After the excitement of knowing you are having your second baby sets in, there is a moment when the reality check is realized: how are you going to adjust to parenting two kids? Life as a mother of two is quite chaotic in the struggle to balance life’s daily routine, bonding with my newborn while also taking care of a three-year-old, emotionally and spiritually.
The good thing is for the second baby you know way more than you realize. From feeding, to burping, to just knowing that you can survive sleep deprivation, you immediately begin parenting your second child with a wealth of knowledge and steady confidence. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still things to learn. Here are 7 lessons my second baby taught me.
1. It’s Easier
In many ways the second child is so much easier. After all the many trials endured for your first baby, you learned a ton about parenting. A lot of the anxiety and stress is just gone, simply because you’ve done it already, making you a much more relaxed parent.
2. It’s Also Harder
With the arrival of the second baby, it’s nonstop noise and energy. Even though raising a child seems so much easier, raising two together is much harder than one. There is no longer an advantage in numbers, with the 1:1 ratio of adults to children, the only option is man to man coverage. I went from total independence in the household to needing my husband to pitch in significantly more. Through it all we are a team, apparently on all-time defense. Our hands have never been more full, but our hearts are happy.
3. Siblings Are The Best
Watching the sibling bond is nothing short of a heart explosion. It’s just simply the best to watch my sons develop their brotherly bond. Their relationship will endure long past my life, so it was something I really wanted for my own children. And watching it begin to grow is already exceeding any of my expectations.
4. I Lean On My Mom Friends
Motherhood can be isolating, except if you have other friends that are moms (and you don’t need a lot). Think: baby screaming 6 hours straight and you FaceTime your fellow mom friend to just show her the situation. No judgment, she just meets you there in spirit and sympathizes. This seemingly small act makes such a positive and large impact on my life. The first time around I didn’t have a circle of mothers to chat with like I do this time. I’m just so grateful to have other moms that I trust to run ideas by, receive advice from, and just know they are there when I need them. In both the good and the bad, they make motherhood into a club, rather than something experienced alone.
5. Rising Early Is Worth it
Waking up before the kids is completely worth it. It sounds crazy, in a time when you already are chasing sleep, to voluntarily wake up before your kids. But, it is so helpful for setting the tone for the day. To have a hot coffee, breakfast, and possibly even shower uninterrupted, is a gift. It’s something that absolutely couldn’t happen when the kids are awake, so waking up before them allows you a little personal time to prepare for the day. Pro Tip: it’s worth the effort to dress with the lights on, as I write this, my leggings are on inside out.
6. I Miss My Older Child
When my first was born, he was my world and everything revolved around him. That just isn’t possible with two. The attention must be shared. I breastfeed my newborn, on demand, so a lot of my time is spent taking care of his needs, at all hours of the day and night. As a result, I’ve had to step back and I am no longer as involved with my three year old son’s daily routine. My husband has taken on a much larger role in his life. Now, my son is closer than ever to his father, which is a wonderful thing. But I miss the exclusive time with my little guy. I don’t want to go back in time, but I realize now just how very special that time with just us was.
7. I Respect My Limits
Everyone has limits. Two children very quickly show you where they are, to acknowledge, and most important, to respect those limits. Think of it as Bruce Banner wearing his heart rate monitor. The realization that I know what my limits look like helps me avert melt down moments, because the reality is, while adjusting to the routine of two children, there are a lot of those moments. Just knowing when you get close to that meltdown moment is important because when you recognize it, it’s easier to ask for help or take constructive measures to avoid that melt down mom persona bubbling to the surface.
There is still so much to learn in motherhood while raising two children. That’s what makes it a journey. The one thing I know with certainty is that my children will teach me far more about myself and life, than I will ever teach them. Above all else, it is an honor to be their mother.