First Child vs. Second Child: The Parenting Myths & The Truths About Them

Before I had my second child, I was terribly nervous after hearing all the things that would happen after the baby was born. So much so, that I started to believe they would happen. Could I really love the second as much as I love our first child? How would I handle the workload of two children? My heart was heavy with these questions with my second baby. You never know until you actually experience it!

We’re going to dive into some of these assumptions and misconceptions about raising your first and second children. We’ll also dabble in topics you hear about with both your first and second child that I can officially say are true! Are you ready?

Myths About the First and Second Child

Having two kids is more than twice the work of one kid

Wrong. The workload bounces back and forth for me. Some days I feel like I need three of me to handle the two kids. But, some days are much easier, and I seem to manage everything nicely. The point is that there is very little predictability when it comes to your kids’ needs day to day.

Every kid is the same

You’ll hit copy and paste and everything that went right or wrong with your first child will happen with the second. Not true at all. Each child is very different in his or her own way.

You’ve had one, you should know exactly what to do with the second

Not one bit true. You’ll figure out the first kid, then the second kid will come and hardly anything that worked on the first kid will soothe the second. They’re two completely different people!

You won’t be able to love the second child as much as you love the first

It’s amazing, but somehow your love grows and you’re able to love both children! There’s so much love to go around.

With two kids to look after, you’ll lose the pregnancy weight just as fast, if not faster, than your first pregnancy

Nope. With age, slowing metabolism, and the pure exhaustion from tending to two kids, you’ll grab for any food (healthy or not) when you’re starving and finally get a chance to eat. And as hard as you may try to eat healthy foods and exercise, it just won’t come off as fast. I guess they really mean it when they say your body will never be the same.

Your first child will not adjust well to being an older sibling

While this may not be a myth for some, my child adjusted quite well. Actually, I was shocked since I was prepared for the worst with this one. I was prepped to have total meltdowns and nasty comments from my first child with jealousy abound. I was pleasantly surprised at his smooth transition to becoming a big brother.

Issues You Worry About With the First Kid

Germs, germs, germs

You have the hand sanitizer ready at the door for anyone who will be within 15 feet of your brand new baby. This includes sanitizing every toy, pacifier and bottle like you’re living with the plague. Just me? No. Just ask any new mom to hold their baby without washing your hands first and look for the cringe on her face.

Everything is new

Not only are you buying everything you need for the first time, so most of it is definitely new, but many first-time moms would never think of purchasing used baby items. I think it all ties back to the germs thing. 

You’re stuck to a schedule

I always felt the need to stick to a sleep schedule. Since I was a newbie, and it was what all the parenting books suggested, I felt the need to stick with it, no exceptions. For example: “Oh, your mother’s birthday party is at 2 p.m. on Saturday? We’ll have to miss it. That’s right in the middle of naptime.” Or, “You mean, we’ll be opening Christmas gifts after 6 p.m.? Sorry, our child goes to bed every single night at that time. If we let him stay up past then, even just for one night, his schedule will be ruined forever.”

The kid will be your own personal movie star

Yep, I took more photos and videos of this little nugget than I’d care to admit. Actually, he’s 3.5 years old, and I’m still going through them all. Aww, I can’t believe he used to be that little!

You don’t savor the little moments because you were too excited to see what was coming next

Each milestone is new and exciting. I also went from “me, myself and I” being the center of my universe to revolving around a crying and screaming baby who didn’t like to sleep. It’s a huge shock going from getting a solid 10 hours of sleep at night to being awake every two hours day and night. You just want to push forward until you can get to the parts where you’re sleeping like a normal human being again. Plus, you’re so unfamiliar with the sleep deprivation that everything seems like a blur.

By the Time the Second Kid Arrives…

Hand-me-downs and second-hand items are important

Now that there are two children, there are two mouths to feed, backs to clothe and toys to give. To save money, most things we purchase nowadays are second hand and completely “new to us.” You save the money and the time it takes to get toys out of the packaging. That’s a win-win situation. And who cares if another baby used it? Give it a good wash or wipe and you’re good to go.

You probably don’t change clothes every time a little bit of pee or spit up gets on them

With my first child, I was the germ-freak mom who would put the baby in the bath every time he had a blowout. I also changed my clothes every time a little bit of spit up got on my shirt. Say it isn’t so, but I am now completely comfortable going to the grocery store in an outfit with spit up and baby food on them. Yep, I’m that mom.

Cleaning dropped pacifiers? What’s that?

My dad (also a germ freak) looks at me like I’m crazy when he witnesses me simply inspect if the pacifier just doesn’t have hair on it before placing it right back into my baby’s mouth. I never thought I would do that!

Following a sleep schedule goes out the window

Ha! What sleep schedule? My second child sleeps in the car during our errands, sleeps whenever he can between the crazy noise made from my first child and whenever we get home from late nights at the grandparents, even if it’s 10:30 p.m.

Even though there’s less time, I’m savoring the moments more

I now know how quickly time passes. I didn’t appreciate all the little moments with my first as much as I do now, even if some of those moments are rough ones.

It’s easier to get more excited about the milestones to come

Knowing what milestones you’re headed for next, I’m even more excited to see them with my second child.

You won’t take as many photos or videos of the second as you did with the first

Gosh, I am trying desperately hard to not make this one come true. I always heard this would be the case, but I want our second child to have just as many home movies as our first. So, if you see the crazy person in the peanut butter aisle of the grocery store making her kids giggle while capturing it on phone video, that’s me.

No matter if any of these myths or truths ring true for you, they are both still your babies. You still worry and you don’t want anything to ever happen to them, so love them up like there’s no tomorrow and take comfort in the fact that if you plan to have a third or fourth, you’ll be honing your expert advice for other new parents.

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