Since baby #2 is almost four months old now, I thought I would provide an update about how we are managing with a family of four. I would say that this period has been filled with many ups and downs – ups when you think that things are just getting better, and downs when you remember all the “other” things about having a newborn. Overall it’s been good, and I do love having a new baby in the house (I smell her head constantly). Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Timing: I still believe that it probably would have been a “wee” bit better to have children a little bit apart. While I know that there are advantages to staying in the diaper phase and getting it over with all at once, and having kids that will be able to relate to each other in age when they are older, the sheer physical/mental demands of having two so close can be pretty intense at times. I remember asking other people with children close in age if it was the right decision, and since most of them were already past the baby stage, they were all like, “sure!” because by that point, their kids were playing together. But I just wanted to also document how it is now, the fact that you will have days that you just feel like you are going to fall over, and that the cycle will repeat, over and over again, where relief will seem very far in the future. If I were advising a friend, I’d say three years apart are a good space. However, either way…
2. You make it work: This is true. I mean, you have to, right? Well except for the people who freak out and run away. I know this sounds super cliche, but I never thought I would have been able to fit so many things into a day that I do now. I used to roll my eyes when I heard women describe motherhood in this way – it sounded so condescending, like all of a sudden you get more efficient when you have kids, and of course it isn’t necessarily true – there are tons of super efficient people without children, and very inefficient parents. But for me personally, I’ve been able to make all kinds of stuff and circumstances “work” which I never dreamt I’d have to before children. There’s no other choice, so you make do.
3. Money: I get quite a few questions about how having a second kid has impacted our finances. With all caveating that this is not a personal finance blog (and I would surely rank very poorly on the content scale were it one), I would say that contrary to logic, with each additional child we have watched our finances less and less. This is largely because of a lack of time and a general “I give up!!” attitude. When I can spend for convenience these days, I usually do. For example, I used to cook a lot more…but with two children, I have become a frequent visitor to Chipotle and am also HIGHLY dependent on Munchery (I have tested almost all food services, and this is my favorite…not sponsored, by the way, just my opinion). If you want to try it out with $20, you can use my referral link (thank you in advance if you do!).
Balancing all of that however, is the fact I shop way less, and go out to eat less too….so the money works out, kind of. I think? I’m not on top of things as I used to be…although the one area which I have been definitely planning for has been preschool, since we’ll have two in school to pay for at the same time (another thing to think about regarding timing).
4. Self Care: Is so important. The demands of a young child/children can be super intense, and it’s important to take care of yourself, as well as your partner. I used to not understand how people can “lose” themselves in their children…how they could neglect themselves and their relationships and let it all be about the kids. To me, it sounded like a lot of work! Didn’t these parents want to do something for themselves? But what I’ve realized is that actually, its sometimes its easier in the short run to neglect yourself. You get too lazy to go out for a “date night” for example…because you’d rather just flop over at home in exhaustion. You want to book yourself a massage…but you feel guilty being away and planning it requires some work, too. But all of that is really important. You have to take care of yourself and your relationship with your partner, in order to have a happy family, which I think is what we all want.
Now at the end of this post I think I sound a bit like a downer which is definitely not my intention! I just wanted to be honest, and share my thoughts as I go through the “thick of it”. But let me also just say that two children are often times a joy, and I feel so fortunate and privileged to have this family. It’s amazing to watch my son and daughter grow up and in the end, I do feel it was worth it (sorry to end on a cliche! But it’s true so I have to say it!).
Parents and non-parents alike, I’d love to hear your thoughts!