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The reality of life when your second child arrives

The saying goes: If your first child eats dirt, you call the doctor, if your second child eats dirt, you wipe his mouth, if your third child eats dirt, you wonder whether he really needs tea as well.  It always generates a wry smile from knowing mothers and I think pretty well sums up the how your attitude changes as you have more children.  As a founder of The Bump Class, I prepare women for the arrival of their first babies on a daily basis.  One of the key pieces of information I impress on them is to focus on enjoying motherhood and having fun with your child, rather than obsessing about doing everything perfectly.  But try as I do, there’s no better stimulus for this, than when the second baby arrives.

Parents often spend weeks researching how to introduce the new sibling to their child.  Having behaved like indentured servants to their feudal lord, pandering to their child’s every whim, parents are understandably worried about how the apple of their eye will react to having to relinquish absolute power.  And with good reason.  Put yourself in their shoes.  They’re delighted with the status quo, and then suddenly it all changes.  A friend of mine put this into perfect perspective when I was pregnant with my second.  “Can you imagine your reaction if Ben came home one day and said, ‘My darling, you know I love you very, very much.  In fact I love you so much that I’m going to get another wife so that we can all be one happy family.  Isn’t it exciting?’ ”

The reality is that as second time parents, we probably overthink it.  While an emotionally over indulged toddler will certainly put her concerned parents through a few tantrums, they generally adapt to the change far more easily than their exhausted and fearful parents.   Because, while nothing can prepare you for the shock of having one baby, not many parents realise that for some extraordinary reason, two children is more than double the work.  

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