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Anything more than One Child is like Ten Children

by Deborah Cruz

Every mother who has ever lived has looked at another mother and thought to herself, she’s got it all. Look how well she does mothering. She’s got her ish together. I remember looking longingly at my friend Sarah as she would get down on her knees and speak softly to her daughter when she’d done something wrong. For me, anything more than one child is like ten children but for Sarah 2 children were like 2 children and I never understood what I was doing wrong.

Now, before you get your panties in a wad, I KNOW that only children are no piece of cake. I know that you still face all the challenges as mothers with multiple children face. I understand that you are still overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated, like the rest of us. I’ve never once seen any of my friends with only children have time to sit around and eat bonbons. That’s not what I’m implying. I get all of that. I know its true.

When I only had one child, I was fatigued, stressed and had an extreme case of Mommy brain. I had all the same issues that I have now, but I could at least try to focus all of my attention on my one child and sometimes she even took naps so I got stolen moments to myself. I knew that my child was getting my undivided attention. As much as I thought my heart could not grow to accommodate another child, to my amazement it did.

I was so blinded my that new baby smell that I never let myself entertain the thought that anything more than one child is like ten children. I did, however, know that I could not simultaneously maintain my sanity and raise ten children. I come from big families, I’ve seen the collateral damage to the mothers in our family.

But I got cocky and thought to myself, “Hey, if I can handle one child, how hard can two be?” A common rookie mistake of tempting the fates. That is what I thought..until I was slapped in the face with the reality that I had to juggle a newborn and a toddler, multiply my diaper duty drastically, potty train while simultaneously trying to breastfeed,  one’s learning to assert her independence and the other one is completely dependent on me, which means chasing one while dragging the other along. I had to try and coordinate nap times, feeding schedules, Little Gym, ballet, Kindermusik, and schedule bath and bedtimes around the same time.

Not going to lie, I spent a lot of my time running on Dunkin…coffee that is and pure, unconditional love. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m really not sure how we made it through those early years but by the grace of God and a whole lot of letting things slide. There is no room for perfection in motherhood. You prioritize healthy babies and marital happiness over cleanliness. Let that sh*t go. Let it go.

To exacerbate the situation, absolutely everything I had to do for the newborn, I had to match or top for the toddler. She was having some regression issues. I had to push a double stroller, carry a car seat while holding, what can only be called, a child leash on my toddler. I had all my balls up in the air and was just waiting for them to come crashing down on top of my head. The fun is still happening. The difference, you see, between 1 and 2+ children is this; with 1 child you have all these duties and standards and you can focus all of your time and energy on that. You will not have a life of your own but your child’s needs will, for the most part, be met.

When you add another child to the mix, you have to divide your time and your attention. Your love will double but the rest will have to be divided. This is compounded by an extreme case of Mommy guilt because you always feel like one of your balls is dropping and you don’t want your child to pay the price. I mean seriously, who wants to be fodder for future therapy sessions?

When I say anything more than one child is like ten children, what I mean is it’s the hardest job that you’ll ever love.

With each child, we loosen our grip on some of our balls and some of our sanity. Unfortunately, the more balls that are in the air, the easier they are to drop.

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Nikki 2010/04/21 - 9:29 am

I only have one…and thats the reason I'm so scared and nervous to have a second. Granted the one is only 6 months. And yes I will have another one but it's still fricken scary!!! I applaud all the mothers out there because it's not easy but it is the most rewarding job there is!

Mrs. Beer 2010/04/21 - 10:56 am

AHH! Ok, so my husband and I are trying for a second, and I knew this kind of overwhelmingness (not a word, I know) existed but didn't want to believe it. As I was reading this post my inner self was telling me "DON'T DO IT! LOOK AWAY! STOP READING!!!!!!" But, alas, I read it. And now I'm scared… hahaha. I knew it. I just knew it!!

Truthful Mommy 2010/04/21 - 10:19 am

NO, need to be afraid. You can do it. It is awesome having two..they are the cutest little best friends I've ever seen. It's just hard on days when I am wearing myself thin. As long as you remember that being MOmmy is the priority and everything else is secondary, you will be fine. My problem is sometimes I forget and think I am like everyone else..you know people who have lives. That is where the confusion comes in, Then I set myself up fro failure. AS long as I remember my time and attention is very limited, I stay within my boundaries and don't find myself so overwhelmed. I think that is pretty common though, no matter how many kids we have:)

Truthful Mommy 2010/04/21 - 11:12 am

@ Mrs. Beer~Oh no! I am not trying to scare you ladies. I would not trade my 2 girls for anything or the chaos that they bring with them. The cuddles, and hug, all make up for it. Its just like labor and birth, no one can truly prepare for it. Some ladies are brilliant in a crunch and the stress doesn't phase them. Its all about knowing when to just let go of some of the battles. AS long as you keep your eye on the prize (your beautiful little children) you will be fine. Believe me, all moms go through this. It is our growing pains. You will find your way, and the kids probably won't even notice the stress you are under. They are resilient and oblivious most times to our chaos. My Mom had 6 kids, I don't know how she did it.It does however explain why she can tune out everything around her, is losing her hair, and has the long term memory of a pea! Poor lady! Seriously though, don't be afraid. There is a lot more fabulousness to having more than one child than there are troubling issues. Just today my post was focusing on the craziness, but you can see from my posts more times than not, I am gushing about their fabulousness.

Truthful Mommy 2010/04/21 - 11:13 am

And don't think I am totally turned off on the whole idea of more kids…I have my days when I actually think , "Hey, 3 can't be that much different that 2!" I never learn:)

Mrs. Beer 2010/04/21 - 6:02 pm

I'm just givin you a hard time! I always tend to romanticize things before they happen, so this is good for me to read. Like, before I had Avery I pictured my little angel always clean, tantrum-less, and smiling, and come to find out its takes a lot of work and a lot of frustration, but just like I couldn't prepare myself for the difficulty (and constant boughts disappointment!) I also had no idea how magnificent it would be to hear my little girl say "mama" for the first time or what getting unasked-for hugs and kisses would feel like. I feel ya!! I love your blog and really appreciate your honestly. xoxo

Finding My Weigh 2010/04/24 - 2:24 pm

I am SO with you on this one. We have a three year old and a 6 month old and are (of course) potty training right now…have been for the last 3 months! I've had to interrupt many a feeding to rush the little man to the potty!

I can only dream that it does get easier. Just know you have a kindred spirit!


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