Most child-rearing advice is for first-timers.
But it’s the second baby who rocks the boat.
career-family clash comes after the second, not the
first child. With one kid, a couple
can fudge childcare
issues. With two, dad either steps up to the plate
or mom becomes exhausted. One baby is a charmer at
the coffee shop. Two toddlers make you a menace to
every adult there. No wonder having two makes one
Yet there are ways to make the leap from one to two
*Befriend People in Your
Path. It’s hard to maintain a
social life with two little kids, especially
with other mothers in the same boat. Somebody’s
naptime will always sabotage the best-laid plans,
making friends from your first play group feel
unreachable. Befriend the parent at story time
at the library. She’s already there.
*Spend time alone with
your firstborn. The parenting guides
make you feel so guilty about having a second
that you think you've got to take your older
child to Disney World. Instead, take your firstborn
out alone on errands while someone else watches
the baby. She'll love being together, and you'll
get to the drycleaners.
*Do not think of having
sex in the kitchen. Sex after the second
is a feat matched only by getting anywhere on
time. It doesn’t happen without determination.
It won’t happen if planned over the dinner
dishes. This advice, from Vicki Iovine, beats
anything from Spock and Sears. How to jump in
the sack with that man you’ve barely spoken
to for the din? Remember your early party days.
biceps, and ask him to carry the kids out
the door. Men have the muscles for parenting
more than one. They also have an instinct for
self-preservation that can be valuable to emulate
amidst the demands of two small, adorable people.
If his earplugs seemed crass with the first’s
cries, you may want to borrow them now.
*Prepare for a demotion
and a doubling of the opposition forces. The
most amusing mom is no match for a brother or
sister’s antics. And siblings in cahoots
are at least as challenging as sibling rivalry.
Can’t find the kids at bedtime? Look for
small feet sticking out of the closet.
*Bag the family dinner
early on. Feed them in the car. Feed
them at the park. Feed them, if you must, in
the bath. But don’t expect the dinner table
to unify the family for a while. In the food-throwing
years, some mothers have been known to consider
killing their families over dinner.
*Shop for yourself, not
your new addition. The second child
doesn’t know the difference between hand-me-downs
and his thumb. There may, however, be a direct
correlation between the state of a woman’s
underwear and her self-esteem. Boost the later
by purchasing a bra that fits. And treat yourself
to Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a
(c) 2010 Jennifer Bingham Hull.
Reprint rights granted as long as the article is published in its
entirety, including the resource box and its live links.