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To ask if having two was worth it and is it much harder?(439 Posts)
I currently have one child, 15 months old. Love her dearly but not a great sleeper and me and partner both work full time jobs. Both fairly young (I'm 25, he is 28). We go back and forth on whether to have another child any time soon, to wait and try in a few years or to just stick with one.
I'm going to be honest, I feel quite scared at the prospect of a second, especially if they were both under school age. I think the fact my daughter has never been a good sleeper influences why I feel like this for obvious reasons. I question if I could cope with two. What if the second one didn't sleep either!? How would I work and look after 2 that were really hard work!? What if second one had any health problems? Do I want to spend my whole life constantly trying to get children to go to bed (honestly, that's what it feels like atm).
But on the other hand, I feel like it would be nice for my daughter to have a sibling. I'm genuinely so torn, and go back and forth on it all the time.
My partner isn't particularly helpful. He says it's up to me but I do feel like if I made the decision and said yep, that's it, I've decided I only want one it would be thrown in my face down the line. He has 5 siblings so I know he will feel we have deprived our daughter in some way.
So, question I suppose. Did you stick to one? Why? Or do you have two+? Is it as hard as I imagine it would be?
My periods have just returned (extended breastfeeding 15 month old) so I need to have a real think about this and fairly quickly!
Two is literally double the work and if you are working it's also double the childcare. This is why I had only one, I could not have afforded an extra child.
I feel like this too, although dd is now 3 and I feel like it's kind of now or never. We are also older than you.
She now goes to nursery every day and I feel a bit more like myself again. I've started hobbies again and running and working more hours so have more money. Also no longer pay over £1000 a month in childcare! Then I feel selfish and think should I give her a sibling.
We are extremely lucky that I have a very close family and in normal times lots of friends with similar aged children so she socialises a lot and I feel less guilty but then I think of how close I am to my sister and think I would like that for her too. Although I know it's ridiculous because she might not even like her sibling.
There's so much to weigh up, sorry that doesn't help but just wanted you to know you aren't alone!
I am worried about the guilt tripping side of it. When I have mentioned to even my own mum and my nan that I am erring on the side of only having one, it's very much 'oh I was so glad I had 2 close together' and 'you will find it much easier with a second, you will know what you're doing' so I am really concerned I am going to be pressured by people. I know that sounds ridiculous but I really don't want it thrown in my face.
I had two babies in just over a year (fell pregnant with a 3 month old). It was fine. It really was. You forget what having one was like and you just get used to your new way of life.
I'm glad I got all the baby stage over and done with in one go. Nappies, bottles, prams, sleepless nights were all done and dusted within a few years and life plods on.
What I couldn't do is:
have all the hard "baby" part for years
get through it and finally sleep.
Start fresh again with a new baby.
Personally I think that sounds much harder.
While you're deciding, get your contraception sorted OP or you might find the decision is taken out of your hands ...
I have two, but I wanted an approx. 3-year gap and I got 3.5-years, which was perfect for me. We never had to pay two lots of nursery fees at once, DC1 was old enough to be a bit independent when DC2 came along and I was able to enjoy them both individually. Yes, it drags out the nappies and potties and prams stage, but I couldn't have coped with a baby and a toddler. I know many do, but it just wouldn't have been for me. You have age on your side, so don't feel you have to make a decision now. If you aren't sure, just wait. Your first is still so little and it does get easier as they get older. I couldn't have contemplated a 2nd before my first was at least 18 months.
I'd wait till you get the 30 free hours at 3 to have a second one. There's nearly 4 years between DS1 (nearly 5) and DS2 (1) and it was a great age gap - very little jealousy and DS1 loves helping with DS2. Apart from when DS1 wants to play with lego or make a train track they play together nicely (with toy cars or in the pop up tent mainly)
I don’t think it’s double the work and I have 2! It is harder, for sure, but not double! Mine are almost 2 and 4, 2.5 years between them, me and DH both work full time (though I work a compressed week), it’s not easy but I wouldn’t change it. Also is is getting easier as they get older and my bigger one gets more independent, the occasionally play together now and the big one helps out with his younger sibling.
The PP is right that childcare is obviously more expensive, but we were lucky that when I went back to work DC1 became entitled to the funded hours so we pay full price for one and funded + top up for the other, affordable for us, this will drop again when DC1 starts school in September and again when DC2 gets funded hours next year.
Personally I think it’s great for kids to have a sibling, I know my DC1 has had to learn that mummy and daddy can’t drop everything all the time to tend to them, they’re also both developing social skills which are vital, but it is up to each person and I have friends who only have one and ensure their little ones have an active social life so they get their social skills etc from there.
One is like having a pet........ two is like opening a zoo!
Yes it was much much harder. But I don't regret it. A lot easier if you have back up childcare.
You're so young, if you aren't certain then I'd say get your birth control sorted and wait until you feel more decided.
I have 3 with a 2 and 3 year age gap, first time I felt so much pressure to go for a sibling right away, but actually I think a 3 year (or even more!) age gap has some big pluses, they both get more one on one time from you, a bit less competition, your career and/or body can recover a little between.
2 close together is wonderful if they get along but mine are chalk and cheese, so none of the supposed benefits of them playing together or liking the same thing is particularly true, but my oldest and youngest (5 year gap) get along like a house on fire.
Two isn't really double the work - the biggest thing I found is that with one child you've already often lost the Saturday morning lie in, or the fancy adult-orientated holiday, so there's less of a sacrifice of your time and opportunities. However, if you are people who enjoy taking turns for 'time off' that does become noticeably harder. If there's an inequality in contribution towards childcare or housework, it also really shows up.
It isn't double the work having two. I guess think what you want for the future as baby/toddler years are short. Mine are less than two years apart (first one a bad sleeper, second much better).
I like that they play together and have each other. I love having a sibling as an adult too. I think the only disadvantage is cost but the benefits outweigh that. We are done at two though, that's enough for me!
I had three very close together (three under four). For the first couple of years it was brutal and cost a fortune in childcare. It nearly ended my marriage. BUT my youngest is now four and it's absolutely brilliant. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I have 2, both with sleeping problems, one with autism. No regrets at all. They are best friends and have each other's back. Had them both reasonably young and I'm happy about that too, wouldn't have the energy for young ones now!
In ten years time, when your current child is nearly 12, and the sleeping issues have gone and she’s in secondary school, will you regret not having another child?
Just say no babies for now. You are young and have a little one who doesn't sleep. You might feel very different in 6m/12m, equally you might not. I couldn't contemplate another until DD was 2. She was nearly 3 when we had DS and I found that gap much easier. She also slept really well which helped only having one to deal with at night.
It definitely wasn’t twice the work for us. 2 yr 4 month gap. We were already doing the early mornings and making toddler food. We were already in a routine and the baby just slotted in.
Not easy but no regrets.
I have three aged 1,5 and 3.
My two oldest are close in age (20 months apart) and I found the jump quite hard, I'll be honest. It's not exactly twice the work because that's not really how it works (like making a meal for four people isn't precisely four times the work of making it for one) and it's not as much of an emotional shock to the system as the first baby, but still, it can be an adjustment. Plus childcare costs can be ridiculous.
It clearly wasn't that bad though because I had another fairly quickly and I have absolutely sailed through that so far, I randomly found 3 under 5 way way easier than 2 under 2, but I couldn't tell you why. My first baby was probably quite easy but the other two haven't been and I've still found it pretty easy.
I'm quite 'the more the merrier' though and I would probably try for another if I was younger and could afford it!
What I would say though, is that if you're not sure then wait. I desperately wanted my second baby and it was still really hard to adjust, I think if I wasn't 100% sure I would have struggled more.
We have a bigger than average gap (4.5 years). It’s been a lot of extra work for us but not necessarily double as we were already used to being parents.
Advantages were that we didn’t have to pay for full time childcare for both and that DC1 was at school so I had some time with DC2 just us for baby classes, etc. In theory - Covid meant that didn’t turn out that way fit all of my maternity leave! DC1 was more independent than a toddler would have been.
Disadvantage is that it really felt like going back a step, suddenly having disturbed nights, needing all the gear to leave the house.
Friends with narrow age gaps had more short term pain but were then suddenly out of the baby stage and needing to buy nappies, etc.
If you’re not sure, put that decision to one side. Your age means you don’t need to rush! Enjoy DC1 and park the decision for six months or so. Mine was 3 before I even felt ready to think about a second but everyone is different.
would I regret it in 10 years time? it's really hard to say.
it's from a financial point of view as well I suppose. me and my partner could give current child everything they want and need. but I guess not everything is about money.
2 = double the work/time/money. It’s simple maths.
Love mine both deadly but life was definitely easier with one.
I have two, 2.5yrs apart. IME, yes it is worth it. Seeing their relationship grow and change has been one of the best parts of being their mum.
And no it's not a lot harder, definitely not twice as hard as having one. When the little one is a baby it's a bit harder, but as soon as they can play with their sibling, in some ways it's easier than having one. I loved / love having that extra personality in the family.
You're right. And it's good your considering that too. It's not just your money they take, my children (as I said I have three and they are young) take pretty much all of 'me' too. I pretty much get no time to myself, there is a lot of housework and stuff involved, mine are all bad eaters so mealtimes are a drag, I don't work full time and I'm not sure I could manage it mentally now to be honest.
There is a lot of 'demand' involved with more children and you have to be prepared for that. I'm quite happy actually but it's relentless.
My DS2 was born just under a year after DS1. Not planned that way but I was looking forward to getting past the baby faff in one go, them being really close in age meaning able to cater for both on days out/holidays etc more easily than if they were at two totally different stages etc.
DS2 was still born so things didn’t work out that way.
Now I can’t decide if I want to have a third at all because DS1 will be two soon, I’m not ready to get pregnant again (rare condition nearly killed me and we still don’t have the answers why or how likely it is to happen again) and i talked myself into a small gap being the best thing so well that I can’t imagine having a pre schooler and a newborn at the same time!
You can only suit yourself and the family you have, not think about what your child might think about it in 20 years time.
My best friend is an only because in her mother’s words “she didn’t know what sleep was until she was 3 and it nearly ended our marriage”.
Best friend has said she feels sad sometimes knowing what she missed out on (im very close to my brother) but she doesn’t know anything at all! She might have hated her sibling!
I have two, there's 22 months between them. For me, personally, no u don't regret it one bit. They have been great companion's to each other through lockdown. I was glad to get the nappies and sleepless night done on one go. Dont get me wrong there were days it was really hard. My eldest child had severe speech problems and had to go to a unit placement fir a few years, so I did have times when juggling school start times and finishing times wasn't easy but it feels like a life time ago now. My dc are now 7 and 9 and I find it much easier. A baby now fills with me with dread. However there will probably someone who will say a bigger age gap was better for them for various reasons. I guess it depends on individual circumstances really.