Six Lessons I've Learned Transitioning From One Child to Two
When I found out that I was pregnant with my second child, I had many emotions. Part of me was thrilled to add to my family. Another part was terrified to add to my family. Becoming a new mom, everyone offers advice on what to expect, as well as the dos and don’ts for taking care of a little human. I did not get any advice when I was pregnant with my second.
My first and second child are 18 months apart in age, so this posed even more unknown challenges. Once I delivered our second baby, I could not prep myself for what to expect. Being able to relax on maternity leave was a lie! Instead, I was a mother of two and maneuvering my way through this new life. At first, it was harder than I could ever imagined. But, it does gets better; it just takes time!
Below are six lessons that I have learned for an easier transition from one to two kids.
1. Tired is your new middle name
My first son taught me the true meaning of tired! As a baby, he was a horrible sleeper. He would wake up several times in a night and hard to fall back to sleep. As a toddler, he was a horrible sleeper. He refused naps during the day and still woke up several times a night. He was and still is my night owl! I felt that I would never have a consistent eight hours of sleep again. When I had my first daughter, she was a much better sleeper than her brother was!
The best tip to help survive tiredness is to try to get the baby on the same schedule as your toddler. If they both sleep at the same time, you can take a nap too.
2. Multi-tasking can be added to your resume
Having two children will make you gain the skill of multi-tasking. On maternity leave, I was by myself so I had to learn quickly. For the baby, I was breastfeeding on-demand. For the toddler, I was playing with him, reading to him or just cuddling with him. On top of my children immediate needs, I had to cook food and clean our home. A lot for one person to do on a daily or weekly basis. In order to multi-task efficiently, I learned how to maximize my time and figure out what was the most important and least important to accomplish in a given day.
The best tip to multi-task is to invest in a planner or calendar!
3. Pick your battles
A mother does not have a thousand hands and cannot possibly do everything. Being a mother of two, I learned that not everything can’t be tackled at once and that is normal. If your toddler is having a tantrum and you want to wash a load of clothes, do not stress. Focus your attention on the toddler because the clothes can wait.
The best tip to letting go is to prioritize what is the most important and least important to you at a given time. Do not second guess yourself!
4. First-born jealousy
Bringing home a new baby changes the dynamic of a family. Get ready because the first-born child will be jealous! The child has to share their mother, father and home with a new sibling. Jealousy takes different forms. The child do something mischievous to their sibling or revert to baby tendencies to seek attention.
One day, I put my second-born into a baby rocker. My first-born was watching cartoons while sitting on the couch. I walked into the kitchen to throw trash into the garbage. I came back to him attempting to sit on her while she was still in the rocker. Wow!
The best tip for first-born jealousy is to be sensitive to their emotions. Make one-on-one time with the oldest child and be consistent! Children should always feel that they equally as important as their siblings.
5. Not a new mom anymore
Having multiple children ensures that taking care of a little human is not anything new. You are familiar with the basics in diapering, bathing, feeding and sleeping, so less to stress about. Remember it is okay if you need to do a google search, get tips from another mom or seek advice from the pediatrician.
The best tip is to remember that you are forever learning in motherhood. If swaddling a baby to sleep worked for your first child, it may not work for the second child.
6. Self-care is important
As mothers, we are on-duty all the time, the baby and toddler will always need you. It is very important to take care of yourself, so you can be the best mother to your children. Your needs matter just as much as the children. Whenever I am overly tired or stressed, I will have an attitude and less patience for my children. This is not a good situation. Therefore, self-care is a priority for me!
The best tip is to take some “me time” at some point in the day – either before the children wake up, during nap times or once they fall asleep for bedtime. Find ways to relax by and de-stress in your own way!