Friday, January 11, 2013

Some mommy analysis

When my husband and I started talking about having our second child, I remember thinking (naively) how much more work could that possibly be. My oldest had reached the magical age of 18 months and seemed, relatively, independent. He could play by himself for a bit, ask for what he wanted in perfect toddler English, and feed himself. I felt free and liberated. I could handle one more kid. It would just be double the work, right?

I'll pause while all the other moms of two kids have a moment to laugh.

The thing is that one more child does not mean doubling your workload. It means quadrupling it. I'm wasn't sure how it happened - it was just one more child's laundry, songs, feeding, hugging, bedtimes, playdates, etc. Yet, I know that I did way more work than I did with my first. I was confused. I needed an answer so I started doing some mommy analysis. Finally, I had an epiphany.

I hadn't figured in that having two children also means managing two personalities, and it's that job that creates so much of the work. When I had just my son, I never said "Ethan, that's Lilah's and you can share it with her, but you can't just rip it out of her hand." "Lilah, please stop screaming. Your brother did not hit you. He is not even in the room." I certainly didn't say those things, and another 100 like them, each at least 10 times a day.

The job got exponentially harder not because I had another child's laundry, bedtime or daytime routines to add in. It's because teaching two children how to be kind, considerate and loving siblings may be the most difficult job I have. I imagine that working with a four-year-old and one-year-old on this is somewhat like trying to get Democrats and Republicans to reach a compromise on taxes.

However, it's also the most rewarding and amazing job I could ask for. Nothing makes me feel better than when my son brings his sister her teddy just because or my daughter offers her brother his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I got this, I think. I could have another one, right? I mean, how much more work could it possibly be?

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