Having multiple kids is such a blessing . . . because they entertain each other. Oh, and family outings are more fun, they look after each other as they get older, and all that other stuff.
But I’m going to give it to you straight: it’s not going to feel like a blessing in the beginning. And that’s OK, because it’s only for a little while. During those first few months, it’s all about survival.
I wish someone had been honest with me about the beginning months with two kids, other than “You’ll be fine!” You will be fine, but here are some hard truths to prepare for after you bring home baby number two.
1. Toddlers are crazy.
No, but like . . . really.
Don’t be fooled by their seemingly well-adjusted behavior to this new addition to their life. They may put on a front as the happy, new, big brother or sister, but that’s all it is: a front. Maybe he’ll start by asking to hold the baby or returning her pacifier to her mouth. You peek around the corner and see them doing tummy time together, or he’s singing her a song. Sweet, isn’t it? Not only that, but he’s playing a little more independently by himself, giving you time to nurse and bond with the new baby. Overall, he’s still pretty well-behaved, and life is pretty breezy. This two kid thing isn’t so bad.
And then, all of a sudden . . . they turn on you. And hard.
The whining is at an all-time high, they’re just flat out disobedient, and your well-adjusted little toddler is nowhere to be found. Oh, and get ready for some truly bizarre behavior. I won’t get into the epic meltdowns you’ll witness because you cut up his hot dog and couldn’t “put it back together”. Or the fit he’ll throw because his “knee got wet”. . . while taking a bath.
Because you’ll see. Just get ready.
2. You don’t have multiple personalities—you’re just hormonal.
Each day is a super duper fun adventure on the roller coaster ride of hormonal ups and downs. From the pure elation of not having to do a load of laundry because you found some clean burp cloths, to the absolute devastation of opening the carton of Rocky Road ice cream and finding only a spoonful left. I mean, is there any greater joy than realizing you’ve got at least one more day’s worth of “dry shampoo hair”? Or as downright depressing as only having enough wine for half a glass? Sometimes, just for fun, you’ll get hit with the highs and lows all at once—like being so excited about that gift card for a massage you got for Mother’s Day . . . and then wanting to put it in the paper shredder when you realize you can’t use it without lactating all over the massage table.
We’re totally fine.
3. Mom guilt is real.
Although your heart will make room for both of your children, the hours in the day will not. Like most newborns, they will demand a majority of your attention. Between feedings every 2-3 hours, diaper changes, soothing, or trying to sleep—you’ll feel like you have no time for your first-born. It’s hard knowing your toddler needs your attention, and trying so hard to make time in the day to give him that, only to realize that some days, he’s just sat in front of the TV all day . . . and you’ve barely noticed. Or seeing the disappointment on his face when he excitedly asks you to play—and you have to tell him no.
Then there’s the guilt that you can’t be enough for everyone else, because you have to be everything for your baby. Like not being a good enough friend. Neighbor. Daughter. Wife. Because honestly, everything is still just kind of hard.
4. Your marriage will change . . . again.
Adding a newborn to your family changes the dynamic of your marriage—at least for a little while. Irritability creeps in, sleep becomes more important than quality time, and sometimes you realize it’s been days since you’ve had an actual conversation that doesn’t involve the words “poop” and “tantrum”.
Maybe you went through all this with your first child, and you feel like you’ll be immune to those effects the second time around. You won’t. Adding another human to your crew is a major life shift, and truthfully it would be a little weird if that didn’t change your marriage a little bit. Although your marriage may be little harder during this season of life, it also makes you more intentional with your time together.
As my sweet husband says, “It won’t be like this forever.”
5. You have to rejoice in the little moments.
Some days will be harder than others, and some days will seem pretty dang easy. But no matter what kind of day it is, be thankful for those sweet little moments that make everything worth it. Like when your toddler is getting in the way while trying to “help” you do the dishes, and you hear him say to just himself, “I love helping Mommy.” Or when your baby smiles from ear to ear . . . right after spray farting on clothes you actually decided to put on that day. Or when your husband sends you a sweet text on your first day of being alone with both kids, because he knows you’re a nervous wreck.
It’s a crazy season of life. But you know what?
Let them watch the TV.
Be selfish with your baby.
Say “no” to people, guilt-free.
Stay in your PJs all day.
Have those two glasses of wine.
And cut yourself some slack.
Because although you may feel like you’re just surviving, you’re going to miss it someday. So take it in, survive, and enjoy it.