Before I had my second son, I was terrified. I was mostly terrified at how it would affect him, and how I could possibly have the time and love for two when I felt like I already had so much to give to my first son. I was worried about how I wouldn’t be able to spend time with him because I’d be caring for or feeding the baby. I was definitely right, at least in the beginning, it was very hard for me to spend any time with him because a newborn baby needs so much from mom. That was hard for me because I was used to spending all my time with my oldest and now we hardly got any time.
But as baby got older, and started to nap and things regulated, and my body healed from my c section, I was able to spend more time with my older son again and it was great. I was actually surprised that as I adjusted, caring for two wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part was when they were both crying or both needed me. There were times that my baby had to cry and I hated it because I can’t stand listening to him cry. But those times were few and far between thankfully.
I did want to share some of the things that surprised me and that I learned as a new mom of 2. I hear in terms of transitions when adding kids to the family that 1 to 2 is the hardest. Here’s hoping!
- When you need to go somewhere, with both, say to the store, give yourself HOURS to get ready. So if I wanted to leave by 11 or noon, I needed to start getting ready the second I got up. Between dressing me, dressing the oldest, feeding the oldest, dressing youngest, feeding youngest, getting the bag ready, changing both diapers, it is a several hour affair. As long as I planned on having several hours to get ready, I would get out the door without a hitch and (mostly) on time.
- This one took me a while to find a routine that works – bed time – bathe older one first. That way he’s ready for bed, and if baby starts to melt down, I can send oldest to his room to read or play or whatever and then eventually fall asleep. Or let him watch Mickey, whatever, but at least he’s ready for bed if it takes me longer than expected to get the younger one ready and down for bed.
- Playing alone is okay! For both of them! It helps them learn and explore on their own and it helps me give (almost) undivided attention to the other …. or get some shit done around the house.
- Get out of the house. Whether it’s for a walk, go to the store, whatever. I feel more like a human and less like a hormonal zombie if I get out and breathe some fresh air. My kids feel it too. They’re less fussy when they get out of the house too.
- Going to the store – not as bad as I thought! But the whole thing will take a while. Getting two small kids in and out of the store is a feat in and of itself. Car seats, strollers, carts, loading and unloading, crying, feeding, snacks, pitching a fit… it’ll take a while. But as long as you’re prepared and know that going in, it’s not so bad!
- Speaking of the store and errands – be prepared to abandon ship! And know your limits! Generally speaking you won’t be able to fit in maybe more than 2 stores or 3 total stops with 2 small kids. At least mine. They get over it pretty quick. Sometimes they surprise me and I can get more out of them than that, but I always go in expecting it not to last more than 2-3 stops so I prioritize. Whatever is most important to get done is first and second, and anything else is less important and can be done another day and often if we’re melting down, it is scrapped for another day. As much as I’d like to knock everything out in one trip that I need to do to save time, money and gas – with 2 small kids in tow it’s not going to happen anymore.
- Don’t forget to take pics of the bigger one. I noticed my phone is a lot of pics of the little one whereas it used to be all pics of my toddler. He’s still young too I try to make myself remember to take pics of him as well.
- Let it go – the clean house. Sing it if you want to (thankfully I haven’t seen that movie yet) but seriously I had to learn to let the idea of a clean house go. I came to accept that my house won’t be clean for the next 18 years and that’s okay! I have kids! I’m sure no one, if they did come to our house, would expect it to look spotless with two small kids. I do basic cleaning and I clean up toys at the end of the day. That’s it. You’ll have more time for the kids, or just to lay around with your feet up, but clutter and toys doesn’t really matter right now.
What were some of the big things you learned as your family expanded?