Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

Economies of Scale: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Adding A Second Child

If you thought this was going to be a discussion about deciding to have your first child, sorry, we're fast tracking here. Nope, today we're talking about something most of you can't even fathom as you're already elbow deep in more baby doo than you can handle- the second child. And it's not really a discussion about "if" you should have a second child, but more a conversation about "when?" True, there are many couples, who, for their own selfish (and justified) reasons, won't even consider having a second child, whether it's due to a bad experience with the first birth, personal finance issues, or dreams of one day traveling the globe sans children. And they are entitled to this lifestyle choice. The rest of us, well, we're either crazy for wanting a second child, or we loved our first kid so much we didn't want to burden them with being solely responsible for caring for poor old Mom and Dad when we inevitably hit the invalid home. It's a choice we make. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it's not such an easy one. 
When calculating the pros and cons of bringing a second child into the world, you have to ask yourself some serious questions. And, seeing as everything in life is either a function of time or money, these will be your main concerns. Love? I'm sure you have enough of it to go around, but money, that's probably a whole other story. So what are the benefits of having a second child, considering it will most likely eat into your family’s already dwindling discretionary income? Well, first, having a second child means having a sibling for your first child- a playmate; someone to torment; someone to one day lock out of their room. It also means that your child will have a brother or a sister that they will have to tolerate, forcing them to learn how to share, and be fair, and be kind, and one day even protective. For you, it means another gurgling, lump of goo that you can mold into a well-formed and highly functioning human being- one day. And, if your second child is the opposite sex of your first, you've got the perfect nuclear family. If not, you can be like my brother who has to pry his two sons off of each other every time he takes them to the movies. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

Now, if you decide to have this child, how far a apart do you want to space your two special little spawns? Nine-months? Twelve Months? Twenty-Four Months? Five years, seven weeks and four days? It's an interesting question; one in which every couple you ask will have a different opinion. For some the closer together, the better, as it lets them get the whole baby stage over with. For others, further apart is better as it let's you get one kid out of diapers and in to pre-school leaving you or your wife, or a caregiver to only care for one child at home during the day. Who is right? Who knows? It's a preference, plain and simple. All I know is I'm not changing more than one kid's diaper at a time, and I'm putting my foot down on that one- unless I have twins, or triplets, or quintuplets. Which leads me to my next question...

What are the cons of having a second child? Well, let's see? First we have that added mouth to feed, and clothe, and care for. That's more money going out of your pocket for groceries, shopping sprees and daycare. Then there's the cost of new equipment like double-strollers, and new necessities like a bigger car, or a bigger house. And, that's not the only investment you'll be making that will most likely never come back to you in kind. There's also the time investment, meaning there's another kid to prepare meals for, and bath, and read to, and teach how to properly play the clarinet, and entertain...for the next ten years. And, let's go back to money for a second, what about the cost of sending two kids to summer camp, or daycare, or art classes or college at the same time. So now we're back to how far we should space out the kids so as to avoid a situation like this. And what about having time to yourself? When are you going to get that ever again when you're driving two kids to two different parts of town every afternoon so they can learn two different things? Did your head explode yet? And what if you only plan for one child, and get two, or three, or four? What then? Where's your time and money going to be spent (hint: buy stock in Pampers)? 

Well, it's a good thing you don't get to make these kinds of decisions, because if men ever had to decide on when to have kids, the human race would be extinct right now. As a dad, you have input, and valuable input at that, on when and where to have a second child, but invariably the final decision is up to your wife, because you're not going to be carrying that baby for nine months, and you're not going to be taking your basal temperature each and every day until conception is achieved. All you need to know is this: there are economies of scale to having a second child, and it helps a lot. There are hand-me-downs from your first child, or at least you've made friends with other parents at this point that will share. There is no need to buy more toys, more bibs, more bottles (just nipples), more exer-saucers, more toys, more car seats (check local regulations), more baby bowls, or baths, or blankets- you've got it all packed away. And if you need a baby sitter, or a nanny, you score because now your get two for the price of one. Do you see where I'm going with this? Having a second child isn't so bad. It's all about how you look at it. But don't take my word for it, see what the experts have to say:


And, no Mom, we're not having another baby...yet.


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