Two kids are a) more than twice the work or b) exactly twice or…

I want to continue the discussion about having a second child. I have two kids. I never thought about having less. Sure, I’ve thought about more, but the feeling that my family is complete has stopped me. Perhaps I’ll never give up on the fantasy of a victory baby that gets conceived the old-fashioned way, but let’s hope that by the time I’m fifty, I’ll have moved on.

Anyhow, I’ve heard people say that two kids are “more than twice the work”, and I wonder if you guys with two kids agree. Increasingly, I observe that just having one of them around feels like half the work. With only one child in my charge, there are fewer obstacles to pleasure and less conflict resolution. (However, I do adore how much my children play together and think it’s wonderful for them AND for me.)

I am no longer embarassed to put in writing that I was afraid of being left alone with my own two children when my daughter was a small baby. I hated that feeling. I felt sad and ashamed to feel unequipped to care for the kids I chose to have, but I didn’t want my husband to leave the house. (That phase passed, by the way. Now he can travel for three or four days without me calling in for reinforcements.)

In terms of logistics, I’m torn on assessing the load. On one hand, I’ve got so much knowledge gained from my first child, that the second one doesn’t require as much research or anxiety. We already had a pediatrician, know how to hire a babysitter, knew what to expect in terms of breastfeeding and sleeping. We didn’t research preschools for #2 because we already had one we liked. And so on.

On the other hand, I currently have kids at two different schools. That’s two drop-offs, two pickups, and two different vacation schedules, which sometimes don’t align. On Halloween, I went back and forth three times between the two schools for parades and parties in order to be there for both of my children. A special event for one child might require finding childcare for the other one. In these cases, perhaps it is more than twice the work. But my personal mathematical definitions makes it add up to exactly twice.

What do you think? Is each additional child of equal weight in demands on the parents? Does it depend on their spacing? Let’s not forget how much the first child rocks one’s world. Did you feel that your second child was as much an adjustment as the first?