The Hardest Thing About Going From 1 Kid to 2 Isn't What I Thought

The Hardest Thing About Going From 1 Kid to 2 Isn't What I Thought

One mom realizes going from one kid to two wasn’t what she expected.

By Nicole Fabian-Weber

Lately, I often wonder what's harder: Having your first child or going from one kid to two. Depending on the day, my answer changes. The first baby is hard -- really hard. It's a complete lifestyle overhaul and nothing in the world can prepare you for it. No matter how many of your friends have had kids before you, no matter how often you babysat growing up -- it's a profoundly blindsiding experience. With your second, you know what to expect, and you're much more relaxed, but at the same time, there really isn't much out there that can prepare you for doubling the amount of children you have. No matter how many of your friends have two children, no matter how much time you've spent with more than one child -- it, too, is a profoundly blindsiding experience. But, being that I'm in the thick of two kids right now -- I have a 3-year-old daughter and a 7-month-old son -- I'm often thinking about the latter.

I recently asked a few of my friends with more than one child what they thought was the hardest part about adding a second. They all said some variation of the same sentiment: having two children who have completely different needs. And, while it's true, dealing with a toddler who very much wants -- and needs -- to go outside to run around and breathe fresh air, and a baby who needs to come inside to go to sleep is hard. But the residual effects of this -- namely, the guilt -- is what I find the most difficult.

Up until a few weeks ago, I'd say the winner of the "who needs the most attention" contest was my daughter. My son wasn't quite yet crawling, and as anyone who's ever, well, seen a toddler knows -- they require a good amount of care. From answering questions to giving directions to preparing snacks to helping with the potty to checking for monsters etc. etc. etc. – I spend a huge portion of my day on her needs! I often was plopping my son down to tend to her.

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Did I feel guilty? Yep! It felt like he was receiving a quarter of the attention my daughter got when she was his age, and it really bothered me. But now that he's crawling, he's the one who needs more attention, and I'm often leaving my daughter waiting around. And, again, it really bothers me.

I don't think there will ever come a time when things are completely "even" with my children. While they're young, there will always be someone who needs something more than the other, forcing me to make a choice. And it makes me sad. I wish I could do it all, but it's simply impossible. However, I also know that there will come a time in the not-so-distant future when my children play together and don't need me as much. And that makes me sad, too, because I know that even though these days can be difficult, they will be incredibly missed.

My solution? Well, I don't really have one, to be honest, but I'm trying (trying!) to go easier on myself, trying to have less guilt. At the end of the day, I'm doing the best I can and so far everyone seems happy and appears to be turning out OK.


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Although going from one kid to two isn't easy, I recently heard something that put things into perspective: The hardest parenting situation to deal with is the one you're in. When I had my first baby, I thought that was the most difficult, crazy thing, and now that I've gone to two, I often think this is. Then, when my kids are teenagers, I'm sure I will think that is. It never ends -- it's all just about taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that you're not Superwoman and you can only do so much.

At least that's what I hope to think the next time I have to tell my daughter to wait because her brother needs something. It may not help with the situation right then and there, but it certainly will help with the guilt.

What was hardest for you about going from one kid to two?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a toddler girl and a baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications. Right now, she’s probably fantasizing about sleep.

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