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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.

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.

StateofConfusion Mon 03-Dec-12 20:25:22

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!

StateofConfusion Mon 03-Dec-12 20:26:58

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 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.

Purplehonesty Mon 03-Dec-12 21:14:20

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.

breatheslowly Mon 03-Dec-12 21:18:59

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

breatheslowly Mon 03-Dec-12 21:21:52

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

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