Everyone told me before the birth of Katie in December that having two kids would be “more than double the work” of one. I never understood what that meant. How can one more kid equal more than the double the work? It seems like it would just be double the work, not more. Now I get it. One child is work. A second child is more work. I didn’t realize the energy and dynamic between the two children and the parent creates its own new and unforeseen subset of work, i.e. more than double the work.
For example, when June, 3, has a full-blown meltdown over not getting to wear her special bumble bee costume to bed while Katie nurses … that’s more than double the work (“work” in this context means “giant pain in my butt”).
The above scenario breaks down like this: I have the option of either tearing Katie away from her food source to help June change into her bee costume which will absolutely illicit screams of anguish from the bambina. Or I can put off June until I’m done nursing, which will absolutely illicit whimpers from the 3-year-old. In both cases, it’s more than double the “work,” because it takes time and energy to get either child to stop fussing while trying to satisfy their divergent demands. Frustration from both sides equals frustration squared. If I was alone with June, I’d try to reason with her (a folly in itself because there is no reasoning with a 3-year-old … no logic whatsoever … like trying to carve water) and maybe help her change her clothes. If I was alone with Katie, I’d just let her finish nursing. But the two of them together with their opposing aims and emotions? It’s more than double the work.
Which is not to suggest that being a mom of two isn’t totally awesome and amazing. I love it. I feel like more of a mom, that is, I have less time to think about myself, than ever. It’s hard to be self focused when your lap is covered in baby barf. Jake and I have become closer than ever because we both recognize we’re now mere husks, mere shells of our former glorious, egocentric selves. We now live to plug mouths with bottles and help little girls in and out of bee costumes. It’s more than double the work, but I guess that’s why they call it a labor of love. Go, parenthood.