to think that two children just looks a bit too much like hard work?!

(138 Posts)
Bullets Mon 03-Dec-12 19:41:51

DS turned two in October and is such a lovely little boy, very kind and caring, I really enjoy his company. Six weeks in and no sign of any terrible twos yet, plus he's finally started going to bed at bedtime, staying there all night, and getting up at a reasonable hour, so he's okay with one of our mums babysitting meaning DH and I can have the odd night out.

DH and I always planned to have two kids, but are having a serious case of not-wanting-to-rock-the-boat-itus. I've recently started a new job that I'm really enjoying, three days a week, and childcare is all covered by DH and grandmas, so DS is very happy with this arrangement too, and our finances are healthy enough to start saving for a holiday. Life is good!

I feel happy, fulfilled and well-balanced.

We've just got back from a weekend staying with friends who have an 18 month old and 5 year old, and without wanting to sound too wet, it just all seemed a bit too much like hard work! The parents were arguing over who did what, the kids were fighting over their toys and which parent they wanted to do something for them. I don't think anyone was enjoying themselves!

AIBU to think that one child might be enough? For me and DH as well as for DS - is it fair on DS not to give him a brother or sister? Things got pretty rocky with DH when DS was young and not sleeping or feeding well, we're back on solid ground now but I don't know if our relationship could take it again.

quesadilla Mon 03-Dec-12 21:23:43

NoWayNoHow: am totally with you on that. People saying you are being "selfish" by only having one child is one of my pet hates. Having siblings doesn't mean your life has to be enhanced by them. I have never wanted more than one: two seems to be pushing at the limits of what I could tolerate. I think having one and enjoying it is something to celebrate.

slatternlymother Mon 03-Dec-12 21:39:44

nowaynohow I agree totally. Our DS is 2.2 and I love having just one child. I couldn't bear the thought of anything tearing me away from him.

There's a guy at work who's constantly on at me saying
'Oooh, best get cracking with number two!'
'You're making your DS a lonely only!'
And my favourite;
'Youll love it; twice the joy!'
Fuck the fuck off. Your wife stays home with your 2 (admittedly very sweet DD's) under 3 all day, and takes care of your teen DS, whilst you push a 50 hr week and spend every weekend at football or training for ultra marathons. So you wouldn't actually have a CLUE, would you?

NoWayNoHow Mon 03-Dec-12 21:43:54

quesadilla yes, the "selfish" and "cruel" comments are, in themselves, very cruel. For me, something doesn't sit right with bringing a whole, new, individual, unique life into this world just as company for an existing child. It almost sets them up as less important (not intentionally, of course).

There's this notion that a parent "owes" a child a sibling. Why? Why should a parent's happiness, financial security, mental and emotional well-being be compromised if they feel like they couldn't cope for any of the above reasons?

Ultimately, it's different strokes for different folks, and what one person can cope with, another can't (and vice versa). DH and I could never have coped with more than one, so we didn't have more than one. We, too, have noticed massive changes in the dynamics of the families we know with more than one - they love it, but we find it exhausting just watching, never mind doing!!

Do what makes you happy, OP, not what everyone else expects you to do...

mamalovesmojitos Mon 03-Dec-12 21:48:47

YANBU. Each to their own. I have one dd (8) and it's perfect. The only negative is the guilt I feel from the bad press one-child families get sometimes. I'm very, very happy so far with my decision smile. I think the key is listen to your heart, don't be swayed by societal pressures either way & focus on the positives of your own situation.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 03-Dec-12 21:49:31

See, I would love another, but I do hate the prejudice against having one. People always say , "oh, do you ONLY have one?" grin
The pressure to have another wasn't there for me because I was single with ds, but I do remember reading a column once by some Mare who said she was only "half a mum" because she had an only. Er, no, I didn't half give birth to a baby. Nor did I "half" change my entire life because of becoming a parent.
Two/three etc is undoubtedly a lot more to take on, but you are still a mum with one.

TwoHats Mon 03-Dec-12 22:00:24

DS2 was a very demanding baby, he's probably slept through less than 10 times in his life, cried lots, threw up everywhere, was totally different to laid back DS1. I had decided number 2 was a good idea after hearing stories of DC2s who slotted right in... hmm

The first 18 months were hard, hard work. I felt DS1 didn't get the best of me as I was always so tired and had very little patience with his hideous threenage behaviour.

I still have no regrets though, the moments when they are lovely together are the best thing imaginable. They are just (4 and 2) starting to really play together, laugh at each other and entertain each other. DS1 has far more patience with reading the same books, over and over again, to DS2 than I ever will. Seeing them snuggling up together on the sofa melts my heart in a way not much else does.

There's nothing wrong with having an only, 2, 3 or more so long as it's what's right for your family. I do sometimes feel stretched a bit thin with 2, but it's sometimes a bit quiet when only 1 of them is around.

MrsMushroom Mon 03-Dec-12 22:06:08

I get such pleasure from seeing my 2 DDs play together. I am also comforted knowing that when I die...and DH dies, they will have one another to turn to in all those awful arrangements! I know that's a grim thought. But it's a practical one. Of course there is no guarantee that siblings will be friends as adults...but just to know they have a sister...it's important imo.

AngelOne Mon 03-Dec-12 22:09:55

IME 2 children are harder at first, but it will probably pay off in long run when they're older and can play together and keep themselves entertained (although of course there's no guarantees they will get on).

I have one 5yo child and we are a very happy and close family. At the moment I find it easier to entertain her and take her to age appropriate activities because I don't have a toddler in tow.

DD's best friend has a 2 year old sister and she complains there's lots she can't do because of the toddler....But I know DDs friend and her sister will grow up to be close friends and entertain each other and DD won't have that.

I think DD is beginning to miss the close bond she might have had with a sibling. Of course we're very close because she has me to herself, but that's not the same is it....

I personally would have chosen to have a least one other child, but it ain't to be.

Hopefully Mon 03-Dec-12 22:11:29

If you are happy with one, have one. I think it's different for everyone.

Two is definitely a hell of a lot more work than one (especially since for us the 'easy second baby' was a complete bloody myth), but DH and I have absolutely clicked with two, and both just get on with what needs doing. DS2 is now 20 months, and they play pretty well and we are having easier days out etc. but then we did v child friendly things like camping/visiting national trust properties before we had kids, so it's not like we're missing glamorous mini breaks!

CoteDAzur Mon 03-Dec-12 22:14:20

It is hard work in the beginning, but they start playing together around the time the younger one is 3 and leave you alone (sometimes) grin

PiggeryJokery Mon 03-Dec-12 22:15:40

Re: siblings. There is no guarantee that siblings will get on! IMO not a valid reason to have another child. Have more if you and your DH want more, if your relationship, finances, sanity etc will stand up to the challenges of another baby, sleepless nights, looking after 2 small children, 2 teenagers etc.

But don't do it just because you feel guilty about your first child being an only. They might grow up wishing they had a sibling, but its an idealised brother or sister and the true outcome may or may not work out as beautifully as you hope or they imagine.

pogsismyname Mon 03-Dec-12 22:22:03

I stopped at one child, who is now 14 so the comments about having a sibling are long gone, thankfully! I think he's benefitted a lot by being an only child, both from a financial/practical point of view and also just from having lots more adult attention. I've never felt guilty about him being an only child, I grew up with lots of siblings but often longed to be an only.

And my own sisters have 2 or 3 children each, and I often feel relieved that I didn't have to do so much taxi-ing, could spend much more time doing stuff that was DS's choice, and have some amazing experiences that wouldn't have been possible with more than one DC. And, of course, now that he's older and becoming more independent, I'm finding it easier to get back to my own life whereas I'd find it much more difficult if I'd had another one.

Startail Mon 03-Dec-12 22:29:05

2 is hard work to start with and easier long term.

At least it is if you live in the middle of nowhere and can't see your garden from your house.

They play together and look out for each other.

They are very very different and living with lots of other DCs about I think they'd have their own friends and fight.

My sister and I did.

But living here they've learnt to rub along surprisingly well.

Also I think having two leads to much more relaxed Mum, when DD1s driving me mad (normally because she's too like me) DD2 provides light relief.

When DD2 is being too normal, DD1 and I have a quiet giggle.

thisthreadwilloutme Mon 03-Dec-12 22:36:28

I have two, one of each. It's perfect for us, double the fun! They love each other, when they hold hands or snuggle up on the sofa together all content I feel a happy glow grin

I am glad I had them pretty close together (2years apart) because they are great pals and not in completely different stages. Oh and I'll only have to do the school run for 9 years and not 17 years like my neighbour shock

Bullets Mon 03-Dec-12 23:23:34

Wow, thanks for all your comments!

It's good to know I'm not the only one thinking along these lines, very reassuring! We go to lots of classes, groups and activities with DS, both our families live locally, all my friends have children born within a year of him, plus one of his cousins was born the same week, so he has plenty of interactions with other children most days, and he gets the benefit of lots of 121 time with both mummy and daddy too.

Ultimately I think DH and I are very lazy people who don't much like the sound of hard work, plus we are only just in our 30s so still have some time to make final decisions, so until we reach the stage where we want another child more than we don't want another, we'll stick to the three of us!

Bullets Mon 03-Dec-12 23:29:20

I feel I should also add, I have two younger brothers, one who is two years younger who is and always has been an absolute arse and another who is eight years younger.

I have always got on better with the youngest, partly due to our personalities and sense of humour being more similar or perhaps just because other brother has NO sense of humour...at all, but I'm sure mostly because we've always been at different stages and needed different support from our parents, so have never been in competition. I think there's a lot to be said for big age gaps too!

Angelico Mon 03-Dec-12 23:37:39

We will have the same decision to make in a while although DD is only 10 weeks old. Unfortunately I'm older than you so won't have the luxury of taking as long to decide. You have plenty of time OP so no rush smile

carolinecordery Tue 04-Dec-12 00:07:40

I have two and it is bloody hard work and I envy my friends with one in a way, but sometimes I also think of the gift of each other that I have given to my two children- when they are grown up how they will have each other even after their parents have gone.

schmohawk Tue 04-Dec-12 00:44:52

OP I could have written your post although DD is only 18 months. I'm one of two so that was always my mental picture of a family, but from threads like this I can see the many advantages to having an only, much more straightforward and less hassle. Don't know if DH & I are really cut out for hardcore domestic logistics, we could if we had to but at what cost? Also worry about the impact of a second child on my relationship with DH and DD. We still have a bit of time to decide although I'm 34 and DH is 44 so maybe not too long...
Having said that the thought of getting rid of all the baby stuff makes me a bit wistful!

SomersetONeil Tue 04-Dec-12 01:01:58

YANBU to feel the way you do and if 1 is right for you, then 1 is right for you.

We have 2 - a 2YO and a 3YO; an 18-month age gap. It was hard work, but it is already coming into its own. They play together and are good friends.

I have had the exact opposite experience from you. My best friend and her DH only have 1 so far, and I look at them and feel every time that we so did the right thing by cracking on with it and having two close together who can be friends and into a lot of the same things. Their DD doesn't know how to play well with other children, and gets bored with not having a playmate at home so they get roped in to do more than we do. Likewise, I am quite lazy, so having a ready-made playmate is great from DH's and my perspective. wink

It was tough in the early days - very tough sometimes, but we were always playing the long game. I actually thought it would take a lot longer than this to come into its own, so am pleased that we're reaping the benefits so soon. But - what is right for one family won't be right for the next.

earthpixie Tue 04-Dec-12 01:32:49

We stayed at 1 and are glad we did now,although I had doubts. I have 2 close friends with 2 kids apiece. They adore all their kids but both have said to me at different times that they feel their relationship with the oldest one was compromised in some way when the second arrived. Also, one of my friends resents the fact that with 2, you really are all about your kids - she feels there are no chinks in her life just for her anymore, and there won't be for a long time.

Annakin31 Tue 04-Dec-12 09:00:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SomersetONeil Tue 04-Dec-12 09:09:59

"Especially when I think of us all getting together for meals when they're adults."

This, 100%. DH and I have have very much based our decision around this - and after all, they're adults far longer than they're children.

Tailtwister Tue 04-Dec-12 09:16:01

We always wanted at least 2 and my age meant they had to be reasonably lose together. In the end ds1 was 2 and 3 months when ds2 was born. I found it a lot harder going from 1 to 2 than 0 to 1. You have no down time at all. When the baby was sleeping it was time to have 1:1 time with ds1. I have found it exhausting, but I was nearly 40 when ds2 was born, so it might be lack of energy on my part. They are 2 and 4 now and have moments of getting on extremely well. If left to their own devices they do fight though, so I have to keep them moving and engaged pretty much all the time.

2 is harder than 1. There are benefits both ways and no, yanbu to enjoy your time with one or make it a permanent decision either.

purplecrayon Tue 04-Dec-12 09:17:57

Op yabu

I have a 4yo and a 6yo. Two close in age siblings like that can in many cases be easier than 1x4yo or 1x6yo. Mine entertain each other, play games etc.

Ok it's not at all easy when you have a baby and a 2yo. It's fucking hard! But times change.

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