The reality of having lots of little ones (or even just two) can be a lot different to how you imagined it would be back when you only had one child. Here are seven truths you only realise AFTER you add to your brood.
1. Parenting is now even harder
If you thought one child was a huge shock to the system, try having another! Suddenly you’re looking at other mums with just the one and laughing about how ‘easy’ they have it, because your reality now is a much trickier juggling act. Physical logistics need to be planned carefully, even for a simple trip to the supermarket – does the baby go in a sling and the toddler in the trolley? How are you going to get everyone in and out of the car safely AND with the groceries? You’re also now dealing with their different sleep times and emotions (even if your first child is a lot older), and you find yourself pulled in multiple directions catering to everyone’s different needs. Financially things can get harder as well (particularly if you now need a bigger house or car), and new challenges can present themselves too – siblings fighting over toys anyone?
2. Endless stuff is everywhere
Babies need A LOT of stuff – bottles, change mats, nappies… it never ends. This is kind of okay when it’s just them, but throw another child or two in the mix and suddenly there isn’t a spare inch in the house that isn’t covered up by children’s toys, high chairs, bouncers, supplies and more. It’s not so bad if your children have a bit of an age gap, but when they’re close together it’s a complete and utter house takeover. It doesn’t get easier as they get older either – the bikes and clothes just get bigger!
3. Sleep is a distant memory
Sure, you may be lucky to have dream sleepers, but for many parents adding another child to the family is a near death sentence in the shut-eye department. Newborns have frequent feeds and issues like reflux and teething which disturb their sleep, and when you and them are finally in snooze town there’s no guarantee you’ll stay there thanks to your other child. Suddenly you’re back up again like a Jack-in-the-box dealing with your toddler instead and their night terrors, toilet training debacles, fevers and pains, or midnight requests for water.
4. Time management is impossible
Busy? That’s an understatement when you’ve got multiple kids. In between all the extra feeding, bathing, cuddling and playing, you’ve also now got someone else that needs to get to doctor appointments, playdates, daycare and other activities. The amount of dirty laundry and mess around the house doubles as well, leaving you with barely any time for yourself (hairy legs are in now, right?), or for you and your partner. If only you could clone yourself!
5. A playmate is always around
There are a few silver linings to more kids though, and one of them is that now you have an instant playmate for your first child. This can be a real time saver when they get a little bit older because then you’re not so much in demand and don’t need to get as involved with every single activity they’re doing . You might not need to organise as many playdates or social activities with other kids too as your children won’t ever be lonely and sibling playmates are also great for helping teach the younger ones new skills faster (just watch the naughty bad habits though!).
6. How lucky you are
Many couples struggle to fall pregnant in the first place, but it’s also very common for families to have difficulty expanding their brood as well. So when you are fortunate enough to create a sibling for your child – a friend they’ll have for life – you realise just how lucky you are. For many people having more than one child also helps create more of a family clan feeling, with lots of hustle bustle and more cuddles and chaos with all the different personality dynamics.
7. Your capacity to love increases
It’s very common to be worried about whether or not you’ll love a second child as much as the first, but it’s amazing how much the heart simply expands and makes this possible. It happens so quickly too, so that soon you’ll be wondering how on earth life existed before when there was only one set of little feet pitter-pattering around. Yes you may be more stressed with more kids in the house, but the extra love REALLY makes up for it.
What did you notice changed when you had more than one child?