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Why You Should Have That Second Child

Photograph by Getty Images

Are you on the fence about having a second child? I'm going to give my number one reason why parents should definitely try for a sibling for their little singlets. And I'm not going to mention the obvious perks like hand-me-downs, biological clocks or lifelong bonds between your children.

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I realized the benefit of having a second child thanks to mom-and-tot classes. If you are a first-time mom, you may have tried a few of these — Gymboree, music lessons, tumbling classes. I did. And when I was a first-time mom, every class totally sapped my will to live. Not only did it take an hour to get myself and my daughter ready to leave the house, but by the time we got to the class (that cost approximately $30 for 30 minutes), all my kid wanted to do was hang on my shirt or pick her nose. And the other mothers? I could never seem to make a good connection. It seemed like they were all wearing workout clothes that cost more than my mortgage, and they all seemed to be impossibly well-rested and social with everyone in the room (except for me).

As a first-time mom, I kept trying to find a class that would click for my daughter and me. Eventually, I tried expensive classes and super-cheap subsidized classes in ramshackle city buildings. Each one left me feeling stressed that both my daughter and I were developmentally and socially abnormal. I prayed for the day that my daughter would reach preschool and those classes would no longer fit into her schedule.

My second time around I am more comfortable in my skin, less worried about being perfect or having perfectly behaved kids.

But then I had a second baby. When he was old enough to scoot and gurgle, I once again heard the siren song of mom-and-tot classes. I resisted. Those don't work for me, I reminded myself. Friends would ask if my son was in music class or learning tai chi, and I would promise to look into enrichment classes for him.

My guilt got the best of me. I didn't think it was fair to deprive my son of all classes just because I never found a groove with my daughter. I picked gymnastics because my son loves to climb on everything and I had no baggage around those classes since it was one activity I’d never tried with my daughter.

On the first day of class with my son, I was nervous that it would be as unpleasant as the classes I took with my daughter. To my surprise, it went smoothly. My son loved swinging from the bars. I didn't freak out and assume he was a sociopath when he wasn't interested in doing what the teacher said. I let him pick his nose a little bit without worrying what everyone thought of me. Radically, I smiled at the other mothers and cracked a few jokes. I didn't even notice who had on designer yoga pants and who was wearing pajamas like I was. I didn't even mind that the prices seemed outrageous.

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In short, it was a totally different experience. I don't know what changed. Except, of course, me. My second time around — with those classes in particular and parenting in general — I am more comfortable in my skin, less worried about being perfect or having perfectly behaved kids. I don't assume other mothers are wealthier and more rested than I am. I smile. I enjoy my son. I keep it all in perspective.

It's so much better. So you should definitely have a second kid — for the gymnastics classes alone.

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Image via Getty Images

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