The other day I got a stressed out message from a friend who just had her second baby a few weeks ago and was feeling all the chaos that comes with it and having a hard time to see any light at the end.
You know the time when you are emotionally and physically worn out completely, and the end to the struggle is nowhere to be seen. No silver lining. Only sleepless nights in sight for miles ahead. No downtime. Only never-ending toddler tantrums. No shower or a full meal. Only spit-ups and burping issues.
I truly sympathized cause I have been through it all, and worse. Add infected stitches to the already overwhelming mess, and find yourself questioning the existence of every being in the house.
There is no point in pretending that its easy. Its not. Specially when the older one is still lurking somewhere in the toddler zone. For the first few months, me and the husband were like, WHAT HAVE WE DONE! One of the kids was always awake and in need of some intervention. But after 4 or 5 months, we gradually started establishing our ground as parents of two.
Its incredibly hard. But incredibly beautiful.
Life with two kids is pretty challenging and messy and chaotic and down-right exhausting, but its also everything I have ever wanted. Its trying to divide yourself, but also trying to to multiply yourself. Some of my life’s most precious memories were made during those first few weeks (albeit infected stitches and all). Hamza loving and interacting with his younger brother was hands down the most incredible thing I witnessed as a mother, and I get to see that each day, every day. Melts my Mama heart into a puddle every time.
Keeping all that in mind, I do feel I have a few pointers that I would like a new Mama of two, to know. I am not a pro at this (God knows I am so bad many days) and I am learning every day, but I feel like sharing and talking about such stuff helps. Just some heart-to-heart and reality checks to keep the freaking-out to a minimum. Not to completely overcome the chaos, cause hey! whats the fun in that 😉
Also, I have written about Things I would like to tell a new Mama, so read that too. It will help.
- Keep the older one involved in all things related to baby. Talk to the older one like the baby is addressing him, asking his help, or giving his love, or requesting a story etc.
- Don’t worry about the non-existent cooking or the missed showers. Take-outs were invented for you, my friend. Just concentrate on keeping the babies happy. And you will find yourself content and in control too.
- Your best chance at surviving #lifewithtwokids is an environment where the older one doesn’t act out to the new arrival and accepts him open-heartedly. So instead of telling him (or her) to be out of the way so the baby can sleep/feed, be there for him first, make him feel comfortable and then float the idea of baby’s needs and hopefully, he will understand and want to cooperate. When he starts welcoming the baby into his life and protecting him with his love, the biggest battle is won. And the winner is your older kid. But the beneficiary is the whole family.
- It will get easier as those early months pass by. I promise you that. Have faith. Its all very doable once the postpartum craziness subsides.
- For the first few months, DO NOT have any expectations or goals. Its too hazy and unpredictable in the start as everyone is adjusting to the new family dynamics, that having any kind of expectations from yourself or the husband or the kids will just result in disappointment. So instead, go with the flow. Take it one day at a time. If they are breathing normally at the end of every day, you have done your job for the day, sister!
- When you are not expecting it, and a downtime comes your way, it will be a welcome surprise… savor every minute of it. Charge yourself for the chaos that has to follow.
- Amidst all the chaos and randomness, don’t forget to take care of yourself first! Remember that you have just given birth and your body needs all the rest and care you can give it. Eat well. Rest well (when you can).
- The second kid naturally starts fitting in your life. As parents of a 2 year old already, our lives were pretty much baby-proof. We were waking up early, going to the parks, doing kid meals and playdates, so it wasn’t that hard to fit a second one in that dynamics and lifestyle. I found that it was easier to go from one kid to two kids, than it was to go from no kid to one kid. If that even makes any sense.
And don’t forget to take lots of sloppy, messy, photos. Cause take my word for it, you’ll wanna relive those moments over and over for many years to come.
I am curious, how many children do you hope to have? And if you have multiple kids, how was your experience going from one to two? How did you make the transition smooth?