When I had my first child I was pretty excited to be at home with him, do whatever I wanted for once, and pretty much have this little person go with me everywhere I went. Well, obviously who ever told me that I could do whatever I wanted with a baby was crazy because, well, that’s just crazy. Especially with your first one. Eh, the second one you can manage to ignore a little more successfully. For me the first one brought a lot more stress than I ever imagined. The packing and repacking of the diaper bag. Lugging the breast milk in the cooler for times when you may not be available at that perfect moment to plop your boob out on the table. The changes of clothes preparing yourself for not one, not two, but potentially three different diaper blow outs or vomit explosions. Then there’s all of the other stuff like when will they talk, walk, play by themselves, be trustworthy, eat their own food. Well, you get the idea. Having one child, for me, was a reason not to have a second one. I love my first born with every fiber of my being. It had nothing to do with that. It was the fear. How would I manage two children in a shopping cart and all of the groceries? My two year old was definitely not at a trustworthy walking around the store age. How would I leave the room to go upstairs to the bathroom and leave my two year old with the baby? Would he try to pick up the baby or stuff raisins in his mouth? How can I go to a friend’s house for a party if my husband can’t be by my side? How will I be able to take the baby upstairs for a quiet nursing session while my two year old untrustingly wanders the house?
Well, knowing my fears you can imagine the immediate terror when I found out we were having a second child. I knew I didn’t really have a choice at this point and I honestly felt so much relief when I found out I was pregnant because the decision was made for me. I didn’t have to go through that whole planning to have another kid thing because luckily for me, it just happened. (Side note here, I do understand how incredibly lucky I am to have that simplicity when it comes to having children. Being a part of this amazing trio we call Hot Mess Mamas, has made me understand that!) I really wanted more kids, but my fears were ruining it for me and for my husband. I spent endless hours analyzing how I would manage things. I would play out public scenarios in my head because I like to be prepared. A lot of this had to do with my oldest because he was a little bit behind in the whole holding hands in the parking lot, sticking with mommy in public places, listening. to. anything. Lets just say he was difficult to take in public if I didn’t have both hands free to manage him at all times. I was not as comfortable with the Hot Mess moniker then as I am now.
See, when you have your first child you have nothing better to do than stare at them all day, bother to care about their outfits, and change them with every crumb. Your house is probably pretty clean, dinner is pretty easy, and you probably have a pretty good wake up, eat, nap kind of schedule. If you have only one kid and you just read that and thought I was crazy, well I think my former one child self would think I was crazy too. The second one comes and shit goes down hill really quickly and you realize all of those things that seemed hard at the time were super easy compared to your new two child self. Your house is a disaster, it feels like you run a restaurant / brothel because your oldest does nothing but eat and your youngest does nothing but suck on your boobs, and everyone naps at weird times in weird places…except you. P.S. You don’t nap anymore.
But. But but but but buuuuuuut, things start to get easier and at a rapid pace. Your diaper bag stress? Gone. I carry a diaper and small package of wipes in my purse. Whatever happens happens. No diaper bag required. Change of clothes? Who cares what they’re wearing; how many days they’ve had it on; and whether or not it matches, is clean, or even belongs to them. I know it’s so cliche, but time flies by so fast after you have the second child because you’re so much busier. You have a lot less time to worry about when they’re going to walk, talk, play alone, etc. It’s just the way it is. They’re learning from each other, something you didn’t have before and unbelievably, things just become, well, easier. You’ve been through this once already. That’s not to say your kids aren’t going to be completely different because they probably will be. Mine are. It’s just the act of juggling everything, and the memories of stages with the first one that seem easier with the second one because you know what comes next. You’re so unguided with the first child. You have no experiences yet. You have no idea what is coming next, how long things will last, and how to treat any situation.
Give it a good month and you’re pretty much a well oiled machine. You’ve got the system down for a while. These fears do sneak up on you periodically as big changes come, but just having that second kid gives you all of the tools to gracefully figure out what to do next. Big changes like the big kid bed for the oldest, taking your youngest out of that easy bucket seat and into a regular car seat, allowing your oldest to walk through Target and knowing you can actually trust him. I know it takes a while to get a system down. You try lots of different things before you get your groove, but just like you did with the first one, you will with the second one, and the third, etc. Something I had to remind myself of, and what I look back on and realize, is that it’s all gradual changes. It’s not like the day you get pregnant you’re all of the sudden carting two screaming two year olds through the grocery store in your pajamas looking for a gallon of milk. I think if we have a third baby I will analyze a lot less because I know it all just happens and I’ll be so much more relaxed because, for the most part, I know what’s about to happen.
Don’t be Afraid.
You might miss something great.
I know I would have!