Since I’m at the age that people are either starting to have kids or thinking about kid #2, I’ve been asked a lot of questions lately. But the most popular of all is: How’s it balancing two?
Let me be honest: It’s not easy. Impossible? Heck no. And you know why? I actually know what I’m doing this time around.
They say your first child is the one to get all your fears and phobias…Well, I believe it. The things that stressed me out initially with Kinley — like going to the store — I remember fondly. Looking back, it was pretty easy going out with one once you got the hang of it. Two hasn’t been quite as simple, but time is more the issue than the kids themselves. It just takes forever to get both kids ready and into the car, so I really have to think if what I am going to do is worth it. Generally it is for my sanity and for their stimulation.
Other observations about going from one to two:
- Nursing in public is not an issue. Thankfully, this time around, instead of thinking “What will I do if baby gets hungry?” when I go out, I just think about where I could go to nurse when the baby DOES get hungry. I’m no longer worried about nursing in public because I know it’s what I have to do for the sake of my toddler getting out. We’ve nursed in all kinds of places from at the park, while at restaurants to every dressing room in the big box stores. You just do what you need to do.
- Baby is in her pajamas waaay more than kid #1 was. Why? They are so much easier. Little outfits are too much of a pain and not very practical, especially since the weather is quickly cooling. I have yet to see a newborn who looks comfortable for hours on end in a headband, hoodie and socks…which never stay on their feet. Get the “dressier” sleepers if you want baby to look fancy, put socks on underneath and maybe a onesie and call it good. And know the headband may only stay on while you snap a few photos (because they are so darn cute when you have a girl!).
- Instead of tiptoeing around while baby sleeps, I just make noise as normal. I do not want to have another child who can’t sleep if there is any noise. And know what? She seems to sleep best during the day when I play my music and the toddler is screaming playfully.
- I am sleeping TONS better than I was with kid #1. OK, I am getting less sleep really, but the quality is better because I actually sleep the second I hit the pillow, while as with Kinley, with every little baby squeak, I’d be up. This baby? I let her make noise until I am absolutely sure her eyes are open and she’s really up. No more creeping into the bedroom to check ten times because we all know how that ends up: Babies can sense their mamas and almost always wake-up. We get up between 5:30-6 a.m. most mornings, which is a tad earlier than I’d like, but I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in my productivity, so I can’t be too mad about that.
- I am not rocking her to complete sleep. Sure, I would love to hold her little body in my arms every second, but that’s not feasible with an active toddler. Now I know I have to put her down when she’s still slightly awake or else I am not going to have a second to myself at night. I’ve been so surprised that after about 5 minutes of grunting, she has soothed herself to sleep and is out.
- In some ways, I’m able to enjoy things more. I try to cherish the moments when I’m one-on-one with each as much as possible. With that said, I know when I have to get things done. The little one loves nursing on and off while we’re home. So when I need to do work, I try to reserve a few minutes just to watch her nurse before pulling up my laptop. And while the little one naps during the morning and afternoon, I try to have some special time just with Kinley, coloring or reading books to her.
- I understand the cries. All newborns have their bouts of crying for no apparent reason. If a session at the tatas can’t soothe, I know “shh shh shhs” combined with walking around will work. That, or a marathon burping session of back patting to get gas out. They really are simple creatures, it just takes a few weeks to understand their habits and patterns.
- Finding a babysitter seems like a daunting task. I feel much more guilty leaving two behind, especially with the little one being so dependent on me (and not really taking bottles well). So I’m not getting out as much as I’d like completely alone. I’m sure that day will come, but for now, I try to take one with me when I have to run errands so it’s less pressure on whomever is watching them. Let’s just say I dream of the day I can go grocery shopping alone and not feel major guilt when I have to leave for a couple of hours.
At the end of the day, each child is different and has their own set of difficulties. Karina has shown many of her differences already and I hope they continue to be unique and do their own things throughout life. I’m just thankful we’ve been through much of this stuff already and my instincts are a tad more refined this time around.
Being their mom is the most amazing thing ever. Things may take a little longer, and be slightly more stressful, but in my opinion, having two kids has just meant double the blessings…Even if my sleep time has been cut and I can’t go shopping alone yet. When I look into their eyes, I know they are worth every single sacrifice.
How did you handle the transition from one to two children? Was it smooth or rough initially?