When I was pregnant with my second child, I was terrified of what “motherhood” was about to become for me. It seemed as though everyone enjoyed nothing more than regaling me with their most traumatic horror stories about what life with two kids would be like. As such, I entered into my new endeavor feeling more than a bit scared about what my life was about to look like, but guess what? I was surprised to discover that it really wasn’t as bad as I had expected.
Here’s why having a second baby really isn’t as scary as everyone makes it seem.
1. Baby # 2 is born to actual parents.
Your first baby is born to clueless individuals who have no idea what it is like to be a parent. I had an undergraduate degree in child development and years of experience working with children and families, and I still felt like I was mostly flying blind as I navigated my way through first time parenthood.
The first time around, you have no idea what it feels like to be truly sleep-deprived or how you handle such physical strain. You have no idea who you are as a mom or dad yet, and you probably have only a vague understanding of how to care for a human child (thank goodness for the internet!).
When you have your second baby, you already know the ropes. You know what babies are like. You know that sleep deprivation is challenging, but you’ve figured out how to compensate as best you can. You also know who you are as a parent, which is huge.
2. You already have most of the gear.
While having the right gear may not be the biggest stress of having kids, it’s kind of nice knowing you already have most of the things you’ll need. Car seats, nasal aspirators for that first snotty cold, medicine for that first fever… you’re already stocked up.
3. You will be way more relaxed.
Second-time parents are way more chill than first-timers, and I am saying that as a self-proclaimed Type-A worrier. Even those of us who are more tightly wound than others will find a bit more zen the second time around. You will probably worry a whole lot less about every tiny noise your baby makes and about the timing of every developmental milestone. It may also be that you simply have less time to worry than you did the first time around (highly likely), but either way, I’ll take it!
4. You have an extra helper.
Even if you’re older child is still fairly little, it’s always nice having an extra helper. My kids are all right around two years apart and the older kids loved helping with even the smallest of tasks. Picking a dropped pacifier off the ground, grabbing a diaper, or just making the baby giggle — the extra hands are still much appreciated.
5. You are way more confident.
Even though there will definitely be times when having two kids gets a bit hairy, you’ll feel way more confident in your ability to handle it. You’ll have a few tools stored in your tool kit and will feel way less clueless about what to do when new situations and challenges arise. You’ve got this!
6. You get to appreciate how simple the newborn stage is.
OK, I know it sounds crazy, but newborns are actually pretty easy. I am in no way attempting to diminish how challenging it is to have a newborn as a first-time parent, because that was maybe the hardest thing I have ever done. That said, once you go through the tiny baby stage a second time, you have the benefit of having gained perspective the first time around — and it can really alter your view. Even though being sleep-deprived never gets any easier, you’ll be able to better appreciate the simplicity of a newborns needs compared to an older child.
7. You stop majoring on the minors.
As a more seasoned parent, you simply figure out which things really don’t matter. Those things will be different for every parent, but knowing what is important (and what truly isn’t) and what battles you are willing to pick really is a huge help in parenting.
Remember, having two kids will definitely come with new logistical challenges, but I promise that it doesn’t have to be scary and overwhelming. Don’t listen to the horror stories — be excited in knowing that you get to make a story that is all your own.