Family planning is no one’s business but your own. That's why when random strangers think they're being funny by telling you you have your hands full with 2 kids at the grocery store, or make any sort of comment when you're pregnant and wrangling multiple children, they can kindly shut their mouths. However, there's nothing wrong with asking other parents what their experiences were like and seeing if they have any relevance to you. In fact, sharing stories among parents is how we bond and learn!
Families who are thinking of adding another baby have a lot to consider. One of the logistical things we wonder about is spacing between children. How many years apart should your kids be? The answer: whatever works for you. Some families are simply too overworked between scheduling, sleep, and life in general and want some time to themselves before adding a newborn into the mix again. Others want lots of kids and know they need to get busy so they still have time to enjoy their retirement without kids in the house. One of the factors important to me when planning for another was how independent my son would be when his sibling came, so we waited until he would be 2.5. I knew that I would have my hands full, and since we lived in the city, I wanted to make sure he was somewhat decent at listening. That way when I was pushing the stroller with his sister and he was running down the street or on his scooter, he would stop when I told him to, or hold my hand while crossing the street, etc. I also didn’t want to be changing two sets of diapers, so I made sure to tackle potty training before his sis was born. Basically anything to make life easier for me! In the end, we like to plan as much as we can, but it's important to remember that some things are just out of our control.
I’ve been asked and wondered if it was harder going from zero to one kid, or one to two (can't speak for more than that yet!). This definitely depends on the person, and differs in what you define as hard, because for me having a baby was something I felt kind of prepared for since I took care of my two nieces for a summer and saw both my older sisters caring for babies way before I had children. The other reason going from 0 to 1 child was not so bad, especially in hindsight, is that you’re only dealing with one baby schedule. Once you have 2 kids, you’re probably dealing with a child who either doesn’t nap or naps at a different time from your baby. Physically I felt like I bounced back a lot easier the second time around, but this probably depends on your labor. It was also easier because you’re not as clueless this time with a newborn, but you’re twice as tired, have twice the noise in the house, and are now facing new sibling challenges. I remember texting my friends soon after my second was born, “why did I think this was so hard with just one?” This is why moms of twins or more get a million kudos in my book!
The good thing is, things get better and hardships oftentimes come in waves. As your children age, it’s less physically challenging--you’re getting more sleep, they walk and feed themselves, and they become independent beings. However, other worries pop up with them navigating school and relationships, social interactions, and the real world. A wise mother and friend once told me that the early years of children is your time of sowing--you give a lot and don’t get much back from them. However, as they get older, that is your time of reaping--all the hard work, sweat and tears you have poured into them come to fruition to form the type of person they are. Whatever your family looks like in the end, there’s no question about it--raising children is hard, but extremely rewarding.