Just the other day, I was invited to a musical play date by some of the mom friends from my 6-month-old’s playgroup. It sounded awesome -- complete with sing-along songs, egg shakers, and hand-clap exercises. Problem was, it fell on a Tuesday -- the one weekday I stay at home with both of my children. So I had two choices: a) shell out $30 to hire a babysitter for two hours for my toddler, or b) bring both kids and stick the infant in his car seat in the corner.

Since having a second child has taken a big toll on our finances -- and I recently quit my full-time job -- I decided that just one of my kids would enjoy a fun musical experience while the other waited in a corner (because, of course, I can’t stick my toddler in a corner with a pacifier). Still, watching all the other infants enjoying their rattles and giggling made me a little sad.

While I love having two kids, it’s days like these that make me realize that life seemed a little less bumpy when I had only one child.

Here's how:

  1. I could buy more stuff -- for me! Having one kid is expensive enough, but putting down the equivalent of a second mortgage for double daycare is sincerely painful. Shelling out $650 a week versus $325 a week meant I had to actually cut back on working and quit my full-time job because daycare costs would have eaten up my entire paycheck. And while part-time work is fulfilling, having one less full-time salary means having fewer things. Even though diapers and daycare will end, after-school activities (which cost money) and higher food bills will soon replace them.
  2. I could actually exercise, like, by myself. When my friend Renee got pregnant with her third child, she let me in on a little secret: “When you have one kid, you think you don’t have time for anything. When you have two kids, you truly don’t have time for anything.” This goes for exercise, too. Sans second child, I’d have more time and energy to wake up a little early to go running or go for a swim after work.
  3. My sex life was better. They say that having a kid takes a toll on your love life. I can deal with scaling back sex to just a couple of times per week. However, what no one told me is that even when I’m not too exhausted to get it on with my husband, there’s rarely a 20-minute window before 10 p.m. that one of my sons doesn’t need me. And when the toddler leaves his crib and bids adieu to naptime for good, I don’t know what will become of my love life.
  4. Naptime for him meant "break" time for me. My 2-year-old’s 90-minute naptime used to be mommy time -- I’d catch up on emails, clean the kitchen, play my guitar outside, or hang out with my husband (see above). With each kid, the chances that all children will be sleeping simultaneously shrink, so you don’t really get the break that your friends with “only” children enjoy.
  5. I didn't feel guilty about ignoring my child (because I didn't have to). With my first son, every moment was a precious photo opportunity. We spent hours playing together, and I sat with him at every dinnertime. Now, I often have to give him my iPad to pacify him so that I can feed my other kid. The other kid, meanwhile, is all but left to fend for himself, wailing like the infant he is, as I read to my toddler at bedtime.
  6. I was more "present" for the little stuff. Sleep is important for your mental wellbeing. However, with every kid, the likelihood you’ll make it through the night without having to nurse/comfort/grab water decreases. And the less sleep you get, the less able you are to be energized and available for your child(ren). The good news is that I hear I’m only a few years away from getting to the point where my older kid will become best buddies with my younger one. But until then, I’m going to have to skip the mani-pedi dates and toddler yoga that my friends of “only” children are enjoying.

What things became harder when you went from one to more kids?

Written by Marisa Torrieri Bloom for The Stir. Marisa is a freelance writer and guitar teacher who lives with her husband and two young sons in Fairfield, Connecticut.



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