Those immortal words one partner says to the other after the first baby has started sleeping through for a couple of nights, and they have forgotten the hell of the sleepless nights. After the hormones have made a shift, and suddenly a new baby seems like a brilliant idea. The pain of birth is a distant memory, and the idea of a baby brother or sister increasing your family is all you can think of.
A few years after my first baby I felt those feelings of longing. Eventually the second baby came along and I was indeed in heaven, it was a complete and utter dream, people would stop me in the street to say how happy I looked. This heaven cost me dearly I went on to have two more based on that crazy high.
So once the hormonal and initial high wears off what is real family life like with 1+ children? I asked a mother of three about the reality of a larger family before I had my second baby. She looked at me very seriously and said only, ‘it NEVER stops’, and she meant it. In a practical sense it literally never does stop. Unless you have those rare dream children who quickly sleep through the night, you are busy with children 24/7. They wake each other up, there’s always one awake early even if the others sleep. It’s extremely tiring. There are more children to get ready for school. More children to get ready for bed. More children to encourage to eat healthy. More hobbies and clubs to balance. More channels on the TV to argue over!
The novelty, however never wears off. Those magical moments when you look up and see your children playing together, hugging each other, helping each other, dancing, singing and dressing up together are priceless. You find yourself reaching for the camera to capture those moments and share with everyone and anyone you know because you can’t believe this is happening to you. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day when they’re falling over each other to show how much they love you are moments you will take to your grave.
When you walk down the street together or into a restaurant, and people stare at the parade that follows you. You can see people considering the combination of you and your husband resulting in these, very different, beautiful children. What immense pride you feel.
I often said that the best gift you could give your child was a sibling, however, you don’t miss what you never had. Having your parents all to yourself, all their attention and time invested in you can create an amazing childhood. Your love does definitely grow to envelop each child as they are born, there is no doubt in that. However, time and money do not necessarily grow at the same pace as your love, and there will inevitably be less for each child. There is no definite research to show that larger or smaller families make the child any happier or more successful. Happiness is down to individual families.
In practical terms parents need to think of their careers when considering more children because childcare is expensive. ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. Do you have supportive family and friends to help you? Is your relationship stable enough to take on more children? Are you ready to compromise your independence and free time further? Have you got the energy to take on another child? Parents feel infallible but they are not. Regardless to the answer to all of these questions it will come down to a desire, good luck or perhaps a little ‘accident’. Enjoy what you have.
Sara is British and has a Law Degree from there. She studied her MBA in the Netherlands and worked as a banker for five years. She made her ‘biggest career move’ when she became a mother and trailing spouse. Experiencing parenthood in various countries, circumstances and cultures including Prague for the last 2 years, Sara loves to analyse and learn how to make family life the best it can be.