This is what going from 1 to 2 kids is really like: an honest mommy’s gospel truth
Exactly two years ago today we welcomed out little girl Amelia to our family. B. and I were so excited but we were also curious as to how this family of four life was going to treat us. We had always wanted two kids without a big age gap but I became pregnant much sooner than the first time around and the year and a half difference seemed to trigger many of our friends and family to warn us for the rough times ahead.
Having a first baby is emotional
Now, two years later - I can hardly believe it! - I’m a mother to a preschooler and a toddler and am loving it! I’m often asked about what we felt was the hardest going from no babies to one, or from one to two. I always say that a first baby is a mental shock. I desperately wanted to be a mom and maybe I had always been one at heart but I have to admit that I found those first moments, weeks, and months even very intense. I had never been happier but I was fazed by how hard being a mom was and often felt that people had withheld that from me. (I don’t think they had, I think I just couldn’t grasp it before actually becoming a mom.) The feeling that Elliot was completely reliant on me and the way he changed our routine (day and especially night!) was mentally tough. He was the cutest but very sensitive and hadn’t come with a manual, and although I never doubted being a good mom, the search after ways to get him to be less restless and get him to sleep well, was one with ups and downs.
A second baby requires letting go of perfection
With Amelia I knew what to expect, so I wasn’t as emotional and instead of insecurities I now had a checklist to go through if anything was the matter. I had also learned that babies cry and sometimes all you can do is console them. The first few days at the hospital - although again very intense - were more structured. Breastfeeding went well and didn’t worry me, I didn’t worry as much about timing and I didn’t feel guilty leaving her in her bassinet while I showered for the first time.
I also stopped judging other moms: with two little ones to divide my attention over, our house too welcomed loud, ugly toys, more television time and brushing teeth was skipped, vitamin D sometimes forgotten,…
Getting organized is a challenge
The biggest difference when having a second baby is organization. Little things as taking a shower, taking care of your hair and nails, feeding the newborn with a toddler hanging from your leg,… multitasking becomes key and letting go of perfectionism a must. We were treated to an exceptionally challenging homecoming when Elliot turned out to have the chicken pox. The doctors at the hospital warned me to be extra careful and although they did try to be reassuring as well, I was scared to death that Amelia would catch it too. The chicken pox are infectious for over a month in total so keeping Elliot away from Amelia wasn’t an option. Moreover, I was determined to make this a smooth transition for Elliot and it wasn’t at all. I wasn’t allowed to touch anything of Elliot’s, his hair, nose, a towel, change a diaper, without disinfecting my hand before touching Amelia. Elliot was 18 months old and sick,… so it was a near to impossible task. With the help of our family we got through it - Amelia never did get the chicken pox! - and things started to settle in our household of four.
Accept help and try out other moms’ tricks
I started to try out tips and tricks from other mommies and soon I started to be able to cook dinner while feeding Amelia and entertaining Elliot (thank you ring sling carrier!), succeeded in feeding Amelia while Elliot quietly played next to us on the couch (Elliot had a special box of toys, he could only play with while Amelia was eating) and started to get the hang of going to the store with two kids (Amelia in carrier and Elliot in cart tied with my scarf - he was in that climbing and standing up phase and I didn’t want him to fall out).
I cried and swore a lot
I cried many times, I was also surprisingly foul-mouthed (not to the kids but to myself when something went wrong) but at the same time I was the happiest I’d ever been. B. and I would constantly glance at each other in awe of Elliot being the sweetest big brother to Amelia and Amelia’s worship of her brother made us melt.
It gets easier
In my experience, the first six months were the hardest with two little ones. The next six months were also very trying on us because, just like Elliot, Amelia didn’t sleep well (understatement of the century- you can read more about that here). However, by then daily routines, managing a household, going to work, having dinner and getting two kids to bed, had become the “new normal”.
We were functioning at 100% again, also as a couple
When Amelia was a year and a half, we really started to function at a 100% again. Both Elliot and Amelia were sleeping long luscious nights and we were confident to let them go on sleepovers at our parents’ and even found a babysitter. It meant we could be a couple again besides a mom and dad, roles we are very happy in and we love to see each other in but with having two children, I have to admit it became difficult to find quality time for each other.
You’re not a couple with a kid anymore
In my personal experience, a first baby was emotional and becoming a family of four is a shock in getting organized. You become more of a unit, a family, than a couple with a baby. I want to stress that I don’t mean that a family of three is not a family! I just mean that I feel like with one baby, you really get the chance to still focus on each other and your child can often tag along. With two kids that becomes more complicated and you enter a next level in which both parents are a cog in the bigger machine that your household has become. If you want life to be easy, then don’t have kids and for sure don’t have a second,… but all ratio aside: I love to be a mommy of two and we’re hoping to someday becoming a family of five!
Let’s continue the conversation on instagram @mommoiselle_com!