Having kids is mind blowing, and I don’t think anything quite prepares you for how your life will change. I think a lot of people think they will have kids “when they are ready” but to be honest, I don’t think you are ever totally ready. I have wanted kids for years and I wasn’t expecting the magnitude of change it would bring to our lives. It’s quite strange and romantic when you really think about it – you instantly fall in love with this small stranger who just moves in to your home and dominates your ENTIRE life. You don’t know what they are going to be like, they just come in to this home that you’ve been preparing for them and it’s only then that you realise that all the stuff you have been doing to prepare (choosing the right cot or agonising over the right buggy) is just the fluffy stuff on the outside and actually you’ve got a whole load of learning to do!
You would think having a second would be easier but it’s not. Friends told me that “two kids is quite a change” (in that annoying knowing way) and I thought, “I’ve got one, I’ve done it before” but boy was I wrong. Yes I can change a nappy, I know what breastfeeding is like, I know that babies often want to be with you and not the cot… and all that is fine but I feel like when we brought Jamie home, we brought about 3 other kids home (that’s definitely the impact on my washing). That isn’t because he’s a handful, it just changes the dynamic and increases the workload to more than double what you were coping with before. For people that have twins, I salute you. I loved the idea of twins, but I just can’t imagine how you live especially through that initial stage of sleep deprivation. The jump from one to two kids was huge. The extent of the “jump” might have been enhanced because of lockdown, so we were doing it all without support and no options of nursery or days out, but I think it’s still a huge shift. Additionally, you’re still learning how to parent the first child (it’s not like that’s just stopped) and coping with an entirely different baby in baby number two!
As my husband and I are both only children, we were both quite set on having a second child if we were lucky enough to do so. We didn’t feel like we missed out on anything as only children but we hope they can find support from each other when we are no longer here. That’s one of the reasons we have them sleeping in a room together, we hope that they will bond and being so close in age, be there for each other. Best laid plans, they might hate each other!
A lot changed when you make that jump from one to two. One thing is time. When my first son slept I was able to do little jobs or make a sandwich or go to the toilet. But now managing two kids I don’t get that luxury. Going to toilet is a family trip, a shower lasts about 10 seconds and is never alone and whilst I like to eat good food, most of the time I am just minesweeping the scraps leftover from the boys’ food. In all this, there’s less time for you, for your relationship, for friends, for anything. Now, this sounds downbeat but it’s not. My life has been enriched and my heart has grown, swelled with love for all of my boys. I just have to work harder for date nights at home – a nice take away, movie nights and cocktail tasting and be more organised to try and stay in touch with the people I love and that love me. It’s made me more focussed, to pack out my time with each of my boys when I can to make sure they all get my attention (and that includes by husband) and they all get quality time – aswell as trying to keep in touch with my friends.
I think my main thing is the discovery that you cant prepare for everything (no matter how many books you read or people you speak to) and you’re never ready for this type of change – because life doesn’t work like that… and it makes it more exciting and enriching to have this experience as something so mind blowing as the creation of a family.