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One Child or Two? Adding to the Family

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/24/2006 | Parenting
Bringing a sibling home is a dream for many parents and grandparents, and the desire to have more children can be an emotional and idealistic idea for some couples. Despite the mental picture, choosing to enlarge your family in this day and age requires a new set of guidelines and principles than when your parents were having children.

If you are debating whether to bring another child into your family, consider some of the following questions with your partner. You may find that your mind has already been made up!

What Is Your Plan?

You already have one child, so you're familiar with the work involved in caring for a baby. You've been through sleepless nights and diaper changes so what else is there to know?

If you are hoping for a large family with the idea of staying home with your children it is wise to consider the reality of your lifestyle and the sacrifices to be made. While a single child has already altered your life don't take for granted some of the ease with which you may be able to call on friends or family for babysitting, take your child to social events or on an errand run.

If you are still holding on to a lifestyle that you had before children you will very likely find a second child causes a drastic change. Granted, some children are easier than others, but if your first child is demanding more of you than you expected, a second child will only double that feeling.

What is the Cost?

The truth, despite what your grandmother may tell you, is that it does cost more to have more children - not just 'another potato in the pot'. More than one parent has had to find new babysitting arrangements when returning to work after a second child because the grandparent or friend did not feel able to take on the additional work. Daycare costs will double - drastically reducing your take-home pay.

If you are choosing to stay home with your children (which in some cases is financially more sound) you will still encounter extra costs even if the second child will wear your older child's clothes (assuming they are the same sex) or is breastfeeding for the first year.

Add to that the cost of health care, education and larger accommodations or vehicles and you will quickly see the numbers adding up. In your parents' or grandparents' time that might not have been such a big consideration. While choosing to have children is not only a financial cost, preparing for that aspect is important.

You may be in a good place financially and otherwise to take on the costs or you may feel the price of having more children to love is worth the sacrifice. Many families both survive and thrive on the tighter budget of additional children and if you are prepared for it yours can too.

How is Your Health?

Children can wear you out. Love them and cherish them but if you are dealing with poor health or stamina you may find your resources tapped with a second child.

It is a joy for a family to grow. You will not regret the person that comes, but for the sake of the family's happiness you need to treat the decision to add to a family as important as the decision to start one.