From One Child to Two: 8 Things I’ve Learned
October 10, 2018
I cannot believe that it has been a little over two months since my second child was brought into this world. We welcomed our baby girl Jade seventy-eight days ago! She might be the final piece of our family of six, you all.
It has been two months since I have been the mother of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.
The biggest question we get asked by family, friends, and readers is “What is it like going from one child to two?”
Well, things are going pretty well for us, luckily, and I am being cautiously optimistic.
I have learned a lot about myself and my two children:
1. This whole newborn thing is easier the second time.
I know the basics of taking care of a child— feeding, changing, bathing, etc. I know what a proper latch is so my nipples aren’t hurting this time around. It does not take me thirty minutes to change a diaper. I do not scare myself into thinking my baby will drown in five centimeters of water during bath-time. I don’t have a meltdown when the baby spits all over my shirt seconds before leaving the house. As a matter of fact, I go out and run errands in my spit up shirt (like a boss, of course), knowing damn well I smell of rotten milk. I do not stay up worrying about every noise my daughter makes or doesn’t make during the night. I am not calling the pediatrician to ask about any of my concerns. I actually follow the most important rule our pediatrician told us, and that is, “If it is not bothering the baby, then it is only bothering you so don’t call us.”
2. I am the queen of multitasking.
Seriously though. I can be nursing my daughter standing up while I’m packing our lunches, wrangling shoes and clothes onto my toddler, packing the diaper without completely losing my shit and still loading my children into their carseats without them throwing a tantrum. Yeah, I do have to get us all ready two hours before we are supposed to be at said destination, but that is okay with me. If I’m lucky, I might look like a decent human being after having the kids all ready.
3. My toddler did not need time to adjust to a new baby sibling.
I thought it would be difficult for my son to see me with another baby in my arms, but he accepted the fact that he was not the little baby of the family anymore fairly quickly. He loves his little sister, and he gives her kisses before bed every day. I thought he would whine and cry more, but it has not reached a new level nor has he hit his sister out of jealousy. He truly adores her, and we worried he wouldn’t so we are very grateful.
4. I’m not a walking zombie mother.
I thought the exhaustion would be real, but guess what? I have a two month old baby who SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT. Yeah, you read that right. Jade sleeps through the night, and I have not even returned to my full-time job yet. Drew has slept through the night since thirteen months so having both kids sleeping through the night is something we do not take for granted. I hear horror stories from other mothers who say their kids still wake up and or sleep with them in bed, and I empathize wholeheartedly, but I am glad I am not going through that.
5. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has saved my life.
Drew watches episodes of Mickey Mouse before his nap and bed time every single day. I call it screen time for the win and *cough* mom’s sanity *cough.* I don’t care if that makes me appear as a bad mother, but we all need our break time. I just choose to give him screen time at appropriate times of the day.
6. A perfect mom does not exist.
Even though my kids sleep through the night, have a synced nap schedule, leave the house well dressed and mannered, I still struggle because I set such high expectations for myself. I think I can do it all and that is not always the case. I go to bed upset because my ‘to-do’ list was not finished, and that aggravates me more than you’ll ever know. Sometimes I feel like I did not accomplish enough in my day, and then I compare myself to other mothers who seem to have their shit together while wrangling a set of twins and two other kids. I am working on reminding myself that every mother is doing their best and none of us are perfect even if others make ‘mothering’ look effortless.
7. My body takes time to heal.
After my natural birth, I lost a lot of my physical strength. I had a quick and healthy natural birth, but I was told not to lift anything over five pounds. I didn’t listen to that and when I tried picking up my son or my daughter’s car seat, I would get light headed. I also suffered from post partum contractions (yeah, who knew that was a thing). One time, I fainted for a few short seconds in a woman’s arms (yeah, that was a scary time). Even two months later, I will lose my breath, lose my balance, and feel very ill. I know it takes time, but I want to feel like me again. The version of me who didn’t have bags under my eyes and could lift forty extra pounds. This is the second go-round, I now know it takes time. I will get back there eventually.
8. I have a lot more love to give.
I honestly worried that I would not be able to love my second child as much as I love Drew. Oh boy, I was so wrong. Before Jade was born, I doubted the infinity of love and yet, the moment they placed her in my arms, I grew a whole new heart just for her.
A life with a toddler and newborn is not easy and it will never be easy, but it has become my new normal. A new challenge. A new journey, and I love every minute of our long days because I know the years will be short.