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Friday, August 14, 2015

mom to 2 - Francesca

Thank you to Francesca for sharing her experience of going from mom to one daughter to mom of a daughter and a baby boy! It's a busy, but wonderful life, and Francesca gives some great tips for letting things go and embracing all the great moments with two kiddos. 

Thanks, Francesca! 

Images shared from Francesca 

1. How did you try to prepare yourself before baby number 2 arrived?
I didn’t do much except take care of myself better with the second pregnancy. Knowing that you have a child to take care of while pregnant this time- you have more motivation to limit the extra goodies and minimize the weight gain the second time around. Knowing the process ahead of time, there wasn’t much else to prepare. We had been given hand me downs for clothes, had lots of gender neutral stuff to reuse from our daughter, knew he would be in our room and then share a room with big sister later, so I just bought a few small items for our son to have, for his own, and that was it.

2. How did you try to prepare your first child for his little sibling?
I knew that splitting our time and attention would be the biggest issue for our daughter to adjust. So right away when we found out we were pregnant, we made a greater effort to work on her independence and patience. No more answering every single request right away- instead, asking her to wait. Asking her to play by herself for short periods of time. And helping her to learn to get un/dressed and bath mostly by herself.

3. What are some of the biggest changes with going from one to two children?
Splitting your time- between your kids and your partner. With my hormones still raging in the beginning, I felt such huge guilt that I was not having as much one on one time with my first born. 

However, just like you adjusted with the first baby, you adjust with the second and just make time with each child. 

Making time with my husband has actually been harder. So often we divide and conquer with the kids so that we do less together. And date nights have become even less frequent. This is something we both want to make more time for- but asking to babysit two feels harder of friends and family. So we capture moments at home when we can- to watch a movie, etc. And honestly- middle of the night sex is required if you want no interruptions. Just keepin’ it real. 

4. What has surprised you about being a parent to two?
How much they love and enjoy each other. From the beginning, our son has recognized our daughter and turns to her voice. Only she can make him laugh the hardest. 

I know it won’t be without fights, but I just love how much they adore each other right now. I just watch and smile when they follow each other around, playing and laughing.

5. What are some of the greatest things about adding another one into the mix, making two better than one?
Our daughter is definitely Daddy’s little girl. But the first time that our son reached for me over my husband, my heart melted! He and I definitely have a special bond. Neither child is my favorite of course, but the unique relationship that you have with each child grows your bond with each. And somehow going from one to two has increased the bond between my husband and I. We have never been closer.

6. What did you do with your first child while you were in the hospital with baby number 2?
My mom stayed at our house with our daughter and brought her to the hospital during the day. I was there 3 nights- so my husband did go home the third night because it had started to wear on our daughter leaving us each time.

7. What is your advice for moms who are going to have a second child?
Helping your first born become more patient and independent with basic daily things- it helps so much now when juggling both kids during dinner, bath, and bed time- which I handle most nights. And definitely savor those final moments as a family of three. Being a family of four is wonderful, but you will never be just the three of you again- so it is important to absorb and cherish that moment while you can.

8. How was it when you were pregnant with baby number 2 with a toddler running around, was it a different pregnancy? Any advice for those pregnant with a toddler?
Our kids are 3 ½ years apart- so I was able to come home from work, let our daughter eat cereal for dinner and have her watch Netflix in my bed during the beginning of my pregnancy when I was so exhausted and nauseous. And in that hormonal moment, I felt guilty, but you shouldn’t. 

Do what you need to in order to survive being pregnant and having another child in tow. If your kid is clothed, fed, and clean most days, you are doing just fine!

9. Any books, Web sites, blogs, or friends' advice that helped with the transition to two?
My friends with two just said it will be busy but fun- and they were right!

10. Can you share any silly or funny moment between your two kids or your husband and you when baby number two came that shows what it's like?
My husband is home on Wednesdays with both kids. Our daughter is a nonstop talker and we tune her out sometimes just out of necessity- don’t judge. So one Wednesday she was calling and calling, “Dad. Dad. Dad! Dad!” He went into the bathroom where our daughter was standing with her pants down to her ankles and our son was splashing around in the newly peed in toilet water. That sums it up. 

11. Think back to all the things you worried about before and after baby number 1 came along... did you worry about those same things, or lighten up a bit and worry about different things the second time around?
Totally different! No more antibacterial wipes for going out in public. No more detailed lists for the babysitters on when to eat, sleep, change diapers, etc. And you let go of the perfect parenting that you strived for with the first. 

Going with the flow is imperative with two kids. Plans are always loose, never set in stone. And appreciating and being in the moment is key- because they go by even faster with the second!

12. Name 3 things you could not live without having a second child.
As far as actual items- stroller/carrier for going out and about with both kids- that’s it. Otherwise you can just reuse almost everything that survived from the first kid. But non-tangibles- parental leave with the second, with the first child still having their routine of daycare, if possible. I so needed that time to bond with our son, adjust to having two, and to heal. And the third thing- ME-time! I HAVE to workout, and have ladies nights out with friends, and time alone with my husband! Having two kids makes it even more important to do these things to help relieve stress, and have a life beyond just being a mother. Otherwise you will turn into a super crabby mom, friend, partner, sister, etc. and this is to nobody’s benefit!

13. How has your relationship with your first child changed by adding a second one? Do you try to put special time in for your older one, mommy and son time?
Absolutely- you HAVE to make special one on one time with your first child. Recently I took the day off just to spend with our daughter- I jam packed the day with lots of fun stuff for her. She loved it! It made me realize that I wasn’t doing enough of that on a daily basis for her. So I am more aware that just hanging out in the same space isn’t enough. 

Leave the baby with Daddy and take your oldest to the park- just the two of you. And don’t just sit on the bench- PLAY! They are starving for that direct interaction with you, that they used to have unlimited before. And I want to make some special time with her and my husband- just the three of us too.

14. What is your advice to a new mom of two as she prepares, and as the baby is here? What works?
Simplify and prep as much as possible. I meal plan and grocery shop after work Fri before I pick the kids up at daycare- I am not brave enough to shop with both on my own. Then I make a meal on Sat. and one on Sun. with enough leftovers to eat for lunches and dinners all week. I pack all of our meals and snacks for the week Sun night. I have been working out to Jillian Michaels in the morning- 30 min, 6 days a week. So when I pick up the kids after work, I can just reheat dinner and have the rest of our time for bath and playtime/quality time before bed.

15. Anything else you want to add?

Be prepared for some tears. With your time split between work, partner, family, friends, and now two young kids- there are bound to be tears. Tears from either or both kids, and from you. And maybe all three at once. 

Our son definitely has his moments lately- clearly demonstrated in one of my pictures. Just enjoy- even in these chaotic moments. Be in the moment and appreciate it all!

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