And Then There Were Two.

I’ve been in such a state of peace lately. I really didn’t expect this. I expected chaos and resentment and exhaustion and all those other things that seem to occur when you bring a newborn into a home. But, as it turns out, becoming a mother for the second time has been a much smoother transition than the first time. I’ve been sitting on this realization for a while and have come to attribute it to two things:
First, my perspective is clearer. I have witnessed, firsthand (because lets face it, it means nothing coming from someone else), that time flies. What’s a challenge one week is non-apparent the next. Breastfeeding feels never-ending… then you wean… and a week later it feels like it’s been a year since you breastfed your child and you suddenly miss it a little. Sleepless nights seem to come and go too. What I’m getting at is the fact that it’s all temporary and I’m much more aware of that this time around.
The second has to do with role change. There is a dramatic change in roles following the birth of your first born. For me, I remember thinking parenting Hooper would be a team effort. And by team effort, I mean fifty fifty. It was hard for me to take on the role of primary caregiver and accept the realization that fifty fifty really equals ninety ten. I felt like I was constantly having to sit on my ass to breastfeed and it bothered me to have to sit on my ass while I stared at a sink full of dirty dishes, dust collecting on the floor, a dog that needed to be walked, and so on and so forth. While I had to organize my day with some sort of strategy just to fit a shower and three meals into my schedule, it seemed like Willy got to sit on the toilet forever just to shit. It all seemed unfair (As a side note, it had nothing to do with Hooper. I bonded and loved him instantly with ALL my heart… I’m just speaking on behalf of the role adjustment).
With the birth of our second, I’m already acquainted with my role. I’ve already accepted the challenge. I know my place, Willy knows his. We’ve learned from our struggles the first time around and the kinks we had to work out then are already worked out. I am the primary caregiver. I say that now with pride and excitement. Although, I must admit, I’m still jealous of the fact Willy still gets to sit on the toilet forever when I’m just lucky to wipe my ass just in time to intercept a toy car Hooper’s about to throw into the toilet. But, again, it’s temporary.
Realizing that it’s all temporary and having experience in the role of primary caregiver has made me more relaxed. Being more relaxed, in turn, has made for less arguments, less kinks to work out, and less anxiety in general. I remember trying to shove food in my mouth as fast as possible because Hooper would be crying while Willy and I tried to enjoy dinner. This time around, if Van is crying during dinner it reminds me that he’s alive and I close the door and finish my dinner.
What’s your experience in becoming a mother for the first or second or third time been like? Can you relate?

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18 Responses

  • I have to say that your lucky you get to be more relaxed with the second. for me, I found out I was pregnant with #2, while my first was still 2 months old… that being said.. I really didnt get much time to figure out things before, all of a sudden, there were two. The anxiety of being the primary caregiver was doubled, which meant more fights. I didn’t breastfeed, so on the nights before my husbands days off, he would let me sleep and he would wake up and make bottles through the night. Anyways, now knowing what to expect, hopefully the transition of having a third will be easier. 🙂 by the way, you make everything sound so easy!! 🙂

    • Ha! It’s far from easy… there are a lot of struggles and juggling and sacrifices… but it definitely is the most enjoyable work I’ve ever done. I imagine having two children so close together would increase the challenge, but I’ll bet you’ll find the third easier. You’re probably a pro now!

      • pro… ha, yeah I’m far from it!!! I love that they are close in age. They are always helping eachother, playing together… I’m hoping Gianni will also potty train his brother…. that would make life so much easier haha. Nico already goes to his big brother to kiss his boo boos… even if gianni is the one that gave it to him. 🙂 I guess we’ll see in april how much harder or easier it’ll be with 3.

        • Wow!! Congrats on the third. You’ll do great! So sweet that he goes to his big brother to kiss his boo boos… I can only hope for the same 🙂

  • Love this post! You’re so Zen, little sis. It’s very true that most anything in life is temporary. I get most depressed when I don’t realize that and assume I’m stuck in whatever current funk I’m in FOREVER. That’s never the truth.

    Of course, your sense of humor has to help things. This had me cracking up: “I’m still jealous of the fact Willy still gets to sit on the toilet forever when I’m just lucky to wipe my ass just in time to intercept a toy car Hooper’s about to throw into the toilet”

    Tell Hooper to throw cars at Willy while he’s pooping. That might make things more interesting.

  • My sons are 21 months and 5 months old. To say the last five months have been easy would be a lie, but it would be true to say that I wouldn’t trade them in for anything. Not a thing. There have been times I have never laughed or smiled so much in my life and times when I’ve literally locked myself in the bathroom and screamed for everyone to leave me alone. But it’s never 100% of one or the other, it’s a balance and, at the end of the day, I’m happy.

    Now, as me again in a year or two and I may not be able to answer you because having two toddlers will probably traumatize me.

  • For me, I can say that this second time around I am more relaxed. My husband and I have less arguments and seem to know our roles. I feel like we’ve grown as a team instead of me feeling I was doing most of the work. But since I started my new job and my husband started school again, we both had to give up our roles as primary caregiver to my parents. I’m fortunate that they are both retired and willing to watch my two boys during the week. I miss having those long stretches of days off at a time and having the energy to take them out on random outings. I find myself checking in with my parents and asking them to send me pictures of the kids throughout the day so I don’t feel like I’m missing out too much. I definitely agree with you on how this is temporary and time flies. So, I’ll enjoy every moment of it!

  • I have a two week old, my first. In 14 short days I’ve gone through so many of these moments. I tell myself every day how temporary these struggles are as I eye the spot on the couch permanently indented with 25 extra lbs of ass and use my toes to pick up my cell phone on the table and brush pizza crumbs out of my boys hair as I precariously balance a plate on my knees, but it’s really nice to hear again that this too shall pass.

    • It feels so permanent at the time. I can totally relate with picking up the cell phone with your toes… the other day I was breastfeeding Van while spoon feeding Hooper and he dropped his car on the ground. I thought I was supermom when I managed to pick it back up using my toes. And yes, the pizza crumbs in the boys hair… I can relate to that too! It does all pass… and you’ll see that in hindsight it passed too quickly. Congrats on your two week old! xo

  • I would definitely say I had the same feelings as you. When I had my first, it was like my world was turned upside down and shaken. Yes, I loved being a mother. But I barely found time to shower…I kid you not, it was bad. By the time my second came along, it was a breeze. I showered every morning without issue…I was used to it at this point! So much easier than I thought.

    That being said, now that second is mobile, life has gotten a little more difficult. My kids now fight over toys and the such and I wasn’t prepared for that kind of drama yet. I am seriously a referee to babies all-day-long. It’s ridiculous.

    • I remember you saying before that you felt like a referee and I dread the day that becomes my reality. It’s bad enough having to tell Hooper to give the dog back her toy… I can’t imagine two verbal boys hashing it out. But, I won’t be breastfeeding anymore, so I figure I can end the day with a glass of wine ha!

  • I just found your blog today and I LOVE it!
    On your question, I have two boys also, and my little dudes are 19 months apart. I am like you, with my second I felt more at peace, and I knew what to expect so it wasn’t the same learning curve as it was with the first. My husband and I knew what to expect from each other and the misunderstandings and disagreements were non existent compared to the 1st two months after my oldest was born. (We also decided to move when my son was only 2 weeks old, and that added a lot of stress to our relationship).
    My boys are now almost 3 years old and 15 months old, and it is so much fun. Sure they argue once in a while but watching them play, laugh together or look for each other in the mornings does nothing but good things for the soul.

    • So true… it does do great things for the soul. I can’t wait for the day they can actually play (and fight) together. So much to look forward to… Glad you found my blog and are enjoying it 🙂 xo

  • This was really lovely to read. A few blogger’s that I regularly read just welcomed their second child and quite a few are struggling. I’m sure every day is different and, of course, every kid is different – but it was just nice to read another perspective. It makes me a little less terrified about adding a second (someday!).

  • well i only have one so can’t comment on this subject but just had to say… ahhhhh…. the bear on the tricycle!! kills me!

  • My experience was a little different. I have one daughter, now almost two. When she was born, I would say from day dot my husband did pretty much everything but feed our baby. As Lola fed every 4 hours or so from the beginning, after feeding, hubby would burp, change and settle her.. because… well simply because that’s what he really wanted & loved to do. This messed? (probably not he right word) with my emotions, as I stood there overflowing with emotion and watching the man I love bond and relate to our baby the way he wanted to. I was a crying mess watching those two. Not that I didnt think he would bond with our baby, but I didnt realise he would have such an active role from day one. Needless to say, this did make it easier on me, and I did actually have adequate time to go the toliet, and actually did stuff outta the house without bub, from week two (thanks to expressing!)
    Lola had a bit of reflux inthe first three months and her papa just knew how to settle her and calm her in an instant. he is a much more relaxed, easy going person than I am, so I think this helped.
    Now at two they are thick as thieves and spend a good two hours outside together when papa gets home from work. I’m a stay at home mama, so this gives me time to catch up on emails, read, catch up for coffee with friends etc, but I find most the time I end up outside with them, as I dont wanna miss out on the fun! Then we all have dinner together, he bathes with her and then puts her to bed. Again most times, I end up on the bed too, reading bed time stories. That’s def. how we prefer it – the three of us together, but I mustn’t take for granted (and I dont) the amount of time her papa wants to spend by lola’s side. And it’s always done so damn easily, and he doesnt make me feel guilty for my own time for one tiny second – which I can at times. Anyway, I’m babbling now… I’m loving reading your thoughts and adventures. Your words crack me up, and make me reflect. Well done you! xx


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