Becoming a parent is hard, challenging and life-altering. As a first-time stay-at-home mom, I can clearly recall trying to ‘figure it all.’ There were good moments and bad moments. There were moments when I all I wanted was sleep or to have a break and other moments when I couldn’t bear a second without her. There were worries when I eventually did get that break and anxiety about high fevers to her not eating enough to the position she was sleeping in. It was madness and pure happiness all at once.
Over time, though I got into a groove and the moments that seemed ‘so hard’ were starting to become manageable as I was gaining confidence. But with my toddler in tow, screaming one minute and laughing the next, I questioned how people did this again and had another child and another and another!
I thought about double strollers and traveling with two and going back to the world of sleep deprivation, diapers and spit up – all while trying to give my big kid and baby the attention, care and love that they needed. You get my point: Adding another child to the mix seemed daunting.
Well, six months ago I did have that second baby, a girl, who has been a complete joy with her big blue eyes and bursting smile that melts my heart every time I see her. This time, as a second-time mother, everything is different in so many ways including an absence of the scared, not-so confident person that I was with my first daughter.
Here is what I am learning with my new life with two kids.
- Enjoying the small moments. Simplicity is my new mantra. This time it’s all about enjoying the little things – dance parties in the house, crafts and even simple laying down together – to live in the moment (as best as possible). This time around I even feel like I am a different mother as I am able to truly soak in every moment and not worry about the little things.
- Developing a system. I am all about routine and structure for my family – especially in the morning. Since my older daughter is in school I’ve developed a routine where she picks out her outfit and I make lunches the night before. Although I am exhausted at night it helps to save some time and make the mornings (a little) less hectic.
- Focus. This has been the hardest part of being a mom of two small children. I find it incredibly challenging to focus on my very active and emotional older daughter when the baby needs my physical attention – generally needing to be held, changed, nursed or feed. Finding this balance is tricky and it can be extremely frustrating and sometimes makes me feel guilty that I can’t give 100% of myself to both of them.
- Fits happen. I have been amazed at how my older daughter has taken to the baby. But she is still only four-years-old and when things don’t go a certain or she doesn’t get what she wants she has fits. With two kids, I feel extremely challenged to ‘calm her down’ while the baby is crying or upset. These challenges make the day feel extremely hard and I do have moments when I can’t figure out how to balance both or even
- You can have a life. The first-time around my husband and I didn’t have much of life outside of the house until about a year after my daughter was born. It wasn’t that we couldn’t get a babysitter or didn’t have family to help us but I felt that I couldn’t leave her. I felt that she would cry without me causing a stress-filled date night. With our second daughter, we went away overnight for a wedding when she was 4.5 months old. I would have never been able to do that the first-time, but now I realize that everything is going to be just fine – and when she does cry the person that we trusted to watch her will figure it out. Knowing that we can have a life – both with our girls and reconnect – is an amazing feeling that I am shocked that I am enjoying this time.
Parenting continues to amaze me with all of its ups and downs. As a mom of two, I am amazed at how much I have changed as I am learning how to embrace this magical and challenging time.
By Serena Norr, a Brooklyn-based writer and mom of two, created her original blog Seriously Soupy as a way to learn more about soups and to experiment with new ingredients.