In my mind, it was never really a decision on whether we should have more than one child. I have a younger sister and I just couldn’t imagine my own child growing up without a sibling. Siblings are great companions. There is always someone to play with on “boring” days (which is every day, right?) Whenever you go somewhere, whether to a family event or on vacation, you always have someone else by your side. And from a parent’s point of view, living with a sibling teaches sharing, compromise and what it’s like to have to get along with someone even when it’s hard. I thought I had it all figured out.
What I quickly realized after I brought my son home, was that having two kids is nothing like having one. As a first-time parent, there are a lot of days when you feel like you have no idea what to do, so naturally, when the second child comes along you figure, I’ve got this. You think, I’ve done it once, so how hard could it be? Turns out it can be a lot harder. And more tiring.
When my kids were 2 and 5, my husband travelled a lot for work. Those were long days. I would work all day, while one was at daycare and the other was at kindergarten. Two different pick-ups, both stops in and out of the car seats. Then by the time we got home, all tired after our long days, it was time for dinner, a little playtime, bath and bed. I admit, on more than one occasion, I had a countdown in my head until the moment the house would be quiet. Bed times were usually the hardest, because like all kids, mine fought tooth and nail to stay up as long as possible. On the other hand, I knew how close I was to freedom and I was anxiously waiting for those little eyes to close. To avoid drama and maximize the ability of one parent, we invented “sleepovers”. One sibling would take the blanket from their bed and arranged them on the floor of the other’s room. This way I could read stories to both kids, while they were settling in getting ready to sleep. When the stories were over, I’d lay on the floor in the room with both of them for a few minutes and then quietly sneak out. Later I’d move the other one back to their bed. And cross my fingers that everyone slept through the night.
Having multiple children was exponentially harder than I anticipated it would be. But, with every passing day, the bonds they create and the lessons they learn from each other are priceless. If your kids are still young, hang in there, it gets easier. The days are coming where they will play together, entertain each other and all the long days will have been worth it.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.