I cried the entire way to the hospital to have my second child. Sobbed. It was a weird feeling that overtook me as I said goodbye to my four-year-old daughter Josey, knowing that it would be the last time our world centered around only her. I cried for the end of the era that was just the “three” of us. I cried because I was scared and nervous. I cried because I was excited and happy to not be pregnant anymore. I cried because of, well, hormones.
We arrived at the hospital for my scheduled c-section and a few hours later our second daughter, Alley Marie, was born and our kid count went from one to two.
It’s been ten weeks. And to be quite honest life with two is a lot different, but it’s a lot the same too. Now, I’m no expert, but here are a few things that I’ve learned so far about this two kids thing.
1. LIFE MUST GO ON.
I knew it was going to happen, but here’s the thing with the second kid…life with the first kid must go on. When you have your firstborn – everything stops. You don’t have to leave the house. You get lost in Babyland and are in total sync with your baby. The second kid – not so much! The moments of laying on the couch cuddling a newborn still happen, but are few and far between. NEWSFLASH: You can’t sleep when your baby sleeps because you are still IN THE TRENCHES with your toddler or preschooler. You are busy packing lunches, giving time-outs, kissing boo-boos and cleaning sheets when they pee the bed! I quickly learned that Alley will spend a good portion of her infanthood in her car seat, taking Josey to school and hanging out at gymnastics or ballet.
2. YOU ARE NOW REALLY NEVER ALONE.
NOW you are truly NEVER alone. Enough said.
3. IT’S HARD…BUT YOU KNOW IT WILL GET EASIER.
I call it the “Promised Land” --- when your kid starts to become somewhat self-sufficient. I got a little taste of that with my four-year-old before the second was born. But as you begin again, you see how easily you forgot the intensity of the breastfeeding, the bottles, the diapers, the constant lists and planning that goes on in your head.
The main difference though is that you are better at it, and you now know that someday you won’t have leave the house feeling like a Sherpa. I’m not saying that I wish away these baby moments, but somehow just knowing that one day it will be different makes it easier.
4. ALL THE THINGS.
So many dishes. So many toys. So many things. With your first kid it was only their stuff and you slowly put things away as they went through their various stages. Now my house and sink are filled with EVERY stage of “kid” --- Right now I am staring at an activity play mat that has teacups, Disney princess and Paw Patrol books all over it.
5. MOMMY GUILT
You may have thought you had mom-guilt with kid one… well now it’s doubled. You feel guilty when you are with one and not the other. The older one knows that you are paying attention to the baby; and sometimes that makes them sad or mad; and that makes you sad. You feel bad that you aren’t paying more attention to the baby. “Will she be OK if I just put her in the swing while I make lunch?” and then lunch turns into laundry and before you know it --- two hours have passed without interacting with her. You will call yourself a bad mom (even though you know you aren’t) and will swear you didn’t do this with your first (even though you probably did). Mom-guilt is real... and even though you know logically you shouldn’t feel it... you still do.
6. SIBLING (& FAMILY) LOVE
When Josey met Alley for the first time, she told us “I knew it would be a girl. See I told you.” It was a very typical Josey comment that began their sister relationship. Josey as the first-born, the big sister – connecting with her sister even before she was born. It’s a bond like no other. This bond is what melted away the fear and sadness that I felt on the way to the hospital. It was officially replaced with an intense feeling of love that I had never felt before. It’s this type of love that brings you closer to your partner and it’s this type of love that makes your heart grow. It wasn’t supposed to be just us three – it was supposed to be us four.
7. SLOW DOWN & HOLD ON TIGHT.
BUT…the most important thing I have come up with in my short time as a Mother of Two is that you must slow down and be sure to hold on a little tighter and longer with this one. Because pretty soon, before you know it, they won’t need you like they do now.
Julie Plake McMinn is the founder of JPM Branding + Consulting and mother of
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