Lessons I've Learned Becoming a Mother of 2
Child-rearing is tough. Every Sunday should be Mother’s Day.
Although raising one child was never easy, it seems like a walk in the park in comparison to my new life juggling 2 babies. Just when I was getting the hang of mothering a curious, talkative 4 year old, our newborn came to shake things up a little bit.
I’m on a 4 month maternity leave, and I’m getting the real “stay at home mom” experience. My hats off to you ladies who do this year round. If I weren’t breastfeeding, wine would be apart of my daily diet.
Getting the time to sit down and write has been a challenge. I haven’t had the time or energy to write since posting about my pregnancy peeves in February. I had this crazy thought that since I’d be home, off from work for the summer, I’d be able to do a lot of writing! Silly Rabbit.
Things are becoming a little more bearable, and somewhat routine, now that my son is 2.5 months. I spent month 1 awake most of the night, tending to a baby who wanted to cluster feed ALL OF THE TIME. I binge watched shows on Netflix, and got to know Mary Jane a little too well (sidenote - Gabrielle Union is FLAWLESS). But at last! These days I can sleep at night for a full 3 hours before baby wants his liquid gold.
So I’m writing while I have the chance. It’s midnight, and the whole house is asleep, except for me. I should also be asleep, but I deserve to write.
Just 2 months into this mother of 2 life, and I’ve experienced some of the joys and struggles of caring for a super dependent newborn baby, and a trying-to-be-but-not-so-independent 4 year old. Consequently, I’m learning many, many, many lessons and thought I’d share a few.
You’ll Be Happy That Your Children Have a Sibling
It’s a beautiful to thing to witness an organic relationship bud. Bella loved her brother before he was born. She would sing to my belly, rub it, and constantly ask when he was coming. When the baby cries, Bella is able to calm him by talking to him, and holding his tiny hand. I like to think that they have their own little thing. I grew up with a brother, and although we are 7 years apart (6 years, 11 months if you ask him), and opposite-sex, the brother-sister bond is one that I value and cherish. I’m happy to give that experience to my children. I feel fulfilled that I have provided each of them with a lifelong (hopefully lol) friend.
Each Kid Brings Something Unique, Special and Important to The Household
I remember talking to a father of 4. He has 1 adult child, 2 teenagers, and a 4 year old. He laughed that his last child was a “surprise.” In rambling about fatherhood (which was super sweet), he mentioned that each of his 4 children brought something special to his household. He said even when they thought they were done having kids after the first 3, the 4th child brought something they didn’t know they were missing. I feel this already in many ways. Bella, my firstborn, she’s the child that brought discipline to my life. She helped me to settle down in my early 20’s. My baby boy so far has really brought a certain peace to my life. I’ve been so busy these past couple of years chasing goals, going to school, and working non-stop. Having him at this time has really helped me to decompress, and become one with myself again. Even with all of the craziness going on in my life (because when does life ever stop being crazy) I feel at peace.
Keep Watering That Marital Garden
A second child has brought loads of happiness to the household, but also many transitions. Hubby and I have less time for each other now that we have double duty: 2 kids to feed, 2 kids to bathe, 2 kids to put to bed, 2 kids to load in the car, 2 kids to emotionally bond with. Our life is pretty much child-centered. Although I’d have it no other way, we have to be diligent about spending time together. Date night, date night, date night! We definitely had date nights when it was just Bella at home, but now it’s a little different asking family and friends to watch TWO kids. Lol. In any case, we have to take extra steps to preserve our relationship, and make sure that we’re not just good parents, but also good spouses to one another.
My Oldest Needs Reassurance
My baby girl has been the center of my world for the past 4 years, no questions asked. Now that the prince is here, she has someone to share her reign with. She doesn’t show overt signs of jealousy; however, I do notice that sometimes she feels left out. If I’m breastfeeding, she wants to come sit with us. She needs more attention. If I do something for the baby, she asks if I’m going to play with her afterwards. We went to the baby’s 8 week checkup, and she’s voiced several times that she wasn’t happy that he had the same pediatrician as her. As much as she loves and dotes on him, she needs to be reassured that she’s not being replaced.
Running On E - Don’t Beat Yourself Up About Not Getting Everything Done
When Bella was a newborn, I could follow the old adage – “sleep when the baby sleeps.” These days, I can’t do that because when the baby sleeps, my toddler is still wide awake, seeking entertainment, and wanting juice, cheezits, or something random that requires my help. I never seem to have enough energy to complete all of the tasks that I’d like to complete during the day.
It’s summer, so I need to get Bella to the pool and spray parks. I’m nursing on demand, so when baby is hungry, everything comes to a halt. I have a garden (non-marital) that I need to weed and water. I have meals to make, and laundry to bring upstairs. I need to iron the clothes that I left in the dryer for too long, and are now wrinkled. Then I need to handle bills, make phone calls, and set up appointments. The list never ends. So, if one thing slips. IT’S OKAY. Don’t stress yourself over every little thing – you’re doing your best. A few crumbs on the floor never hurt anybody! Lol
Ask For Help
It takes a village. Let the village know you need help mama! As independent as I like to be, the truth is I just cannot do this motherhood thing alone.
This week, I kindly reached out to my mom like “hey, your granddaughter would love to stay over one day this week!” The night Bella stayed at her grandparents, I was able to “catch up” on sleep for one day. Sometimes you just need a rest. If someone can step in, let them. Doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it means you’re human and you need to recharge sometimes. Also, people like to be needed lol :)
And Lastly, Take time for you.
Taking time for you may simply mean, taking a long hot shower. Going to the gym. Reading a book. GETTING BACK TO YOUR BLOG. Do something for yourself that doesn’t (directly) involve your children. You are still an individual, and your kids deserve a well-rounded, happy mother who takes care of herself.