Before your first child is born, you are constantly asking questions, researching, and planning out each and every detail. Once they are here your full attention is on them. You are able to spend hours with them, uninterrupted, and plan for holidays and birthdays well in advance –you may even find yourself crafting for events, scrapbooking, you know all that time consuming stuff.
Then number two makes an appearance, and you find yourself feeding a newborn while simultaneously building block towers with your two-year old. The days speed by and you realize that there are never enough hours to finish that to do list.
Mentally I was ready for two (well as mentally prepared as anyone can be). I don’t mind multitasking, but there have for sure been a few aspects of having two that I did not realize would happen.
- Giving the newborn a bath, not the bath itself, I actually felt confident with that this time, but the frequency. With my daughter, I knew when she had last had a bath, when she needed one, and never missed it. With our son, I know for a fact I have let more days go by than I would like, and often put it off until the next morning.
- How long it takes us to leave the house. Getting a two year old out of the house may not be the fastest process, but adding a newborn to that mix added a lot more time than I ever expected. I have to time things just right. At this point I have it down to about 45 minutes from start to finish, give or take depending on if the baby needs to be fed.
- Two kids up at the same time. You can have every plan in place, but until you have two kids up at 3am – you have no idea. (I’ll add in it is manageable, but it for sure tests your strength and patience). Bedtime is also another sleep aspect that will test you, and often feels like the most difficult puzzle that you have to complete just right to ensure that everyone is happy (and drifts off to dreamland at a reasonable hour).
- My self-confidence. With child number one, there was a lot of uncertainty and second guessing. I looked to other moms for advice, I researched everything. With number two – the feeling of “I got this!” has been present. Having a newborn is more of a “been there, done that” feeling, and a lot of aspects naturally come back, especially if your kids are close together, age wise.
- The way my love for our newborn has helped my relationship with my two year old. If you have ever had a two year old, you know that they can be tough. As parents we expect a lot from them, and often get short when they fight for their independence. A new baby actually brings a newfound respect and admiration for your older child – as you can see just how far they have come.
Overall, a new baby can for sure be challenging, but the love that grows as a result is truly amazing. You have the opportunity to see your spouse again as a new parent, you get those newborn cuddles again, and you also get to experience the relationship between your older child and their new sibling – which is remarkable. You may have to lower your expectations some, but it is by far worth it.
Bonus tip to prepare for: just how heavy a double stroller is to push up hills! Needs a postpartum workout? Load up those kiddos and push them around the neighborhood, I promise it’s a great workout!
What are some things that you didn’t expect when you brought a new baby into your family? Any advice for transitioning from one to two (or even two to three kids)?