Recently I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the life changing experience of going from one to two kids, so I figured I’d talk a bit about the transition, now that we’ve survived the first grueling year (and then some).
I always thought I’d have two kids…. until I had one child. Personally, my pregnancy was crazy hard (bed rest, pre-term labor, and a never ending labor). I never wanted to experience that again. Also, why does NO ONE TELL YOU ABOUT THE FIRST POOP POST BIRTH? That was almost as terrifying and painful as labor! Poop aside, I just never wanted to experience that again.
Around the time Everett was 2, my friends who already had kids Everett’s age started getting pregnant. I thought it was great….for them. I felt a tiny tinge of sadness, not about not having a child, but rather not being able to do it with them. Kind of like wishing I was part of the cool kids club. Honestly though, I was happy that I’d be able to snuggle their babies and then hand them back when they got fussy or stinky.
I jokingly took a pregnancy test that I had purchased for a friend and BOOM, it was positive.
My first thoughts weren’t joyful, but rather full of worry and fear. Of course I never thought I wouldn’t keep the baby I was now carrying, it was more like “How do I even tell Fredric?” and “What am I going to do?”
As I progressed in my pregnancy, I felt a few of the typical joys one experiences, but it wasn’t the same.
Around the time I was 8-9 months pregnant, we also received Everett’s initial SPD diagnosis. There was soooooo much transitioning happening around this time, that some days I literally felt like I couldn’t keep my head above water.
Yet, I managed. I had an awesome tribe to help support me, some solid resources, and caffeine aka “Nectar of the Gods”
Looking back, I realize that it was crazy hard, but I feel pride. Pride in what I’ve accomplished and what I’m getting ready to do.
Below, I’m going to answer some of the most common question I get and share some tips to help you with your transition.
- Enjoy the small moments and celebrate all victories, no matter how small. Quit making yourself feel guilty for not being perfect. Relish those small moments when no one is crying and you’re having a snuggle session. Feeling like super woman after going to the store and no one cried or had a blow out? EMBRACE IT! Heck, I even celebrate surviving those challenging days (usually with a much earned bottle of wine).
- Crying (and sh*t) happens. No matter how much of a super mom you are, you’re going to feel painfully pulled into opposite directions by your children. Both will be crying and you’ll struggle with who needs you most. It sucks, trust me, but it happens. Crying for a few minutes never killed anyone (though it may fray your nerves). It’s OKAY to let them cry. You’ll manage, they’ll live. This is where kids learn to share and take turns. (remember that bottle of wine? These are the types of days it gets pulled out!)
- Take time for special outings with your eldest. You’ll need the break from the baby and he’ll need that special mom only time.
- Be prepared for baby #2 to always be on the go. They’ll sleep everywhere and need to be fed/changed everywhere too. Make sure you plan accordingly! Finn sleeps best in his carseat, thanks to us always being on the go…and I can’t even begin to tell you all the places I’ve had to breastfeed and change him.
- BABYWEARING. It’s seriously a game changer.
- Don’t be afraid of screen time. With all the time you’ll spend nursing/holding the baby in the beginning, find a show that your eldest loves and snuggle up with both kiddos so no one feels left out.
- Take time for YOU. You can have a life with kiddos. Granted it’s not as action packed as before, but we have people that we trust with the kiddos and go out at least once a month. Sometimes I just go out with friends and leave Fred at home with the boys. Don’t forget to take time for you.
- Try to time your kids afternoon nap/rest period at the same time. You have to do what you can to keep yourself sane, and for me it’s this. Knowing that I just needed to get through the morning and then I’d get a break to myself, gives me something to look forward to every day.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Maybe you just need a break or maybe you need something more. After having Finn, I told the doctor that when both kids melted down at the same time or were super needy, I almost would freeze up and freak out. She recommended an anti-anxiety medication and it’s helped a ton.
- How long did it take for Everett and Finn to play? I wouldn’t say that they necessarily “play” together yet. Mostly Finn just goes along with whatever crazy shenanigans Everett tries to rope him into. Sometimes though, the result is truly beautiful and it makes the world a brighter place for me.
- How do you find your balance with 2? Honestly, I’m still finding this. I try to “force” both kiddos into an activity they’ll both enjoy to minimize the feeling that I’m letting one down. Also, if both of them are melting down, I try to take care of the one that’s either in pain or will settle the quickest first. A lot of times, my husband and I choose the “divide and conquer” method where we each get one kid and that’s our focus.
In conclusion, transitioning to 2 is hard and it sucks for everyone. It’s 3 times the work and you’ll rarely have your shit together. Prepare yourself to lower your expectations for a little while and know that it will and does get easier. This too shall pass. Go easy on yourself, and try not to punch that kindly old woman telling you “one day you’ll miss this” when both kids are losing their shit.
Sending you love, luck, and patience,