I didn’t know how I was going to survive with two kids the first few weeks home, I’ll be honest. It seemed that one child was always awake when the other wasn’t and demanding my attention, be it to nurse (C) or wanting one-on-one solo time (E). I recall describing my life in those first few weeks as one endless cycle of pajamas and lukewarm coffee. Add to that the fact that I started a new part time job a week before I had C and went back to that job just three weeks after and it’s no wonder I didn’t think I was going to make it.
Now, nearly three months out, I still joke with people who ask how things are going: It was pretty rough in the beginning, but once you let them break you, there’s nowhere to go but up! Hahah. A mom friend also relayed something she’d been told after she had her second: “One is one and two is ten” which definitely resonated. In truth though, just as with our first, there is a bit of a shock when you realize how drastically changed your life is again and it doesn’t immediately register in your newbie mind that that change is forever. But life with two is actually better than I could have imagined.
With our first, I think that was the hardest part for me: adapting to this new normal. I kept trying to do, do, do at the same pace as before we had a child and eventually realized that it’s just not possible to maintain and stay sane. I had to readjust my expectations and as soon as I did, my life as a mom started to feel more manageable.
Eventually, I realized I needed to reprioritize and cut myself some slack because this was my life now and things wouldn’t be returning back to what they were. You’d think I’d have realized there would be that same period of adjustment with a second, but again, I struggled. I think that as a new parent I’m still learning that everything is fleeting. It’s ALL a phase I like to joke to Brian. Before C came along, Brian and I found ourselves relaxing into how independently E had started to become, playing alone for longer and longer periods of time and as quickly as we gave breath to the observation – on to the next phase! In E’s case, this meant the explosion of that independence into a need to do everything “me-self” [herself].
To give an example, initially I was daunted by the prospect of taking a solo trip with both children anywhere until recently and would often load the girls into the card to run out for coffee just to get out of the house and then I’d delay returning home, sometimes driving a bit beyond our destination just to get a brief break and a chance to observe my own thoughts without a child wandering into my brain.
But this morning, I masterfully juggled both girls and managed to get them both out the door and off to the gym where C slept soundly for nearly an hour in her car seat carrier and E happily played with the other kids her age. We even snuck in a local errand and a Dunkin’ run before returning home where, amazingly, E enjoyed her lunch and then went down for her nap with little to no fuss. It made me realize more than anything how much kids pick up on the vibes you out out because naptime isn’t always so easy breezy.
All this is just to make the point that, with C’s arrival, there was a long period of adjustment and then, suddenly around maybe week 9 or 10, things finally started to feel manageable and even, dare I say it… better? It’s not that they’re both suddenly excellent sleepers and model children, but I think the highs of parenthood are simply amplified with a second child. And for me at least, experience has taught me to savor these moments because I have finally learned that every moment is fleeting with kids and they’re growing up before my eyes.