Nothing compares to the astounding experience of newfound motherhood. Whether God gifts you a first child through the miracle of childbirth or blessing of adoption, the emotions swirling within your spirit capture your awareness in profound ways. Each inhale of undivided attention brands a memory on your new mom heart, leaving you to exhale the wonder in return.
As days, weeks, months march along, a unique bond forges between mom and firstborn because distractions are minimal; the world revolves around the newest addition to the family. However, the landscape of uninterrupted interaction will change in a hurry when a second child enters the mix.
You know your mom love will expand because God’s grace allows your heart to divide and conquer the motherhood frontier. But how do you deal with the ache of knowing your precious one-on-one time with your first child is going to end? What can you do to smooth the transition for both you and your child?
Here are eight things I did my best to implement, or wish I would have thought of, with my firstborn son before son two came along. Every situation awards you with quality time together in some form.
- Create a Mommy & Me bucket list with your child of activities to do together before baby arrives. Explain how you will be busy taking care of the new sibling at the beginning, and you want to be sure to share some fun adventures together now. Also, add some activities to the list to take part in after the baby comes, maybe a once-a-month special mommy time. Then enjoy crossing off the items on the list!
- Encourage your child to think of ways he/she can be mommy’s little helper when baby arrives and come up with a game plan of tasks. Build excitement about being the big sibling, and even spend time role playing.
- Plan a couple extensive adventures you know will never happen after the second child due to impossible logistics, time consumption, etc.
- Write and illustrate a story together which will always be a memory of “your time” with each other. You can buy cheap book kits with self-binding tools. Once my kids were in school, they each made these types of books as part of the Young Authors program and our collection is priceless.
- Embrace longer bedtime rituals. This was huge for me because having the time to tuck in my first born was rare after my second son was born. Seemed like the baby always needed to nurse at bedtime, so my husband became the primary tucker inner.
- Establish a project, hobby, activity to do together which becomes “your special thing” going forward. My son and I cooked together. Even to this day, 23 years later, sharing this hobby is our thing.
- Plan ways for your first child to stay busy and occupied on his own after the baby arrives. Work together to pick out games, activities, reading time, etc. which will honor and encourage his/her independence. I explained to my son that his willingness to enjoy alone time helped mommy take good care of the baby, which made him a great helper and awesome big brother.
- And more important and easier to implement than any of the above is: Be present. Soak up each moment. Marvel. Wonder. Admire. Lean in. Listen deep. Just love.
Every day shared with our child, no matter what we do or how our experience unfolds, is precious. How we spend our time matters least, taking the time to love on our kids the best we can matters most. The reward of motherhood knows no bounds and every season bears fruit as long as we root ourselves into being mindful and present, allowing God to water our journey.