Ever since we welcomed our littlest addition, my life has been in a constant state of "holy shit I have TWO kids!" mode. It's been a bit of a shock to our system in many ways. I thought it would be much different than it is - I thought it would be a whole lot harder in these early months. Every day I'm exploring this unfamiliar territory as a parent, which is very much new and uncharted.
I'd like to share some of my preliminary observations on going from one child to two. I will probably have many more observations in the months and years to come, but these are some of the first ones I've noticed.
I literally have no time.
I don't know why I'm surprised by this, but I am. Having two children on different schedules makes the day zip by so fast and then I'm finally sitting there at the end of the evening wondering where the day went. As soon as they both wake up, it's a steady stream of things to do, so much that I am falling back into those old patterns of forgetting about myself. After dressing two children and feeding two children, what you wear and what you eat are mere after thoughts!
You learn to lower your expectations.
When you have one child, you have really high expectations and you try to do everything perfectly to please your little emperor child because they're your sole offspring so you don't want to screw them up too badly. Endless research, lovingly pureed baby foods, pinterest worthy ideas about birthday parties which are planned months in advance....When you have two children, your expectations are so low that it's a successful day if everyone is alive: fed, bathed, and sleeping correctly. And by everyone, I mean the children - not the parents!
You're not scared to ask for help.
One child is manageable to look after on your own, even if it is a spirited child. Two children is out of the question, and the great thing is that nobody even expects you to. You can ask for help endlessly and nobody will even judge you for it. The more children you have, the more you need that village of extra helping hands.
You're a better parent.
I've noticed that I'm a much better parent to Veda than I was to Maya. This is because I'm a more experienced parent. I know how to burp a baby. I know some nursery rhymes. I'm not running off to the children's hospital with every small sneeze. I'm much more relaxed than I was with baby #1. That's the best part of having the chance to be a parent again - is that I'm better at it. At this point, it's like I'm a professional mom!
Go with the flow.
We try to make plans, but we mostly end up going with the flow due to those relaxed expectations. You learn not to plan too much, but just enough, and you don't feel bad if you have to cancel. Because time is scarce, I find myself saying "no" more to unnecessary things and not doing too many outings. I find myself being more realistic about the things that we can and can't do. It's a huge thing to round up the children and do an outing, so it had better be good!
You become a master at multi-tasking.
With two children on different schedules, you learn how to multi-task like an absolute air traffic controller. You can have a serious conversation with your husband while you're simultaneously helping your older child on a school project and breastfeeding your baby. You also figure out how to take care of both kids at once - like a shared bath time - so you don't have to do things twice.
You and your partner become a great team.
Seeing myself and husband-ji evolve into such a great team as parents has been really heart-warming. When we had Maya, we were confused about our roles and didn't know who was supposed to do what. Now we are so busy with the children that we don't have time to argue about who's going to do the next diaper change. If I'm busy with the baby, then he will handle Maya - and vice versa - and there are no questions asked. We just plow through and have been functioning like a well-oiled machine. This time around, there's no bullshit - only efficiency.
Your second child fits into your schedule.
When you welcome your first baby, it's like OMG....we have a baby, our world revolves around them! And you change your whole life to accommodate your baby. When you have a second child, they join your family structure. There is already
a little dictator a child in the house, who has her own routine, and you no longer have the patience to stop your entire life for a little sleepy baby. I've heard from a lot of friends that because the second child joins the family, it makes them less demanding from the get-go.
It's a real balancing act.
I'm still trying to figure out how to spend time with both of my children equally, make time for my husband, and make time for myself. I will probably be trying to figure this out for quite some time, and that's okay. Some days I do a great job in the parenting department, but not such a great job in the "me" department. Other days, I decide to take a break from my children to have a luxurious hot bubble bath, and then I'll miss out on story time or something precious like that. Every day ends with me thinking that I could have managed my time better - because there simply isn't enough of it to begin with. However, tomorrow's always a new day and you win some, you lose some.
What about you, dear readers?
What have you noticed about going from one child to two?