Friday, September 14th, 2007
Double, Double Toil and Trouble: How Much Work is Two Kids?
“If no one has warned you yet, let me be the firstâ€”two kids are 10 times as hard as one kid.”
The dad who told me that has 3-year-old and a 3-month-old boys. He works full-time in an office and the mom works up to 5 hours a week outside the home. The 3-year-old attends preschool a couple times a week.
So, do you think he’s right?
I figure the dynamics of a two-child household in the early years depend upon the ages and demeanors involved, particularly with regard to the older child.
For example, caring for a newborn while a 12-month-old runs around your home has got to be hectic. Or maybe twins are in the picture. Maybe there is a large age gap, as in the case of my mother who attended college while living at home when her sister was 2-years-old (and my mother majored in child development, too).
In my situation, I’ll have a well-behaved 4-year-old girl when our second child is born. In virtually every way she has been great. In my rosy fantasy world, I see our biggest problem being hurt feelings when we don’t let her help out with every aspect of baby rearing.
She is adamant that she will be changing the baby’s diapers for us, and I’m sure she doesn’t understand how much attention will be directed toward the infant.
Two kids obviously represent more work than one, but how much more? I’ve often heard it’s double the work, and a bit isolating, with each parent watching one child when it’s feasible.
To what degree does having an interested sibling learning from the experience temper the work? If you have two or more kids, what has been your experience?