I always love hearing when people felt like they were ‘ready’ to have another kid. The funny part is you are never even ready for the first one, and by the time you feel like you just got the hang of this parenting thing, it seems a little backwards to then decide to just throw it in the garbage.
Everyone with multiple kids has obviously endured their own version of the transition and it’s repeatedly stated to you that going from one kid to two is the hardest transition, more so than going from zero to one and definitely more than going from two to three. But, then again, going from two to three sounds like my breaking point, so it’s really a crapshoot. I’m also told that once you have three it’s basically a state of whatever at that point and you can just keep going from there with little to no change in your routine. True or false? I’m not testing the theory.
It’s different for everyone, but Parker has just turned three when SS was born. That age gap may have saved us a bit from some of the other hardships of navigating two children. Parker was old enough to communicate more with us, had a grasp on independent play and had seen her friends with baby brothers or sisters. On some level, she got what it was all about… in her three-year-old way.
Here are a few tidbits I remember experiencing and wanted to share:
If your second child is the same gender, as mine are, it was hard for me to not just assume SS was going to do everything exactly like Parker did. I kept assuming I had birthed another Parker… which was kind of weird now that I typed that out. But the point is, every baby is different. What worked the first time, may not always work the second. Be flexible and let them be their own tiny tornado.
If it’s an option, be sure to potty train your older child before the next ones arrives. No one can handle more than one human who needs a diaper… and that will be including you for a bit after you give birth, lest you forget so easily from the first experience.
Damn it feels good to know what you’re doing the second time around. After Parker was born, I’m pretty sure Eric and I looked at each other multiple times a day and thought ‘WHAT HAVE WE DONE?’... but with the second all of the stages are more known, you’re more confident in your mom-abilities and things like diaper explosions and a five octave screaming range doesn’t even phase you. Embrace being way more chill this time around. You’re not just a mom, you’re a cool mom.
Even if it’s just for a few hours a day, if you can, have someone come over and take your older child to the playground or a coffee date or something outside of the home. Through my maternity leave with SS, I still had our nanny come her normal hours so I could 1) just have a second set of hands and 2) have her continue to take Parker out and about to art classes, etc while I was recovering from my C-section and 3) I could nap when the baby was napping, I could take time to heal and even pump and who knows… sneak in a shower… but most importantly 4) find time to savor and bond with SS as if she was my first. It was truly a lifesaver and I’m forever grateful we were able to have that set up.
At this point, you’re already going to playgrounds and playdates and art classes and probably have friends with kids. So all of that doesn’t change that much. You’ve found your parenting social life and now it just has another baby included.
Give yourself a learning curve. You didn’t figure out how to keep one child alive overnight, so it will take months (yes, you read that right, months) to get the hang of this two kid lifestyle. Go easy on yourself, take deep breaths, drink some wine, drink some wine while nursing. As we know all to well after already having gone through the newborn phase one, everything is just that… a phase. You know everyone will go back to sleeping through the night, they will stop having tantrums, they will play independently again.
If you follow the rules of birth order, your first will be the rules follower that generally is more mild mannered and follow instructions. The second is your drunk uncle who lives to entertain. I should know, I’m a second child.
It’s okay to know your own threshold. I have friends with four or even five kids and it’s easy to compare. But after having a second child, I quickly realized my threshold for craziness and utter chaos was pretty low. Knowing that probably means I won’t be a mom with five kids. But, guess what... I’m so excited and proud of my mama friends who do have a high threshold for utter mayhem. They teach me SO much and I have endless respect for them.
After SS’s first birthday, I was able to finally look back and see what all we accomplished in that first year with two kids. Now, when we see them eating together, playing together and helping each other... Eric and I high five and then melt into a pool of emotions. Parker dotes on Sidney Sloane and SS just wants to be exactly like her older sister. I feel like I’ve peaked in my parenting at this point, it can only go downhill from here ;)
I’m so excited we’ve started up this series again. Motherhood, parenthood and families can all take different paths and look so unique to each person. Every woman in this series bring their personal perspective and experiences to the conversation, and for that, I am always grateful to be a part of this group. There is no right or wrong way to do family and I think it’s so important to see all of the different perspectives and experiences shared!
Be sure to check out and follow along with the other amazing mamas who are sharing their stories as part of this series. Also be sure to check out our previous topics: Travel, Feeding, Sleep, Relationships, Self Care, Working, Co-Parenting, Comparison Trap, Diaper Bag Essentials and Play. Links below! #realmomseries