Yes, the first 18 months to two years is hard, as it would be with any baby, first second or more.

But my 2 are about two and a half years apart and now can entertain each other, which means I don't get dragged in to always play shops, dressing up, the stupid gingerbread man board game etc; they can play with each other. I look at myself with 2 and other friends with 2 and compare it to a friend whose only child is in my eldest's school class. My friend with one dd is always being nagged to play with her. Her DD is independent enough, but always wants someone to play with, making it tough to have any kind of personal time during DD's waking hours.

I think the longer you put off having a second child, the more likely you will accept the status quo and not have a second one. So make certain that's really want you want before you do it.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 10:08:48

One could suit you? Only you know. Maybe you just need to leave an extra large gap?

How people cope with two or one child depends much upon the adult and child personalities. I have three (with good gaps) and yes it is hard but also really wonderful. I wouldn't change a thing.

There's no right or wrong here. It's just what works for each family. There's a 3 and a half year gap between my two, that meant ds1 was at nursery by the time ds2 came along. So I never had 2 in nappies, or a double buggy, or any of the things I imagine might make life more awkward. But plenty of people do...quite happily.
And plenty of people have one child - and are happy with that. Or have 5.
The only thing I would say is that your friends dcs probably were overexcited and not behaving as they would normally when you were visiting, so perhaps what you saw isn't typical of how everyday life is for them. smile

hatsybatsy Tue 04-Dec-12 10:23:04

going from one to two was v hard - with a 22 month gap - as ds was really still a baby when dd was born. If I had my time over, I'd have a slightly bigger gap.

OP - there really is no rush. carry on enjoying your ds and see how you feel a year down the line? you have hit a sweet spot so make the most of that. you can hit sweet spots with 2 kids though - they both have their moments

Curtsey Tue 04-Dec-12 10:31:35

Have been lurking, and just want to say thanks for the honest responses all smileI have only one under 1 at the moment - DH wants 3, I say 2 maximum. Actually DH reckons he'd like another one 'straight away' because 'they're so lovely'. I'm not buying it. DD IS so lovely, now (was horrible as a small baby though...) so we may as well enjoy our PFB as long as possible. And even though DH is a brilliant parent - it's still ALWAYS more work for the mother, isn't it, during the early years?

I'm from a large family. Both parents worked full-time, and even with childcare and an exceptional partner (my dad), it damn near killed my mother.

I don't think there is anything wrong at all with only having one, if you are happy with that!

I didn't find going from one to two very difficult. I found going from 2 to 3 a little harder, but we had a 4 1/2 yr gap which was good. 3 to 4 was pretty intense because of the 22 month gap. Life was a blur of constant breast feeding and nappy changes!

We are now expecting dc5 and there will be a 3 yr gap again so we are feeling pretty positive.

Going out can be difficult without another adult because of toilet trips and tired legs etc, but it's fine generally. It's no where near as hectic as people expect things to be. I'm often complimented on how well they behave when we go out for dinner or something.

I think it depends on the children really, and what you find difficult. We have routines and don't expect babysitters very often!

We are a little team and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Goldrill Tue 04-Dec-12 10:40:58

DD1 has just turned 2, DD2 is 6 weeks. DD1 is in nursery and has brought back cold after cold which DD1 and i have caught, and now a chest infection. Not had more than 2 hours sleep in a row since littlest born. They are both wonderful, fair-tempered little girls and i adore them, but it is a bloody nightmare 90% of the time.

ClairesTravellingCircus Tue 04-Dec-12 10:44:13

Personally, I found dd1 such hard work that when dd2 arrived 3 and 1/2 years later we hardly noticed she was there!

Like others said, factors in play are many (and mostly out of your control, like kids' personalities, gender, and to some extent age gap too), that it's impossible to generalise.

notso Tue 04-Dec-12 10:51:18

DD is just hitting the terrible teens now that is hard work!

I found going from 1-2 easy, there is a 4 year age gap, DD and DS1 were both very laid back babies and toddlers.
2-3 was hardest, DS1 was 6 when DS2 was born and we were well out of the baby phase. I had a terrible pregnancy, hyperemesis and SPD and DS2 was very difficult baby.
3-4 has been easier than I thought despite only 16mo age gap. Two in nappies, and lots of sleepless nights etc is hard but at 23 months and 7 months they are already starting to entertain each other.

TheWalkingDead Tue 04-Dec-12 10:55:28

I found going from none to 1 was the worst bit. I didn't cope well at all and worried it would be even worse with 2. However, we have DS1 (4) and DS2 (1.10) and going from 1 to 2 has had it's moments, especially in the stage when DS2 wanted to do what DS1 was doing but couldn't, or when he went through a hitting phase. However, now he's walking and just getting more knowing he's a delight - they seem to get on quite well and I may be singing a slightly different tune if there was a constant stream of screaming from either of them.

pugsandseals Tue 04-Dec-12 11:01:34

We have one dd. 'Onlys' tend to grow up quite different people to those with siblings I think. For us, this is great! DD is a quirky character, happy to spend time with other children & adults of any age. She is a great thinker & is very able to make strong minded decisions & have rational debate. Her strength of character is not always easy to deal with, but I would much rather a strong characterized child than a wimp. It helps that she attends a great school which allows children to find 'their thing' & follow their interests - this in my mind, replaces the need for siblings as it has such a strong family feel that I know she will develop life long friends there. Better in the long run than the possibility of ending up with a sibling with very different interests to you.
Neither myself or DH feel like our siblings are key to our lives & upbringing either, so I see having a 2nd as purely for the parents if wanted, not in anyway related to the success or failure of the 1st child (hope that makes sense!)

2madboys Tue 04-Dec-12 12:01:22

Sorry I haven't read the whole thread, but I love having two. I found that number two's babyhood was much more enjoyable as I knew what I was doing and he was generally much easier - the same is still true! I come from quite a large family and my best friend was an only child. She used to love coming to our family gatherings and I know she wished she had siblings. Her Mum died when we were both in our twenties and all her other family is in the US. I think things would have been much easier for her if she had siblings.

However - this totally has to be your decision. I have friends who think that it's odd to only have two and now my DSs are growing up (9 & 12), things are easier and our family feels pretty good. If you're happy with just one, stick to your guns!

SchnappsDamnYou Tue 04-Dec-12 12:13:03

Really interesting thread, thanks Op for honesty in starting it!

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