Monday, 18 May 2009

Two children are harder than one!

Last night I was in bed by 7.30pm. Seriously. I'd put aside the evening to write a post, read some blogs and generally fiddle around with the computer until I was too tired to keep my eyes open. Strangely, the 'too tired to keep my eyes open' bit happened the moment the children were in bed rather than about 5 hours later, which is usually the case.

But instead of seizing the opportunity to finally catch up on some much-needed rest, I decided to text a few friends to tell them that I was, at that precise moment, in bed dying of exhaustion. (I always love a bit of drama even when I'm too tired to lift a limb). A few texts of sympathy came back and a few wondering what was wrong - was I ill? Had something out of the ordinary happened? The answer, of course, was in the negative. Ok, so I had had a little cold for the past fews days, but nothing major. No, the reason for my life-threatening exhaustion was simply the fact that I'd spent the entire weekend running around after two extremely demanding children with no husband (don't ask - away working again). But hey, if you read this blog, you'll know that that's pretty par for the course.

What's not so much par for the course is a huge school festival complete with climbing wall, face-painting, owl sanctuary, belly-dancing, bag-making, hot-dog eating. The list goes on. But as exciting as it sounds, when you've got two children who both want to run off in opposite directions, it is, how shall I put this? Rather unrelaxing.

Renée wanted to go on the climbing wall, Edie wanted to eat a hot dog, an ice-cream and some rather fluorescent, sticky-looking candy floss. Then Renée wanted to eat and Edie wanted to climb. Except she couldn't because she's too young, although she didn't know that and so after spending half an hour in the queue for the climbing wall only to witness her sister being fitted for a harness and not her, she was understandably upset. Very much so. She cried. A lot. And very loudly. But I couldn't take her away because by this time, Renée was half-way up the wall. So we stood there watching, me trying my hardest to comfort a sticky, snotty and heartbroken Edie. And when Renée's bottom lip started to quiver as soon as she looked down and realised how high she'd climbed, I had to breathe deeply. Two hysterical children was not going to be easy.

So I whisked both of them away to the owl sanctuary, hoping for a more sedate time. But much to the dismay of at least two of us, I was told Renée could hold an owl, but Edie was too young. More tears. (Edie's, not mine - although I was close by this point). It was then that I spied some friends who, after a careful assessment of the situation, decided that they would take Renée off my hands. Perhaps I was looking a little more dishevelled than I had realised. It was a revelation. I can't tell you how relaxing it was. Edie wanted to have her fingernails painted. She may only be two and a half, but what the heck, she had her fingernails painted. Bright pink. She loved it. She rolled down the hill in a plastic barrel, put a pin in a treasure hunt map, jumped on a bouncy castle...and all the time she was doing this I didn't have to keep looking over my shoulder to see where Renée had run off to. And the piece de resistance - I even persuaded a man at the owl sanctuary to let her hold an owl. I don't think I've ever seen her so happy - it was all I could do to stop her from kissing it.

And that's when it occurred to me that being a parent of one child is fun...being a parent of two children is hard work. Someone once told my husband that having one child was like having a pet, and having two was like running a zoo. (And having three or more, well suggestions for descriptions would be welcome - suffice to say, I don't think we'll get that far). I have to say, I found myself looking at parents with one child rather enviously...I even saw a few of them having conversations! Now I know things will get easier, especially when the girls are old enough to do the same things, but in the meantime, husband please come're needed (again). But until that happens, I may just have a few more early nights...


  1. I'm with you there MT! Until you have your 2nd, you have no idea how good you had it with just the one.

    Those precious moments bonding with your babe over some sticky craft activity are just too much of a headache to contemplate with an inquisitive toddler climbing on the table, trying to grab Older Sibling's work of art. And curled up reading Paddington together is not quite the same when younger child crawls all over you insisting on Postman Pat instead.

    I think the only way forward in terms of maintaining one's sanity is to engineer occasional solo moments with each. My youngest still has a decent lunch-time nap so Maya and I steal that time to do Mummy & Daughter stuff together. And when she's at nursery, Joss and I get to do jigsaws and make music uninterrupted. It's so blissful to devote my attention to just the one child and I relish the fun we have then.

    Having said that, they both love hanging out 'a deux' so I think it's only us that suffer with the mega juggling act that is multiple babes!

  2. Sounds exhausting. I have one child and i guess it is kind of like haiving a pet. Not sure I would do so well with two though.

  3. You are so right. A friend said to me that when you have your second child you wonder what you did with all your spare time when you 'only' had one. And then a friend who has 3 said she wonders what she did with all her time when she only had two. My brain melted at that point!

  4. Ah yes, I remind myself all the time that it could be worse, I could have two. One is hard work, but not so difficult to organise as two.

    It will get easier when they are a bit older. That is, until they become teenagers and fight constantly! Good luck! ;)

  5. I so don't need to read that at the moment! I will pretend I didn't and bask in the ignorance of still being one plus bump. Alternatively, I'll just make sure Chris keeps working for/with me and never goes off working all over the place all the time. And definitely stop at two!

    It's great that your friends gave you the opportunity to go round just with Edie, though. Sounds like she really enjoyed it in the end.

  6. Awww bless you, it does get easier, hang on in there.
    You got me thinking though....maybe they could start a 'rant-a-hubby' scheme.
    You could hire one to give you a hand for a few hours and then send him back when you've had enough.

  7. Hello! I wondered where you were.

    When I had my first child, it put me off for 12 years, then I had two more in little over a year and its put me off for life!

    One kid is a doddle - two a nightmare and three....well, I'm here in body but not in mind!

    Hope Hubby comes home soon - but we're here for you. RMxx

  8. Ok I am going to buck the trend here and say actually having four is easier than two and even.... hold your breath in anticipation.. I might go so far as to say easier than having one! No I haven't been driven mad byt the little munchkins, but when there was one all my time was taken up entertaining and watching him. When I had two I remember quite vividly the sort of scene you were describing. However once past this phase, when third child was a baby, children number one and two could help!!! Now Child number four is here I have two (possibly three) helpers and watchers of small person when I need the loo etc. Oh and I suspect I'm a lot more lax than I should be :S Get some rest and hop you have more energy tomorrow :)

  9. Mamma Po - Yeah it's so hard to find time alone with either of them - but when I do I (we) have such fun that it almost makes me a bit sad! But they do have each other, of course, and that alone is worth it's weight in gold...

    Marathoner - I'm sure you'll find out what it's like with two!! I have to say though that with one you can almost pretend you're still single - you can just cart them around doing the things you used to do before children. Whereas when the second comes along, it then becomes a lot more about them - ferrying them to different activities, etc. But, as MGM says below, it's not the same for everyone!

    BiB - That's so true. I actually wonder about all the time I wasted whilst pregnant with my first - I just sat around getting fatter marvelling at being pregnant, but when the baby came along I was annoyed that I hadn't got anything done before!!

    Working Mum - Yes indeed - to both parts. Enjoy your one...and we can all await teenagerdom with trepidation!

  10. Tasha - Do you know what? - I thought about you when I was writing this post and that you would possibly scream at me when you read it. Yes, best to pretend you didn't read it I think!! Ignore me. I'm just ranting. I love having two children!!!

    magnumlady - Now that is a fantastic idea!!! Actually, I think they have something liek that going on down here in Brigthon - although it's for things like hammering in a nail or changing a lightbulb!! Not sure I really need a husband for that. But yes, it will get easier I'm sure of that...(she says, looking around frantically for something wooden to touch)!!

    Rebel Mother - Yes sorry for not being around. I blame my children obviously!! You are hilarious though. Bless you many times over. xxx

    MGM - Yes actually I know this to be the case when you have quite a few. My Mother was one of 7 and I think the older ones were old enough to be extremely helpful when the little ones were born!! With two it's a bit trickier. ALthough having said that, Renée is still very helpful and caring with her sister. I'm going to hang on in there for a while because I know it will get better!!

  11. Oh it's so nice to hear someone say it's hard work with two, my youngest is just two and I find it so tough. I can't tell you how envious I am that you were in bed by 7.30, my children just don't sleep. Sleep for them before 9pm is excellent, 10pm good, 11pm normal and midnight not unusual. I always wanted three children but I have decided it is an absolute no way!

    Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog, I love your too so will become a follower in a sec :)

    Mel xxx

  12. Oh dear, with number two on the way, feeling quite scared.....was hoping to be all smug and "ha ha, I actually know what I'm doing this time around". Obviously no hope. Although, in line with previous comments, I was talking to a doctor who's wife had number 5 on the way (FIVE!!) and said that, obviously, one is life changing, and two is harder, but get past three, and it's just an extra head to note though that he is at work all day and not the stay at home Daddy!

  13. This is precisely why we're sticking to one kid and one kid only. She will be spoiled and I will attempt to not get too tired running around after just her!

  14. I'm so glad it's not just me! You would think the biggest change in your life is going from no children to one child, and of course your life will never be the same again, but there is huge leap from one to two too.

    Also thank you for the warm welcome to blogging :-)

  15. OMG Emily! you've just wrote my life apart from the fact that I have my husband around... You are my hero to cope on your own most of the time!
    That time I spent alone with Elliott in APril was bliss and coming back to 2 was tough... I keep telling myself it gets better :)

  16. OMG... I'm knackered from just reading this! We decided (very) soon after Small Child was born that we would stop at one. She is amazing and gives us everything we want. Everyone said oh no you'll change your mind... then when we didnt appear to be waivering they all started saying Oh no... you CANT just have one. Uh excuse me but I do believe its my uterus?!
    It myst be tiring now but as you say you will reap the rewards as they get older and it'll all be worth it. No matter what size the family... as long as they're loved is what matters the most. And your girls certainly sound like they have plenty of that to go around! Youre a fab mum!

  17. I like that; 1 is a pet, 2 is a zoo thing! It's so true too. Life was so sedate and slow before Small Sprog came along. I feel a complete failure sometimes because I never seem to get enough time to do more than play taxi service these days.

  18. Someone once told me that with each 'extra' child the workload doubles. She had 5, so she should know! I stuck at 2, and I just know that was a very wise decision.

    It does get easier as they get bigger you know. Well, it gets physically easier. The mental and emotional stuff more than makes up for it though ;-)


  19. Shabby Chick - Hi and thanks for coming over! Yeah - two is ridiculously hard. Some people say the transition from none to one is the hardest - but I found the transition from one to two even harder...I think it was a huge shock that I really didn't even have a second to myself - especially after I had enjoyed having one so much - I thought I knew what I was doign at that having two would be a doddle!! Not so... Oh you poor thing with the sleeping. The only way I think I manage to cope at all is to get them in to bed early...and 7.30 was actually pretty late for them - it was only because we'd been over to a friend's house! But like everyone says, it does get easier!

    allgrownup - yeah just as I said to Tasha above - when I wrote this post I was thinking about the two of you because you're both pregnant with your second (and both suffering from SPD incidentally - so you should pop over and pay her a visit) - and I thought this might scare you a bit - but everyone has different experiences and loads of people I know say that having two was much easier than one...Now 5 - crazy crazy people!!

    Margarita - Precisely!!! Although the one good thing about having two is that they have each other to play with...(got to find a bonus somewhere)!!

    Sandy - exactly - just as I was saying to Shabby Chick above - I think I was prepared enough when the first came along to actually enjoy it. When the second came along I thought it would be easy...but it was such a shock. It was way more than double the work (and there was definitely no time to sleep at the beginning)...Welcome to blogging btw - I'm sure you'll have a blast x

  20. PHM - It's such a relief to have empathy sometimes - even if it doesn't help on a practical level - it's so nice to know you're not the only one!!! So thank you! Yeah, I think you forget sometimes how to have fun with your children because it's such a grind. I relly enjoyed my time alone with Edie - just as you did with Elliot - and it's also so important for the children too...But it will get better - for both of us!!

    that girl? Hee hee - you do make me laugh! Yes, indeed - whose uterus is it?? I get the same sometimes too - only because we have two girls and some people can't imagine we don't want to try for a boy...Please, no, I'm (happy!) with two!! And you're right - the most important thing is that they're loved...

    Suburbia - Yeah it always makes me laugh that's so true...but you can't believe it unless you have more than one. Life is never the same again! But, no way are you a's the hardest job in the world being a parent and none of us can be fantastic every single day of our lives...I certainly know I'm not (although I can always pretend)!!

    Kitty - yeah you're right - physically it gets easier but then the whole teenage crisis thing comes in to play and the world is a drama. Can't say I'm looking forward to that much!!! Thin you did right to stop at 2....

  21. I shall just have to take your word for it. Because I do not intend having any more than the one I've got, who believe me, is probably the equivalent to three!!

    CJ xx

  22. What? I thought the early nights were limited to when you have an infant? So they lie when they tell you with the 2nd everything gets easier? HA! I knew it. Have to send this link to Big M. I am completely exhausted with ONE BABY; how on earth are you coping??? Off to have a nap now. Life's exciting, woo-hoo... xx MM

  23. CJ - I think you're probably right there!! Although don't let me put you off ;-))

    Met Mum - Ha ha. Well it does depend of course! Some people find it much easier with two...You'll just have to find out for yourselves!!

  24. It will get easier when they get bigger. However, I do spend most of my time refereeing my four kids. That wipes me out! I have three boys and one little girl. The boys have tons of energy. I walk around pretty much exhausted whenever I have to keep an "eye on them" outside. It is good though that they can keep each other busy at times - as long as they are not wrestling each other too!

  25. I'm sorry I always visit your blog only to laugh at your reality posts, but they are so funny to me. I always thought it was easier with two until reading your post. I don't think I would have gone without two more hands (lol).

  26. Imagine what a multiple birth would be like. A 12-year age gap was bad enough. They still squabbled.

  27. septembermom- Hi there - and thanks for stopping by! You know - I always get embarrassed when I say how difficult it is with two children and then find out the person I'm speaking to has 3 or 4 (or more)!! It must be extremely hard for you...well done for sounding so on top of things. And yes, I know it will get easier. I'm just about hanging on in there...!

    MOMSWEB - OOh never apologise for stopping by (even if you laugh at me). I love it really!! Yeah, one or two or three or more - it all depends on the parents and the circumstances as to who finds what hard. I think I find two hard because I'm often on my own...

    Maddie - I know - I think that would have pushed me over the edge! Although at least with a multiple birth the babies or children want and need the same things at the same time - whereas with two children of different ages their needs are so different - and that is the difficult thing!

  28. Thank you for visiting my blog.

    One husband and an elderly mother in her second childhood is enough for me!

  29. Yes, I think having children of different ages and different requirements is totally demanding. Anyone can look after one child! Easy peasy! Glad you were rescued from your oldest for a short while giving you some peace & the youngest a chance to do some of the things that smaller children love. Glad about the owl. What a kind man.
    Many thanks for visiting me.

  30. You have GOOD friends! I just nodded my head through this whole post and had NO problem figuring out why you needed to hit the bed by 7.30 :-)

  31. Hi, we love your blog and would like to invite you to list it in our Blog Directory at

  32. Chesire Wife - Yes quite! And I hope your Mother is settling in to her new home.

    Maggie - Exactly - 10 children of the same age - easy. Two children of different ages - impossible! (Almost). And yes, spending time with my little one on her own was good fun - it doesn't happen like that very often.

    ibhh - Yes - and I just know you understand. Although you possibly have it even harder than me! Let's get out the chocolate together...

    Big Blog - Hello. Fantastic - I'm coming on over.

  33. God, I am never EVER letting my husband read this! I'm still trying to change his mind and convince him that a second child woulc be a good idea... everyone I know with two feels the same at this stage though - it's the randomness of a toddler without the control of a parent of one...

  34. Sparx - Now please don't let me put you off! If you read some of the comments above you'll see that other people don't find it so hard. Don't listen to a word I say (I just like to have a good moan) - but it really is BLOODY difficult. Like I said, don't listen to me ;-)