Nomad Papa and I had always planned on having three kids. Anytime I met someone who had three kids, I would grill them relentlessly about their lives. “Is it a lot more work? How do you manage it? Do you feel outnumbered?” and 500 other questions that my inquiring mind wanted to know.
Do you know that every single parent of three I spoke to swore up and down that 3 kids were hardly any more work than 2! I would walk away breathing out a huge sigh of relief. Three wouldn’t be hard, we could do it!
Now that I am older, wiser and less sleep-deprived, I have come to a massive realization. Parents LIE. They lie all the time and, most importantly, they lie to each other. Kids are a fuck ton of work. I don’t care if you have one kid or ten kids, you are busy 24/7. And a big chunk of that time (aka the entirety of the toddler years) you are also miserable. Why? Because, I repeat, kids are a fuck ton of work. So why do we perpetuate this vicious cycle of lies? Let me explain.
Say you have one kid. You eventually get less sleep-deprived and manage to see glimpses of your former life. You can do this because you and your spouse can take turns holding the kid. You might never sit down to a meal or drink a beer together, but you can still do these things without holding a kid. Then people start nagging you to have a second kid. Other parents say, “no, it is much easier with the second kid because you have all of the knowledge from the first one.” You don’t question their motives. You just buy into it.
Since you only have one kid at this point, you can find time to bump uglies with your spouse (or go to 100 different fertility treatments, or however you get the second one). Everyone keeps on perpetuating the myth that #2 is so much easier than #1. Then you have #2 and discover that you have spent 9+ months eating spoonfuls of bullshit.
#2 is twice as much work as #1. First off, they are the total opposite of #1 in every way possible. So whatever little tricks you used on #1 do not work on #2. Then you realize that the combination of sleep deprivation and pregnancy brain have caused you to completely black out the first 18 months of your first child’s life. You are pretty sure that you were all together during the time, but you can’t come up with any specifics to save your life. “Did he/she start teething that early? Did I start with fruits or veggies? When did he/she start to sit up?” No fucking clue. So you gotta dig the books back out again and relearn the basics.
Somewhere in the midst of this turmoil (likely the moment when you find yourself sitting on the toilet with two screaming children in your lap while trying to convince your bladder that now is not the moment to have performance anxiety), you begin to hate everyone that told you that 2 kids were no more work than 1. You make a pact with yourself that you will never tell anyone that kids are “not too much work” or that having 2 kids “isn’t that much harder than having 1”.
Fast forward a week or so to your next playgroup outing. You will be there in stained clothing and will spend the entire time chasing one child or the other. During one of your 100 trips with a kid to the snack table, you will pass a group of moms who are (gasp) sitting down and having a conversation. Combed hair, pressed jeans and a tea cup in hand. Bitches. And what do they all have in common? They only have ONE kid.
Then one of them will innocently mention that they are thinking about having a second kid. At that moment, all pacts with yourself will go flying out the window. You suddenly see your opportunity to bring those perfectionists down to your level. You will hear yourself say the words you swore never to say, “Oh, you should definitely do it. Going from one kid to two is hardly any more work. You already know everything and it is much, much easier.” And then you walk away quickly so that they don’t notice the smirk on your face.
So now you know why this multi-kid myth continues. It is because, in the end, misery loves company. I would much rather hang out with the moms who are just as frazzled as I am, than be reminded of my own stupidity in believing the more kids didn’t equal more work. That’s why, if you meet me in real life, you should not be surprised to hear my say, “2 Kids are great. You should do it!” Really, it is flattery at it’s best. I don’t do it because I hate you. I do it because I need a new bitching buddy. So get on out there and procreate, people!