A while after mom finally gets to hold her first baby in her hands, chances are that she’ll begin to think that the whole ordeal wasn’t so bad after all. Pregnancy, with all its challenges including dealing with exhaustion, mood swings, swollen feet and a variety of aches and pains, along with the grand tribulation of childbirth may all finally seem worth it.
It’s a glorious feeling, after all, seeing a sweet, lovely baby with the proud realization that “hey, I made that.” And, of course, many of us do dream of having a house filled with laughter and tiny footsteps. It’s then that mom and dad may begin to think about having another little bundle of joy. At the same time, however, going through everything all over again isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Ultimately, whether having another baby or not is the right decision depends largely on mom’s own situation. If mom has had any complications in previous pregnancies, for instance, she might have to put a bit of space between children to give herself time to recover from the strain of it all. In addition, mom and dad will have to take in consideration their own resources, how much time they can dedicate to caring for the kids, and just how many kids they want.
To break everything down and to make the decision slightly simpler, we’ve compiled this list of pros and cons of having another baby that mom and dad might to take into consideration. But first, let's discuss the gap between kids.
15 The Gap Between Kids
First of all, we’d like to note that the gap between kids matters. Just because mom and dad aren’t ready to have kids now doesn’t mean that they might not decide to have any more in the future. And, as with anything else, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. There is, of course, mom’s own health. Some moms may not be fit to have another baby for a year or so after childbirth (and doctors do recommend to wait at least seven months or more before getting pregnant again.)
At the same time, some moms may have health problems that could mean they won’t be able to have any babies in the future. This could be a driving factor to have kids right away. And there are, of course, also “accidental” pregnancies. As such, spacing between kids is a deeply personal thing that mom and dad should talk about as soon as they decide to have kids.
14 Pro: Never Alone
Growing up with a sibling can both be a trial and a joy. But one thing’s for sure, however: it means that the little one will never be alone. After all, there’s at least one other person who goes through almost the exact same things that she does! And it’s wonderful for the children to have automatic playmates, confidantes and best friends living in the same house! At least, if the relationship between the children is well-managed by the parents and no resentment develops.
One fun fact is that the smaller the age gap between siblings, the closer they are likely to become. This way, the kids literally do grow up together in every sense of the word. They’ll develop their own language and their own private jokes which the parents may not always be privy to. Another benefit? The kids are less likely to run to mom and dad complaining that they’re bored when they’ve always got someone to play with!
13 Con: Double Trouble
The inevitable disadvantage of two people living together under the same roof is that there is likely to be conflict. And we all know how little kids get upset at each other at the most trivial things, although that does not change the fact that, to them, it’s absolutely a big deal! On the flip side, however, the kids might even conspire with each other to get into trouble.
Either way, the parents will definitely have to deal with it all! And this often means that they will have to be peacekeepers and negotiators, whether for a heated argument (or fistfight) between the siblings or when the grumpy next-door neighbor calls to report the latest dastardly scheme they’ve plotted against him. It means that sometimes mom and dad will have to be extra tough on them. And as with most of parenting, consistent discipline will be the key to make sure the pair behaves once and for all.
12 Pro: Hand-Me-Downs
You know how things cost less individually when you buy them in bulk? The same concept applies for kids, although perhaps not in the same way as your average grocery item. Of course, many parts of the deal will be priced individually, so to speak. This includes the pregnancy vitamins and hospital costs for childbirth. But after that, the succeeding kids will cost a bit less. The secret? hand-me-downs.
Whether it’s toys or clothes or schoolbooks, there’s plenty that the younger children can inherit from the first. In fact, some private schools even offer tuition discounts for parents who have more than one kid enrolled. Food is also cheaper, priced individually. After all, it’s more cost effective to cook for more people than it is to cook for just a few. Don’t get us wrong though: the more children you have, the more expensive life is, which we’ll talk about in a bit.
11 Con: The Expenses
Kids are expensive, there’s no going around it. Fortunately, mom and dad can anticipate many of these expenses and save for them. Food, clothes and school supplies all come to mind. As such, the parents can probably calculate a rough budget for how much they need to earn in a month to sustain a family of their size.
However, it’s also important to take into consideration the unexpected expenses. Who knows, after all, if the baby will stick something up her nose or if the eldest will fall off a tree, breaking her arm? A trip to the Emergency Room can be expensive, especially for families without insurance. And who knows if the middle child begs for money to go on a school trip, or if one of the kids is suddenly intent on having piano lessons? That’s not to mention the inevitable vacations and weekend outings the parents will want to take their kids on. Needless to say, a good budget is your friend.
10 Pro: Learning Responsibility
One thing about having more than one kid is that it’s an opportunity to learn responsibility. This is particularly for older kids wherein there is a few years’ gap, at least, between them and the new baby. There is a reason, after all, for the stereotype of the responsible, perhaps even bossy, eldest child. After all, in many ways they will share at least a bit of the responsibility for taking care of their siblings. In turn, the younger kids will also learn responsibility with the influence of their older siblings, although we must admit that sometimes they end up being slightly more unruly.
When this opportunity is harnessed by the parents, however, they’ll end up with kids who grow up to be sensible, reliable adults. And that’s great because what more can any good parent ask for than kids who are able to survive this sometimes unpredictable world on their own?
9 Con: Sibling Rivalry
Be very careful when dealing with the children. While it may be tempting to pit them against each other to make them behave or do well in school, fostering competition between the children can be dangerous. Trust us, children to do not appreciate being compared with their siblings. And it’s the best way for a parent to foster resentment and self-doubt in the child. But even in the absence of a conscious effort to compare the two, one or both parents may tend to favor one of their children (which we’ll discuss in detail in a later point about favoritism.)
Sibling rivalry can result in one child bullying another or, at the very least, a gap in their relationship. And given that siblings are among the best support systems any individual can ask for, this isn’t doing any favors for the children. It’s therefore best to love each child as they are and skip the comparisons.
8 Pro: Extra Help
Unlike in the past, many moms nowadays don’t have children to have someone to do the housework or to look after the family business or something. But once the kids are already there, moms often find that it’s extremely handy – even a relief – to have someone responsible for doing the dishes every after dinnertime. This certainly frees up mom’s time a little bit, allowing her some much-needed rest from raising the kids.
This does not mean, however, that the kids are doomed to become enslaved little Cinderellas mopping up every corner of the house. It’s just that chores are a wonderful way to teach the kids responsibility and meaningfulness, giving them an opportunity to participate in keeping the household running. It’s also preparation for everyday life, because they’re eventually going to have to do all these things by themselves one day. And if mom can kill two birds with one stone, all the better.
7 Con: Divided Attention
They say that parenting requires a lot of multitasking. And when the teenager is making out with his girlfriend on the sofa, the school-age kid is whining that she needs help with her homework and the toddler is making a mess of her snack in the kitchen, any mom or dad’s attention will certainly be divided. And this is tough because it may mean spending an inordinate amount of time on one misbehaving kid rather than the others.
It can also mean that the parents’ attention will often be stripped off of things that they’re doing, such as work or catching up with friends. It can be distracting, to say the least. It can mean that the parents will sometimes be less productive or attentive. But that’s parent life for you. It’s about learning to deal with everyday life, while also dealing with the chaos of growing up. And the more kids there are, the more divided mom and dad will be!
6 Pro: Learning Teamwork
In any case, kids with siblings learn how to compromise. They learn how to look out for each other. As well, they’re more aware of the impact that their own decisions have on others. In many cases, this translates to the outside world as well. The kids learn to become more sociable and are able to deal with different sorts of people. That’s not to say that those who are only kids can’t do this. It’s just that those with many siblings have more practice at it, at least with kids their own age.
5 Con: A Loss of Time
Time is a valuable resource. And for those with plenty of kids, time management skills will always be at the test. Coordinating the activities of more than three children, in particular, is no joke. Between shepherding them between daycare or school and whatever lessons or practice they have during weekends and then their best friends’ house, either mom or dad will have to become the family chauffeur. And, really, keeping track of the hectic schedules can be maddening. Thank goodness there are now apps that send in friendly reminders for all that!
But the period wherein time is particularly short is when there’s a newborn in the house. Because, seriously, having a newborn involves a lot of sleepless nights, waking up to do feedings, diaper changes or dealing with colic. And given that in the house there’s already another kid that also requires attention, the sleeplessness will never seem to end.
4 Pro: Lots Of Love
The more kids there are, the more love there is to go around. Mom and dad will never be at a loss for the warm feeling that you get when a baby smiles for the first time, or when the toddler tells you she loves you to the moon and back, or when the school-age child proudly hands you a birthday card. Kids truly are little bundles of joy, for all the trouble and pain that they cause. And this alone makes raising a whole lot of them absolutely worth it.
Chances are, also, that there will be plenty of affection between siblings as well. When there is a healthy relationship between the children, each one will certainly go out of their way to make the other feel special, be it through material things like Christmas gifts or less tangible treasures such as hugs and laughter. Really, who doesn’t want to live in a home like that?
3 Con: Favoritism
Parents will always have a tendency towards favoritism. This is despite the fact that most parents will actively try not to. After all, many of us do have negative experiences involving unfair treatment. Surely, we don’t want our own children to go through the same. However, it’s just a sad fact that favoritism is sometimes just human nature.
But there’s no shame in admitting that, perhaps, mom sees herself more in one of the kids and therefore has a tendency to favor her. In fact, we’d even argue that it’s important to recognize and accept this so that she can be more aware of whether or not she’s allowing this to get the better of her relationship with the kids. Mom and dad can, of course, tell the little white lie that they have no favorites. Still, it might be best for them to check with each kid individually to see if the little ones perceive any unfair treatment.
2 Pro: Having A Full Nest
We all know about the empty nest syndrome, in which moms and dads who have been dedicated parents for the past eighteen or so years all of a sudden find themselves alone at home. After all, home isn’t Neverland and the kids did have to grow up and move out into the world eventually. Needless to say, this is a huge life change that can be extremely stressful. In some families, the emotional strain can have harmful results, including marital strife and divorce or even unnecessary meddling into the lives of the now-grown offspring.
With every baby, however, is at least a couple more years of having someone else in the house to love and care for, thereby putting off the empty nest for a while longer. It may also help prepare the parents for it, as the children leave home slowly one by one. Now if only there was something that could make the little ones stay little forever…
1 Con: No Privacy
The common complaint of children who grow up in large families is that there is absolutely no privacy at home. Parents often don’t say it, but that’s exactly how they feel as well. As such, it can be difficult to get even the least bit of time alone, whether it’s because mom and dad just absolutely want to have spontaneous sex or they just want some time in peace to catch up with their favorite book. Having a relatively large home might help, we guess, but chances are that there will be a child calling for mom or dad every ten minutes or less.
Needless to say, the parents will have to find away around this lack of privacy. Babysitters are one great way to do this, although they do cost money. Better yet, they can leave the little ones with their grandparents. After all, they’re surely willing to help out and it can cut the loneliness of them feeling the empty nest syndrome as well! Win-win.