Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

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.

HairyGrotter Mon 03-Dec-12 19:43:39

See how you feel in a few years time, two is still young etc. I wouldn't have another child, I like that it's just DD and I, the dynamic works for us both. I don't 'rule' anything out, as such, but I'm not looking to change what we have.

See what the future holds, no need to make a concrete decision

NotMostPeople Mon 03-Dec-12 19:47:13

It is hard work, I found the transition from one child to two harder than none to one and strangely harder than from two to three. I remember thinking that when we had one we were a couple who had a child but with two the children totally took over our lives. I would say it has got easier in the last year or two now my you test is 10.

I wouldn't be in a hurry.

zlist Mon 03-Dec-12 19:47:22

I felt the same, almost exactly the same!
We have kind of drifted into having one child I guess - neither of us wanting #2 enough to rock the very steady comfortable boat!
DS is now 8 and I would be lying if I said I didn't question our decision at times, especially as friends with 2+ seem to be past the stage where it just looked like plain hard work!

NotMostPeople Mon 03-Dec-12 19:47:59

Art auto correct - you test = youngest

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Mon 03-Dec-12 19:48:23

I have 2. What you describe is down to the couple not the fact they have 2 kids.

We have a 7 year gap. Good in some ways, not so good in others.

I have found it hard, but not as you described above. I think me and dh are a good team, Esther we have 1 or 6.

I miss the days of just having dd. But I couldn't imagine a world with out ds. He is now almost 2 and a joy. He sleeps 13 hours and is easier than his sister was.

Its hard because once they are here, the good bits far out weigh the bad.
But you can say that about 3 and I am definitely not having 3.

YANBU. I'm a single parent of one DS, and my life seems a lot easier than two-parent families with 2 children.

vigglewiggle Mon 03-Dec-12 19:50:46

I cannot deny that the early days of having 2 is really tough going. But my DD's are 6 and 4 and we have had a couple of years now where things have been considerably easier.

I think the reasons you have outlined for not having a second and very valid. Lots of people have a happy family with one child. However, it is lovely to see two siblings develop their close bond. Of course they will fight, it is natural and teaches them important life-skills. But it also makes life much easier now when they can disappear off for an hour or so playing together.

Also, second babies seem to be much easier babies than first babies because... they just have to be!

Annunziata Mon 03-Dec-12 19:51:18

I think going from 1 to 2 is the hardest. I do think it's lovely to have siblings. I can't imagine not having all of mine, and the lovely parts really do outweigh the bad.

I have 6 though, so maybe not the one to ask!

Chandon Mon 03-Dec-12 19:52:08

If you are all happy, stick with it.

I have two boys, it is fun to have two, it was crazy when they were aroind 3 and 1, but then it gets better every year in terms of madness!

The ony thing I wish is that we had had a number 3 boy ( or girl) as they grow up so quickly, and I love all ages and sometimes miss them being small...

But I feel that door has closed.

Lucky I have loads of nephews and nieces at baby age!

I even feel nostalgic about breastfeeding ( am I having a midlife crisis?! shock )

BabiesNeedInstructions Mon 03-Dec-12 19:52:57

There's no doubt about it, two is hard work. We've just had our second with a 2 year age gap, and it's tiring. Just the logistics are a struggle, getting them bothout of the house fed clothed and clean is a mission. We took the view that it was worth it for the long term gain - ie, a sibling close in age for ds - but in the short term it's tough. No harm in waiting a while if you're enjoying life, only you can decide when or whether it's worth doing again. I would say though that u don't think there's any particularly easy age gap to aim for - friends with 3 years or more between kids still have problems, just different ones.

catgirl1976geesealaying Mon 03-Dec-12 19:54:16

I'm right with you OP

How do people do that????

DS is 1. I can't imagine having another, even though he is a lovely "easy" baby.

Plus.............I can't imagine ever loving anyone else this much.......

BabiesNeedInstructions Mon 03-Dec-12 19:56:15

And yes, experience here is that second baby is definitely easier!

chicane Mon 03-Dec-12 20:00:15

Yanbu - i have two and love it. I wouldnt change it for the world.

Mine are 22mo apart and ilove their relationship. However, i am fairly certain i would be a better parent of just one. I feel like i went from parenting dd1 to crowd control of the pair of thrm.

I think one child families look so lovely and close. A great many of my four year olds friends (aged four and five) are onlies and seem very happy.

SantaWearsGreen Mon 03-Dec-12 20:04:39

The jump from 1 to 2 was a walk in the park for us, honestly. We wanted to have two close together, that was very important to us for many reasons. We really found no difficulties. It was the jump up to 3 that was the hardest, that truly rocked the boat.

I don't know if it was because she was not planned at all or what but it is just so much more testing. I think because you only have two arms really, seems such a simple thing but yes, I long for a third arm.

naughtymummy Mon 03-Dec-12 20:08:55

No one else can know what is right for your family. 2+2 is great because there is never an odd one out. I know they will always have each other. Bizarrely I loved having 2 tinies but DH couldnt stand it. So Mabe I am a bit odd like that.

marriedinwhite Mon 03-Dec-12 20:10:34

I was an only and desperately wanted two. We had a 3.5 year gap (eventually) and it wasn't difficult at all. The 2nd, even though she cried non stop for 6 months, seemed a breeze because I knew what I was doing. We expected it to be horrendous because ds was the only child for much longer than we anticipated and we thought he would be very upset and very resentful when he had to share our time. That wasn't how it was at all.

It is harder work; there are two lots of homework and two lots of kit later on and possibly two different schools and two lots of commitments. In my very honests opinion, every single minute has been worth it and we had no help at all.

On the other hand I don't think only children are necessarily bad at sharing or spoilt but they don't learn to negotiate as well and personally I found the rough and tumble of school life quite hard. They also have no help or support when parents are getting elderly bitter

Allegrogirl Mon 03-Dec-12 20:11:30

YANBU as your set up seems to be suiting you all really well. However I have two and I am really glad of it. We've got a 2.10 gap and I found it relatively easy as DD1 was not an easy baby. DD2 very clingy but easy to please as long as she was carried and cuddled.

I have a nearly 8 year age gap and DH is an only. My DDs have something very precious that we never had. They get on brilliantly most of the time at age 5 and 2. I realise that this is partly good luck. They can actually amuse each other and I can see that in the future holidays etc will actually be easier for DH and I as the DDs will have each other for company.

On the down side there is a lot of crowd control required. We also play juggle the children at weekends so each gets a bit of one on one time. DH has had to step up as he didn't do his fair share with just DD1.

There is no issue with loving number two as much. To me they are a unit, 'the children'. I can't imagine loving one more than the other.

Llareggub Mon 03-Dec-12 20:11:55

Mine are 6 and 3.5 and in some ways it is getting easier because they play together and rarely want me interfering. But as a single parent it is tricky to get that one to one time with them. S different for everyone though.

YANBU I feel much the same way (have a DS who's 2.8 years)

There were times I felt extremely broody, up until about 6 months ago when he finally started sleeping all night, going to a childminder, and all of a sudden life got sooooo much easier. Now the thought of starting all over again makes me shudder!

The three of us are very close and have lovely times together. I don't think DH and I are really cut out for more than one.

I grew up an only child myself and it was pretty great! I really didn't mind. So this helps me worry less about DS.

People always say they will be lonely, not having a sibling to play with, but for me anyway it just meant that I got really good at amusing myself -- and DS has been the same since he was a baby, enjoying playing on his own a lot, so I think he will be fine.

Gilberte Mon 03-Dec-12 20:19:08

Two is way harder than one in my experience. MY first DD was not an easy baby, she was a difficult toddler, she didn't sleep through until about 3 but in 3 years I don't think I ever shouted or cried in front of her. I was patient and reasonably calm.

Having two has changed all that. I quite often feel I'm losing my mind, I lose my temper, I'm irritable. I cry a lot.

My 2nd DD is the easiest sweetest child in the world.

But the dynamics, the logistics and the fighting and noise is hard.

PortHills Mon 03-Dec-12 20:19:15

Mine are nearly 4 and just 2, and while I do spend time referree'ing their fights and arguments, I also spend a lot of time laughing at the two of them playing together and just being brilliant together.

DS was nearly 2 when DD arrived, and he has adored her since she first came home from hospital. Not so much now when she breaks up his lego or runs off with his toys, but she does it because she loves him so much she just wants his attention. (How I rationalise it when I am in referree mode :-) )

So agree, hard work. But for us it's just what we always wanted.

N0tinmylife Mon 03-Dec-12 20:20:30

Of course YANBU. If you, DH and DS are happy as things are, why change it? That said, should you change your mind in the future I am sure that would be great too!

Meglet Mon 03-Dec-12 20:21:26

Yanbu. I have a 6yo DS and a 4yo DD and it's still chaos.

Whenever I have just one of them for an hour or two it's terribly civilised. But they play together more often these days, ok, punches and toys are thrown and voices are raised but they do have each other and not just boring old mum to play with.

StinkyWicket Mon 03-Dec-12 20:22:13

Just so you know, our twins (first babies so I never got the pleasure of just one) didn't hit the terrible twos till about 3 and a bit - conversely our 13 month old seems to be hitting them now!

Don't make any decisions, you may change your mind. I didn't think I'd want anymore after the twins but the broodiness was all-encompassing. I have all boys btw and it's great. A madhouse, no doubt, but great.

(Also, I also was a bit worried that I wouldn't have enough love to 'share', both during my first and second pregnancies. I needn't have worried, you love them equally, separately, individually and as a unit. It just happens!)

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Mon 03-Dec-12 20:23:51

Mine are exactly two years apart (6 and 8 now). It was hard work in the early days, the first 6 months or so, but really it has just got better and better ever since. The logistics are harder, two lots of homework, activities, friends, the two of them have completely opposite tastes in food and won't eat anything the other likes, but it is so outweighed by the companionship they have, the nice feeling of pairing up on days out, one child with each parent for some things, no one is ever left out. Hearing them chattering away together is just the nicest thing, they play together a lot too, two is definitely the right number for us.

Everyones family is different.

I take pity on the only child at soft play with no one to play with, the fed up looking parents who can't have a conversation because the dc demands there attention and interaction constantly.

My 4 and 5yos can be utterly horrible, BUT they are also best friends and the best entertainment the other will get, any trips out to anywhere they have a built in friend to be excited and play with. And the love they share is unbelievable, ds is in y1 dd nursery and when dd hurt her knee in nursery they fetched ds to calm her down, they really care for one another.

So whilst you have seen a bad time in a family with more than one child, you can have those rotten days with only one child. But you can't have the good things I speak of, and the reason I'm having no.3, when I'm old and gone they'll have each other, which is very important to me, as I was an only child until 17 so I have no sibling support.

EverythingsNotRosie Mon 03-Dec-12 20:26:48

I feel exactly the same way as you OP- same worried and doubts. DH and I have decided that, for now, we are having only one. If at such a point one or both of us want another as much as we wanted DD, we will think again. At the moment I can't see it, I love our little unit as it is and DH is an only who can only visualise an only, but we shall see!

Oh and bedtime/mealtimes/travelling um pretty much everything is easy, they're competitive and always want to be the better behaved etc.

thebody Mon 03-Dec-12 20:28:47

Each to their own. We had 2 boys 16 months apart and then 9 years later had 2 girls, 17 months apart.

But then we are mad..

marriedinwhite Mon 03-Dec-12 20:29:15

Oh yes, I never saw the terrible twos but I still remember the FRIGHTFUL FREES.

Mine are almost 18 and 14 now so I have forgotten the hard yards but can honestly say looking back that my only regret in life is not having gone for No. 3.

drcrab Mon 03-Dec-12 20:30:56

It is difficult. I'd say that 1+1 equals to >2. Our age gap is 2.7 and DS is now 4.10 and at school and dd is 2.3. They love each other to bits and ask for each other all the time. But it's incredibly hard work when they are fighting and esp if you are the parent they favour to do things (and still have to get on with things to do like work, cleaning, washing, cooking...).

We were alone - no family support nearby. It's difficult. Worth it but ... You need to be strong.

Yama Mon 03-Dec-12 20:32:27

For us the first 18 months of dc2's life were the hardest. Not twice as hard as one, more like 10 times as hard.

Anyway, since then I find find life easier. They generally entertain each other. We can potter about the house happily and no-one wnats me to play with them. wink

With one child, she tended to slot into what we were doing. With two children, life becomes child focused. I have gradually become less selfish. Not martyred but definitely less selfish.

SickOfBeingSoScared Mon 03-Dec-12 20:36:30

No UANBU. Just be aware that you may have twins and that is even more hard work grin.

Going from 1 -3 was a shock and a financial nightmare as I could not return to work so double the family but half the income - nice! Not something we planned for or expected (contrary to popular MN opinion that we should have planned for having twins as it is 'possible' and twins are no harder than singletons hmm).

Gilberte Mon 03-Dec-12 20:39:08

See my DD1 doesn't love DD2. DD2 loves DD2. DD1 tolerates DD2 and after 2 years they are starting to play together nicely.

However, I also get a lot of "I don't want DD2 living in this house"

" I want you to kill DD2"

"I'm going to kill DD2"

"I want you to throw DD2 in the bin"

"DD2 stinks" "You stink don't you DD2"

"If you don't kill DD2 I'm going to run away".

So it's not always the waltons.

I'm hoping they'll get on better when they are older.

NoWayNoHow Mon 03-Dec-12 20:39:35

If you feel happy and content with one, and don't like the look or feel of everything that two entails, then just have one! If you want more, have more! But don't feel like you OUGHT to have more than one just because that's what weird societal norms dictate, as it's not the world's life, it's yours!

Your DS will suffer far more with two parents on a knife's edge if you don't feel like you can cope with two children than he would do as an only child. The demonisation of the life of the only is one of my bugbears. So condescending and rude.

Lesbeadiva Mon 03-Dec-12 20:45:57

YANBU if it works for you. There is 2 years between mine. The jump from my pfb to two was hard. My youngest didn't sleep through the night until 2!! But DS (oldest) turned into a bit of a horror at three, nothing to do with having a sibling. They are the best of friends and the best of enemies. They drive each other mad, but they have a solidarity in each other. I love that they are close and would/will have each other when we are gone. Buri would not tip our happy balance with a third child. If one works for you, then, for now, you have your balance.

IceBergJam Mon 03-Dec-12 20:46:53

I'm with you. I don't know how my sister does it. 3 under 4. I'm amazed.

I don't think we will have another but in slightly different situation. DD 1Y has DSS 18 and 16. They adore her but will soon be gone living their own lives. I worry she will be lonely.

Fakebook Mon 03-Dec-12 20:47:11

We have a 4 year gap between dd and DS. It was hard up until dd started school this September. Now it's okay again as I have DS alone all day. Evenings are fine. Dd and DS play nicely now. We're hoping for a third next year and I think with a 2!year gap between the younger two will be ok

Morebiscuitsplease Mon 03-Dec-12 20:54:32

Have a nearly four year gap as didn't feel ready for No2. So glad we waited as have loved having two...it really helped that DD1 was potty trained, could dress herself and was happy to help with her new baby sister. Also meant I could keep my job as didn't have double child care whammy. DD2 now at school and am adjusting slowly to a new phase. Take your time!

BRANdishingMistletoe Mon 03-Dec-12 21:01:21

Do what you feel is best. DH insisted for ages that everybody said that two was no more effort than one. That would be every man in his office who worked 60 hr weeks and only saw their DC at bedtimes or the weekend. hmm The reality that I could see in my friends was that they were totally exhausted while their second child was a baby/toddler.

I have two, and it's ok now that they are 8 and 4, but I wouldn't go through those early years again. And I still resent H for pushing me into a second by convincing me that I was being selfish and would ruin DS's life if I made him a singleton. He said he would be more helpful and supportive, and, if anything, he was around far less with DC2 than when we first got DS (I'm only mentioning this as a factor because you said that you had some relationship problems when you first had your DS).

Even when they are older it's still a fair bit more work, especially if the age gap means that there will be several years in different schools. My two are almost completely opposite in personality and likes too, so it's really hard to do any sort of activity without one of them whinging that he/she doesn't want to be there.

mrsshackleton Mon 03-Dec-12 21:04:47

I adore my two, but it is double the work of one. Do what you want to do and don't feel pressured by anyone else. I couldn't cope with three, for most of the reasons you describe but friends simply can't believe this.

derekthehamster Mon 03-Dec-12 21:09:54

Mine are now 10 and 13, and whilst the early years were hard, they are the closest of friends now. There is always someone to race around/play lego/computer games with.

I look at my Mil, coping with her mother who has dementia, with no siblings to talk to about it, and i'm glad that my 2 will always have each other to remind each other about their shared childhood (and choose my nursing home).

Like another poster, my only regret was not having a third sad

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 03-Dec-12 21:10:23

I am so broody right now that I am not in a position to reasonably comment! But if I did have another there would be at least 7 years between dc1 and dc2, so I wouldn't have to do the whole two in nappies thing.
In fact, given the choice I NEVER would have chosen to have two close together, cos I know for a fact I am not that woman. I wouldn't have been able to handle it, much as it would have been lovely for ds to have a sibling close in age.
Some people are cut out for it, and some aren't, and that's fine.
Is there any rush? Give it another year at least before you even think about it (depending on your age and fertility I suppose)

lifesrichpageant Mon 03-Dec-12 21:13:14

Two is definitely harder than one - no question, particularly in the early years. Anyone who says it isn't must have a live-in-nanny or other superpowers.

I do admire couples who have made a decision together to only have one, and are on the same page about it. Life seems much easier, yes, and the disruption seems far less.

All I will say, from my experience, is that I'm glad I had DS2 as it has given me some perspective on parenting that I didn't have when I only had one child.

Looking back, I think DH and I were both overly-focused on him and possibly a bit precious about him! Now that I have 2, I can see that he is better off with a bit less attention/concern/focus. I wouldn't have noticed this otherwise.

This is just my personal observation - not saying it's true for everyone.

I have ds who is 3.3 and dd who is 5m.
I share the emotions of the earlier poster who said that before they had dc2 they had never lost their temper and now it was a regular occurrence and they get irritable and cry.
There doesn't seem to be a reason for it either, ds is a lovely boy and adores his new sister and she is a dream baby like he was.
However maybe it's the lack of sleep that does it or maybe because I never get out on my own and am stuck in the house a fair bit during the winter. I don't know. But as much as I Iove having two and am looking forward to when they can play together, my
Relationship with ds and dh has definitely suffered.
Tough one. I love them both so much but I hate how my patience seems to have vanished.

I could have written your post OP. DD is 2.3 and I love having her but have no desire (at the moment) to have any more, it does look really hard. I have had a number of health problems since I had her which haven't completely resolved, so that does add something to my lack of desire for another, but most of it is just that it looks hard and I am not in any way broody for another.

I love DD more than I could ever have imagined. She is such a lovely girl and was such a lovely baby that her nursery staff want us to give them another one just like her to look after <swells with pride>. But we already have one just like her, so don't need any more and not with the risk that they might not turn out just like her.

I also really like my new job and don't want to disappear off for another maternity leave, I found the last one at best dull.

I like the idea that we will be able to provide well for DD and this would be harder, though not in anyway unmanagable if we had a second.

I like that DH and I can pursue other interests easily by taking it in turns with DD. I know this may well work for some 2 children families, but I think we might find it very hard to each get out to our various activities and leave behind the other struggling with 2 children..

I have known families where the second child was a nightmare, none of this "slotting in" business and whilst I am sure that their parents would not be without them, it was not the experience they were expecting having had an easy time with their first.

I am very happy to accept that I might change my mind, but I am so content now that I am not sure what might make me change my mind.

At least for me, at the moment, three is the magic number.

HandbagCrab Mon 03-Dec-12 21:19:06

Well timed!

I always wanted two as I'm an only and was so lonely when I was younger. However being a parent has made me realise that I was lonely because of how I was brought up rather than just cos I was an only. Dh is one year apart from his sis and they aren't close, emotionally or physically as she lives on the other side of the world, so I also realise its not a given that ds would get on with a sibling.

I had a horrendous birth, my house isn't big enough for two children, me and dh are just starting to come out the other side now ds is one, I'm trying to career change and work and bring up ds, dh is traveling loads for work lately, we can afford uni (probably) for ds but couldn't for more kids...

But I dunno, if someone gave me a baby tomorrow, I'd have them smile

And also thanks for posting this. Hearing that others feel the same always makes me feel more at ease with my feelings and decisions. Particularly when it seems that everyone else with a toddler DD's age is either pregnant or has recently had their second.

takataka Mon 03-Dec-12 21:22:30

what you decide does sound like uncoordinated parenting to be fair

but yes, damn 2 is really different to having 1....

my friend was round at the weekend with her FIVE!!! Have no idea how people do that!!! shock

quesadilla Mon 03-Dec-12 21:23:43

NoWayNoHow: am totally with you on that. People saying you are being "selfish" by only having one child is one of my pet hates. Having siblings doesn't mean your life has to be enhanced by them. I have never wanted more than one: two seems to be pushing at the limits of what I could tolerate. I think having one and enjoying it is something to celebrate.

slatternlymother Mon 03-Dec-12 21:39:44

nowaynohow I agree totally. Our DS is 2.2 and I love having just one child. I couldn't bear the thought of anything tearing me away from him.

There's a guy at work who's constantly on at me saying
'Oooh, best get cracking with number two!'
'You're making your DS a lonely only!'
And my favourite;
'Youll love it; twice the joy!'
Fuck the fuck off. Your wife stays home with your 2 (admittedly very sweet DD's) under 3 all day, and takes care of your teen DS, whilst you push a 50 hr week and spend every weekend at football or training for ultra marathons. So you wouldn't actually have a CLUE, would you?

NoWayNoHow Mon 03-Dec-12 21:43:54

quesadilla yes, the "selfish" and "cruel" comments are, in themselves, very cruel. For me, something doesn't sit right with bringing a whole, new, individual, unique life into this world just as company for an existing child. It almost sets them up as less important (not intentionally, of course).

There's this notion that a parent "owes" a child a sibling. Why? Why should a parent's happiness, financial security, mental and emotional well-being be compromised if they feel like they couldn't cope for any of the above reasons?

Ultimately, it's different strokes for different folks, and what one person can cope with, another can't (and vice versa). DH and I could never have coped with more than one, so we didn't have more than one. We, too, have noticed massive changes in the dynamics of the families we know with more than one - they love it, but we find it exhausting just watching, never mind doing!!

Do what makes you happy, OP, not what everyone else expects you to do...

mamalovesmojitos Mon 03-Dec-12 21:48:47

YANBU. Each to their own. I have one dd (8) and it's perfect. The only negative is the guilt I feel from the bad press one-child families get sometimes. I'm very, very happy so far with my decision smile. I think the key is listen to your heart, don't be swayed by societal pressures either way & focus on the positives of your own situation.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 03-Dec-12 21:49:31

See, I would love another, but I do hate the prejudice against having one. People always say , "oh, do you ONLY have one?" grin
The pressure to have another wasn't there for me because I was single with ds, but I do remember reading a column once by some Mare who said she was only "half a mum" because she had an only. Er, no, I didn't half give birth to a baby. Nor did I "half" change my entire life because of becoming a parent.
Two/three etc is undoubtedly a lot more to take on, but you are still a mum with one.

TwoHats Mon 03-Dec-12 22:00:24

DS2 was a very demanding baby, he's probably slept through less than 10 times in his life, cried lots, threw up everywhere, was totally different to laid back DS1. I had decided number 2 was a good idea after hearing stories of DC2s who slotted right in... hmm

The first 18 months were hard, hard work. I felt DS1 didn't get the best of me as I was always so tired and had very little patience with his hideous threenage behaviour.

I still have no regrets though, the moments when they are lovely together are the best thing imaginable. They are just (4 and 2) starting to really play together, laugh at each other and entertain each other. DS1 has far more patience with reading the same books, over and over again, to DS2 than I ever will. Seeing them snuggling up together on the sofa melts my heart in a way not much else does.

There's nothing wrong with having an only, 2, 3 or more so long as it's what's right for your family. I do sometimes feel stretched a bit thin with 2, but it's sometimes a bit quiet when only 1 of them is around.

MrsMushroom Mon 03-Dec-12 22:06:08

I get such pleasure from seeing my 2 DDs play together. I am also comforted knowing that when I die...and DH dies, they will have one another to turn to in all those awful arrangements! I know that's a grim thought. But it's a practical one. Of course there is no guarantee that siblings will be friends as adults...but just to know they have a sister...it's important imo.

AngelOne Mon 03-Dec-12 22:09:55

IME 2 children are harder at first, but it will probably pay off in long run when they're older and can play together and keep themselves entertained (although of course there's no guarantees they will get on).

I have one 5yo child and we are a very happy and close family. At the moment I find it easier to entertain her and take her to age appropriate activities because I don't have a toddler in tow.

DD's best friend has a 2 year old sister and she complains there's lots she can't do because of the toddler....But I know DDs friend and her sister will grow up to be close friends and entertain each other and DD won't have that.

I think DD is beginning to miss the close bond she might have had with a sibling. Of course we're very close because she has me to herself, but that's not the same is it....

I personally would have chosen to have a least one other child, but it ain't to be.

Hopefully Mon 03-Dec-12 22:11:29

If you are happy with one, have one. I think it's different for everyone.

Two is definitely a hell of a lot more work than one (especially since for us the 'easy second baby' was a complete bloody myth), but DH and I have absolutely clicked with two, and both just get on with what needs doing. DS2 is now 20 months, and they play pretty well and we are having easier days out etc. but then we did v child friendly things like camping/visiting national trust properties before we had kids, so it's not like we're missing glamorous mini breaks!

CoteDAzur Mon 03-Dec-12 22:14:20

It is hard work in the beginning, but they start playing together around the time the younger one is 3 and leave you alone (sometimes) grin

PiggeryJokery Mon 03-Dec-12 22:15:40

Re: siblings. There is no guarantee that siblings will get on! IMO not a valid reason to have another child. Have more if you and your DH want more, if your relationship, finances, sanity etc will stand up to the challenges of another baby, sleepless nights, looking after 2 small children, 2 teenagers etc.

But don't do it just because you feel guilty about your first child being an only. They might grow up wishing they had a sibling, but its an idealised brother or sister and the true outcome may or may not work out as beautifully as you hope or they imagine.

pogsismyname Mon 03-Dec-12 22:22:03

I stopped at one child, who is now 14 so the comments about having a sibling are long gone, thankfully! I think he's benefitted a lot by being an only child, both from a financial/practical point of view and also just from having lots more adult attention. I've never felt guilty about him being an only child, I grew up with lots of siblings but often longed to be an only.

And my own sisters have 2 or 3 children each, and I often feel relieved that I didn't have to do so much taxi-ing, could spend much more time doing stuff that was DS's choice, and have some amazing experiences that wouldn't have been possible with more than one DC. And, of course, now that he's older and becoming more independent, I'm finding it easier to get back to my own life whereas I'd find it much more difficult if I'd had another one.

Startail Mon 03-Dec-12 22:29:05

2 is hard work to start with and easier long term.

At least it is if you live in the middle of nowhere and can't see your garden from your house.

They play together and look out for each other.

They are very very different and living with lots of other DCs about I think they'd have their own friends and fight.

My sister and I did.

But living here they've learnt to rub along surprisingly well.

Also I think having two leads to much more relaxed Mum, when DD1s driving me mad (normally because she's too like me) DD2 provides light relief.

When DD2 is being too normal, DD1 and I have a quiet giggle.

thisthreadwilloutme Mon 03-Dec-12 22:36:28

I have two, one of each. It's perfect for us, double the fun! They love each other, when they hold hands or snuggle up on the sofa together all content I feel a happy glow grin

I am glad I had them pretty close together (2years apart) because they are great pals and not in completely different stages. Oh and I'll only have to do the school run for 9 years and not 17 years like my neighbour shock

Bullets Mon 03-Dec-12 23:23:34

Wow, thanks for all your comments!

It's good to know I'm not the only one thinking along these lines, very reassuring! We go to lots of classes, groups and activities with DS, both our families live locally, all my friends have children born within a year of him, plus one of his cousins was born the same week, so he has plenty of interactions with other children most days, and he gets the benefit of lots of 121 time with both mummy and daddy too.

Ultimately I think DH and I are very lazy people who don't much like the sound of hard work, plus we are only just in our 30s so still have some time to make final decisions, so until we reach the stage where we want another child more than we don't want another, we'll stick to the three of us!

Bullets Mon 03-Dec-12 23:29:20

I feel I should also add, I have two younger brothers, one who is two years younger who is and always has been an absolute arse and another who is eight years younger.

I have always got on better with the youngest, partly due to our personalities and sense of humour being more similar or perhaps just because other brother has NO sense of humour...at all, but I'm sure mostly because we've always been at different stages and needed different support from our parents, so have never been in competition. I think there's a lot to be said for big age gaps too!

Angelico Mon 03-Dec-12 23:37:39

We will have the same decision to make in a while although DD is only 10 weeks old. Unfortunately I'm older than you so won't have the luxury of taking as long to decide. You have plenty of time OP so no rush smile

carolinecordery Tue 04-Dec-12 00:07:40

I have two and it is bloody hard work and I envy my friends with one in a way, but sometimes I also think of the gift of each other that I have given to my two children- when they are grown up how they will have each other even after their parents have gone.

schmohawk Tue 04-Dec-12 00:44:52

OP I could have written your post although DD is only 18 months. I'm one of two so that was always my mental picture of a family, but from threads like this I can see the many advantages to having an only, much more straightforward and less hassle. Don't know if DH & I are really cut out for hardcore domestic logistics, we could if we had to but at what cost? Also worry about the impact of a second child on my relationship with DH and DD. We still have a bit of time to decide although I'm 34 and DH is 44 so maybe not too long...
Having said that the thought of getting rid of all the baby stuff makes me a bit wistful!

SomersetONeil Tue 04-Dec-12 01:01:58

YANBU to feel the way you do and if 1 is right for you, then 1 is right for you.

We have 2 - a 2YO and a 3YO; an 18-month age gap. It was hard work, but it is already coming into its own. They play together and are good friends.

I have had the exact opposite experience from you. My best friend and her DH only have 1 so far, and I look at them and feel every time that we so did the right thing by cracking on with it and having two close together who can be friends and into a lot of the same things. Their DD doesn't know how to play well with other children, and gets bored with not having a playmate at home so they get roped in to do more than we do. Likewise, I am quite lazy, so having a ready-made playmate is great from DH's and my perspective. wink

It was tough in the early days - very tough sometimes, but we were always playing the long game. I actually thought it would take a lot longer than this to come into its own, so am pleased that we're reaping the benefits so soon. But - what is right for one family won't be right for the next.

earthpixie Tue 04-Dec-12 01:32:49

We stayed at 1 and are glad we did now,although I had doubts. I have 2 close friends with 2 kids apiece. They adore all their kids but both have said to me at different times that they feel their relationship with the oldest one was compromised in some way when the second arrived. Also, one of my friends resents the fact that with 2, you really are all about your kids - she feels there are no chinks in her life just for her anymore, and there won't be for a long time.

Annakin31 Tue 04-Dec-12 09:00:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SomersetONeil Tue 04-Dec-12 09:09:59

"Especially when I think of us all getting together for meals when they're adults."

This, 100%. DH and I have have very much based our decision around this - and after all, they're adults far longer than they're children.

Tailtwister Tue 04-Dec-12 09:16:01

We always wanted at least 2 and my age meant they had to be reasonably lose together. In the end ds1 was 2 and 3 months when ds2 was born. I found it a lot harder going from 1 to 2 than 0 to 1. You have no down time at all. When the baby was sleeping it was time to have 1:1 time with ds1. I have found it exhausting, but I was nearly 40 when ds2 was born, so it might be lack of energy on my part. They are 2 and 4 now and have moments of getting on extremely well. If left to their own devices they do fight though, so I have to keep them moving and engaged pretty much all the time.

2 is harder than 1. There are benefits both ways and no, yanbu to enjoy your time with one or make it a permanent decision either.

purplecrayon Tue 04-Dec-12 09:17:57

Op yabu

I have a 4yo and a 6yo. Two close in age siblings like that can in many cases be easier than 1x4yo or 1x6yo. Mine entertain each other, play games etc.

Ok it's not at all easy when you have a baby and a 2yo. It's fucking hard! But times change.

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!

maxmillie Tue 04-Dec-12 12:14:28

You should try 3!

Seriously, I also agree that 0 - 1 was the worse. Nothing is ever that hard again!

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 04-Dec-12 12:16:10

Whenever there are threads on "what's the ideal size family or the ideal age gap" I always like to chip in with "whatever's ideal for you" and although it's a bit of a smug platitude, I really do mean it.

Like 2madboys I'm really enjoying having two- I have a DS who is 2.3 and a DD who is 4mo. I love seeing the relationship between them develop - DS is really lovely with her and she is so excited when she sees him in the morning. However, I know that's 'nuff kids, mainly because pre-schoolers are limiting and I'm looking forward to things like ski holidays again. I read the "I have two and desperately want another" threads and think "Are you crazy???" but loads of people love having three, so it's what suits you and your life circumstances really.

However, reading your OP I can also understand why it makes sense for you to stop at one. Re the sibling thing, well some people get on with their siblings and some people hate them, so it's just luck of the draw whether a sibling is a positive influence in your life or not. Perhaps it helps that DH and I both have had good relationships with all our siblings, now and as kids.

sieglinde Tue 04-Dec-12 12:20:04

I have a 5-year gap and that's been great for us. No need to rush to a decision. I was an only child, though, and it has biiig limitations.

NoWayNoHow Tue 04-Dec-12 12:41:24

I'm also quite pleased to see people owning up to being "too lazy" for a second! grin

This probably describes (loosely) mine and DH's attitdue. I know that DS's incredibly strong personality is going to make him the most amazing, driven adult, but he is HARD work, and he pushes us to the limits of our patience. I absolutely love and adore everything that he is, but I'm not going to kid myself into believing that I could cope with another. For a start, I know our (DH and me) relationship would suffer based on how we have fared when we have gone through some very difficult times with DS.

I must say, I do find this idea of bringing whole other people into the world just to help with old age homes and funeral arrangements utterly bizarre! Seems like such a strange reason to create a new life form, someone with their own personality, life, dreams, goals, relegated to the post of "emotional support for existing child". I'ts especially strange to me when you consider ALL the different permeatations of how a sibling relationship may end up... I know a lot of friends who don't even speak to their siblings, so they'd be of no help at all!

SnowWide Tue 04-Dec-12 13:13:19

Hear hear!! For the concept of a sibling to give emotional support for existing child! Utterly bizarre...

takataka Tue 04-Dec-12 13:24:06

its not 'utterly bizarre' at all

like noway says, there are many different permeatations of how a sibling relationship may work out; and many work out fantastic...

my sister and I do provide emotional support for each other

I know lots of big families (my mum is 1 of 7) who are very close

Annakin31 Tue 04-Dec-12 13:33:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BartimaeusNeedsMoreSleep Tue 04-Dec-12 13:37:19

I agree that whatever number of children suits your family is personal and dependant on many things.

The only thing I will say though in reply to some PP posts is that having a sibling does not exclude you from making strong, life-long friendships outside of the family.

My brother and I were very close as children, but less close as adults, though we're still in regular contact. We have very different interests but it doesn't matter. He has a fantastic set of friends that he is very close to and this is great. I have a couple of good friends and DH wink.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Tue 04-Dec-12 13:49:41

Hi Bullets,

I'd say: if you're not sure, don't. It may all turn out fine, and you'll have an easy second baby who gets on famously with your DS, but as I see it the chances of something not working out are that much greater. What if your DC can't stand each other? What if you have an incredibly high need, high maintenance baby and end up resenting him/her for destroying the close bond you now have with your DS? What if things are 'OK', but it turns out to be just one stress too many on your relationship with your DH?

Sorry to be all doom and gloom - sometimes you need the viewpoint of a miserable, pessimistic fecker. My sister and I were at one another's throats throughout our childhood and often drove my mum to tears. DH and his DSis hated one another, and pretty much still do. My dad and his brother never really got on. None of my friends got on with their siblings. I know someone at work who has a good relationship with her siblings, which does make me a bit wistful, but in my experience it goes wrong more often than not. I've also seen too many couples split up after #2 came along. We're stopping at one, in case you were wondering grin

Sorry! I'll fuck off now. <Goes off to piss on someone else's chips>

JesusInTheCabbageVan Tue 04-Dec-12 13:56:38

PS This made me think of a thread I read a while back, maybe in 'Parenting' by a woman who seemed to bitterly regret her second - the DD was a really challenging, unhappy baby who was making them all miserable. There was one bit I remember because it was just so sad, something like: I'm tired of pushing the buggy along in the pissing rain, with DD screaming because she won't sleep, and DS whining, and me wanting to throw her under a bus because I can't stand it any more.

I don't know if she's still around, and if things have improved. Does anyone know what happened to her? Strikes me she'd be the ultimate authority on the risks associated with That Decision.

SnowWide Tue 04-Dec-12 14:03:43

"Throw DD under a bus?!" She just may have been hounded out of Mumsnet, poor thing grin

JesusInTheCabbageVan Tue 04-Dec-12 14:07:01

grin I think people were very sympathetic - though would have been a different story if she'd posted in AIBU by mistake!

She came across as very nice, despite the bus, and understandably at the end of her tether. Wish I could remember her name.

FestiveDigestive Tue 04-Dec-12 14:13:43

I found that going from one to two was SO much easier than expected. We had a 5 year gap (maybe that helped?) but I wish we'd done it sooner. In fact, DD slotted so easily into our family life that DH and I soon made the unexpected decision to try for a third. Before DD arrived I'd never imagined that I would even consider a third. The third turned out to be twins.. due quite soon! So I'll soon find out what it is like to move from 2 to 4 grin

I just can't think of any negatives at all that have come from having a second, only really positive things. I still say to DH that I just can't believe how much nicer it is having two - I really feel like we are a 'family' when we're all together, rather than just two parents and one child. But, maybe the biggish age gap helps as DS & DD get on brilliantly & it is lovely to see them playing together. She was also a very easy newborn who slept through the night relatively quickly so we never had that "newborn exhaustion" phase at all.

QueenofNightmares Tue 04-Dec-12 14:15:27

I felt exactly the same, I still feel the same way sometimes and I'm 20 weeks pregnant with number 2! grin There will be a 10 year age gap which is massive I know but I was 17 with DD and I wasn't ready at all for her let alone 2 of them. I think the age gap will help us a lot and DD is very very excited.

Don't rule out the possibility that you may change your mind I was adamant I wouldn't change mine until DH was booked in for the snip blush

BeaWheesht Tue 04-Dec-12 14:21:35

We have a 3 year 8 month age gap - ds first and then dd. They have always adores each other but have started fighting recently at 2 and 5.

It's more than double the work IMO especially when they're ill- then it is utterly hellish!

However, the thing that swung it for me was that theyd have each other when me and dh are old or dead. hmm

It's been hard though that's for sure.

Procrastinating Tue 04-Dec-12 14:31:52

I thought this thread was going to say two children looks a bit too tame!

I have three, when one is away (doesn't matter which one) it is easy and peaceful.

One is a shock, I found going from 1-2 fairly easy, but 2-3 was the killer. But they are older now (7, 5, 3) and lovely together. The bit when they are little and very demanding only lasts a short time OP, don't make decisions based only on that.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:35:27

We have 1 and are all really happy. I wouldn't rule out no 2, but I think we'll stick at 1.

What works for you doesn't another

2monkeybums Tue 04-Dec-12 15:11:52

The first 8 months or so of having two was pretty easy compared to how i had imagined but then Ds2 started to crawl/play with Ds1 toys and its steadily got harder and harder ever since. But I know there is light at the end of the tunnel and one day they will run off at soft play together or go swimming on holiday together and leave me to drink coffee/gin and it would have all been worth it.

socharlotte Tue 04-Dec-12 15:17:13

3 to 4 was the hardest for me, but that might be because DC4 was a screamer!!

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 04-Dec-12 16:32:57

I don't think you should have another child because you think your son might want a brother or a sister. I am an only child, and it is quite interesting to hear how a few of my friends/exs (mostly older brothers) actually slightly resent their younger siblings in some ways. I don't think they would ever say this to someone inside their family, especially not the sibling in question, but they see how their lives might have been different had their sibling not been born. Conversely, I know some siblings who are very close, even with a larger age gap.

Being an only child meant I had a lot more oppourtunities as a child, and as a young adult, because my parents were able to offer me a significant amount of support during university, giving me lifts to activities and giving me lifts to my first saturday job and so on. I think having a sibling can obviously be nice, but being an only taught me to enjoy me own company, which I think is valueable in itself.

FieryGingerBeer Tue 04-Dec-12 20:20:13

I became a parent of two this year. We have DS1 who is five, and DS2 who is eight months. They adore each other (for now) and it is lovely to see them together.

However, two is more than twice the work of one. It's been stressful at times. I'm back to work soon and really have no idea how we will manage. I'm doing all the child related tasks at the moment, and well over half the housework (which is fine as I am at home all day) but I honestly think DH has no idea how much more work it is, and he is in for a big shock next month.

Horses for courses, if you don't want another, don't have another. It looks like hard work because it is hard work grin

Bullets Wed 05-Dec-12 13:37:51

I keep popping back on to read all your replies, so reassuring to know other people feel the same!

jesus everything you said is exactly what I've been thinking - too many "what ifs" and unknowns, especially when we know we're already the happiest we've ever been! Thank you all for being so honest.

Had a chat with DH last night and we've agreed to carry on as we are the three of us, and review things every six months or so. If we feel something's missing / a real desire for number two, then we'll hop to it!

naughtymummy Wed 05-Dec-12 14:16:54

Just returned to thread. I am interested how many people seem to think how well siblings get on is down to chance.

My Dm was very open about how she did things when dsis came along to minimise problems and offered me loads of advice when I had dc2.

Now it may be chance but dsis and I couldn't be closer (to the extent that others including Dm can be a bit jealous). I think I am too close to see it but others tell me my 2 are very close.

I have always thought this was by design. Would like to hear what others think.

ClairesTravellingCircus Wed 05-Dec-12 14:43:35

naughtymummy I think there are things you can do to minise impact, sibling jealousy etc, but ultimately whether they'll become best friends or not is down to personalities.

Bullets Wed 05-Dec-12 15:03:45

naughtmummy interested to hear what sort of things your mum and you did???

Bullets Wed 05-Dec-12 15:06:07

I also think it might be easier to get on when your sibling is the same sex as you??

naughtymummy Wed 05-Dec-12 15:25:44

So long ago now....loads around keeping the routine for dc1, I had a bouncy chair with handles and would carry dd from room to room in it doing Ds bed time routine. Allowing dc1 to touch and "play" with dc2 no matter how much your heart was in your mouth. If the baby started crying saying to dc1 "oh what a pain now we have to feed dc2 before we can go to the park" or wherever.

I had been back to work after Ds so when I was on maternity leave with dd he probably actually got more one on one time than before.

naughtymummy Wed 05-Dec-12 15:30:36

When dd slept I would do special games with Ds. I always gave the impression that I was really looking forward-looking to this time with him.

TBH I still do this to an extent they both have and really like time alone with me, as well as time all together.

Gilberte Wed 05-Dec-12 20:33:15

"My Dm was very open about how she did things when dsis came along to minimise problems and offered me loads of advice when I had dc2.

Now it may be chance but dsis and I couldn't be closer (to the extent that others including Dm can be a bit jealous). I think I am too close to see it but others tell me my 2 are very close.

I have always thought this was by design. Would like to hear what others think"

Well I did everything I could to minimise jealousy, talked about the baby before it arrived, bought DD1 a present "from the baby", didn't show excessive affection to the baby in front of her, asked her to help me/involved her in nappy changes etc, encouraged her to put her doll in a sling and get her off to sleep whilst I was doing the same with DD2, played with her every nap time.

Spent a lot of time at weekends doing things 1:1, tried to big up the what a great big sister you are thing. Now i try to play with them both and do lots of fun things they can both join in with, lots of physical games with turn taking. I'm not sure what more I could have done. Things are getting better but there's still a lot of fighting and DD1 tolerates DD2 rather than loves her.

naughtymummy Wed 05-Dec-12 21:19:47

Sorry to hear that Gilberte. How old are your dds ?

Another YANBU. We stopped at one and have now gone past the point of no return.

I'm so glad now although we did go through a phase where I wanted another but DH didn't. I'm glad I didn't push him. I posted on MN at the time, and everyone told me not to even try to talk him into it, and they were soooo right. DH was right on the edge of not coping with work stress and found DS very difficult when he was a baby. I'd been seriously ill when DS was a toddler which was very worrying for DH, and I was just starting to get my health, our finances, my career and our relationship back on track when baby-hunger hit. It passed, and now I can see that things would have been too hard for us.

Myself I have two siblings who are royal PITAs. My parents did everything to ensure we didn't fight as kids and we didn't. We got on okay as children. But now we're grown up I find them insufferable and I see them every five years or so (usually when they want to borrow money... And they have much more money than DH and I.). And they don't help when Mum and Dad are ill, it's always just me. I don't get the whole 'giving your child the gift of a sibling' thing. If anyone wants a 'gift of a sibling' I've got two you can have for postage grin

Gilberte Thu 06-Dec-12 20:11:01

Mine are 5 and 2 so it is early days. Eldest had my undivided attention for 3 years and she was very clingy and our relationship was and is intense so I think I really rocked her world.

They are starting to play together a lot more now but when they are tired/grumpy I can't leave them alone together for a second without one or other of them hitting or screaming because they are being hit/ sat on/ squashed.

AmberSocks Thu 06-Dec-12 20:19:23

i have 4,i found 2 easy,3 was hard once they were all toddlers,4 is hard now at times.

i guess it depends on lots of things,personality,support,health,etc,i would love more one day.

naughtymummy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:22:28

It's difficult with one at school. IME they are just totally knackered at the end of the day. Mine are a little closer in age and dd went to nursery 3 days week from aged 2 so we're both equally tired and grumpy.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 07-Dec-12 01:44:35

I think there are just tonnes of variables which determine the relationship between siblings and these will all play out differently in every family

- gender
- age gap (Anecdotally, it seems that siblings closer in age are closer as children, but also fight more. Children with a larger gap (4+ years) are at different life stages so there's less scope for conflict but also don't really want to do the same things)
- how many siblings there are in total
- whether they like the same things
- whether they compete in the same areas

And all of these things can go either way

I think you can prevent siblings fighting but I don't think you can make them close/friends IYSWIM.

Groovee Fri 07-Dec-12 08:19:49

I have a 2 year 9 month age gap with my 2. The early years were hard. I remember wondering why I'd had 2. Now they are 12 and 10, life is a lot easier. They get on well most of the time, holidays are fun. Both kids are quite independent. It's so much easier than the earlier year were and more enjoyable.

I couldn't imagine life without either child now, as both bring different joy to my life x

ellee Fri 07-Dec-12 08:37:48

21 m between my two, the early months were v hard, I was at my wits end trying to cope but it all started to settle around 6m and now it's no trouble.

I. Think 2 do take over and you become completely immersed in kid stuff. After a while you get totally used to that. My 2 get on but that's a roll of the dice. I get on really well with my siblings and my mum and her sister have always been v close. So it would have seemed unthinkable to me not to have at least 2. In fact I sstress a bit that I should have a 3rd but our finances won't allow it realistically.

But if you are happy and comfortable and feel fulfilled, why not stick with one? Going from 1 to 2 IS a big upheaval but it does settle down. Up to you and your dh op!

KitCat26 Fri 07-Dec-12 09:00:46

I've two with a 17.5mth gap. It was hard in the beginning but by the time DD1 was 2 DD2 had just started to crawl and life seemed to get a bit easier. Personally I found the jump of none to one much much harder than one to two.

There wasn't any jealousy from DD1 because she was so little when her sister arrived (she basically ignored her for the first 6mths), but they do argue and get jealous of each other much more now (3.4 and 22mths). The arguing is the thing which drives me nuts the most and there are many more years of that to come.

But, they play together, get excited together and will be a joy at Christmas.

We won't be have a third though!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now