Preparing for life with two kids is such a funny concept. The reality is, there is no real way of knowing what you’re preparing for. It’s an unknown world. An uncharted territory.
I have read a number of articles, looked for new blogs, and have talked to a number of other moms with two kids, and it’s clear that every woman’s experience is different. Everything impacts a woman’s lifestyle in preparing for life with two kids and being a mom of two or more kids; including their children’s development and behavior, one’s own healing and mental health before and after baby, proximity to extended family, experience staying home with kids or going into an office during the day, the amount of help they have around the house, how much money their family brings in, and how much they are able to hire out, just to name a few. No woman’s experience is the same, and yet we’re looking for someone to help us prepare. Someone who can give us insight into this unknown, to us, world.
The difference in preparing for one baby versus two kids, in my opinion, is that with a second child you already have a sense of what’s to come. You know what the last few weeks of pregnancy are often like, you vividly remember labor and delivery and yet somehow managed to forget about the pain, you are not so prepared for feedings and late nights and yet you know you’ll have super powers to get through those first few months, and you know the love that pushes you through the hard times, hormones, and unknown. You have a pretty good sense of your needs and the needs of your newborn, at least a little bit of a sense, but what you don’t know are the needs of your first child, how baby 2 will differ from from your first, and how having two children will impact your marriage, lifestyle, household, finances, and well being. There are a lot of unknowns.
Over the last few weeks of this pregnancy a number of people have asked me if I’m ready to be a mom of two. “Ready? Well, it’s happening, but I really have no idea if I’m ready” is what I’ve said to most people. If by ready I mean that I’ve washed the baby’s newborn clothes, have a place for him to sleep, bought some new nursing tanks, and have everything wrapped up in the office before maternity leave then yes, I’m ready. If by ready you’re asking if I’m mentally and physically ready to be a working mom with two kids, then my answer is “I really hope so!”
What having a baby almost 3 years ago taught me is that you have to be kind to yourself through the transitions having a child brings you. Becoming a mom and raising a child is full of never ending change and adaptation. In just the first 3 months of your baby’s life you’ll make it through labor and delivery, treasure those first few days with baby in the hospital (when you have lots of professional help), push through the “Holy crap! Now what moments” when you first get home, experience the highs and lows of feeding, get to know your postpartum body, and experience all the joys and wonders that come with getting to know your new little man or lady. You’ll make it through the first 3 months (4th trimester) and think, “WOW! That was a magical and crazy whirlwind”.
The best advice I can give to any new mom or soon to be mom is to know that no phase is permanent, it is going to take time for you to find your groove postpartum, you’ll regret rushing back to work if you don’t have to, and most importantly, cherish every single moment with your baby! It’s so easy to feel like time is crawling when you’re navigating the world of postpartum life, but man do babies grow up fast. I look back on my postpartum life with Magnolia, see the ways in which I just needed to be kinder to myself postpartum, and realize that that little bitty baby is now almost 3. It goes by too quickly and yet, those first few months (first year really) are a whirlwind.
I am as prepared as I’ll ever be to be a mom of two kids, but the truth is, I have absolutely no idea what this transition is going to be like. I have some things in place to help with the transition, like using FMLA to ease back into work after my 6 weeks of short term disability, maintaining Magnolia’s week day routine through her daycare, having family and friends around to help, and keeping my own wellness a priority. I’ve also bought a new notebook and plan to journal through my experience. Writing helps me to sort through my thoughts and I know that’ll be important as I move into this new role and find a new balance.
Preparing for the unknown is a funny thing, but I truly believe with the right mindset and support, any transition is manageable with time. I’m excited, scared, ready, eager, nervous, and overjoyed for this new chapter. Now we’ll just sit tight and wait for baby boy to arrive. Praying for a safe delivery and a healthy baby.