So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

It’s 9:30 at night and I’m exhausted.

I have one child: Smoosh*- a 17-month-old boy. He’s a handful. But he’s only one boy.

This afternoon, Smoosh and I hosted a group play date at our house. Seven other moms attended with their toddlers. Every single one of them either already had a second child or was trying for another.

My question is: How?

I understand the answers to the ‘Why?’. You have another child because you want to give the first one a play mate. Because you’ve always wanted a large family. Because you want to try for a girl. Or boy. Because you like being busy and having purpose. Or, the most honest answer that I totally understand from Smoosh’s infant days and can’t fathom going through again: “I don’t know. I just get through it.”

Yesterday, Smoosh snuck up behind me while I was washing dishes and bit my leg. He was apparently offended that I had been “ignoring” his cries for a snack for almost a full minute now. (I was washing his cup in order to put snacks inside of it.)  Right as he bit me, one of my dogs quit his whining (that, admittedly, I had been ignoring) to go outside for the fourth time that morning and pooped right there on the floor in outright defiance. No shame. The other dog whined and twisted around my ankles with his stuffed Yoda, begging for attention. Both dogs were then distracted by a sound at the door and took off, knocking Smoosh over. Tears. Chaos. So much chaos.

Now add a second child to the mix? How? Just…how do you keep your sanity? How do you keep your legs and arms and face bite/scratch free from insistent and sharp little fingernails and teeth? How do you fight off that fatigue-induced headache? How do you not completely lose your cool, yell at everyone, and sink to the floor to rock in fetal position while you try and block everything out? As much as I respect and admire the answers to the “Why?” I just can’t wrap my head around the How?

So I investigated. I interviewed and read and observed, and came up with these three theories:

At least one of your kids is in school/daycare.

Smoosh is currently at his second day of daycare. He goes once a week. I feel guilty every time I glance at the clock, willing time to go slower. I also feel a little panicked, having such little time to tackle my to-do list. But let’s set the guilt and panic aside. I am also experiencing clarity. And peace. I have time to breathe. Breathing is important. I don’t do it often enough. I’m going to enter into some delicate territory now and share a huge difference between a Stay-At-Home mom and a Working Mom. First, let me say that I chose to stay home with my son. But some days, some moments, I ache to go back to the 9-5 routine. I want to wear sophisticated dress clothes and have conversations that don’t revolve around nap and poop schedules. I want that hour lunch break to eat in peace, catching up on gossip instead of begging Smoosh to stop throwing his vegetables against the freshly washed window. I want that 30 minute commute where I can listen to an audio book of my choosing without hearing Smoosh screaming from his car seat.The difference between these two types of moms is that Working Moms get a break from Baby Land. They get to play in the world of adults.

Same goes for moms who have kids in daycare or school. You get breaks. You get to breathe. Yes, maybe you’re working your butt off – be it in an office or at home – and maybe you’re not all that thrilled with your job or boss or commute. But you’re also not desperately singing “Wheels on the Bus,” and wrestling with a surprisingly strong toddler with poop all over his butt. And hands. And oh, look, now it’s in your hair. And now he’s running naked down the hall to pet the dogs with his poopy hands and pee on the carpet. 

Breaks are everything when it comes to emotional sanity and even physical well-being. And sometimes Stay-At-Home moms just can’t get these breaks. This is why,  if I ever do decide to have a second child, I’m waiting until Smoosh is in Kindergarten.

You have family/a friendly teenager who babysits for free close by.

Again, time to breathe. And date nights. Seeing movies when they come out in the theater instead of waiting for them to be on Netflix and falling asleep halfway through watching because you decided to indulge in a second glass of wine. And taking  a shower without having to listen to Baby You Tube and/or cries of  protest while you condition your hair (way too quickly) and skip shaving your  legs (again).

Yes, I could hire a babysitter, but they get expensive quickly. Especially when you’re living off of one income. A simple movie night ends up costing over $100. And I would just feel guilty and selfish paying someone to come over so that I can do my girly grooming. This is why, on more than one occasion, Smoosh gets to watch TV and eat lunch while Mommy runs around in her underwear with hair dye dripping all over the house.

You are one of those mystical unicorns who are really creative at making up games and songs.

Whereas hours of playing with cars and blocks mentally drains me, you draw energy from it. Actually, you’re probably thinking “Cars? Pshh. How unoriginal. We’re working on glitter animals and doing toothpaste-volcano experiments over at my house…”

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of kids doing crafts and science experiments. But alas, I am not at all crafty. And my son is still in the glitter-eating stage. So I do my best with what I have. I try to get him to mimic my stick-figure drawing and I’ve gotten really, really good at building cool shapes out of legos. But Smoosh does not seem impressed with these things and only stays entertained for .5 seconds before he’s demanding to move on. 

Luckily, Daddy is really good at making up silly songs. So on the weekends, Smoosh gets some pretty fantastic personal concerts. If only I could hologram Daddy over to our living room for 15 minutes per day so that I can finally clean up the kitchen…

So, to you amazing, super-hero moms of multiple children, do you identify with any of these descriptions? Do you have any other secrets to  share? I’d love to hear from you!

Jessica Mautone

Jessica is a first-time, Stay-At-Home mom who loves to write as an outlet for the stress that comes along with raising a strong-minded little boy and two yappy dogs. Credit for her creative inspiration goes to good wine and frequent travel. 

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two kids sitting in wagon, color photo

Life ebbs and flows. Seasons come and go. One of the reasons I take so many photos is because they are the only way to make time stand still. They provide a nostalgia that can’t compete with anything else. They help us remember the exact moment captured and show us how fast time is fleeting. It doesn’t matter if their texture is glossy or matte. It doesn’t matter if they are in a frame or on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or if someone’s thumbprint is in the upper corner. All that matters is the moment...

Keep Reading

For the Love of the Game and a Little Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Several baseball players with coach, color photo

When your babies are babies, you think the days are never going to end. You’re so filled up with love for them, but oh momma, you are sooo exhausted. One day runs into the other, runs into the other, and so on. Those days are filled with feedings, diaper changes, sleepless nights, and milk-drunk smiles. You get all the firsts. The first smile. The first laugh. The first words. The first crawl. Before you know it, they’re walking. Walking turns into running. But hold your breath momma, these are the good old days. These long days and even longer nights...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime