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How on earth do you cope with more than one child?

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#1 junipertree

Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:04 PM


Edited by junipertree, 24 August 2012 - 08:24 PM.

#2 beckles5

Posted 24 October 2009 - 12:53 PM

Hi there

I am 36 and just had my second.  The first I had at 34 so there is a 20 month age gap between the two.  My DH and I decided to have a child as we felt the time was right as after X amount of years of travelling, double income and generally having a wow of a time we felt it was the next step.  Well didn't having DD come as a complete and utter shock - especially to me.  My world was turned upside down and I didn't really enjoy motherhood at all.  Long story and won't go into it all now but had some family issues I needed to resolve (whole mother daughter relationship - my first was a girl) and ended up with PND diagnosed at 6 months.  Insomnia was awful and i would be going for months on end with 2-4 hours a night.  Was a total mess.  Fortunately some counselling helped.

Second time round I have been enjoying SO much more.  LIke chalk and cheese.  I am in a different place and don't freak out as I did first time round. Yes it is hard but I am liking it so much more.  I can't even remember the first 6 months of my DD life which is sad and I was wishing it away as I heard that once you past the 8 weeks it gets easier, once you hit 3 months this happens etc.  This time though I am enjoying the moment and savouring it too for it may be my last child (yep could even go again which I can't believe I am saying).  With DD the birth was hideous, b/f a challenge but this time both these things went smootly.  This in itself has also made a difference.

Sorry - will come back and write more as I have things to say but just have to go.

#3 schrodinger's cat

Posted 24 October 2009 - 01:03 PM


the question you really needto ask yourself is
"What will I be proudest of on my deathbed?"

a career or your family?

At 42 I've just had my 3rd child - and I wouldn't change it for the world.

#4 Guest_sunnycat_*

Posted 24 October 2009 - 01:29 PM


Edited by Cat-O-Holic, 07 October 2011 - 02:43 PM.

#5 lady*of*thelake

Posted 24 October 2009 - 03:03 PM

I can't imagine putting DS into childcare as I don't want someone else raising my child (I do not mean to offend anyone reading this who uses childcare, I respect anyone's decision to place their child into creche, however this is not right for me.)

Regardless of not meaning to offend, that is a pretty offensive comment. I guess you're planning on homeschooling then, as you can't have a school "raising your child", can you?  wink.gif

Seriously, regarding having another one, you just learn to manage. You are still in the early stages of number 1. I'm the same age as you, in a similar high powered career, and fell pregnant with my second when my first was 18 months old.

I found my first became hugely easier to manage at around 20 months old. Having a toddler and a newborn is hell on wheels for a while, but now with my second at 9mths, things have settled into a routine again, and it is doable. Busy, but doable.

You don't climb Everest in one go, you do it in stages. The key thing is to look at each part of it as a temporary stage, which will change into a new stage in a matter of months. And to not make grand pronouncements about what will or won't suit you, as those comments do have a way about coming back and biting you on the butt. The other key thing about managing with two is to be flexible. You can't always do everything to the standard you would like, or attend to everyone's needs at the same time. There is only so much of you to go around, and you also need to keep a little bit of it for yourself.

Good luck! original.gif

#6 junipertree

Posted 24 October 2009 - 03:23 PM


Edited by junipertree, 24 August 2012 - 08:24 PM.

#7 mumtomakandissy

Posted 24 October 2009 - 03:31 PM

You just learn to cope. At the end of the day a baby is a little product of you, one of your greatest achievements and you just do what you have to to make sure the baby is loved, cared for and  looked after well.

I think your first child is the hardest as NOTHING can prepare you for the shock of such a life altering experience.

We have two DD's and are expecting number three early May - I still have time when I think how in earth I will cope but the fact remains that you just do.

Your career will still be there for you.

I won't enter the child care debate as each to their own. For some people it is a necessity which may mean food on the table and the mortgage paid. We have had one in childcare from a young age ( 6 months) and I have been lucky enough to stay home since having number two so I have seen the benefits of both sides. Child care really isn't as bad as everyone thinks.

#8 batgirl

Posted 24 October 2009 - 03:42 PM

Hey I just think it might be a bit early to be thinking of #2. Give it some time. You are just getting past a difficult phase and it sounds like you still have some relationship and health issues to resolve.

Essentially, I found that life becomes a lot easier once you have your sleep back! Everything else fell back into place after that.

Remember also that is is OK to keep it at one child if that's what you decide is best for your family.

Re career - I returned to work part time when my first was 1 year old. She went into long day care for those 2 days a week and after a settling period (which I admit was difficult for both of us) I found she just lovvved day care. She has been exposed to so much stuff (art/craft/music/social experiences etc) during those years she absolutely bloomed. More than I could have possibly offered her in a home environment. I had no concerns what so ever sending my second at the same age a couple of years later. As for my career, being part time I've stayed in touch with the field and with my network and for me I've found the perfect balance. Earlier this year I gave up my right to return full time and became permanent part time. My priorities and interests have changed over time.

Good luck

#9 FearsomeFeralFreak

Posted 24 October 2009 - 04:02 PM

Look I'm going to be brutally honest - some people just don't deal well with parenthood, especially the first year . Idon't know if having another child is such a great idea if you are one of those people.

What you describe sounds fairly typical of a baby and if only one child pushed you and your husband into counselling I don't like to think what a toddler and a baby could do! I don't personally think I would want to add any more stress to a marriage that was so rocked by having just one baby!

Plus keep in mind your second could be harder than your first - thats the thing there are no guarantees!
My third child is undoubtably my most difficult - and thats after having 'the nightmare of mothers group' for number 1 (number 2 was my easy one).

It really doesn't sound like you want to do it again - just that you think you should.

There is nothing wrong with just having one.

#10 Arthur or Martha

Posted 24 October 2009 - 04:13 PM

What you have to remember that unless you have twins you are not going to have 2 new borns,  You will have a newborn and a toddler.  Unless you are already pregnant, your baby will be at least 17 months old when you have no 2. So no 2 will be the same amount of work as no 1, but you will have had some experience as a parent, which will make it easier.  A toddler and a baby would probably be half as much work as you have now not double.
If you wait until your DS is 2/3, you should find that he is able to entertain himself for a space of time, feed himself, get a drink , might even be toilet trained, and will be able to help with the baby in little ways.
I found going from 3 to 4 the hardest, 1 to 2 was easy IMO.

#11 robbie07

Posted 24 October 2009 - 04:30 PM

I don't know how people cope with two kids. We have two children DS1 - 2 years and DS2 4months and even I cannot get my head around it. I've had about 8 hours sleep in the last 6 nights.
I've pretty much given up on the idea of getting my old role in the workforce back. I can never work the hours or the 24 on-call I used to so I guess I will have to retrain eventually or just get used to the idea I will never be in that role again.
As someone pointed out to me - even when they go to school you still have to juggle the 9am drop off and the 3:30 pick-up and school holidays with your work somehow.
Aghhh it's all too hard! Do I sound bitter? No, I'm not just TIRED!

#12 seepi

Posted 24 October 2009 - 07:13 PM

I think that daycare is a sanity saver when you have number 2. If the oldest is already going to daycare and enjoying it, it really helps to have one or two days a week with only the newborn - those days are the easy ones.

I have found a toddler and and a baby really really hard. It is hard when they both need you  - toddler on the toilet screaming 'i've done a poo', baby face planting on the  floor screaming - which one do you deal with first? Not to mention the baby being woken by the toddler playing. the jealousy. Waking each other at night. One of them will wake up at the crack of dawn even if the other doesn't. and the sheer physical job of trying to load them both into the car is such as effort.

I think unless you have incredible support from your partner, other strong family support, or you are willing to put the older one in daycare for a  few days a week, then you may struggle to deal with two.

but give yourself a bit longer - the urge to have another usually kicks in when the first is about one. So you may change your mind in a few months.

#13 azalia

Posted 24 October 2009 - 10:31 PM

You do cope because you have too. Beacause ultimatly you chose to have X amount of children.

I wont beat around the bush, or lie because I feel like people arent honest enough about how much hard work parenting actually is, even though  I wouldnt change it for the world.  

Having two children is hard work, with the first one, i think you are shell shocked by how much life alters. You are sleep deprived, you dont know quite what to do with the baby, you are often scared, unsure that you are doing the right thing. Is baby getting enough milk? Are they putting on enough weight ect ect. You over analize things. There is a huge shift in your relationship, you have gone from just the two of you to care about, to someone else, and ultimatly that someone else is put before your partner.

Having the second child is totally different. You are calmer, you dont worry as much, you go with the flow, you dont have as much time to pay attention to things, yet you pay more attention to the little things that matter, so you appreciate more.

I think your resilence to the sleep deprivation and crying has built up and so you are used to it. You know what to expect.

My personal experience from one to two children, is that i thought it couldnt get much harder, so why not have another child (there were many other reasons too of course, but that was one of them that justified having two close together in age) Well let me say it did get MUCH much harder. My first child was not a content baby, which i now see as 'normal'. At the time though I thought I must have been terrible in a past life and hence dealt this baby that was never happy.  rolleyes.gif  He cried lots, he woke every 2-3 hours always, he required a lot of attention. And once on the move he never stopped (and still hasnt!! happy.gif ) So i thought why not have another one, i coped with that, it cant get harder. My two boys are 20 months apart. DS2 arrived right when DS1 was hitting the terrible twos. Only they had arrived at about 18 months. He didnt care at all for the baby, which i was actually pleased with because i never had to worry about him harming the baby cause he showed no interest in it, but his behaviour got slightly worse. Not terrible though. I had a very difficult time adjusting though. I thought I was 'owed' a 'good' baby this time tongue.gif instead I got one with terrible reflux. Once we had that diagnosed though and medicated, he was a very good baby. We got through the early baby stage, and I kept telling myself 'If i get through the first year all will be fine, they will play together, and all the hard work will pay off'. Well we are through the first year... just!!! They do play together, and it really is worth it to see them giggling at each other. But that doesnt take away from how draining it is having two children completly dependant on you.  I dont remember the last time I got a whole nights sleep, and I rarely have any time to myself. My husband and my relationship has been put to the test many times, but we are slowely working through it.  My husband works away for 7 months of the year, and we have no family support at all. Daycare is my saviour.

I suppose it comes down to how much you really want another child, because that is what gets you through those tough days. I always wanted at least 3 children, yes its insanly busy, and somedays I am pulling my hair out just wishing for a break, but I do love it, and i intend to have more!! But I know that im stretched atm, so we will be waiting till the boys are nearing school age. Having two in nappies still, and needing most things done for them, im not sure I could handle three like that!! Well, I could, but im choosing not too.

Mine do go to daycare though, I am too quite career minded, they have been in daycare 3 days per week this year, which I didnt particularly like putting my 8 month old into daycare, but my degree required finishing. Now that it is finished, I will continue with my business part time, until they are at school age. The boys love daycare, Ive never had them get upset with me leaving, and I am constantly blown away by what they learn there, by having peoples undivided attention, something I am often unable to give at home, as I am juggling other things as well.

On your birth, have you talked to someone about it? Reflected on the trauma? There is not enough attention paid to women who have traumatic births, it is very much over looked how much this impacts on the attatchment process in those first 12 months. It actually can have a large impact on your relationship with the child, not only now but in the adolescent years as well. Talking to someone about it could help. And just because you have a traumatic birth with one child, doesnt mean you will have it with the next. My first was very upsetting, but my second was amazing, and very very healing.

You need to make the decision that is most suited to YOU and your husband. Because ultimatly it is your life, and your circumstances.  Goodluck!!

(Oh and FOXTEL is a very good investment when you go from one child to the next!! Nick Jnr while your trying to do feeds was a lifesaver!)

Edited by azalia, 24 October 2009 - 10:36 PM.

#14 ~DrSeussRules~

Posted 25 October 2009 - 02:04 AM

It sounds to me like you and partner may need to adjust your expectations of life, now that you have a child. Learn to accept not resist the change. Stop stressing about it all and just enjoy it for what it is.

For me, once I learned to accept my new life, parenting got so much more enjoyable. Stopped looking back at what I had before, what life was life before and so on. yes, doing that the contrast will be incredible. Stop thinking about how much sleep you are losing, it's pointless and depressing.

In a career, we have so much more control over our daily life. That just isn't possible anymore. There seems to be a constant struggle for some normalcy or our previous version of it. Forget about that. it's gone! Life with children is totally different and will never be predictable or controlled again. learn to go with the flow. Stop worrying about how much sleep you are getting, what your child is eating and stressinga bout using a bit of childcare. If you need to do it, do it.
Make life easier on yourself, not harder in some invisible quest to be a perfect parent.

Children and especially babies pick up on a parents attitude and stress. once you are calmer, your baby will be calmer.

Once you change your attitude, then parenting one, two or five becomes so much easier.

Modern parenting is only harder because we put so much expectation on ourselves and micromanage our entire life. happy children have been raised for generations without all the stress and angst that we put into it today.

my only advice would be for you to just chill out! your partner too. It sounds like you are *stereotypical * older "career" parents who overthink everything  wink.gif


#15 snapchat95

Posted 25 October 2009 - 02:25 AM

We've been thinking of the same thing..

And yes it absolutely terrifies me too.

DS is an extremely difficult child - everyone tells me constantly - even Mum who raised 3 and Nanna who raised 4.

I don't think I want him growing up by himself though.. I was home alone a lot when I was younger due to a big age gap and hated it.

We may think about it again.. but not until he is 3 or 4 and hopefully can entertain himself.

The main reason I am thinking about it is, if something were ever to happen to us, I'd want him to have some family in a sibling if he didn't get to grow up with his parents.. morbid I know.. but I'd hate for him to be left alone..

#16 MadamFrou-Frou

Posted 25 October 2009 - 02:32 PM

In my experience, these people

working extremely well paid jobs in advertising and publishing and had plenty of disposable income.

Get a nanny.

#17 papilio

Posted 25 October 2009 - 04:17 PM

I can't imagine putting DS into childcare as I don't want someone else raising my child
Thank you for this post, you've made me realise what it is I don't like about this statement.  It is the arrogance, that only the mother's influence is valuable or necessary - usually the father is relegated to a paycheck in this circumstance.  When the child turns five though, it's a different story, the influence of school can be a mixed blessing.  

My son is immersed in Mandarin when he is in formal care, and at 18 months old, he was reported to understand it.  I've even learnt some words now.  That's certainly not a skill I can teach him.

I suggest that if you are finding one child such a change to your life, then don't have another one.  If you change your attitude and embrace the negative and positive impact that a child has on your life, then you might be able to cope with another one.

#18 Bloomer

Posted 25 October 2009 - 05:03 PM

I found the baby part of a second child so much better.  I was in two minds about having a second child but I had a MC and that made up my mind I wanted a second. After a 23 year career that I could see was not going to be as rewarding as it had been I decided to have the second and be a SAHM.. To be honest mid 40's a lot of career's go flat or change .. I read something recently that said most of the things we are going to achieve in our careers will be achieved in our 30's .. the 40's bring a change of mind set..  wonder what the 50's will bring.

I was 42 for DD1 and 45 when DD2 was born.. DH then started to travel a lot so for 70% of the time I am a single parent which can be difficult as I am in both worlds.

I love having two they seem to get on so well and have  a good time together..  Can only do what is right for you..

I keep quoting the same thing you never regret the kids you do have only the ones you didn't have.

#19 crankybee

Posted 25 October 2009 - 05:12 PM

Regardless of not meaning to offend, that is a pretty offensive comment. I guess you're planning on homeschooling then, as you can't have a school "raising your child", can you?

I think the OP is entitled to an opinion.

OP, is there any rush to have the 2nd? YOu may have written it but I can't see it. Any reason you can't leave it a year or two and see how you feel?

#20 Soontobegran

Posted 25 October 2009 - 06:49 PM

OP, I am sorry you are going through so much conflict right now, I do hope that you can find your way through this muddle.
I am afraid  though that I don't believe you should be contemplating another baby at the moment. I realise you think your age is against you but you sound as though you have too many issues which should NOT be on your plate when you have another baby.
Many women wait later in life now to have children and that will mean that those women have also been in careers for several years and leaving them to have children IS hard. There is no way of escaping that sense of loss for a career that has been an intrinsic part of whom you are and the transition period can be very trying.
I have met women who have stated they are having babies to "please others" whether it be their partner, their families or peers or they are having babies because "their body clock is ticking"
Of course all these reasons are just not a good enough to get pregnant as it is so much more than a pregnancy and a birth, it is a lifestyle change and that needs to be a lifestyle you are willing and happy to embrace.
I think someone else has mentioned counselling and I agree with that as you sound as though you could be quite depressed (not surprisingly) I think it would be an idea  worth considering as you so sound as though you also have many unresolved issues from your first birth that need to be worked on before even thinking about #2.
I know you believe that being an older mum you need to move on another pregnancy but you still have some time to play with to get yourself into a better space as having the second is quite a shock to the system for many people, but for others it is a breeze.  IMO much does depend on the temperament of your first baby. Personally I loved it but then I never felt overwhelmed with my first and having consecutive babies brings with it an entirely different mum than the one you were first time around. There is usually much less stress, much less anxiety and there is more confidence in your ability to be a mum original.gif

I was very fortunate in that I was able to combine my career with my children but to be honest having our 5 was by far more gratifying than my fabulous career ever was or will be. Don't forget, when you are ready you can return to your job and you will soon get back into the loop and it is unfortunate that your dislike of childcare could compromise the timing of your return to work.

Please remember that one child familes are OK, it is not compulsory to have another child, infact I would rather see someone be the very best parents to the one child they have than having subsequent children that they may not emotionally, physically or socially equipped to deal with.
I am not for one minute insinuating that it where you are at, but it is STILL early days, 8 months is not long to adjust to an entirely new world, things are still quite fresh I am sure.
Do not place unreal expectations on yourself until you are well and ready but please seek some supportive counselling.
I wish you well.

Edited by soontobegran, 25 October 2009 - 06:52 PM.

#21 Sophie11

Posted 25 October 2009 - 07:12 PM

Im also in Advertising - I got my mum to look after bub while i worked part-time but then we moved to Qld where we had no family support or knew anybody.   I was determined to have baby number 2 as I just didnt want an only child and I guess for me my daughter and my husband were so intwined I felt i needed another.
I carried on working part-time and I was so pleased I did the child care thing.   I watched one kids cry  everytime i picked up or dropped off  ... I asked if this kids cries all day and the answer was Yes... I was pleased id started daycare young so they were used to it and it wasnt a big shock to them.  My son loves his daycare and we moved back to NZ and he started a new daycare at 2 not budging - ive always acted calm even tho im not naturally like this.  I guess you have a toddler and a baby and you just deal with it.  Life is so good now, having a 6yr old and a 3yr old they are just the best friends and they totally adore eachother.... my life is so easy as they just get on and make fun for each other.  I think my life would of been so hard should I of chosen to not have anumber 2.  I guess you put in the hard work and rep the rewards.  
Ive never gone back full-time, I do have friends that do the nanny thing as they are not keen on daycare but I personally think daycare is so much fun for the kids -  
it gets better.  My Dh and I spent very little time together before havng kids (due to our age) - lucky we did travel to the States/Mexico for our honeymoon as life is very much different now.  Its all good and things just have a way of gettng better.

#22 tillytoo

Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:16 PM

OP, I couldnt NOT reply to this.

I wont go into full detail, but I felt EXACTLY like you do now. I had a traumatic post birth experience, and quite honestly dont know how I survived the first 12 months. I didnt enjoy any part of motherhood whatsoever until my son was about 15 months. It just felt like one hugely exhausting never ending day. Clearly I was depressed, but never told anyone how I felt, and I will forever despise myself for not getting help. I lost the most precious time of my sons life because of it.

I had no interest at all in more kids. I was so terrified of the same thing happening, and knew if I fell pregnant I wouldnt have had the emotional strength to cope. I felt happy and secure in my choice to have one child.

Fast forward 3 and a half years, and I am actually starting to get a teeny tiny bit excited at the prospect of trying ttc number 2! Dont ask me whats changed or what happened, but over the last few months the thoughts started to creep into my head. They started very sparsely, but became more and more frequent until they were a daily occurence. Weird!

All Im saying is that you truly never know whats around the corner or how you will feel, even a week from now. I know for a fact that when my son was 8 months the mere thought of another child would send me into a cold sweat! Just focus on getting yourself better, and pour all your love and energy into your son, and dont forget your husband/partner. He can be a tremendous support to you in this huge period of adjustment.

I wish you all the best and be kind to yourself. If your relaxed and happy, your child will be too. Even at my lowest, I would repeat that over and over in my head. I think that train of thought won over my demons. bbighug.gif

#23 Rainbow.Nomad

Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:29 PM

Accept that life changes, and see the positives. It's temporary, so enjoy it as much as you can. And if you're not ready, don't do it.

Regardless of not meaning to offend, that is a pretty offensive comment. I guess you're planning on homeschooling then, as you can't have a school "raising your child", can you?
So does this mean, that as a homeschooler, i'm finally allowed to be negative about childcare?  wink.gif

#24 eleishas

Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:29 PM

I suggest that if you are finding one child such a change to your life, then don't have another one. If you change your attitude and embrace the negative and positive impact that a child has on your life, then you might be able to cope with another one.

^^ That ^^.

Other than that, let your standards slip.

#25 AggyW72

Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:40 PM

tillytoo - thankyou so much! That could have been written by me! My son is now 4, I sold all the baby stuff when we moved in March, and now starting to feel like I could do it again, and I'm about to turn 37! So we are off to the FS next month to see where we stand. I have PCOS so it may not even happen, but I feel proud that I have made it this far.
OP - I second the advice to seek some counselling. I still get teary about my son's birth -he was early, didn't thrive, terrible feeder(still is!), still seeing all kinds of specialists for allergies etc...but I have a delightful lovely boy now. In hindsight, I had PND, but I have never asked for help to do anything and I wasn't about to start!
Don't beat yourself up, and trust yourself. I know its hard. I worked in film and tv, and I've been at home for almost 5 years, and I miss my work! I feel like I don't even exist sometimes, and I have a long way to go to get me confidence and sense of self back. I just gave it all away when I had my son.
What a ramble! Anyway - at least you know its not just you! We don't all just slip into motherhood.

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