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

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#26 witchesforest

Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:49 PM

i often wonder why i seemed to find having my baby easy and when it is such a huge stress for so many. i think the answer is that growing up as the eldest in a big family i always had babies around so i knew what to do and it wasn't scary or weird when i had my own.

and also i was very clear, having seen my mum work a satisfying career by doing short hours and part time jobs when necessary, and using childcare when it suited, that i wanted to work.  so i had one happy year off with DD, went back to work 4 days a week when she was twelve months and it's all been fine - i couldn't be happier.  i also do fun stuff, like have DH look after DD for a night now and then while i go away with some girlfriends, or travel on holiday with DD and DH - just things to have fun and which remind me that i can still have the kind of fun i had in my 'old' life, just by planning and adjusting some of my expectations.

it's perfectly fine to object to childcare and just want to be a full time mum.  but it sounds from your post like you don't have a personality that suits this option.  i guess you just can't have it both ways.  by which i mean, you can't have super rigid ideas about never ever using childcare AND make life easier on yourself and help yourself cope with another baby or working by using it.  what about something like working a day or two each week while a grandparent or your partner looked after your baby?  that way you could avoid childcare and still get some of your work-related selfesteem back.  or could you have someone look after baby in your home while you did some freelance or home based work?

i think you should let go of some of your ideas about how everything 'should' be - that you can't do ANY work because you're a mum, that child care can never ever be used, that all families 'must' have more than one child - and just think about what makes YOU happy and what YOU want and what you can cope with and are suited to.  and if resuming your career (part time if you prefer) and/or stopping at one child seems better for you and your family, then have the courage to do that.

none of these decisions are irreversible by the way. your baby can be an only child for one, two or three years....and then you may change your mind.  the option is still there for a few more years.  good luck and remember that insight into yourself and what you can make work for you is your most useful tool in making this decision.

#27 Guest_wyn99_*

Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:58 PM

OP: It's pretty much been said by other posters but I realisethat being a successful 'career' woman is no preparation for motherhood. I am 35 with a 2 yo and newborn and yes it's tough. I had never been around babies before having my DS. Fortunately I am much more relaxed second time round, DD's birth was much easier too. Yes there are days I long to sleep in, have a leisurely shower, only worry about myself and go to work. But then DS (2) will give me the loveliest smile and I can honestly say the feeling of joy I get from that was not one I ever experienced in the workplace. Yes, my income is a fraction of what it was (I work casually from home) but you make do.  I'm not going to get involved the childcare issue, except to add that my 2 yo is home with me as care is not for us either. Good luck with your decision.

#28 tia2009

Posted 26 October 2009 - 02:31 PM

Thank you for starting this thread OP. I’ve been following it with interest because your post resonates with my own situation on so many levels. Thank you also to the great advice and perspectives from all PP.

My DS is now 19mths old and we are now only starting to think about how we would cope with two or more given our personalities, support network, age (mid 30s so not “old” but no spring chickens either) and work commitments/ aspirations.

So DH and I think, if we struggled in the first year with DS – and by all accounts he was/is healthy developmentally even with the silent reflux and serial catnapping   rolleyes.gif  - perhaps we are not meant to have any more children and should focus on providing the best for DS. To even begin TTC for #2 I need to accept in my head that we would be ready for whatever may happen – eg having multiples or a SN child. I can’t just assume the second will be an “easier” baby with fewer demands or that it would be like our DS x2.

I have to know we will have the strength and be able to not just cope, but also enjoy, having more children. Unless and until I am 110% confident that that is us, DS will be an only child.

Good luck working it out OP.

#29 Prizzy

Posted 26 October 2009 - 02:38 PM

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.

That's how it reads to me too. I have only one and yes, at times (lots of them) I have considered going for another one but I know, right deep down I'm thinking it because I feel I have to consider it, not because I really want a whole other child. Another one.
Don't rush into it. See how you feel in another 6 or 12 months. If you really want it, you'll really want it IYKWIM.

#30 Jarn77

Posted 26 October 2009 - 03:10 PM

I agree with others who said you don't have to decide just yet - give yourself time to enjoy this child first. It does get better.

I totally agree with what Azalia said:
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 don't think this debate should be about childcare - although of course it impacts on your ability to return to work. It just depends on what you feel more strongly about - being home to care for your child/ren or resuming your career.

FWIW when I had DS1 I made a decision to change careers. I went from a well-paid, well-respected position in the health industry to being a full-time mum. Being a mum is my career until my children are all at school. Not everyone would be happy with that choice but it's not one I made lightly and not one I'd change. Financially we are worse off. Our family is better off. I will return to the workforce one day, and chances are it won't be to the type of position I left. But I'm ok with that because I've chosen this path and like many, I would never choose to put my kids in childcare whilst I am perfectly willing and able to care for them myself. (I am not bagging those who do - it is not for me or my kids)

Having my second child has added enormously to my work-load, stress-load, lack of sleep etc etc - but he has brought things into our lives that DS1 never has and never could. My boys are completely different people and I couldn't imagine my life without either of them.

#31 Illiterati

Posted 27 October 2009 - 10:59 AM

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.

The horror, the horror ! laughing2.gif

#32 triciam

Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:37 PM

some of what you wrote rang true for me i struggled the first 6 months and then i got into a routine and life has been alot better since then. When our ds was 4 months old we found out we were pregnant again - we had wanted another baby but not quite that so we were hoping for a 8 month gap between having one and falling pregnant. SO now we are a family of 4, ds born APril 2007 & dd born APril 2008. I can actually say that i found number 2 hard for about a week trying to get into a routine with 2, but then i found it alot easier as you do so much learning with the first the 2nd you breeze thru.

I was 40 when i had ds - so i'm now 42 and dh is 43 (we met later in life -but had know each other when growing up). Some days its really tough when they are both out of sorts, but we have alot of fun.
DH & I chose that I would stay home with the kids for the first 5 years - we live on 1 wage (it is a struggle as we have our own business so some weeks there's not much money). You learn to buy things on special & in bulk. We are planting veggies patches to save some money & to teach the kids about plants and having fun in dirt.

I guess at the end of the day you have to decide if you want to have the family and try running a business at home or being a consultant in the hours you can give it - or whether you wish to go back to work fulltime. Unfortunately their are no right answers you just have to work out which you truly want and then you make it work.
Good luck

#33 JustSmileAndNod

Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:44 PM

You will have a newborn and a toddler.

And that is the problem LOL. Toddlers are far more work and more challenging physically and mentally. Even if they do sleep (some do apparently!)

The truth is some days you just don't cope! Other days you are so organised and everyone is happy.  shrug.gif

I think a LOT of people change their minds about not using childcare once their babies turn into toddlers too - especially when you have a baby at the same time.

#34 triciam

Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:50 PM

QUOTE (Mel-a-licious @ 27/10/2009, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The truth is some days you just don't cope! Other days you are so organised and everyone is happy.  shrug.gif

How true that is - yesterday i didn't get to get dressed until 2.30pm and it was just insane - the kids were both really ratty. But today they are back to themselves and i've got yesterday & todays jobs done - amazing what difference a day makes.

#35 ms flib

Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:49 PM

The second baby is so much easier. I've found the 3rd just about sent me around the bend!!!

Having my second child made our family feel like a family! I'm an only child and I always knew I would have more than one. Just keep in mind that there are other issues for onlys and not only in childhood.

BTW the comments you made about why you don't want to use childcare were fine. I'm not offended and I use childcare.

Good luck and just give yourself time to think about it!

#36 nataliepr

Posted 03 November 2009 - 10:06 PM

We are about to have no 2.

Our son will stay in daycare 2days a week...for him as much for me.  I dont want to change his routine and I currently work from home on those 2 days.

DH is taking 3 weeks off work.  

MIL will be overseas for 2 months and mum will be around sometimes...but works to.

I guess I try not to freak myself into the 'how will I do it' scenarios, otherwise most probably wouldnt  tongue.gif

At the end of the day I dont want my son to be an only child and I guess that is more important....newborn stage is always going to take a lot of work but its a phase and before you know it they turn 1, 2, 3 and life changes again.

#37 louise3now4

Posted 03 November 2009 - 11:06 PM

The most beautiful thing in the world is watching my children play together. And seeing them get up in the morning and go searching for each other, the 21 month old running straight to the older two and screaming "awo", arms out expecting the cuddles he always gets. How eagerly the 3 year old and 21 month old wait for their older sister when she is due home from school. Alternatively watching them kiss each other, beat each other up and then kiss each other again, knowing they won't be rejected because they are family.

But if you had suggested that to me 6 years ago I would have probably knocked you out.

I too had a traumatic first delivery, took nearly three months to recover and seriously thought this had to be the most stupid thing I had ever done. I had PND right up until I fell pregnant with number two when DD was 19 months and honestly had I not fallen pregnant the night we briefly discussed a second child for the very first time I might have thought about it in the cold light of day and changed my mind. I used to stand at my kitchen sink and look at my car and just wish I could grab the keys and just get in it and drive. Where to, I do not know. Would I have taken the baby with me, I don't know. Don't get me wrong, I adored her, I just didn't know what was happening to me. I would walk down the street and see any woman with more than one child and think, how in hell do you do that? And why would you want to. Hell, I found myself looking at my own mother (who had three of us) and then screaming why would you have had more than one. I mean one is you and a child...okay. Two is you outnumbered. Three, creeps that is a woman who has lost control. How can you do it. How did you do it.
I too came from a professional background, in fact was offered a promotion to management when I was 7 weeks with number one, I was good at what I did dam it, and yet this one little tiny person managed to reduce me to a mess.
But you know, the happy hormones kicked in with the pregnancy and you have to remember you are pregnant for approx 9 months and toddlers grow and mature so much in that time. My funny but needly little 19 month old was a very independent helpful tt and talking 27 month old by the time her brother arrived and she was the most amazing help. She slept through the night of course and even helped me prepare dinner, what I am saying is that she was no longer a baby. I actually found it really easy... In some ways. In others I had to be more organised and prepared for chaos, but really that came easily because your first child really breaks you in. You don't go through all that newborn hell again in the same way. You know what you are doing and instinctively the baby knows that you know what you are doing too. It seriously does get easier.

Number three was even easier, the older two entertained each other and barely noticed I was pregnant. The oldest was in kinder by then and number 2 was 2yrs and thrilled to have someone at home with him even though the little dude slept most of the time. You kind of just have to go with it. The best gift you can give your child is a sibling IMO.

You probably need to leave a bit more of a gap though. I don't relate to your age concerns because I have only just turned 35 recently and am already 17 weeks with number 4 (yep have gone back again), but seriously, enjoy your little one for a little longer. And from the friends I have seen those who had less than two years between children found it a lot harder in the first 6-12 months which is not something you want if you are already having a hard time. Two years + is a more 'you friendly gap', gives you time to get to know your first little one and allows them time to have developed some "skills" by the time number two arrives.

And I agree about your childcare comments, if it is not your cup of tea there is no reason to keep that to yourself or risk being made to feel like you are offending others. We all have choices to make, some we make out of necessity which much be respected, some purely based on how we feel. I really dislike the idea of childcare and I will do everything I can to ensure none of my children ever end up there. For me, until the time they are required to attend formal schooling (inc. kinder) I wanted them to always have me available, no further than arms length. But that is my choice. I have friends who don't work but who opt to put their children in childcare so they can have days off. THAT is their choice.

#38 gngrls

Posted 08 November 2009 - 06:53 PM

I didnt find your comment offensive in regard to childcare as i "knew what you meant".i feel the same as you.i'm sorry you had to endure the responce

Edited by jeannie-marie, 08 November 2009 - 07:21 PM.

#39 twotofour

Posted 08 November 2009 - 07:14 PM

It is a decision I wouldn't enter into lightly.If you ended up in counselling with one baby and you are just getting it together now I would be sooo sure this is a challenge that you both want to take on  . Dont count on not getting twins either as they are more common in  older mums.Having more then one child definately changes the family dynamics all over again  and it is another great period of adjustment  and to add twins ,heaven forbid well I just wont go there lol,

#40 Guest_CaptainOblivious_*

Posted 08 November 2009 - 07:24 PM

Can I just say wait and see how you feel in a couple of months. We have a 3 year age gap and it's lovely. DD1 is very kind and gentle with DD2 and she's old enough to wait patiently while you deal with the baby. She also goes to daycare 3 days a week (to keep her spot for when I go back to work) she she gets a break and I also get 3 days to just focus on DD2.

. Toddlers are far more work and more challenging physically and mentally. Even if they do sleep (some do apparently!)
My toddler doesn't sleep and yet she is infinitely easier than DD2.  I'm really enjoying DD1's toddler stage but not so much DD2's baby stage.

The truth is some days you just don't cope!

exactly... as long as you're ready to accept that some days will be terrible - you will ply your older child with sweets and DVDs just to get them to stop whining or you may end up sobbing into your cup of stone cold tea at 4am, but they're only babies for a little while and if you can get through that intact then the next stage is great fun.  I especially love seeing DD2's eyes light up and her massive smile whenever DD1 appears.  wub.gif

anyway, wait and see how you go. When DD1 was 8 months old I would have gone all 'Bobbit' on DP if he'd even suggested #2.

#41 Inthepast

Posted 08 November 2009 - 07:26 PM

I think some people have forgotten which section of EB the OP posted in. I don't consider that people who had their children in their late 20's and early 30's really understand some of the diferences that are hard to come to terms with. To be late 30's and have children really does jolt the body and the lifestyle that has been entrenched for the last 20 years

QUOTE (MadamFrou-Frou @ 25/10/2009, 12:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In my experience, these people

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

Get a nanny.

MFF- not like you to take things out of context. The OP wrote they were both working as above. PAst tense. Now there is only one!. So the statement "get a Nanny" smacks of rudedness and jealousy frankly. She was just stating a fact. She had money to sapre- now she doesn't

OP- I do understand where you are coming from. I do not believe I would have wanted a second child ( had I not had twins). I am often asked if I am having more and can emphatically say No simply because I could not do the newborn to 3 thing again.  I could handle more children just not more 0-3yo's LOL

Maybe we are less adaptable to having our lives irrevocably changed by the time we hit late 30's I am not sure?. Whilst I adore and love my children with every fibre of my being I do mourn the changes it has brought on my lifestyle.

I also believe the better paid job that people had and if they actually enjoyed it it is harder to give up.The impact of losing half a households income (and the feeling of independence it brought you) is very hard to adjust to after 20 years.

Having left advertising myself I can totally relate that you don't get to walk back in at the level you were and pretty well have to start again at  quite a few rungs down as it is an industry of youth and fast movers. If you can get back in at all! ( not in WA you don't)

#42 pceh

Posted 08 November 2009 - 07:33 PM

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

a career or your family?

Could not have said it better myself !

#43 cinnabubble

Posted 08 November 2009 - 07:39 PM

MFF- not like you to take things out of context. The OP wrote they were both working as above. PAst tense. Now there is only one!. So the statement "get a Nanny" smacks of rudedness and jealousy frankly. She was just stating a fact. She had money to sapre- now she doesn't

I can't discuss your ability to contextualise, PP, but MFF was commenting on the OP's apparently blanket (and possibly unresearched) abhorrence of childcare. In her experience, high income earners in those industries (and I can confirm she is well-placed to know these things) employ nannies once they regain their second income.

#44 MadamFrou-Frou

Posted 08 November 2009 - 08:45 PM

Cinnabubble is correct. The OP was concerned that she would have to stay out of the workforce for 3-4 years as she didn't want to use childcare. In my experience, higher earning couples often employ a nanny when both are working. Is there something wrong with that suggestion? I am not saying she should get a nanny just to help out with the kids while she is at home.

When mothers are struggling with PND etc it is sometimes suggested that they do return to work in some capacity to regain a sense of self. I know I need to earn money to maintain my sanity.

Oh, and DG - posting in the wrong forum huh - you'd never do that, right?

Edited by MadamFrou-Frou, 08 November 2009 - 08:58 PM.

#45 Sal78

Posted 08 November 2009 - 09:23 PM

no 2 isn't any easier and would probably be harder since you also have ds1 to deal with. No 2 will be almost the same as ds1 in the first 6 mths...maybe not exactly but a lot of those problems are pretty common in newborns and newborns is just avery difficult stage anyway. But it's only 6 mths..everything's falling itno place now and you are bonding with ds1 and it will exactly the same for no 2.

my friend has 3 kids inc a newborn and she's no coping and can't believe that it doesn't get any easier...she doesn't cope with babies well and much prefers it when they're 2y.o+  But she's a great mum. She has hired a nanny I think about 5 days a week, a fe whrs ecah day. It works out cheaper than child care. Her DH has to work very long hours an donly  took a fe wdays off whilst she was in hospital.

depending on how high your income is you could do what my best friend did. She owns an advertising company and very career minded and her husband is a pilot. A lot of ppl depend on her, her clients and her staff. She went back to work after 6 weeks with her 1st baby but it didn't work out with child care (6 weeks is really too young) so she had to manage work and family and spiralled her into a mini depression. She ended up employing a live in domestic helper/nanny. She works for them 24/7 and has a few days off each mth and a few weeks annual leave each year. The nanny attends to the baby's every need 24/7 and even rooms in with the baby. When my friend's at home, the nanny will do other things like cleaning. She did this with her 2nd child too. The children are around 6y.o now and seems well mannered and well adjusted. She is a pro at management and  'managed' the nanny so the nanny would look after the kids in the same style that she would.

In Asia, hire help is very common....a lot of famillies cannot afford or choose not to buy car seats, cots (co-sleeping), and all the other unnecessary things but most employ hire help. They call is KaKas (in malaysia)....it's very common. My friends even bring them along on family holidays. Her and her husband will walk along and the kids would walk behind with their kakas...some even employ one for each kid! Maids are really cheap but then it's win win as even the maids can earn so much more than back in their home country.

For all the mums in Western countries, especially in Oz that do all the work on their own..you may think it's normal but in other countries, ppl would consider you so amazing. All my asian friends have hired help. One friend in China has just 1 daughter 4y.i (1 child policy) and she has 1 nanny, 1 maid and 1 driver and also her mil lives with them. She doesn't really need to lift a finger. She bathes her daughter but the nanny sets everything up and even undresses her and when she has finished bathing the nanny will take the daughter away to change. She does bf too but the nanny bring the daughter to her rooma nd when she's finished the nanny takes her away and does all the cuddling. The daughter never cries because every need is met. If she has to be cuddled tos leep then she is by the nanny.

So eventhough it was tough for you..you should be really proud of yourself.

Personally, I adore babies and would have more if I could. The first 6 mths are the best..so precious. I feel extremely blessed to have 2 babies to play with everyday. Maybe I'm lucky coz all my babies have been really easy (still had colic, vomitty, settling etc) and dh is really good with babies too and helps me out a lot. The twins (besides being a lot more work) is overall probably easier than ds1 because I know what to expect 2nd time around.

With ds1 we didn't change our lifestyle too much. First 4 mths was all about stabilising and getting into some sort of routine. After that, I went back to work, DH became a SAHD, we then swapped roles, we tried to go out regularly with or without ds1 (get mil to come over for a few hrs at night), we love food so just mostly took ds along to dinner with us most of the time and we continued to travel a lot. Travelling and food is my passion...With the twins, it has been a bit harder but just means we go out a bit less but I still booked a holiday right after they were born. I thought I'd just do it otherwise if I waited then I will probably chicken out. We are going to travel around US for 3 weeks when the twins are about 9mths  old, have booked a trip to Malaysia, Koh Samui and maybe Macau for June 2010 and we're going to back to UK in Dec 2010. Ds1 has been to countless places already and he's just 4y.o.

When I think about it..we are pretty crazy but I never obsessed about how we would manage and somehow we did manage.

Also, it's a good thing to be doing counselling! means you guys are 100% committed to working together. Goodluck!

Edited by Sal78, 08 November 2009 - 09:42 PM.

#46 ~NICOLE~

Posted 09 November 2009 - 10:42 AM

Was coming in to post but after reading this

I think some people have forgotten which section of EB the OP posted in. I don't consider that people who had their children in their late 20's and early 30's really understand some of the diferences that are hard to come to terms with. To be late 30's and have children really does jolt the body and the lifestyle that has been entrenched for the last 20 years

I think I'll keep my comments to myself as I was a very young mum...

Good luck OP, I hope everything works out for you.

#47 Inthepast

Posted 09 November 2009 - 11:36 AM

I dunno what you are on about DG?
From what I can tell, the people posting here "Fit" the category of older mums fine.

Really Tamm?   More than 10 people who had children in their early to mid 20's . A whole bunch who are not saying how old they were and about 4 who had their children in their late 30's or early 40's.  What am I on Tamm- reality - what about you. How old were you when you had children- not now?

#48 cinnabubble

Posted 09 November 2009 - 12:10 PM

In the interests of full disclosure, DG, I was almost 37 when my daughter was born and will be 40 when this one is due. I work full time in a career which has slowed, but not stopped, due to to my parental responsibilities. I returned to work when my daughter was 6.5 months old. I also have a partner who is a three day a week SAHD. The other two week days we *gasp* use childcare (with which we are very happy).

If I was giving advice to the OP, I would tell her that she probably needs to get back to work in some capacity because being at home is making her miserable. I would encourage her to see if her husband could reduce his workload and take on more parental stuff so she could work more. I would even tell her that childcare is not the tool of Satan it's made out to be by the stay at home martyr set (no, this is not all SAHMs -- just the ones who bang on about it being the hardest and most rewarding job etc). I would also mention that my three year old very seldom sleeps all night and you do get used to sleep deprivation.

PS: DG, I'm pretty sure Loquacious was 38-39 when her daughters were born so she has permission to be here too.

#49 Guest_CaptainOblivious_*

Posted 09 November 2009 - 04:10 PM

Oops... sorry DG wink.gif  I was only 26 when I had my DD, but I think I understand how the OP feels because I struggled so much with the decision to have more than one child and was a complete mess when my DD1 was small.  

I don't think it's necessarily an older mum issue though, but only saw the topic in the recent discussions list.

#50 Inthepast

Posted 09 November 2009 - 04:28 PM

Aww TammIam is trying to be Kewl by being sarcastic and having a go at me.

Nope didn't work!

You still write novels no one bothers to read! rolleyes.gif

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