I think I probably scared some of you who may be pregnant with your second or considering it. That was not my intention. However, my intention was to be VERY honest with you, because that's what I wanted and didn't find when I was pregnant with my second last year. I wanted someone to really clearly detail what it was like, so I'd be prepared. So that is why I wrote so honestly for you in these posts the last two months.
I also wrote them for those moms who just had their second child and are feeling very alone, confused, and overwhelmed. I want those moms to see they are NOT alone, that all they are going through is normal and that it WILL pass.
So, mom of 2 or about to have 2, I'm with you.
I have already told you that yes, it's hard, it's different. So now, listen closely, sit down for this one... I want to tell you now how INCREDIBLE it is. How amazingly sweet and genuinely splendid having two kids really is.
Two is TOTALLY twice as cool!
Below is my most favorite picture of me as a new mom to two babies.
I remember asking my husband to please take this shot, as I wanted to remember this. I spent the first 2 months of my second's life like this. She HAD to be held a lot and my son needed my arms open to him, too, so this was how we spent many nights in our home... toys everywhere, dark eye circles, sleepy baby content on her mama's chest, son needing extra attention, and smiles all around. I would even rock my son to sleep with her on my chest like that on nights I flew solo doing bed time routine. You do what you gotta do, right?!
Last year we had our son's second birthday party as a combined baby shower for our second baby, so our theme was Two is Cool! I definitely know now that is very true. Here are a few cool things about being mom to two...
Your heart grows.
You wonder when you have only one child if you could ever love more, share enough of your heart with another child since you feel so full up of love for your first. The answer is YES, of course! I know it's hard to believe, but it happens, almost overnight when you have your second. There IS plenty of you to go around.
You become stronger.
Crazy right? After having one child you think, damn I'm good, I can't ever top that. And then bam a second one comes along and you're freaking an ALL STAR! Not at first, perhaps, you won't feel this way. But take it from me - with my second almost 11 months old - you get to a point - about 6 months and up - where you are like, YES I can do this two kids thing, I'm AWESOME at it in fact! You do learn to juggle two kids' needs at one time. You learn that patience is a virtue. You learn laundry can wait and playing is always a priority. You even become closer to your partner. Doing this once is one thing, but going it a second time is monumental bonding for you and your partner.
You think clearer.
Well, that whole mom brain thing IS real and it gets slightly worse after the birth of #2, not gonna lie. And yet you really do think clearer with two kids. Your focus is ENTIRELY on those two babies, your partner and yourself. Your house, your job, your little world. Nothing else matters as much as it used to before the second came along. If you're too tired to go to that play date, you just tell the other mom, "Hey, can't make it this time, bags under my eyes mean I'm going to end up snapping at somebody so we're sticking it out at home, sorry!" instead of making up an excuse or begrudgingly going along with the plan. You now know what works, what doesn't. You realize your shortcomings, too, that perhaps grocery shopping with a toddler and infant and you only having two hands is not the greatest idea, so you forego shopping this weekend or go at night when all are sleeping and partner is home. You do what works. And it ends up WORKING well! Somehow, that becomes true.
You also put things in perspective more with the second. My first year as a parent, my poor husband and I only got out for one date night, the entire year. Sad, I know. Ridiculous really. But you get so tired and so busy with a child you forget about your relationship I think. And honestly who wants to leave their child when it's the first one? Move on to child #2, and we went out when she was a month old, even for an hour! You realize with the second child it's ALL OK. Babysitters are helpful, not dreadful. You are a good parent for leaving once in a while, not a neglectful parent. Relationship matters, not something to put on the back burner while baby grows. Everything just gets clearer.
You have MUCH more fun.
Mom of 2, you just wait. The fun is yet to be had. You say, how can that be? I've had the BEST year(s) with my first so far. It's incredible what else happens when there are two of you and your partner running around the house. Of course in the beginning few months when #2 just cries and sleeps and poops and doesn't understand when the sun goes down at night it's time to stay asleep... well that part kinda sucks at times and you worry you will never reach the other side of your new version of "normal."
But really truly, listen up, the FUN you will have when #2 is moving, SLEEPING through the night, learning, clapping, GIGGLING... man, those moments you see are doubley amazing as they were with your first because now not only do you and your partner get to witness this growth and awesomeness but also your firstborn gets in on the action. My son gets SO excited when he sees his little sister learn something new: "Mama! She's clapping mama, see, she's clapping!" and he smiles and claps along with her.
Your world is more full with two.
At one point you think, how on earth do I do this two thing? How will I ever have enough of me to give to both of them so someone isn't screaming for more? The answer is : with time, my friend, with time. Be patient. At first, no, you won't have it figured out, people will be screaming and crying (possibly you in fact!) and you'll not want to leave the house because that can be complicated. But then the baby leaves the infant carrier and it's physically even easier to get out of the house. And your older one can help you a little bit by reminding you to get the baby's hat or sippy cup or Sophie the Giraffe. And you somehow do it, often, with ease in fact. And you have FUN doing it, exploring the world with two babies growing faster than you can imagine.
You spend more time with your first now, crazy to believe because at first it feels like you'll never have enough time with #1 again... but honestly once the baby is on a routine, sleeping regular patterns, not eating every 10 minutes, you and #1 get TONS of quality one-on-one time. I LOVE my daughter's nap time in the morning, because it's an hour and a half of uninterrupted play time for me and my son. I don't know that before baby we sat around doing nothing but playing whatever he wanted to do for that long in the morning. But now that my time is scarce I take advantage of it and just do what we want together when the baby is asleep.
You start to observe more.
It's like you "stop and smell the roses" now, for real. I know that sounds ridiculous if you've read all of my other blog posts about having a second baby and how busy it is. But really, despite the busy-ness of it all, you start to appreciate what matters. You let go of whatever expectations you had once before your first child was born. You are more REAL as a mother now. It's like you notice now those little moments instead of moving quickly through them to the next stage. I remember with my first wanting so badly for our son to crawl, why won't he do it? when will he do it? when will those teeth come? Waiting and waiting, hoping. And yet with our second we don't care, we take it as it comes and smile every time when she learns something new, realizing now it all goes by way too fast so just enjoy it when it happens instead of wishing for the next big thing to occur.
If this is your last baby, you start seeing things and savoring things you might not have before. You try to memorize how this feels or that looks or sounds like. You take more video, more pictures.
You gave your first a best friend.
Um, hello? Is there anything else in the whole wide world that could be sweeter than that?! I think not. Ensuring your #1 has a BFF for life - even if you know from sibling experience that they will fight and hate each other at times in the future - is the coolest thing in the world. They will always know they came from something that nobody else came from - their own special family and place in this world. You created another mini you perhaps. Or maybe this one is YOU and the first was your partner, so you're ecstatic (like I am about my daughter who is a total mini me!). Despite the jealousy in the beginning that #1 isn't getting all the attention anymore, that goes away when he learns the baby is fun and laughing at him now. So relish these sibling moments - even the tough ones. And know you gave #1 the most amazing gift ever. Someday when you're old or you aren't around, these two will have each other. There is a whole lot of goodness to be said for that. You deserve a medal or something.
blurry sibling love, but the fun moments often are blurry, so be it...
You get a second chance to be great.
If you messed up a little bit here and there the first time around, this is your chance to do it better. With my first, I pushed the whole breastfeeding thing so bad the first week my husband and I were barely speaking in the hospital one day and my son was starving until I gave in and gave him formula to supplement with pumped milk. The second time around I started collecting formula samples from the doc's office in preparation that breastfeeding may not work and that was A-OK with me... fast forward almost a year and all of those formula cans are still on the shelf unopened because nursing worked great this time around. Using formula was fine, but because I let go of expectations it went different this time. The first time I didn't take enough video of my newborn, so I took more this time. The first time I cared what some thought, this time I don't and do what works best for my family above all else. You can change it up, do what worked last time, make new memories. It's exciting!
Make room for #2 - potty training pants in a basket
next to the diaper changing table and small diapers! Love it.
Two IS cool ... especially when you can manage to get them to fall asleep at the same EXACT time!
My newborns ... both 10 days old, 2 years and 2 months apart :)
HAVE FUN, new mom of 2!
You will love this roller coaster ride of ups and downs, all full of fun! It's the most rewarding thing you will do, being a mom in general. But to two? It's double the celebration of mommyhood. Shine on, momma. You CAN do this TWO thing!