It’s a BFBN pinterest day! Today we are all blogging about siblings, including sibling relationships, structure with siblings, and knowing when your family is complete. As I currently only have 1 child, this is still theoretical for me. We are expecting siblings for Ben in a few months though, and I have put a lot of thought into this topic. Why does anyone decide to have multiple children? There are a lot of reasons to. One aspect that came up in my discussions with Pat was Ben having siblings. We feel strongly that we want to give Ben siblings, and here is why.
I can honestly say I never thought much about giving my first child a sibling. I don’t think Pat really did either. Back when we were dating and newly married, we always assumed we would have two kids. We each grew up in a family with two kids, an older brother and younger sister. In our minds that was the way it was going to be. Oh sure, it could be older sister, younger brother. But one of each would be great. We both enjoy our siblings. Of course we fought with them growing up. Who doesn’t fight with a sibling? But we knew that having a sibling was valuable, and not something we would trade.
Then we had Ben. So far, so good. Check off the older brother box. At first, I was convinced we would of course have another at some point. I was fortunate, I had a pretty easy pregnancy and birth. In fact I loved being pregnant. Ben was so sweet and wonderful, I knew I wanted more babies. And I still thought siblings were important. In those early months it was easy to assume we would have another child. Ben was still too young to seriously consider getting pregnant again, making it easy to think of it as a future concern.
This went on for awhile, when suddenly (at least that’s how it felt), we entered the time period in which we thought we would have another kid. Pat and I thought we would have our children about two years apart. We did actually put some thought into that. They would be close enough in age that we wouldn’t be completely done with the little kid phase and have to start all over. They could be friends with each other, but at two years apart they would be two years apart in school. We felt this would make it easier for them to establish themselves as individuals and have their own ‘thing.’ And we weren’t getting any younger, so we had to move at a decent pace if we were going to have our kids in time. What that “in time” means varies from couple to couple. For us it involved looking down the road to how old we would be when the kids graduated high school and college. We knew that while we love and enjoy our kid(s), we wanted a chance to get back to being the two of us at some point. We wanted to enjoy our children as adults.
Suddenly being in the time frame where we thought we would have another child was different than I thought it would be. Of course after how many years of safe sex talks and actively preventing pregnancy, it is always strange to think that would become the goal. Now some new issues came up. Finances were a big one. It’s pragmatic and not at all loving, but being financially able to support our children was very important. We did not want to have a child we couldn’t afford. Also, things were different when deciding to go for a second child. When you are trying for your first, everything can be very romanticized. I know I pictured cuddling, cute outfits, and family giggle sessions. Oh, I knew kids poop and spit up and cry a lot. But until you have lived it 24/7 you don’t always know what you are in for. Second kid? Oh, we knew what we were in for. Well, let me rephrase that. We knew what we were in for with a baby. Two kids at once? That was still foreign territory. Only now we knew enough to know we didn’t have a clue. That’s a bit scarier. We were cruising along with one. Two parents and one kid is a good ratio. Dare we upset that balance and go for number two?
Well, obviously we did go for number two. (And got a bonus third!) We put a lot of thought into it, and decided any fears were worth it. Of course we were worried about upsetting the balance of our family. And yes, we knew we were in for another year of babyhood, and more diapers, more spit up, more messes. Yes, we knew finances would be tighter with two kids. We were willing to and wanting to make it work. For Pat and me, well, our family wasn’t yet complete.
One thing that makes it hard is wondering what Ben will think of all this. We talk to him about the babies all the time. But as he just turned two, he doesn’t fully get what that means yet. So far his life hasn’t really changed at all. Sure, he has hung out with Meo and Omi a little more when I’ve gone to appointments, and there are a few new items floating around the house. Nothing major has changed though. Like all mothers, I am worried what he will think. Will he hate me for bringing two little rivals for our attention into his life? Will he miss the one-on-one time he has any time he likes with his parents? Will he hate having to share and wait his turn? I have the normal mom concerns. How will I love another child as much as I love and adore my Ben? How will I balance the needs of three little people who will depend on me for so much? With three kids, only two hands, and one heart, will there be enough mom to go around?
Yes, it is a bit late to be asking these questions, as we are half way to twin town. Despite any concerns, I know we are making the right decision to have siblings for Ben. Like I said, overall Pat and I enjoyed growing up with siblings. More important, I think, is that we are so happy to have them now. Siblings are your first home team. Oh sure, mom and dad are there for you. But siblings are fellow kids. They are your allies in the world that understand what you are going through in a way parents can’t, because they are going through it right with you. They are the only people who will know what it was like to grow up in your house with your crazy parents. They are your first playmates. They are your teachers. I think I learned a lot of conflict resolution from fighting with my brother. Of course I also learned how to really push someone’s buttons. I suppose my kids will learn that on each other too. Siblings can watch out for each other in the world in way parents can’t. I can’t be there in school every day with my kids, but, for at least some of the years, they will be in the same schools and can look out for each other. You can share with your siblings without worrying about getting into trouble. Like I said, you have a built in home team. I think that is a great thing to have in this world.
Of course despite all my hopes I can’t promise that Ben and his siblings will get along. But I can hope they do. And I can try to teach them skills and techniques to have a good relationship. Despite fears that Ben is going to be angry about having siblings, I am excited to see him as a big brother. I really think he will be wonderful. He is such a sweet, fun, caring, and playful little boy. These twins are lucky to have him. I know Ben will be lucky to have them too.
For our little family, the decision to have more children really was a clear one. We knew our family wasn’t complete, and a part of that was the desire for Ben to have siblings. I know that isn’t the case for everyone, and there is nothing wrong with that. Despite my concerns about how life with three will change, I can’t wait to see my three little ones grow up together. Sure, they will fight. Sure, all five of us will drive each other crazy at times. I’ll miss the sweet, peaceful moments you get with your child when you only have one to worry about. But we are and always will be a team. Every step of parenting has unlocked new levels of love and patience I never knew I could experience. This will be no exception. I know we made the right choice by adding siblings for Ben.