One kid + one kid equals…?


So we’re about to (and when I say about to, I mean in four months, not tomorrow, for God’s sake don’t rush me!) embark on becoming a family of four. We will officially go from being one of those families where the parents outnumber the child to one of those families that’s screwed.

Okay, I’m kidding about the screwed part, obviously! (Geez). We’re totally psyched for baby #2. But before we mentally accept our fate, I really want to get some math stuff straightened out in my head. It seems I’ve been told some conflicting information from parents of two children. (Wait, really? Conflicting stuff about parenting? Can that be?). Some say that adding a second child to the household is like adding point five of a child, or even (and this is hard to believe), point THREE childs. They assert that once you have one childs, adding one more child to the mix really only adds “less-than-one” units of work to your everyday life.

Let’s analyze that in a totally scientific way, shall we? If you’ve already had one kiddo, that means you’ve already adjusted nearly all of your behaviors to an alarming degree (case in point: you go to bed before ten and/or fall asleep during Game of Thrones; your regular Saturday night babysitter is the first person you text when you wake up in the morning and before you fall sleep at night; you haven’t worn make-up since the Prussian war; you spend at least forty-seven minutes a day either searching for Lego Duplos, willing away the cereal on the floor, or worrying about car seat recalls).

By this logic, you are already spending the maximum mental energy possible on certain items like scheduling the babysitter or not having sex with your husband. As far as chores like dishes and laundry are concerned, throwing another kid into the mix will certainly mean you’ll spend more time on those heinous activities, but probably not TWICE as much time…. right? Expanding one’s brood isn’t quite the same as going ALL THE WAY BACK to the pre-baby time when you were free to roam the mall on a random Thursday trying on clothes for sport and not getting irrationally angry when salespeople made smalltalk with you. That calm person had no idea that adding Child #1 to his/her life would be utterly life-altering. THIS change, on the other hand — going from one child to two — is not nearly so drastic.

And yet. There are those who do not ascribe to the “one plus one equals less than two” school of family planning thought. They assure me that adding a second child to your family adds an EXPONENTIAL amount of work to your life. They believe quite rabidly that one child plus one child equals MORE THAN TWO CHILDS. Why? Well, perhaps it’s obvious, but if not let me lay it out for you. You know those four free seconds you have every morning — the ones when you’re standing there blankly while your toddler deliberates over whether he wants to wear a truck or monkey shirt — to gaze out the window and luxuriously think about nothing? Or the thirty minutes of the day when your child blissfully watches an old Barney episode when you manage to figure out what to cook for dinner, put your feet up and zone out obliviously, run the washing machine or maybe even write one email and/or order some incredibly necessary item like this adjustable frog shower cap hat visor from Amazon Prime? Right. Well, based on what certain parents have whispered to me in hushed tones over by the slide, adding a second child to the mix means that those up-until-now free, lifesaving snippets of peace will – BOOM! – be gone with the wind. And not only that, but your heretofore potty trained and verging-on-manageable Child #1 will soon be vying for even more of your attention than before while you try to figure out out to grow five more hands and bend time and space to use your voice to buckle your children remotely into their carseats. Forget going to the store (shopping carts are only designed to hold one kiddo at a time!), and showers will be a long lost dream, because what if Child #1 decides to “help” Mommy out by convincing Child #2 to roll herself down the stairs while you’re blissfully shampooing your hair for the first time that month?

Mostly, this all scares the sippy cup out of me. But then there’s this voice in the back of my head that reminds me that some families have even more than two kids. Like three. Or four. Or, even (wait for it) MORE THAN THAT. Sure, those parents are superhuman or, at the very least, incredibly talented at life, but nevertheless, they’re doing it. And they might proclaim that the childs you add to the mix after Numbers 1 and 2 only help to entertain each other, keep each other company, and form a boy band. Which could be a very good argument for continuing to add to one’s family until the point when the kids are putting on musical revue acts every night and forming their own, accredited school.

In all seriousness: I hear from inside sources that the first year of having two little ones is the hardest, for obvious reasons. Once they’re both old enough to play together, it gets a little easier. And then, certain experienced parents have reassured me that at a certain age between toddler and teendom, your kids become these utterly remarkable little people who can pour their own cereal but still want you to watch Frozen with them. At which point, you can stop doing the math and just enjoy the fruits of your (literal) labor.

Any thoughts on how you plan to (or have already!) handled life with two kiddos? Is it really as scary as it sounds? (Don’t actually tell me). And what’s your answer to the infamous child(ren) equation? Does one plus one equal two, or four-hundred and seven??

24 thoughts on “One kid + one kid equals…?

  1. Congratulations, you two! It’s more fun with the second one. I actually think it’s easier. You freak out less and are less neurotic about things, so you enjoy it more. And they keep each other company, even from a young age. Have fun!

  2. Congrats!!! I think it all depends on the age of child #1. When going from 1 to 2, the most difficult thing I encountered was the issue of sharing – both toys and Mommy. Then they grow into the “it’s not fair” stage where child #1 insists that they aren’t as loved because child #2 got half a sprinkle more on the donut you gave as a bribe to stop them from trying to kill each other in public (at home, you just take bets and hope for no blood or marks that the school might question). Adding a 3rd hasn’t been a problem at all – I never cared for showering anyway, and warm food is totally overrated. Oh, and I have no shame in putting Peep and the Big Wide World on so I can sneak outside to eat an ice cream sandwich behind a bush. Child #1 is old enough to actually help with child #3, and child #2 does whatever the others are doing – pretty great system! Unfortunately, I no longer have child #4 to add to my brood of minions, but my 3 little life tornadoes are the best things I could ever hope for!!! Congratulations, again, Super Mama!!!

  3. The shock of having 2 kids is kind of painful for a little while. Remember Newborn Exhaustion? Try adding into that feeling having to care for a little kid who is probably pissed off that he’s not the center of your world anymore. Yep. Been there!
    What you’ll notice within seconds of kid #1 meeting kid #2 is that kid #1 somehow grew 6 feet tall and gain 200 pounds in the time it took you to deliver kid #2. It’s true.
    As for math, I think it also depends on how old kid #1 is. The younger #1 is when #2 is born–especially if he isn’t in full-day school yet–the harder it is. My kids were 22 months apart, so for a long time naps never collided. I’d have a baby that napped in the morning, toddler midday, baby in the afternoon. They woke at night at different times, too. I was insane for a while. But now they are 7 & 9yo and pretty much raising themselves. Buddies. They entertain each other, making my life easier. So all is good. 😉

    1. Kim, you’re completely right about the ages being relevant. Kid #1 will be three already, which will *hopefully* help in some ways (already potty trained, etc). On the other hand… he’s had 3 years to not share, LOL! xox

  4. Hooray and congratulations!! Although it might feel crazy in the beginning, it will eventually become easier – it’s true! And in many ways, 2 is easier than 1 especially when they start playing together. I agree with the comment that with #2 (and more…) you freak out less because you’ll have been there, done that. Most of all, it’s so much more love. What a blessing! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Yangsze — we ARE totally thrilled, and you’re right, it’s such a blessing and a wonderful thing… though still terrifying in those moments when you wonder when-slash-if you’ll ever shave your legs again. xox

  5. Congrats! Very exciting news! This is the best thing you can do for Leo, btw. I’m all about lots of kids;-) btw, we are back in CA! Let’s meet!

  6. Oh wow congrats! How have you been hiding such great news for 5 months now????? CONGRATS! Will you find out, boy or girl? And what a hilariously-written post. I’ve missed them. As for children equation, here’s my perspective: first 6 weeks you feel like you’re running around with your head cut-off because there seems like 1000 things to do & not enough people to do them (though that’s pretty normal, right?). Then, your baby hopefully falls into a routine and life feels normal again, though I should really call it a new normal. I’d definitely agree that those “free” moments you had with only 1 kid do go away, they only go away for a bit and return again. Sure I can’t leave my baby alone while I go do laundry, but at least I can lug her around with me because she doesn’t mind playing with toys while I do laundry. Babies are portable, which is nice :). I wouldn’t say it’s harder having more kids, logistics just need to be re-worked. Like I said, 6 weeks of chaos and then schedules form, routines form, and life seems manageable again. Heck, you might even feel like you can handle both kids solo!

    1. This makes me feel sooo much better, thank you, I NEEDED THIS! 🙂 I’m assuming the first couple of months will just be bonkers, but if I can get past that… golden! We’re actually going to be surprised re: the gender, like we were the first time. Somehow I’m thinking another boy, though…

  7. Yay! This is so exciting. Think of all the writing fodder (baby names, etc.) 😉 Seriously though, the best part of having more than one is that they will eventually play together, which makes those 30 minutes of sudden free time more like an hour. For real. It’s a major benefit.

  8. I had two the first time out, so I can’t really answer! And the third was actually seemless. It was the fourth that put me under! I think the hard part comes when they’re older and their extracurricular schedules conflict.

  9. I love this. Conflicting input about parenting? NEVER. I personally found the move from 1 to 2 much simpler than 0 to 1. Yes, you have to juggle two needs now, and stuff like how to give #1 a bath while consoling #2 through the inevitable arsenic hour is tricky. But all the enormous, personality-adjusting stuff like You Are No Longer the Center of the Universe and shifting your entire sense of self? That’s done. Congratulations!!!!! xoxo

    1. SO TRUE. All that soul-searching and realizing that “me time” won’t exist again for probably ten years is over – CHECK! Always love/appreciate your perspective, Lindsey, especially since you’re one of my parenting role models 🙂

  10. So excited for yall! Since I got my two at once, I have nothing to add to this conversation. Except that I want a third, but can’t figure out how on earth we could squeeze more craziness into our lives. My two do play with each other now, which is great, until they start wrestling and one can’t take the heat (almost always the one who started it) and starts screaming “MAMA! _____ HURT / BITE/ PINCH/ HIT ME!” Love to all three of you!

    1. Thanks so much, Autumn! I was actually thinking of you when I wrote this post, since I’m sure your perspective is that you’ve never done it with one… so what’s so hard about two?? 🙂 Of course, there are both pros/cons to having your kiddos be the same age versus a screaming baby and a screaming toddler, lol 🙂 I think three could theoretically be in the cards for us (MAYBE), but we’ll have to see how we do with two, first! xox

  11. Even though we’re a ONE AND DONE family, it’s not because we don’t think we can handle two kids. OK, wait. My husband is very fearful of dealing with two. I think it’d be just fine. But, there are medical and financial considerations that leave us a happy family of three. I know you’ll be a phenomenal family of four, despite the bumps and hiccups (and vomit and poop) along the way.

    1. Thanks, Nilsa! And I’m sure that just like with one kid, you figure it out… gazillions of people do it every day. Doesn’t mean I’m not terrified though. 🙂

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