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?