Having one child is a bit like a cool lifestyle choice. Nothing really changes you just have this awesome accessory with you. The impact on your day to day life from a practical perspective is minor and once you adapt to your new groove as a family of three, and those early hazy days and months pass, life pretty much goes on as normal. It’s just better than it was before! You can go for lunch, to parties, on holiday and do everything you did before with a few minor adaptations. The trouble with this is it makes you cocky that the same will apply when you go from a family of three, to a family of four. So when your second child arrives you aren’t quite sure what hits you.
Various people warned us that going from one to two was a lot harder than going from zero to one, two to three or even three to four. (I’m told after two, pack mentality sets in and makes everything easier). But in equal measure, we were told about the joy and new level of love we would experience, with another member of the family.
So here are our peaks and pits of going from one child to two…
- Seeing your child with a sibling. The love is unconditional and there is nothing more wonderful that seeing what a loving, caring and kind child you have (most of the time!). #SHJM simple adores #ARWM and is the first person he greets in the morning, and is constantly telling him he loves him, and asking to hold him. Whilst the overzealous enthusiasm does melt my heart, I am left wondering how #ARWMs internal organs are faring on a daily basis.
- Parenthood is so much more pleasant second time around. The state I got myself in over tasks like cutting #SHJMs nails, or the things I did, to try and get him to do what I thought he should be doing, or a book told me he should be doing for his age, (whether it be his sleep routine, feeding routine or general developments) rather than just letting him be, and trusting that he would get there on his own. Obviously he did and they all do. Mother Nature trumps Mummy Milne.
- #MJM has come into his own as a dad. He’s always been an awesome dad, but when you only have one child, the mum naturally takes the lead. Mums have both a maternal instinct, and naturally develop a community of knowledge and information, that means they are often more in tune with their babies and what they need/could be wrong. However suddenly with two, you have to take one each. You have to divide and conquer and hope the child you chose naps more / vomits less / doesn’t lose it in public. Tagging out or “passing him over” is no longer an option.
- The two children are completely different. You naively assume they will be the same, and you have quite the shock when they are born, and turn out to be two different little personalities. For me this also extended to having two completely different pregnancies and births. I thought I knew how it would go and yet it was very different in parts. This is actually a bit of a peak in disguise, as it’s great to see a different human growing, but boy does throw you!
- When you are talking to one, you are not talking to the other one. The mum guilt and spinning of metaphorical plates ramps up a level. You try and find balance and equality with time and attention, but mostly just feel like neither are getting as much of you as you’d wish. This does, on the other hand, make me feel less guilty about the increased levels of wine and cake I consume, to comfort my mum guilt.
- The tiredness reaches a new level. The opportunities to nap or lie in, become even more scarce than you thought possible. However luckily, thanks to peak number 2, you know that while the torturous sleepless nights and early starts, (regardless of if they are caused by the baby or the toddler) are tough, you know “this too shall pass”. You know the phase is just that, and give it a week or two they will change their style again and present you with a new joy or challenge.
As with all things parenting related, while there are days when the pits are tough, they are always outweighed by the peaks.
Mummy Milne xx