Shop the fall collection ➔

Full disclosure…100% honesty…I AM TERRIFIED FOR BABY #2! Don’t get me wrong, I’m also immensely excited! Expanding our family and giving Jackson a sibling to play with is a dream come true and many prayers being answered. It’s been the most amazing two years having Jackson as part of our lives. Each day we have more and more fun because of how grown up and independent he is becoming. He’s not a baby anymore who needs constant attention. He’s a big boy with the sweetest personality who talks in sentences and knows what he wants. It’s just him. He gets all of my love and attention. What’s going to happen when we throw a new baby into the mix? 

The biggest concern that has been haunting me at night is our relationship. The two of us are like two peas in a pod. He has been attached to my hip since day one. We are truly inseparable. You know how some moms would give anything for a trip to the store without their child or a night out to dinner with their husband alone? I’m the opposite. I like to do everything WITH him. Sure, he gets antsy at restaurants and throws an occasional temper tantrum, but I like spending every minute with him and will always choose to do so. I’m truly worried that he won’t be the momma’s boy that he is right now. I’m scared that he won’t want me as much anymore.

Concern #2: Is it going to be too much stress for me to handle? I work my butt off as Jackson’s mom. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, bathing, playing, shopping, etc. Doing all of these things as a family of four sounds daunting! I made homemade baby food for Jackson and still make him homemade smoothie pouches. Will I have time for that this go around? I know, I know—I need to do a better job of releasing some of that responsibility and ask my husband for help. I’m so controlling! I definitely NEED to let go of some of that control.

Concern #3: Double the worry! I worry so much about Jackson. I want everything in his life to be as perfect as possible. I always wonder if I’m making the right choices or if there is more I should be doing. Come February I will have another child whose well-being I will constantly be worried about. Is it possible to lose anymore sleep than I do now?!

Concern #4: How will the new baby impact Jackson’s behavior? Our current state with Jackson is that of toddler unstableness. One minute he is happy and laughing and the next he is in tantrum overload. He’s 80% sweet and 20% temperamental. I’m terrified that the new addition will make his behavior worsen. I worry that he will purposefully act out because he’s not getting the attention he is accustomed to. I hope and pray he continues to be the sweet, loving, somewhat temperamental, and avid independent boy he is currently.

Concern #5: Saying goodbye to our current life as a family of 3 (+1 dog). Our life is pretty easy-going. We do what we want when we want. We’re not overly busy with activities. We enjoy coming and going as we please. We cuddle in bed watching Mickey and go for bike rides to the park. I feel like our life will be too overwhelming at first to have as much fun as we are currently having.

All of these concerns may make it seem like I don’t want another child to join our family. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I look at Jackson playing by himself and am excited that he will have a sibling to play with eventually. I think about how good it will be for him to have a brother or sister to share things with. I think about how awesome it will be for him to teach his younger siblings what he already knows. I think about how they will hopefully be best friends and will always have each other no matter what. There will definitely be a big transition period for all of us and I know it will be the most difficult for this current only child. But I have confidence that as a family we can conquer the challenges and overcome the transition period.

The best piece of advice I have received so far was from our incredible pediatrician. Anything she says is right in my books, so I won’t hesitate to follow her advice. She said, “This transition will be hard for Jackson but ALWAYS PUT HIM FIRST.” If the baby is crying for a bottle, but Jackson needs something, help Jackson first. If the baby needs a diaper change, but Jackson needs something, help Jackson first. The baby will never remember that he/she had to cry a few minutes longer. However, our toddler who is going through a massive life change, will be greatly impacted if he continuously has to be put aside. He is used to being the only one. He is used to getting what he wants pretty much when he wants it. It would turn his life upside down even more if he feels like he is not a priority.

In the end, I know everything will work out. I know our family will be perfect. I know I will love both children equally. I know we will create amazing memories as a family of 4 (+1 dog) and we will build new traditions together. I know Jackson will continue to grow into the sweetest, smartest, and most incredible boy and be a great big brother. Yes, I will be worried and stressed and overworked, but I will make it happen and I will handle it. Everything will be fine. Although it’s hard to imagine in my current state of thinking, I know the future is even brighter than it is right now. For the time being, I will savor these moments with just Jackson and dream about our life to come. 

Gina Kayembe

Gina is an elementary school reading specialist of 10 years who loves writing and taking pictures on the side. She has been married to her Congolese-Canadian-Almost American husband for three years and is the blessed mom to 15 month old Jackson who makes her smile a million smiles every day. Her little guy gives her plenty to write about! Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Gina has a passion for running, sharing wine and laughs with friends, a clean house, and being the best mom possible. Follow her blog at https://thekayembekonnection.com/

One Day You’ll Outgrow Being My Little Boy—But Not Today

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mother and two sons back-to-school picture, color photo

One day you will come home after your first day of a new school year and not wish to share a single thing. Not today. Today, you got into the car and talked non-stop about every second of your day. I was delighted!  One day you will not have countless first-day forms for me to sign and return the next day. Not today. I signed my name at least four times. I was happy to grant permission for you to play sports, learn algebra, and do whatever else I gave my permission for.  One day you will not allow me...

Keep Reading

The Sports Mom Shows Up For Her Kids, No Matter What

In: Kids, Motherhood
Youth baseball game

We’re nearing the end of club baseball/softball season, and the burnout is real. The time away from home, burning through gas to get somewhere for two hours with half your house packed only to pack back up and turn around and drive to the next two-hour destination is insane. I don’t even like the sport right now. There . . . I said it. I’m so sick of softball fields and wind-blown dirt in my face. I’ve seen so many balls thrown in the last two months that my eyes hurt. But I still show up. I love to see...

Keep Reading

Having Babies and Toddlers Is Exhausting—but So, So Sweet

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four with baby and toddler on bed

I took the girls to one of our favorite coffee shops last week and all around me were parents of babies and toddlers. Their little ones ran about in the grassy area out back, toddling up and down the lawn, when it suddenly hit me with perfect clarity—the sun has nearly set on this season for me. It was a realization marked by internal tension, a mourning of the loss of one season contrasted by the joyful anticipation at the arrival of the next. It came out of nowhere and hit me like a tidal wave. Having five kids in...

Keep Reading

3 Common Phrases to Avoid Saying to Your Kids (and What To Say Instead)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with young boy on couch

Learning to love yourself is hard work. I did not grow up loving myself. Instead, I always felt inadequate, and I felt the need to change myself to prove my worth.  I want more for my kids. I want my kids to know their inherent value and worth. I want to empower my kids to love and accept themselves.  My self-love journey, aided by the expertise of a counselor, has helped me realize there are some narratives from my childhood I needed to unlearn. I had to accept my emotions as helpful and not something to be pushed down. I...

Keep Reading

They Love Each Other (and Sometimes They Don’t)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler girl lying with big brother, color photo

When I was pregnant with his baby sister, Forest kissed my belly and talked about all the wonderful things he would do with this little girl he already loved so much. His plans changed, however, after she was born, and the thing he wanted to do the most with her was place her gently in the trash can. Some mornings he would kiss her softly, other mornings he would walk into the room where I’d be nursing her and say, “Her doesn’t look precious to ME.” Two and a half years later, Forest’s feelings toward Grace remain about the same....

Keep Reading

As a Mother, I Matter Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in living room

“What’s more important than me, Mammy?” my daughter asked. I looked at her, and she was looking at me. Her question wasn’t harsh or accusatory, it was curious. She was curious. We were in the kitchen, I was at the table working, and she asked me to help her find something. I told her I was finishing up some important work and then I would play with her. This is when she asked me what was more important than her. I bit my tongue to stop the words that wanted to rush out of my mouth. I wanted to proclaim...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading

My Daughter is “Extra” and the World Needs More People Like Her

In: Kids, Motherhood
girl jumping

She is . . . extra. She just is. All the time she is extra sad, and then extra “OMG, Mom-that-was-so-epic-let-me-tell-you-everything.” Extra energetic, then extra I’m too tired to help with any family chores. Extra hungry, then extra refuses to eat the food she just asked for because she’s full. RELATED: In Defense of the Wild Child Extra loves to show how much knowledge she has, then extra doesn’t want to do her homework because she’s too busy “being.” Extra defiant, then extra brings home adorable “I love you, Mom” art from school. There is no middle ground with this...

Keep Reading

Teach Your Kids to Be Kind to Those Who Are Different from Them

In: Kids, Living
Little boy with Down syndrome in pool

On the eve of Zeke starting kindergarten, I have many hopes for my youngest child, mostly that other kids treat those who are different from them with kindness. Or maybe with a slightly sassy, “SO WHAT?” to those who may be being unkind. This summer while on vacation we were having a great time swimming at a pool. There are few places that top a swimming pool in Zeke’s mind. He is SO happy in the water. Zeke was playing in the kiddie pool by himself while I sat at a table nearby. As he played, kids would enter the...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Are Exhausted by the Start of the School Year—Go Easy On Them

In: Kids
Child with tablet on couch

In the first weeks of school, your child has been a rockstar.  They have faced brand new situations—daily—multiple times a day. New people, new friends, new teachers. New schools, new classrooms, new procedures.   They have remembered a billion things. Which bus to ride. Which room to enter. Which hall to turn down. What their schedule is. Which class is next and what book they need for that class. When to be quiet. Where to sit. How to sit. Where the bathroom was. Where to line up. What the directions were. Thirty or so new names. They have been quiet for...

Keep Reading