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Should I Have a Second Child?

Updated on July 29, 2017

You already have one child and now you're considering having another one. Is that the right move? Do you or your wife feel strongly that your brother needs a little sister or your daughter needs a little brother? Remember, you have no choice in the situation, so you may end up with two children of the same sex. Is it important to you that you have two children? Do you have a prejudice against your son or daughter being an only child?

If you're in the position of having to choose whether or not to have a second kid, read on and I'll provide a few observations having gone through the exact same experience. Deciding to have a second child is a tough decision.

Things have turned out pretty good.
Things have turned out pretty good.

Parenting observations and tips

My wife and I are expecting our second child in a little over a month. To say we are nervous and scared is a mild understatement. At different moments of the day, one of us clearly resembles that proverbial squirrel caught in the headlights. I use the squirrel instead of the deer for a very clear reason. For one, a deer caught in headlights doesn't really look all that concerned to me. It just looks at you and gets out of the way because he knows that if you hit him, your car is going to need a lot of work. Nobody wants to hit a deer. A squirrel, on the other hand, has that fear of God look in its eyes and on its face. It seems to realize that if it doesn't do something - and do it fast - its life is about to be altered in an entirely unpleasant way because when you and your car hit him, neither you nor the car are going to give it that much thought.

Having emerged from the hell that is the first two years of child-rearing, I'm not anxious to go back. Oh sure, those first two years are filled with much joy and much laughter, but what is so often left off the Hallmark card of public perception when it comes to raising a kid is the eye-melting misery of certain aspects of keeping that little thing alive that often balance out the positive parts in a way that leaves parents wondering what trick put them there in the first place.

For every cute smile and developmental moment that leaves me feeling like the proudest papa in the world, there's the moment at the top of the stairs at 4am where I've already been up three times, have slept less than three hours total, and am holding this defenseless infant in my arms thinking that a quick pitch down the stairs could somehow end all the misery. It can't, of course. But as you stand there, half-conscious, in a sort of delirium that only parents really understand, you are overwhelmed by the epiphany that you can actually visualize the mental break that gets some parents - those sad ones on television who drowned their children or suffocated them or whatever. They're usually sitting in a courtroom looking completely demoralized (as they should). They broke. They snapped.

We are a true, two-income household. Most of the people I know who have kids have the luxury of one parent being able to stay at home. This is a luxury only in the sense that one parent does not stay at home because the one who does will be forever changed, turned into a babbling idiot who's only source of conversation starters are their children or Sesame Street or Dr. Seuss books and who will transform into some kind of insane individual over the next few years with very little connection to the adult world. Oh, they'll get over it, most likely, but by the time they do, they'll know more about coping mechanisms than anyone on the planet.

I really have no idea how most people afford daycare. My wife and I are fortunate that we do quite well, but even so, the fiscal conservative in me is panicking over our impending lack of cash flow. Who knew that daycare would be the real college education? And right out of the gate, too? Five days of daycare for our first child runs $1500/month. Once we start sending the second one, we'll be on the hook for $3000/month for about four years. Now, anybody who can even afford $3000/month in daycare is not likely to get much sympathy from most people, so I'm not asking for it. I'm just saying that, for us, there's no other choice. One of us cannot stay home. Neither of us would want to.

Advice from 2-child Parents

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Aside from watching our money disappear, I'm starting to realize the whole host of other issues about the rear their ugly faces. We're taking a refresher course on childbirth right now. Given that labor lasted 21 hours the last time, I'm not looking forward to going through that again. I'm also not looking forward to caring for that blob of a human being that will emerge. Don't get me wrong. I will care for it, but it's going to be torture for awhile. To make matters worse, I'll have to care for the other one at the same time, so it seems like to opportunity for mishap have risen exponentially. I like my sleep too. That's all about to go away.

With the first child, everything was new, so part of me worries that loving a second child will be harder somehow. Everything the first child did was novel. Everything the second child will do will be redundant. While I'm sure that the second child will be different, I worry it might not be in a good way. The first one was an average sleeper. While we hope the second will be a great sleeper, the possibility of him being a terrible sleeper also crops up in my nightmares. But it's just kind of this been there, done that attitude I find a little disturbing.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of parts I'm looking forward to, but when you're a parent, there seems to be so much occurring at any given time that nobody ever told you about and the media never covers. All we ever see are pictures of celebrities and their beautiful babies. All we ever hear are quotes from mothers talking about the joy of motherhood. There's very little on the downside of parenthood. Let's face it, parenthood sucks a lot and it's hard looking forward knowing how much it's going to suck and how often it's going to suck. If there was a time machine that could propel me a couple of years into the future, I might seriously consider getting in right now.

Looking Back on My Decision

Now that my kids are three-years-old and five-years-old, I certainly don't regret having a second child. Would things have been easier with one? Probably. It certainly would have been less expensive. Can I imagine my life without my second little boy? Absolutely not.

Who knows whether or not you're going to like your second child better than your first. I can tell you that depending on the age spacing, one child will be going through something the other child will not and you'll be glad you have one child who isn't throwing a tantrum or questioning your parenting skills every few minutes.

Those early years are tough ones for any parent, but once you get past them, it all seems increasingly worthwhile. At least be confident in this: you won't really remember your decision that much in a few years.


Submit a Comment

  • crankalicious profile image

    crankalicious 3 years ago from Colorado

    What did you eventually decide?

  • freshbeautytips profile image

    freshbeautytips 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    Great hub! This is about the only stuff I've read recently that really pictures what I go through everyday.I hold a Masters degree in Telecom Management but I had to stop practising and be a stay @ home mum,at least for now.My husband is already thinking we should have a second child but alas,my heart races wildly againt my chest just thinking about it!The only hope that I cling to right now is I know children grow so fast(like I did) and parents will eventually wonder where all those times have gone and cherish those memories.

    This is a very insightful hub,I look forward to more posts.

  • profile image

    SavvyMommy 6 years ago

    I am a stay at home Mom, with an 11 month old. I don't think I'm a babbling idiot and I do believe staying at home IS a luxury. My fiancé works very hard to afford us such luxuries and I plan to stay home with our next one, WHICH we are trying for now. ;)

    I have ample conversations, with lots of adult company to keep me sane. I think this was a rather harsh way to depict life at home with your child.

    I did however laugh at the 4AM pitching your child down the stairs, as I could absolutely relate to the sleepless haze new parents seem to find themselves. :)

    Interesting hub, however thoughtless some parts may be.

  • ThePracticalMommy profile image

    Marissa 6 years ago from United States

    I was frightened too, of having to handle a toddler and an infant. Those fears quickly dissipated when my daughter arrived three weeks early. Since I already had the experience of having an infant, it wasn't too bad. My husband and I had all the skills we needed. Am I still bleery eyed from sleepless nights? Sure. Am I a babbling idiot (I stay at home)? Not yet (thank you Is money tight? Yep. But once you see that new human being who's all yours and who will look up to you for all of life's answers, the fear should melt away. Don't be afraid. Take it as a new challenge for a seasoned father.

    Good luck to you and your wife!

  • crankalicious profile image

    crankalicious 6 years ago from Colorado

    Thanks for the comments. The little one is on his way soon. We're still scared.

  • Karen Ray profile image

    Karen Ray 6 years ago from Oklahoma

    Good hub - sounds like you're facing the same worries every other parent can relate to. Those first couple of years seem to crawl by, then by the time they are 18 or 20 you'll wonder if you did get in that time machine. Enjoy them and utilize the grandparents on occasion!