Life with two kids

It has been now nearly five months since little Nathalie joined our family. Our everyday life changed a lot ever since then when it comes to organizing daily tasks. We knew from the beginning that life would certainly not get any easier with a second child and many friends even “warned us”. The thing is that each child is different and needs a different approach when growing up. In our case Nathalie proved to be the exact opposite of our first-born Nathan.

Our little Nathan back in 2015

When Nathan was born we still lived in Finland in our tiny 40 sqm apartment (~430ft²). Our neighbours were surprised how quiet Nathan was as they never heard him cry. Sure he was crying sometimes but that was very rare. Friends of us with children were always wondering how calm Nathan was and how easy it seemed to take care of him. I am not saying that everything was golden with him but we were blessed with a pretty easy-going child. Later we moved to Germany and even had my parents to help taking care of him. First because I was working and my wife was going to a six month integration course and later because we both started our own business so my parents where taking care of Nathan in between.

We always wanted two children and in the case of my wife she always wanted a boy and a girl. Even though we were very busy starting our own business we decided to have a second child. The timing seemed perfect for us as Nathan would be by the time Nathalie is born over three years old and starting kindergarten, giving us more time to raise the baby girl. Though the timing was indeed perfect everything developed a bit different than hoped for. First of all Nathan started kindergarten half-year later than planned as the city had messed up some paperwork in between for his registration. Then our business suddenly developed a bit too well and gave us (especially my wife) extreme work load which had to be dealt with until Nathalie was born. In fact my wife worked until a few hours before Nathalie’s birth and starting again three days later to finish some leftover orders.

Having help from the family is always wonderful (even with MIL)

Now I come again to the beginning when I mentioned that every child is different when growing up and needs a different approach. For us Nathalie was so very unlike her brother. Sure she looked very similar to him when born, to be precise she was more like copy paste of Nathan except of having more hair. Her temperament however was very different. By now she is going by the names “Demon”, “Gewitterziege” (German for “Thunderstorm Goat” and according to means sour old hag…) and “Devil”. These are certainly not the nicest names to give to a baby but they are kind of accurate. Little Nathalie pretty much controls the family, not only us but also her grandparents. This all took time to get used to, especially when trying to combine taking care of her and starting work again.

Now five months after her birth we developed a more or less working daily schedule. Despite the many hardships when trying to balance raising two kids and running your own business we do not regret anything. We love our two kids, no matter what trouble our demon girl brings  because in the end she brings us more happiness each day than exhausting crying time. We also love to have our own business as it allows us to work from home and gives us much more time with our kids. The downside of being your own boss are the unregulated working hours, no paid holidays, no maternity allowance (my wife still got 80% of her income when Nathan was born in Finland) and higher health insurance costs.

My parents who have helped us so much since we moved to Germany

Life with two kids is very different to having just one child. It is nothing like “Oh I know by now how to take care of a baby and raising a kid, so it will be very easy”. My cousin who has four children told me once “Having one child is very easy but when the second one comes the real challenge starts, it is a huge difference. After that it is not such a big difference anymore when you have a third or even a fourth child”. I did not really believe her back then but now I agree at least with the part about the challenges when having a second child. I am also really thankful to my parents as they are tremendous help for us as they live so close by. Without them everything would have been much harder and I believe we would have never managed it without them past the initial stage when starting our business as they helped to take care of Nathan.

What is your take on having one child compared to have two (or even more!)?

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28 thoughts on “Life with two kids”

  1. Every time I talk to friends with more than one children and their stories, it just makes me wonder how my parents decided on having 4 children rather than just the usual 2. It certainly made for a very lively time growing up, regardless..hahaha…Hope that both will continue to bring you much joy and happiness, no matter their age. I don’t think it’ll get easier for now but your support systems seems to be working out for you…My friends always tell me it takes a village to grow a child…haha..well, I don’t have any kids yet so I shouldn’t really say much either… 🙂

    1. Haha it will certainly not get any easier in the following years for us :p
      In China parents have tons of help to raise their child(ren). Several of my wife’s friends have help in form of 4 grandparents and 1-2 nannies and still complain how hard it is to raise their single child!!! just crazy they are

      1. Hahaha, oh well, I guess it’s different perspective..some people can have it all and they will probably still complain anyway…:)

    1. It is quite an awesome name. Maybe Nathalie will grow up to be the loud and assertive one. Not a bad thing at all 😀

      It does sound challenging for you juggling the family and the business, but it also seems everything is going well – just that it is busy, busy, busy. I remember when I started freelancing along my day job spare time suddenly became non-existent. Then I had to cut down or else I wouldn’t have enough time to take care of things on the home front and myself too. The good thing about your own business or being your own boss is that you can decide as and when to stop work…but hopefully when you stop, you need to go hard and work harder when you jump back in 😀

      1. Sometimes the unregulated working hours can be frustrating, especially when you have to do tax papers while being still busy with your busy business. Each month we have a whole weekend with those taxpapers and work starts for us at 7 am and ends around 1-2am for those days…

      2. Oh ho, tax papers, no no. I hate doing those too, especially when you got your own business. At least I only do them once a year but also with each transaction you have to keep a record of all of it. Hope you don’t feel too tired with it all.

      3. Well with the business booming and watching out on the paperwork, you are doing the right thing. Maybe one day you will be famous for your business 😛

    2. Thunderstorm Goat is certainly a very interesting nickname, in fact my dad came up with it :p
      In the olden days Thor was riding in his chariot thorugh the skies. The chariot was pulled by goats. Now when Thor was swinging Mjölnir (the hammer) there would be a lot of thunder and thus the goats where called also thunderstorm goats. These days however the term is mainly used for girls/ women who behave…well not so nicely

    1. We are not even really thinking what went wrong and why as we are also not caring too much about it. It is best to just adapt instead of getting frustrated with certain situations 🙂
      In the end it all went well for all of us so that is all what counts

  2. Nathalie sounds like she’s going to be a bold girl when she grows up! I don’t have experience with having kids but I certainly like having two siblings. We have a huge age difference among us (24, 16 and 5) because I think my parents wanted the older child/children to grow up before having another one.

    1. I do hope she will calm down a bit or it shall be hell for us once she is in her teens!
      Interesting to see the age difference among you and your siblings. A friend of mine as a ten year age gap between him and his older brother, another one has a 17 year gap between him and his baby brother and I even have a 20 year gap 😀

  3. You sound like you have your work cut out for you! Hope you and your wife find time to sleep!

    It seems normal that one child is quiet and the other is loud. I feel like I’ve heard this time and time again and even with my own brother, too. I don’t remember who was the ‘quiet’ one or the crybaby. I was probably the latter, but now our personalities are quite different!

    1. It is really so strange that the kids are so very different when it comes to their behaviour. Little Nathalie is really a demon, even Nathan started calling her in German “Du kleiner Teufel” which means “You little Devil” 😀

  4. Our first child was a demon baby and toddler but a very easy teenager. Our second child was an angelic baby and toddler but a demon teenager. Both are wonderful now! Congrats on your lovely daughter she may just turn out to be an angelic teenager!

  5. I respect family with more than one child, really. I say this from my heart since I know the hard work of raising a child. Raising a child is a privilege, but then its a great responsibility.
    Add the daily stress of work, and balancing it all makes you a Superhero in a sense!
    You are blessed to have your family living close by and provides you with support, they are precious. That’s one of the things expats consider as luxury. We don’t have much of the immediate help from relatives since they are living far away.

    One day, your children will read and realize what a wonderful tribute and life journal you are making. Documenting your life, along with your children.Kudos!

  6. I just recently discovered your blog and I’ve been loving reading all of your posts about your family. I’m Chinese and my husband is Caucasian, and our little boy is almost 6 months old. We definitely want to have another, but I’m not sure about the perfect age gap, if there even is one. I was curious about whether having 2 kids would be twice as hard, or 10 times as hard. It also depends on the kids, I’m sure.

    We are fortunate that we have 3 sets of grandparents who are extremely eager to take him off our hands whenever we need it. That has been a huge help.

    1. Hey, it is great to hear that you like those posts. I saw your blog already few days prior through Instagram 🙂
      I think there is not a perfect age gap. In our case we planned to have our second child a year earlier but due to my health problems back then we decided to wait longer. A friend of my has an older brother, 10 years older, and they do tons of stuff together. On the other hand my brother is even 20 years older and we do not really have much in common/ spent much time together…

      The second child is not only doubling the work, more like quadruple it. First of all you still need to take care of your first child and all the work/ life around it and then you need to have extra much time still for the second child. Especially the first few months are really hard and can bring you to the edge (at least for us as our Nathalie was super hard to deal with, the exact opposite of our first born Nathan).

      Anyhow I wish you all the best and I will try to check out your blog more frequently now.

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