We said hello to our newest little sweetheart six weeks ago, and it has easily been the most challenging time of my life. I don't remember anyone letting me know that being a mama of two is pretty much an impossible task.
Now that your world is revolving around two little ones, you're taking the time and attention from your only child and splitting it in half. There are times when there is simply not enough of you to go around. We're talking emotionally, physically...you're just straight up exhausted.
It is a transition to say the least.
There are things that I expected to deal with, and a few things that have completely taken me by surprise.
To start, I feel like I have been much more prepared for the sleepless nights, and the whole constantly being topless thing that goes along with the first few weeks with a newborn. With our new babe, I was ready with all of my gear: hand pump, nursing pads, a nursing set-up next to my bed (with burp rags, water bottle, snacks), diapers and wipes in literally every room, etc. These are things that you learn as you go with your first baby, but they seem to come a lot more naturally with your second.
Something I wasn't prepared for, however, even though I tried my best to get as much advice from the mama community as I could, was how to pay as much attention to my first child while attending to all the needs of a newborn (because the little ones are needy). I've had to improvise, cry a lot, and let my relationship with my toddler develop into something a little different than it was 6 weeks ago. He had to learn that when I am nursing babe, I can't be outside blowing bubbles. Yes, that does mean that I deal with a fair share of tantrums during the day. I have had to learn that when babe is asleep or occupied in the swing or on the sensory mat, I can spend time doing puzzles, play with cars, or sing the ABCs with my little guy. We have had to learn together how best to deal with how a toddler interacts with our newborn to make sure they are both safe, happy, and healthy. We're still learning.
I also wasn't expecting to have as much energy as I do. I remember with my son I felt like a zombie for several months; running on nothing but Coke and a few naps here and there. With my little girl, it seems like my body was ready and familiar with the sleep adjustments, and even though I am definitely not getting as much sleep as I did before she was born, I don't seem to be walking around in a sleepy haze all day. Although, I am still running on mostly caffeine, so I guess some things never change.
Another thing that I've had to adjust to BIG time is just feeling like there is less time in general to get everything done. This may seem like a no-brainer to pretty much everyone reading this, but for me, it's been a little bit of a shock to the schedule. When you have one babe, you get used to scheduling your day around his schedule to make sure that all the necessities get accomplished. You usually still get a little bit of time to yourself to go to the bathroom and watch some Fixer Upper. Once you throw babe numero dos into the mix, you're filling up most of that free time (what little there was of it) and making sure she's fed, has a clean diaper (a never-ending freaking task), and overall happy (which basically means holding her 24/7). So that makes tasks like cooking dinner or doing laundry borderline impossible. I have had to get used to prepping meals on the weekends, and putting food in the crockpot early in the day to make sure that we have food for dinner, because trust me, at 6 p.m., my kids simply will not allow me to stand in the kitchen for 30 minutes making food.
Something that hasn't changed is the support that I've received from friends, family, and of course, my wonderful husband. These things are constant, and they make having a newborn doable. It is so nice to have a husband to watch the babes while I run to Target for a minute by myself. Or, to have a friend come over so that our toddlers can play together while she holds the babe, and we talk about something other than the eight episodes of Paw Patrol that I watched that day. Or, to have a mom to call and get advice on eating/sleeping/pooping/adjusting because she's done it all before.
Transitioning from 1 to 2 has been crazy, fast, and hard. I feel like I haven't had a second to sit down and think about all the ways our home has changed until writing this post, but I'm sure that our lives are going to be constantly shifting and changing as soon as we get comfortable in one stage. Soon, there will be potty training for #1 to deal with. Then sleep schedules for #2 to work on. Getting them both sleeping in the same room may possibly be the death of me.