I recently read a blog that gave 5 reasons why your second child has it easier. I read it and couldn't disagree more. I realized that my two children, even though my parenting is very much the same, are growing up completely different. Just having the other sibling has an effect on the other one's life so greatly that it makes everything different.
Here are my reasons why my second child has it harder than my first.
Less Mommy time.
This is the biggest give in. The truth is, no matter how much you try to manage your time there will be less mommy time for both children once there is another child in the mix. This is natural, you are only one person after all. But my first child had 100% of my attention which means she never had to cry for anything. I got to her needs before she even knew she needed something. Diaper changes where usually in the middle of her actually doing her business which means I was changing a diaper after I already changed a diaper. I feed her at the first sign of hunger. I watched her sleep in her crib and she spent many hours of her first year sleep on my chest on the couch. Nothing would interrupt me cuddling with my first daughter. Now, I'm lucky I can get through nursing without having to get up for something. There is no quiet day dreaming while a baby cuddles up to me. Its a lot of cleaning up toys, spills in the kitchen from my oldest trying to pour her own drinks, and a rush of the morning routine.
Routine rules now
The daily routine that revolves around my oldest makes my youngest the second priority. There were no routines when my youngest was a baby. She always woke up naturally. I made doctor appointments around her usually nap times and feeding schedules. Life revolved around my oldest daughter's routine. Life still revolves around my oldest's routines and my youngest has to follow this schedule. I have to wake up the baby in order to get my oldest to the bus stop on time. Sometimes I'm also waking her from her nap to get her sister from the bus in the afternoon. I put off nap time for dance class on Saturdays. Doctor appointments are made whenever I can make it work between school bus pick up, drop off, driving distance now that we live in a town with the better school district when we used to live right by the doctor's office. Life is just busy with another child.
With more children, you accumulate more stuff. I have my living room jam packed with baby stuff. There is a swing, an exersaucer, a bouncy seat, changing pad, a package of wipes, a small stack of diapers, blankets on every piece of furniture, and a pack'n play in the corner I can unfold if I need it. I had all these things for my oldest, in fact, most of them are my oldest child's. But when it comes to toys my oldest doesn't want to part with many of her stuff animals and even a few baby toys because she is very attached to them. Her glow worm for instance, was one of her lovelies growing up. She wants to save it for her children and doesn't want her sister chewing it anymore than it already is. I get that, I'm the oldest in my family as well. Though I parted with things, there are some things that are just "sacred". But this means more stuff of my oldest daughter's in my second bedroom, the one that eventually both girls will share, an little room for my youngest daughter to have. My youngest is spread out between three rooms. She has one toy box in the second bedroom, one toy bin in the living room, and a few toys in a basket in my room along with her crib, and a few other items. Her clothes are in a dresser in the second bedroom but her sheets and blankets are in my bedroom and her bibs are in the kitchen. My youngest daughter really has no place of her own.
Hand me downs
Even with the large gap between my two children, the majority of my youngest daughter's things are hand-me-downs. Everything from clothes, to nursery items, to toys are passed down from big sis. Few things have been bought for my youngest which brings me to my last point.
Lack of quality
Hand-me-downs are only a part of my youngest daughter's wardrobe. The rest is bought at stores like Walmart and Target at the lowest price. My oldest daughter got beautiful clothes. I went through this phase of buying nothing but classic Winnie the Pooh items, then it was Disney Princesses. Everything was pink and pretty. With my youngest, its whatever was the least expensive. Her baby bathtub is ugly and doesn't have the sprayer attachment like her sister's had. Her infant car seat doesn't match the stroller (which also matches the swing and highchair. Yup, its all from big sis). Her bowls and bibs are cheap solid colored nothing special when big sis got everything Princess from the Disney store. Children are expensive and with each one added to the list, the less money you have.
It can be tough being the second child, though it can be true for the oldest as well. It can tough being the pet when a new baby comes along. I think the phrase "the grass is always greener." applies here. I would love to revist this topic when both kids are older. Time might just change how things are done around here.