Mommy 2.0 :: What’s Changed the Second Time Around

Mommy 2.0 pic in postBefore I had my second child, I can’t tell you the number of times I was told how big of a change it would be. It’s like going from 1 to 500, someone told me. In my naiveté I thought, really? How hard could it be? {Please excuse me while I laugh in the face of my former self} Yes, I was anticipating having a newborn in addition to a busy 3 year old would bring many changes and new challenges, but I figured those would work themselves out as we got past the night feedings and my initial hormone fluctuations. In the words of Chandler Bing, could I be more wrong? I feel like a variety show act plate spinner, except add in a crying baby and a 3 year old yelling “Mama, maaaamaaaaa, I want milk RIGHT NOW!” Some days I can keep the plates spinning; other days they all come crashing down. Aside from the obvious busyness that adding a new little person to the family brings, there are several ways in which my mommy experience is different this time around:

I don’t worry about every single milestone. With my first, What To Expect the First Year was my bible. I read and reread every months chapter, and why not? I’d never had a baby before and I wanted to know what to expect, hence the title. But I also drove myself crazy. This time around, I’m more relaxed and know that each child has their own timeline.

Guilt. Can we just talk about this for a minute? Before I had baby #2, I was warned about busyness, but no one ever mentioned the g-word. I feel guilty that my oldest has my time and attention taken away, and I feel guilty that my youngest doesn’t have more of my time and attention like her older sister did. I’ve been talking myself down about this one a lot lately. Guilt can be paralyzing and I cannot waste precious days wrapped up in this useless, negative emotion. Right? Right.

I’m not so determined to maintain a schedule. I had plans. Oh boy did I have plans. Those went out the window October 7, when baby sis was born. I was pretty successful in maintaining a schedule with my first because she was the only one to work around. And we were home. A lot. That’s just not feasible with a 3 year old in tow. Maybe that’s why subsequent children tend to be more adaptable in general. They get lugged around here, there, and everywhere, and I’m ok with that. We have general times we work around, but I’m not such a stickler about it now.

I take the bad times less seriously, and soak up the good times. Kids have meltdowns. It’s what they do. I’ve learned not to internalize these less than stellar moments on their behalf. I recognize it will be lifelong learning, as these meltdowns will morph into things I don’t want to think about right now {Mom, I want to apologize on behalf of my teen years}. But those good times…Like when my 3 year old sings to her baby sister while holding her hand, or tells her she loves her, or when they are both lost in giggles. Heart. Melted.

It won’t be like this for long. This is two-fold. On one hand, during a difficult stage, I have to remind myself that this is likely a phase and in time she will move on from this or that behavior. On the other hand, this time when they are little is so fleeting and I know that one day, I will be the old lady in Target looking longingly at a busy mom, and perhaps even say to her, “Enjoy every moment. It goes too fast”.

How is your Mommy experience different the second, third, or more, time around?

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