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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All!

I'm looking for a bit of advice. My husband and I are consciously considering whether to add to another child to our family. We currently have one son - who is almost 3 years, 4 months.

We're looking at all aspects of this decision - from financial, to things we may need to purchase before having another baby (new car, furniture, etc.), to support we may need at home, work structures (mostly for me), schooling (or homeschooling) options for my older son with a baby in the mix. And we're creating a wish list of what we want to do and how we'll make it all work.

My husband works a very demanding job, and it's crucial that he get a full night's sleep most nights during the week. I work part time, which is the only way we're able to afford our son's preschool. But, if we have a new baby, I'd like to stay home for at least year or so. So, I'm considering home school options for our son.

I'm wondering a few things - what was it like for those of you going from one to two, when the older is about 4.5 - 5 years older? Did you have any blind spots - as in, things you weren't expecting to be difficult, but were? If you homeschool, what kind of support do you find helpful? How do you homeschool with an infant? And, do you have a mother's helper come in a few times a week so you can get a bit of rest?

We had a difficult labor, delivery, and first year or so with our first son. He was a wonderful baby, but the lack of sleep was really tough on us (well, me, mostly, since I was primarily the one carrying the day and night time routine, with very little time to myself other than when my son napped). So, if we do this again, we want to set ourselves up to be a bit more prepared this next go around.

Thanks!
 

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This is all presuming

You will be able to have the 2nd child when you expect, or if at all. A lot of my friends/people in my community have had fertility and unexpected health issues related to pregnancies. So while they may have managed to have 2 (or even more) kids, there may have been more of a gap than they had hoped or planned. I also knew one mom who ended up having twins the 2nd go around, jumping from 1 to 3 kids. There is so much that is impossible to predict or control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You will be able to have the 2nd child when you expect, or if at all. A lot of my friends/people in my community have had fertility and unexpected health issues related to pregnancies. So while they may have managed to have 2 (or even more) kids, there may have been more of a gap than they had hoped or planned. I also knew one mom who ended up having twins the 2nd go around, jumping from 1 to 3 kids. There is so much that is impossible to predict or control.
Sure, of course I get that you can't control, and I'm fully prepared for the fact that twins or infertility is a possibility. I'm open to whatever is meant for our family. But, to help with the planning for our ideal, I'd like to hear from those who felt like they couldn't have survived without xyz, whatever that was. I recognize it's all circumstantial.
 

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My husband and I are in the planning stage as well- so while I have nothing to add- I am going to follow.

HansonFamily does yoir son have an opinion on the matter? I ask because my little one isn't old enough to say whether she'd want a sibling or not and we've considered waiting till she is 3ish to let her have a say. Lol- but to my womb that 1.5 year wait to three seems a long way off!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My husband and I are in the planning stage as well- so while I have nothing to add- I am going to follow.

HansonFamily does yoir son have an opinion on the matter? I ask because my little one isn't old enough to say whether she'd want a sibling or not and we've considered waiting till she is 3ish to let her have a say. Lol- but to my womb that 1.5 year wait to three seems a long way off!
Hi ValerieValira, I haven't asked my son if he has an opinion on the matter, but I have noticed that he has become very aware of other little babies, and he loves hugging them and giving lots of affection. I know he would love to be a big brother!
 

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I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind asking your child about having another child. You are asking their permission or just gauging their thoughts and feelings on the matter? Seems rather strange to ask a child for a green light. I envision a scenario years later: "I take it back, I don't want a brother/sister" or "I made a mistake! Why did you listen to me? You should have given me a sibling"
 

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We have 2 girls 4.5 years apart. My oldest was/is very needy, particularly with me. I stayed home with her, so it was mostly just the two of us doing everything together for years. She really loves her baby sister (now 1.5), but she still really mourns for the closeness and attention she used to have. It is a big, big hurt for her.

One thing I've found is that there is simply a lot less time with two. From the time I wake up it often seems that the whole day is already dictated by the necessities of chores, naps, diaper changes, etc. It doesn't leave much space for doing things with my older daughter, even simple things like poring through stacks of books and playing board games.

In retrospect, I would have worked harder to add other adult caretakers to our life, for both girls. My older one would appreciate the attention of a babysitter and I could create more space to hang out with just her.

One thing that was great: my DD attended an amazing preschool last year when the baby was tiny. It was a small, calm, play-based program where my DD received tons of loving attention and was able to do all the fun things I didn't have time for. I think that's why we didn't see many behavior issues last year but have seen an explosion this year now that she's in a typical public kindergarten.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We have 2 girls 4.5 years apart. My oldest was/is very needy, particularly with me. I stayed home with her, so it was mostly just the two of us doing everything together for years. She really loves her baby sister (now 1.5), but she still really mourns for the closeness and attention she used to have. It is a big, big hurt for her.

One thing I've found is that there is simply a lot less time with two. From the time I wake up it often seems that the whole day is already dictated by the necessities of chores, naps, diaper changes, etc. It doesn't leave much space for doing things with my older daughter, even simple things like poring through stacks of books and playing board games.

In retrospect, I would have worked harder to add other adult caretakers to our life, for both girls. My older one would appreciate the attention of a babysitter and I could create more space to hang out with just her.

One thing that was great: my DD attended an amazing preschool last year when the baby was tiny. It was a small, calm, play-based program where my DD received tons of loving attention and was able to do all the fun things I didn't have time for. I think that's why we didn't see many behavior issues last year but have seen an explosion this year now that she's in a typical public kindergarten.
NewMamaLizzy, Thank you!! This is exactly what I was looking for. I really appreciate you sharing your experience.
 

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Honestly going from 0 to one was fine. I breastfed, tucked a dipe or two into my purse and my very quiet daughter went with us everywhere, even to some formal functions.

Part two, adding another. First of all, you have luggage... dipes and snacks for the toddler, maybe games or toys as well. Then, our son was a raucous happy and very social baby who was loud. I couldn't take him anywhere quiet at all. No more art gallery openings, nights at the museum or fancy dinner parties. He even nursed loudly with copious noises. Sigh. We ended up taking turns going out for a time, until he grew up a bit.
 

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Honestly, the first year of my second child's life was hell. Neither my DH or I ever got enough sleep. I never had time to myself. She was a very high need baby, and that was the year we discovered that our first child had developmental challenges.


I don't think you plan that much or negotiate much with your spouse because you don't know what the new baby will be like or how your first child will react. My older DD freaked out, and at times, both of them were crying in the middle of the night and daddy HAD TO HELP, job or no job. The babies were both screaming at the same time, and that was just an all hands on deck situation.


None the less, I cannot image my life without both my kids. It was well worth the effort. The notion of not having my second daughter in my life, heck, the notion of her not being here on earth, is completely unthinkable.


If you want another child, if it is in your heart to have a second child, then try to have one, fully accepting that *at times* it will be difficult and possibly overwhelming. The difficult part is for a season, but then you have that sweet child forever.


But if knowing that you will not get enough sleep or time to your self *every year of your life* is important, then accept and move on. It's OK -- there isn't a right answer to this question. It is just what YOU want for YOUR life. (I got plenty of sleep and time to myself when my kids got older.)
 

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Going from one to two children was harder on me than on my firstborn. As a SAHM who used to be a happy professional, I had pretty high standards set up for our home environment. I'm pretty competitive about life, or something. And I felt like that with one kid, I could carry that standard and almost "have it all." Two kids threw that out the window for me. While I expected that, sort of, in practice it was (is) hard to actually negotiate the ever-changing tension between self care, one on one time with each family member, maintaining other friendships, and oh yeah, trying to feed everyone and remember to pay bills/take out the garbage/clean the house. You find one area rewarding while others get neglected. But my children love each other to bits. Watching your children love and care for each other is second only to the love you feel for them as individuals - a powerful experience.

I second the person who mentioned trying to foster another strong adult role model for your older kid. I think kids benefit greatly in self confidence when they have a strong sense of community, both in the household and in a larger school/neighborhood scope. Do you have nearby family? Or perhaps a mommy friend who wants to do a regular play date swap (one mom watches the kids while the other mom gets a break, and vice versa)? i found the regular play date swap helpful especially since our budget is tigh, but our kids are quite social and wanted to get out of the house for a change of scenery.
 

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I always wanted 4 kids back to back to back. But it didn't happen for various reasons.

My first two are almost 3 years apart and it was fantastic for me. Having that gap meant that they were still close enough to play together (they still do) yet the oldest was fairly capable of helping herself do a lot of things. I would certainly focus on making sure that he knows some basic stuff; getting dressed, playing nearby yet independently, getting a healthy snack/drink, getting his own shoes and coat on, knowing the importance of holding on to your coat or a shopping car or touching a spot on the car when asked. These things made it easier for me to attend to the baby while still knowing the oldest was safe and cared for.

My third child is 9 years and 6 years younger than her sisters. And for various reasons this works amazingly well too. My now 7 year old needed that extra time where she was the baby. There have certainly been some new learning curves. My husband had a harder time adjusting since it had been so long without a newborn in the house. The hardest part has been having to leave the house every day at least twice a day if not 5 or 6 times for activities and school and shopping and more. The littlest has had to learn to mostly just go with the flow.

My husband and I choose to sleep separately most of the time. But we found we preferred it during pregnancy and the first year or so after birth. We just both sleep soooo much better. He sleeps in the guest room and I sleep in the Master. We spend some time cuddling before sleeping though and if we end up falling asleep in the same bed then so be it. If one of us wakes up and can't sleep then we just move to the other bed. I find that good sleep helps so much when there are babies in the house. My husband also works a crazy job schedule and I have had to adjust to having a baby and seeing my husband very little and having no family around this time. Whereas previously he worked normal hours and we lived very close to family. It has still worked out well for us.

I think sometimes we overthink having babies. I know I overthink #4 all the time. Yet if it just happened I wouldn't skip a beat. Plus babies are all so different. But most just fit into our lives just fine.
 
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