2 children, but do you wish sometimes you still only had 1?

(93 Posts)
KLou111 Thu 11-Apr-13 21:44:42

Basically the title says it all really.
My DH and I have the most beautiful, lovely, loving nearly 20 month old DS who we absolutely adore.

We always wanted 2, but DH loves our little family as it is and really can't imagine he would ever want or need another.
I'm on the fence. I would love a sibling for our DS, and feel I would love another child one day, but I am not 100%, so with that obviously I would go with not having a second.

I just feel I wouldn't have enough time in the day, and I would feel so guilty not having the time for DS as I do now.

We enjoy our family holidays, more so now our DS is becoming a lovely age to enjoy them, with a baby they would become a lot more stressful.
We enjoy our own time with friends, but with 2 we could see it being a lot more difficult to get 'time out' for a few hours or an evening on our own, which at the moment my parents would happily have DS overnight once or twice a week if we'd let them. They say they would also happily have a second baby overnight too, but in reality I'm not so sure.
With one child, if we are lacking a babysitter, usually DS stays with us no problem, but 2 we would be a lot more restricted.

There are so many more 'cons' for having 2 for us than 'pros', but I just wanted to know your experiences. Did any of you have 2 children and really truly wish you'd stuck with one?

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 11-Apr-13 23:14:55

Yeah I guess we are all different. Maybe we argued lots too and I am being rose tinted about it now!!! I just know that I love that my little girls have each other and always will.

Piemother Thu 11-Apr-13 23:19:18

I have two and I'm now a lone parent so I'm even more challenged. I haven't looked back since dd2. When she was born it was a scary challenge. Then for a bit I felt frustrated and guilty that dd1 didn't have all my attention but then dd2 got to 5 months and they started to play together and it's all been worth it. Dd2 is enchanted with everything dd1 does (there are 3 years between them) and now dd1 has adjusted she makes a huge effort and is very loving toward dd1.
Don't forget you will be a much more confident parent second time around - its not like starting from scratch again grin

Andro Thu 11-Apr-13 23:20:58

Siblings are also important when you are older too

Really? 19 years down the line I have yet to find a single positive about either of my twin brothers. I don't like them, I certainly don't love them, they still think it's hilarious to dope my food with cheese (I'm severely allergic) and my dc are kept away from them because I don't trust them at all.

I had a great life as a solo until they were born, after they were born I was sent away and my relationship with my mother took 10 years+ to repair. Having siblings isn't always good!

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 11-Apr-13 23:24:07

We can't predict how relationships will work out - that's true.

prettymum Thu 11-Apr-13 23:24:50

I have 2 dc, dd 8yr and ds 6yr and I am really glad that I had 2 because they get on very well together when they're not bickering and always have someone to play with.

I found it so much easier with ds and as I am very into routines, he fit just right in and once he got to crawling stage, the mischief started with dd leading the way.

Startail Thu 11-Apr-13 23:30:25

I have two DDs and yes if foods involved I wish I only had DD1. Considering if DD2 will eat anything you cook or any meal out is very very wearing.

The rest of the time I love having the two of them. They are as different as chalk and cheese and yet play together pretty well. As they get older they do elaborate hair styles and share their love of Twlight.

We live in the middle of nowhere so I'd have to do a huge amount of child entertaining and play date organising if they didn't have each other. Also I'm far happier letting two of them out in the garden together as hopefully both won't fall of the trampoline or climbing frame at the same time. Likewise they go cycling to the shop together (they are 12&15).

Apart from the practicalities they simply complement each other in so many ways.
DD1 was born in hospital and FF. DD2 born at home and BF forever.
DD1 is dyslexic and DD2 absolutely isn't she's corrected my spelling since she was 8.
DD1 refuses to be a teen, she sees zero point in being rebellious.
DD2 does friends and peer group and fashion and no doubt will do teen angst.

I could go on. No I couldn't imagine having one without the other.
When I was feeling a bad Mother because DD1 had no friends and was getting bullied. DD2 would reel off the 101 people she'd played with at break. When DD2 is being stroppy DD1 gives me a look and we'd end up in fits of giggles. While DD1 was an exhausting toddler who messed with everything and ran of all the time, DD2 played with toys and held hands.

Ok ok I'll stop, but you get the idea.

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 11-Apr-13 23:34:49

Star tail - exactly!!! Great post.

Bellebelle Thu 11-Apr-13 23:49:59

My main motivation to have a second child was to give DD1 a sibling and I don't think that's lunacy at all. I was quite happy to have another but knew that I would have been satisfied sticking with one child. It was wanting to give DD1 someone to share her childhood (and beyond) with that made me have a second.

Mine are now 4 and 7, the early years are hard but worth it in the long run IME. One of my favourite things in the world is when one of them makes the other laugh. The bicker and play together in equal measure and its fine, just part of family life. I can't imagine not having two and while I think DD1 would probably have been quite happy as an only child I don't think she's suffered from lack of attention at any point.

Our holiday last year was amazing as they played so well together. I read books! On a sun lounger! On a beach! DH and I couldn't believe that we'd finally reached the point if not being needed every minute of the day - "now that's why we had two" became our catchphrase for the holiday grin

atrcts Fri 12-Apr-13 00:03:32

My husband and I were horrified at the idea of having a second because or first son was such hard work! now that he's out of he terrible two's and potty trained etc, he's much easier to handle, and so we've felt ready for our second.

Someone once told me that if you don't have your own second child then you spend your time looking after someone else's (to entertain you only child), which is a bigger headache to have to organise practically, much less deal with different house rules etc.

Our son is just starting to become quite bossy and self absorbed, despite our efforts to prevent a spoilt child. I think sharing his parents with his new sibling will be healthy for him, even though I'm sure it will be an adjustment for him (all of us, actually!).

I agree with the poster who say its harder work now but pays off later.

RubyrooUK Fri 12-Apr-13 00:32:31

I think whoever said you view it through your own experience is probably right.

I love having a brother as an adult. I don't think we are especially close as we are very different and sadly live very far away, but I love him and like having someone to share my family memories with and someone who just "gets" certain things.

My step sister, however, has stuck with one child for many of the reasons mentioned in the OP. She is very happy with that decision and feels the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. She was an only child till adulthood and liked it.

You can't predict how your children will get on in future so I guess you just hope for the best.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 12-Apr-13 02:49:18

How many children you have and what your ideal gap is is a very personal thing, and I'm not sure anyone can ever answer the question for you.

From my personal experience, I decided that two fairly close together was the way forward (DS is 2.7, DD is 8mo). This is probably because

- my sister and I are 15mo apart and whilst we did (and still do) get on each other's nerves, we played together a lot as children and as an adult I really appreciate our shared perspective on things that happened in our childhood.

- I didnt think DS would make a good only when we were TTC DD. Now he's older, he plays by himself really well in the house, but when out and about (parks etc) not so much. On balance I think he would be happier with a sibling as he does naturally gravitate towards other kids where available- he would definitely be the kid that ALWAYS wanted to take a friend on holiday or we would always have to go places where there would be a guaranteed source of playmates for him.

- More than two is (for me) too many in terms of both time and cash. I work and I think the time left over split three ways would be too little, especially if any of them needed a lot of parental input. I'm also keen to encourage extra-curricular interests and that takes time and money.

So, all that said, the points you make in your OP are completely valid. Especially when the second one is very young, you go back to being quite restricted. We were at the park on Sunday and DS was off on his scooter, and we'd be sitting reading the papers were it not for DD being at that annoying stage when they want to be mobile but can't walk so wriggle all the time grin I totally forgot the PITA that is the combo of crawler and wet ground. Also- you are right- there are more people prepared to take one child for the evening/day than two.

YoniSingWhenYoureWinning Fri 12-Apr-13 02:59:20

It really depends if you feel your child is missing out if they don't have a sibling. For me I felt we had to have a second because the sibling relationship is too important not to have experienced and we have no regrets.

I have two, wanted two, and am a third of three myself. My sibling relationships have been a great source of pleasure for me (almost) all my life, and I watched DS 1 totter after his cousins aged 1, or always gravitate towards other children, and knew a second was right for us.
DS 2 is three months old and a much easier baby than or first so far, plus some aspects of the newborn phase (for me breastfeeding and soothing to sleep) just deemed second nature to both of us this time. Less stress about having to learn everything, but more stress in that its hard to take them both somewhere complicated without two adults. I can take my nearly three year old to the park with three baby in a sling, for example, but a supermarket our restaurant is out of the question.

It is lovely watching them interact. DS 1 likes telling everyone he is a big brother, likes being able to make the baby laugh. The baby only has eyes for his brother and will sit in his bouncy chair watching rapt as DS 1 builds towers or bounces on his trampoline.

We are in the early phase and shattered all the time, but I don't have any regrets so far. I think having a brother is a gift I have given them both. That said, we are poorer and tireder and less mobile, not really a bad trade off if you are certain, but not to be overlooked.

Should add, if you'd asked 'had a child and ever wished you'd had none?' I would probably say yesgrin

you give up more freedom and leisure moving from none to one, imho. I have enjoyed my second baby because he came without all the angst of 'my freedom is gone, I'll never go backpacking again' which hit me with my first. I'm already a Mum, so have come to terms with that great life shift .
Doesn't mean I don't long for a long weekend in Paris without our children grin

Guitargirl Fri 12-Apr-13 08:10:50

Only you and your DH will know if you want a second child or not but I agree that it can be helpful to hear the experiences of others. I started a thread last week about the transition of going from 2 to 3 as we are undecided.

I am an only child and I always knew that I did not want an only. My mum issued dire warnings to me about sibling rivalry, fights, jealousy, etc. but I was adamant that I wanted a sibling for DD.

Our two are now aged 6 and 4 and are the best of pals. Am not denying that the first year was very hard. With the first baby when the baby sleeps you can sleep, with the second when the baby sleeps I ran myself absolutely ragged trying to spend time with the eldest so she had 1-1 time with me. I was breastfeeding but as soon as the baby would go reliably for 2 hours between feeds I used to leave him with DP and take DD out to a cafe just the two of us.

Now they play together beautifully and really look out for each other. I watch them cuddled up together with DD reading DS a story and it's lovely. Am just hoping it lasts!!

OP we've decided to stick with one for about the same reasons as you. I did have a wobble about it last year but am really glad we're staying with one, DS is 3 now and life is really good. We get plenty of sleep, we can go out once a week, we have loads of time for DS and feel like we can give him a good life despite not having much money.

I agree with plinky that it depends a lot on your child as well -- DS is a very happy, sweet boy who likes to amuse himself for ages, so I've never felt tempted to have another child so that he'll have someone to play with or anything like that.

I'm an only child myself -- it's no big deal. There's no guarantee siblings will get along throughout life anyway. My mum's two brothers are drug addicts who have been leeching off her for thirty years now, I'm sure she wishes she were an only child quite a lot.

Branleuse Fri 12-Apr-13 08:55:35

I have 3 and wish I'd stuck at 1, although I do live them all obviously. having 3 children has cost my mental health more than I could have predicted

SoYoFromKokomo Fri 12-Apr-13 09:01:05

I'm an only child & sometimes when I was young I wished for a sibling (but I was lucky to be very close to my cousins) but I have always had an still had an incredibly close relationship with my wonderful parents & feel I had a very lucky upbringing. We never had bags of money but I was spoilt in terms of time spent & attention. I also think it helped me learn independence and how to amuse myself and spend time alone without being bored an also confidence as I spent a lot of time in adult environments.

I think I probably want 2 children as does DH (who has siblings but isn't close to them) but I certainly wouldn't be concerned my child would be disadvantaged if she was an only.

MorrisZapp Fri 12-Apr-13 09:09:53

I don't think anybody should have any baby they don't definitely, positively want to have. The default is, don't have one. So going from your op, I'd say stop at one.

We have DS, he's a wee only, and it works for us. I look at people with more than one child and wonder what drugs they must be on to get them through the day. (I'm on sertraline, but coming off it slowly).

All this playing together stuff sounds lovely, but the practicalities of two kids is basically doubling costs of everything, including help with university etc later on.

I'm an older mum and I'm desperate to get some of my life back, so i love it when ds makes progress. I don't get sentimental about the baby stage, frankly I hated it and could never go through it again. Ds is fab now, why drop a bomb into our lives?

Of course its a very personal decision. Only you know what you can cope with and afford etc. but I've found that the general advice on having kids ie ' oh you'll be fine! Kids are great! I love mine to bits!' Etc is unhelpful. For me, coping with a baby wasn't fine, I wasn't ok, and I didn't love it. Also re money 'oh you'll manage!'. Well yes, you won't starve. But it is so expensive having a family, and unless you have a money tree in your garden you are going to have to make big compromises. Worrying about money is horrible, I grew up poor and I don't recommend it.

Sorry, that was a bit of a diatribe wasn't it. Obviously very personal about my own situation. Good luck either way op smile

KLou111 Fri 12-Apr-13 09:13:34

Wow, thank you for sharing your stories.
I don't think I would ever regret not having 2 if we decided to stick with our DS as an only. He is just utterly perfect and love the time we have together which I would miss extremely if another baby came into the picture (at the moment).
With regards having another child to give him a sibling, I don't think personally that is enough reason to have another child.
I would want another child for myself as much or more than giving him a brother or sister. The same way how much I wanted my first child. I would hate the thought that my parents only had me to give my brother a play mate!

I am one of 3 (2 older brothers, 6 and 9 years older), and I can't stand either of them, I wish I'd been an only child, and in some respects I was. My DH on the other hand has a brother 2.3 years older and they are the best of friends, and it's so lovely seeing them together.

I know for a fact that my DS would make a fantastic brother. We have a springer spaniel who is only 6 months older, and they are like 2 peas in a pod and happily entertain each other all day. And when we go to playgroups, the park etc he has a whale of a time playing with other children. I'm just not sure if we or he could handle it full time.

KLou111 Fri 12-Apr-13 09:16:18

Must add too. It's not as if we don't have the time at home. We are landlords, own property and don't 'work' as such, so we have all the time in the world for DS. Also knowing he would never potentially have to work is a very comforting fact smile
But sharing our time with the addition of a baby and knowing how demanding they are is what puts us off, even if just for a year or so.

Does your DH's brother have kids? I know cousins aren't the same as siblings, but they can fill some of that family role as well. I'm very close to one of my cousins who was also an only.

I think I really know what you mean, I just feel like everything is so nice right now and I don't want to risk 'breaking it'.

I have two and wanted two. They are very close together in age.

Oh, if I had stuck at one, then I would not have heard DD say to DS last night, and honestly, completely unprompted:

"I have the very best brother in the whole wide world".

They are the best of friends, and sparring partners, and they bring so much to each other's lives that we as parents just could not bring. They have a very very special relationship. That is not guaranteed of course, there are plenty of siblings who fight constantly.

I was terrified I would not love DD as much as I loved DS, but my heart bursts equally every time I see either of them, about 50 times a day!!!

20wkbaby Fri 12-Apr-13 09:26:26

I find it much easier when I only have one of them at a time - 2 DDS (5 and 18mo) but I never regret having DD2. I truly believe that the good far outweighs the bad and I did have to steel myself to start the new baby thing again. What was really hard was when DD2 was a newborn, DD1 was needing more attention for reassurance and DD2 just wanted to be held all the time and was breastfeeding on demand.

After that I have to remind myself that things are getting better every day although the problems never really go away they just turn into new problems. This is true of only one child.

My sister has an only child and has chosen to have no more after almost 5 years of saying she wants to be pg by x date. I truly believe she will regret not having another but I suspect her DH was totally opposed due to the trauma of 1st birth.

Cravingdairy Fri 12-Apr-13 09:33:52

If I have a second I would hope it would be because I wanted another to love and cherish. I find the idea of having another principally for the benefit of my first a little unsettling. It seems to set up a little hierarchy of importance even before the secind is born.

I am very close in age to my sister and we have always been close - great. My mum however, had a tough time. I think as we got more independent she distanced herself a little bit almost to compensate for how intense it was in our early years. I get on fine with her but we aren't close and I felt a lot of resentment growing up which I am starting to recognise and deal with.

The parents' welfare is too important to dismiss as self centred.

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