You couldn’t wait for your firstborn to have a sibling.
You had visions of the two of them sharing the Peppa Pig tent that’s swallowed half the real estate in your formerly formal living room.
You’d pictured them building teetering LEGO towers together.
You’d even planned on how you’d settle those inevitable sibling spats.
But what you hadn’t predicted was the overwhelming guilt.
Of course, there’d always been those moments of I-should’ve-done-better with one child as well. But this is on a whole new level.
There’s this niggling feeling eating you up inside: I’m not giving either child the attention he needs.
When one child becomes two children, there’s more than double the laundry, more than double the spills, and more than double the investment in wet wipes.
But more than double the guilt?
Every time you give one child attention, you feel a tug on your heart (and sometimes on your sleeve). Despite your best intentions, you just can’t seem to equally divide your time and attention.
Everything seems to whisper bad mom. Sometimes, it’s way louder than a whisper.
Bad mom for not sanitizing toys for Baby #2 like you did for Baby #1.
Bad mom for forgetting the four-year-old’s ballet lessons for the second week in a row.
Bad mom for giving the older child so much screen time.
Bad mom for yelling when you should have simply, rationally laid out three options for footwear when the two-year-old refused to wear her Crocs.
And, sometimes, it’s bad mom for not connecting with Baby #2 like you did with Baby #1.
You’d expected to feel tired, perhaps overwhelmed, when you had your second baby.
What you hadn’t signed up for is the constant question of whether you’re giving both kids equal attention at all times.
Well, I’d venture a guess you’re probably not.
And I’d like to suggest that’s perfectly OK.
There are going to be times when you feel like the new baby got all your attention all day.
At other times, the new baby seems like a little Mowgli surviving on his own, because big sis decided to go into repetitive meltdown mode.
But, dear mama, know that when you have more than one child your love doesn’t get divided equally; it multiplies exponentially.
You didn’t think you could love any one as much when you had your firstborn.
And then you discover a new little person has captured your heart just as much.
Having two children will leave you with less time . . . but not with less love.
As a mom who had her second child nine years ago, I can guarantee it won’t be perfect. There is no magic formula. Perhaps the scales won’t ever be exactly level. But you will organically find a balance that works for your family.
Meanwhile, give yourself some grace, mama.
You’ll see that your time doesn’t expand, but your heart sure does. And you’ll find ways to share that exponentially multiplying love with each child.