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Should you have a second child?

The feat of surviving the first year is something first-time parents would like to pat themselves on the back for, many times over. So, it can be annoying when, soon after, they start getting nudges and winks in the direction of giving your only child a sibling. Depending on how they've done so far, some parents may completely decline thinking in that direction. Others may actually consider going for it.

Should you have a second child, or are you happier being an only-child family? A look at some pros and cons for making the important decision.

Having a second child is a big decision that only the couple themselves can truly evaluate. After all, how many of your family, friends, and relatives asking you about a second child would be there to actually lend a helping hand?

Raising a child is hard work, and although raising two may not mean double the work, it's still a lot of work. Many parents spend a long time at the crossroads of deciding on a second child. Because once you go for it, there's no looking back.

Should you have a second child at all? There's so much to consider when making this decision, that it's worth looking at it from a pros and cons angle.

Pros:


- Your child gets a sibling: Many kids have a happy childhood without a sibling, and it doesn't have a major impact on them when they grow into adults. But the relationship that siblings share is unique and special, and if you get to give your child that, it's wonderful.

- You've already gone down that road once: You kind of know what to expect. You've probably mastered diaper changes, baths, and feedings. So, there are many things that won't be new to you. You're already an established parent, and all you need to do now is use that experience to guide you.

- Your baby will have company besides you: You won't be the sole entertainment for your baby anymore. Even seeing their sibling around will give your baby a sense of comfort, so you'll be off the hook more often. Think about it, you'll probably be able to shower more freqently!

- You'll experience the beauty of a baby again: We might not say it, but we do miss the baby days when out first-born grows up. And it's true, the baby phase is ceratinly memorable. The joy of watching your baby grow, and reach milestones is amazing.

- You can correct your earlier mistakes: More than once, I've had thoughts of how I would do things differently if I could go back to when I became a mom. Many of us have those thoughts. Well, a second baby is your chance to do things differently, and not repeat your first-timer mistakes.


Cons:


- Every child is different: You may have any number of kids, but each one will be different. Right from their sleeping habits to their personalities, every child is different that way. So, while you know what to expect, in a way, you don't.

- Considering the finances: Having a baby does add to your financial expenditure and responsibility, including the maternity costs. You and your partner need to sit down and decide if you're ready to bear the financial expenses. During the trying newborn phase, the last thing you want to stress about is money.

- Career wise: If you're a working or work-at-home mom, you have an additional question to answer: Can I afford to take time off from my career at this point? You need to chart your career so that the time you take off for maternity leave won't impact you in a big way. It usually doesn't, but that sense of security is also important for your own happiness.

- Routines have to be re-set: Initially, everyone is the house will have to accept disturbances in routine. Newborns have a way of doing that! Depending on the age of your first child, this may be easy or difficult. Children closer in age adapt faster to each other. On the other hand, older kids can prepare for the changes beforehand.

- You might have new challenges: Planning anything with two kids will be complicated. Whether you're hiring a babysitter, or looking for daycare, schedules will have to be matched. Playdates will have to favourable to both. Birthday party invites, sports practice, or anything that your older child goes to will have to be carefully planned.

Parents of more than one child may say that the 'cons' above only last while you're adjusting to the new baby, and soon, life falls into place. You may swing between the decision to have a second child for a long time before you decide either way. For the longest time, we felt that our son would be an only child. Parenting seemed so hard! But now, we want him to have a sibling, and we would like another child in our family.

Whatever you decide, make the decision your own. Your family can be complete with one child or more.

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