I don’t want to brag, but I’ve been a mom of two for almost 9 months now, and I won’t say that I’ve “mastered it,” but I’ve definitely learned a thing or two since back when I was spilling my confessions as a mom-of-two newb
Totally kidding about the “mastering it” part. My toddler ate ice cream for lunch today and spilled a jar of slime all over himself in the car while the baby was probably eating paper or I don’t even know… We’re all living on a prayer over here.
But at the very least, I have learned a thing or two… and remembered a thing or two too (I mean, didn’t we *just* do this baby thing? How did I forget all of this?!).
For those of you just tuning in, I have two boys, (almost) three years old and 8 months old… which basically means the last three years of my life are mostly a sleepless blur. But I am vaguely aware of the following observations from our current status as a family of four.
1. Drive Thru, Please.
I have learned that there is a very small list of things in life that are worth the strife of unbuckling (and later rebuckling) two children in car seats. Sorry, food, you don’t make the cut. Also sorry, waistline and pants.
Wait. Nope. Not sorry.
Because I’m pretty sure I burn off all those lovely drive thru calories in every rousing game of “Who Can Buckle the Squirming Toddler Before He Headbutts You?”
Better yet, maybe we’ll just stay home. Forever. Which brings me to…
2. What Is This? Sunshine??
Okay, I know some of you supermoms were power strolling your newborns around the park with a toddler strategically wrapped to your back and probably two or three more kids in tow just for fun about 2.5 seconds after giving birth, but we pretty much came home from the hospital and went into hibernation.
While necessary for my sanity, it did leave me with a little mom guilt about all the life-changing experiences poor #1 was missing out on… like having temper tantrums in public places, learning the fine distinction between friendly strangers we greet at the park and the slightly creepy dude we avoid, and enjoying awkward, forced social interactions with peers who mostly just want to be eating their own boogers.
Now, however, we are breaking free. I mean, on the days I can get everyone dressed at least. No longer bound to the constant eat/sleep/poop cycle of newborn days, we are starting to remember what real life is like again. And while I miss all the extra newborn naps (ohhhhhh, I miss extra naps), it’s definitely worth it to feel like we are out there doing our thang again and hanging out with our booger-eating pals.
Speaking of extra naps though… I really, really miss them… because…
3. Tag Team.
So at this point my husband and I are not *officially* out-numbered when we work together, but it’s getting pretty close. In the meantime, our children have attempted to tilt the odds in their favor by making it their policy to never sleep at exactly the same time.
I am convinced that hiding somewhere in my house is a secret baby bat signal that one activates as soon as he falls asleep so the other one knows it’s time to wake up.
Remember back in the good ol’ days with baby #1? “Ahh, baby finally fell asleep” meant a nap, some housekeeping, catching up on work, maybe a shower… Now? Nope, nope, nope, and lol. Now it goes something like this…
Me: Ahh, baby finally fell asleep. Okay, toddler, time for your nap.
(somewhere between five minutes and a billion hours later)
Me: Ahh, the toddler finally fell asleep. Time for…
And it’s not just sleep they manage to alternate perfectly. Tag teaming has also proven effective for “Hold me, mama,” “I was just clean, but now I’ve made an enormous and unexplainable mess,” and “Let’s touch/play with/eat a new and potentially dangerous object!” Somehow as soon as you get one settled, the other one is right there ready for his turn.
4. Bedtime Blues.
Okay, maybe this should be 3b because this point is about sleep too, but that’s just because I miss it so much.
Perhaps there is some secret baby whispering science trick that I have not been made privy too, but I never would have guessed that so much of my life would be devoted to trying to convince other humans to sleep… and (more recently) trying to convince another human not to wake up a sleeping human. I’m looking at you, toddler who thinks a sleeping baby means it’s time for a dinosaur roaring contest.
I don’t cry over spilt milk (unless pumping because ummmmm yes), but I’ve definitely shed a few tears over the beautiful naps/bedtimes that could have been but were interrupted by someone’s dinosaur impressions.
5. Is It Really This Hard?
My husband is a teacher, so he’s been home for the summer spending a little extra time in the crazy zone. One day as he was
escaping leaving for a bit, he said something to the effect of “Is it really this hard? I don’t feel like I ever heard people talking about how hard this is.”
Clearly he doesn’t read all the mom blogs I do. #cannotcope
But in case you’re sitting there in the thick of it wondering if it’s just you, let me tell you…. This is hard. And it’s hard for everyone, maybe not in the same way for every family or every season, but the constant demand of parenthood really is a challenge without equal.
It’s also full of joy and hugs and kisses and other wonderful moments that (I’m told) will be the things I’ll really remember down the road, but for now… some days, some seasons, are just flat out hard.
It does get better (and worse, and better, and worse, and better again), but in those difficult seasons find your tribe, ask for help when you need it, remember self care, access your inner Wonder Woman, and don’t forget to keep the chocolate stash full.
You got this.
6. Finding Our Groove.
We’re here. We made it. We’re in that sweet spot where #2 can sit happily for a while with a pile of toys in reach or cruise around the furniture just enough to entertain himself without causing any real destruction (that will come later, I’m sure), and I don’t wonder if I really like babies quite as often. And aside from the horrors of potty-training, #1 is pretty cool with his new life with a sibling and only sometimes lovingly hands the baby a choking hazard while I’m hiding in the pantry eating handfuls of his potty-training treats.
We still have a lot to learn, and we’re all growing as individuals and as family unit. But this is the new us. And though I might have had some doubts along the way, I think we’re going to make it.
Maybe I haven’t “mastered” this new phase of motherhood yet, but we’ve got a home full of love and a pantry full of chocolate, and really, that’s enough for me.