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Opinion: How do you know when you’re ready for Baby Number Two?

Before being a parent, I never thought I would ever consider the idea of having an only child. Then I became a mother and the realities of motherhood starting sinking in– the unpaid maternity leave, the long nights, child care arrangements, etc.  Aside from all those things, for me what really did it was the lack of sleep.  With Enzo not sleeping through the night until recently, (at over 2 years old!) I wondered if I had what it took to do it all over again. I thought to myself, why would I willingly want to put myself through that again? I’d have to be crazy.

When Enzo was an infant, I seriously considered not having any more kids.  One could be enough for us, I thought. Being an only child, my husband agreed.  At one point he said, “Another baby? Our marriage wouldn’t last!” (At that time, he was probably right.)

Having a baby puts a strain on a marriage, and truthfully, Enzo’s sleep issues made us cranky and brought out the worst in both of us.

Having a second child is not a decision to be taken lightly. Going from one kid to two means double the work. That’s when I think, I don’t know how people do it.

When you have one kid, you can just pack up and go.  If your husband is traveling, you can manage with one, but with two? Two kids must require a lot more planning, a lot more stuff, a lot more money and a lot more patience. Some days I lose my patience with one – imagine with two!

This is a topic that has been on my mind a lot because, of course, as Enzo gets older, family and friends often ask “When’s the next one coming along?” By the way, it’s a bit of an annoying question, especially when people make it seem like it would be a piece of cake.

This weekend, my father actually said that we should get working on that while we were away for the Christmas holidays. I laughed and said “Not yet. This is not the best time.” He brushed it off saying what better moment – “qué buen momento, ni que buen momento!”  

My husband swears part of the reason I want to have another child is because of the cultural and societal pressure to have more than one child.

Ok.  So maybe there is some cultural pressure.

But the truth is, having a sibling is an amazing experience. Siblings are the only people that will know exactly what you mean when you talk about your childhood.  They understand why you might be upset at Mami, and even if they are not around or you don’t talk much, they remain a powerful force in your life.

As annoying as you may think your siblings are, as much as you fought growing up and as much as they tattled on you, siblings are there.  Parents pass away, relationships can end and friends can come and go, but siblings are there for life.

I would like Enzo to experience that.

So, can parents ever really be ready? A good friend once said to me, “It doesn’t matter how big your house is, how much money you have in the bank, you will never feel 100 percent ready.”

He’s right. I don’t think I will ever say I’m 100 percent ready.

While I have become more confident – “I could do this again!”- I go back and forth every other day, depending on how terrible Enzo’s twos are.

I still can’t say I’m ready.

I mean, how could I ever be 100 percent ready to do the most important job I will ever do?

NBC Latino contributor Diana Limongi

Diana Limongi-Gabriele works hard juggling a full-time job, motherhood, family, grad school and her blog, LadydeeLG, where she writes about issues she is passionate about including teaching her son Spanish, motherhood, parenting, Latino issues, good quality food and women’s issues. Diana is a regular contributor for Mamiverse. She has a MA in Migration Studies, and is pursuing an MPA in Nonprofit Management. Her most important job however, is being mommy to Enzo, a French/Hispanic/American (one day trilingual) 2-year-old boy. You can connect with her via Twitter, @dianalimongi or on Facebook.

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