Every mom with more than one child has experienced the transition from one to two children and have learned how to adapt. Here are six honest things that I have learned and experienced having two children under the age of two. This list is ever changing as I grow as a mom and my children continue to develop. It applies so much to everyday and what I hope for in my life as a wife and mother.
1. The oldest child will no longer be the baby.
When the second child is brought home from the hospital the first thing you will notice is how big your first suddenly is. There is an alarming difference in size between when you leave for the hospital and when you come back holding an newborn. The first was so small and has always your baby. Now compared to the newest addition they seem so big and so mature. They will always hold the title of first born but bringing home a second child gives the ability to see them as a little kid and older sibling. That realization is challenging but also rewarding as the older sibling takes on a new role of helper and teacher.
2. Adding a second child DID NOT take anything away from the first child.
Adding a second child is hard. Dynamics change for everyone in the family and the guilt of that can feel overwhelming. The relationship with the first child is so special because it is never interrupted and all of the focus is on them. When the second comes along it can feel like you are losing the bond you have with your first. The guilt you feel is not because you regret your second born, it is simply because you are also learning to transition from one to two. Instead of having one child to focus on, you are now splitting your attention between two little humans who rely on you. It is important to acknowledge the change and accept those feelings.
The new normal with two can become just as magical as the dynamics with one. There is a common fear when a second child is brought into the family the first child is losing something. This is simply not true. They are not losing any relationship, attention or love. Instead they are gaining the ability to be an older sibling, to teach and to love for someone new in the family.
3. Toddlers are harder than newborns
It’s true, toddlers are more challenging than newborns in many ways. When a newborn is brought home from the hospital all parents prepare for the endless nights of no sleep. Living in three hour increments and the transition through all of the developmental stages. Let’s not forget about teething either. What many do not realize is how easy that all seems compared to the toddlers screaming fits and tantrums that occur if you look at them the wrong way. Babies will sit in a swing or rocker and just watch or sleep. Toddlers destroy the spice cabinet, open a box of cookies, and have emptied every drawer of folded clothes in the time it takes to go to the bathroom. Toddler life is a very rewarding phase but the emotional toll of tantrums or outbursts make the infants screams at 3 am seem like a walk in the park.
Check back for my opinion on this once they are both walking…
4. Both children are loved equally, but in different ways.
Finding out there is a new addition on the way can raise many question and fears. One of the biggest fears is “will I be able to love the next one as much as I love the first?”. The answer is yes, you will love them just as much. Your love will be different and that is perfectly okay. They are different little humans who need your love in very different ways. Your toddler needs love by playing and teaching and allowing them to be independent. Your newborn relies completely on you to comfort them and keep them alive. Both are loved completely and unconditionally. They are just loved in such different ways that it can seem one is loved more or one is given more attention. It is important to remember they are both needy and you are loving and supporting them in the exact way that they need.
5. Moms are not perfect and that is OKAY.
There is a growing expectation that moms are perfect and they are these super heroes who never fail, they are super heroes there is no doubt in that, but, just like our children, moms are also humans who are not perfect. Some days patience runs out quickly and the kids watch TV all day just for a break. Some days cereal is for dinner and the kids were never changed out of their pajamas. Some days all the laundry is done, there is a three course dinner prepared and everything is just perfect. BOTH ARE OKAY. BOTH ARE NORMAL. BOTH WILL NOT BE JUDGED OR CRITICIZED BY ME.
6. The house is always a mess and the laundry is NEVER done.
Everyday the goal is to wake up, clean the house, do the laundry, have dinner ready and on the table at 6pm and finish the hundred other things that are on the “to do list”. Most nights the “to do list” isn’t any shorter, the laundry didn’t get done, and the house may have been cleaned, but it is destroyed again because two little humans are running around. It is so easy to get caught up in what didn’t get done and what is left on the list. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the constant chaos and disorganization but instead of focusing on what didn’t get finished, focus on what did get finished. What was accomplished? Maybe it wasn’t the house projects or the dishes, but the kids were loved and played with. They were taught how to share, or how to say their ABC’s. There are so many things that you did accomplish and you deserve to be proud of every single one of those things.