About 10 years ago, I started a blog called In The Land of Monkeys. It was all about me and the kids. After I wrote the following post, which has been on my mind for a while, I happened to look back on my old blog and found a very similar post from 2010! You can check it out here. The more things change…
Before I had kids, I thought a lot about what it would be like to hold them, to take care of them, to teach them, and to watch them grow.
Utopian parenting is only possible when the kids in the scenario have yet to be born. I didn’t offer parents advice on how they were raising their kids (I was never THAT person), but I did store up the do’s and don’ts that I thought would be helpful for when we finally had kids.
We’ve all seen those memes about the differences between being a first time mom vs. being a second or third time mom.
As a first time mom, I really felt like I had all my shit together. I mean, one of my best friends had to come in from out of town with her 3 month old baby to make sure that I got out of the house, but aside from that, I was ready. I did all my baby gear research. I had all the stuff I needed. I loved nursing her (even in the middle of the night).
What was different then?
Looking back, I have to also be realistic. I wasn’t working outside of the home. My time was all about taking care of baby and me. If I was tired when she went to nap, I slept. If I felt like watching TV, I watched. If I wanted to go out for a walk, we walked. There were no other major responsibilities.
To be fair, I used to also joke that my firstborn came with a manual. When I thought about the fact that she wasn’t sleeping through the night at 5 months, she miraculously started sleeping through. When it was time to potty train, she went along with it. Things seemed a lot easier when it was only one small person that was the focus of our world.
When I was pregnant with our second, I was truly concerned about how it would be possible to love another child as much as our first.
Funny how that works out though.
My challenge with our second child wasn’t him. It was me. Balancing the needs of 2 kids threw me for a loop.
I was always very rigid with our eldest’s schedule. She thrived when things were predictable. Most kids do. How do I manage 2 very different schedules? This was not my specialty.
Luckily, my 2nd found his thumb and was able to calm himself. He was a good-natured, cuddly baby who was super easy-going.
I just needed to learn how to balance 2 kids.
I’ve heard many people say that for some people, the shift from 1 kid to 2 kids is harder than the shift from 2 to 3.
Number 3 came along
We waited a bit longer for #3. The extra year gap helped me to get my groove.
When #3 arrived, I felt like a pro. I mean, I’ve done this twice already. I wasn’t stressed about getting out of the house. I wasn’t stressed about feeding and bathtime and naps and bedtime.
Man plans, G-d laughs
There is an old yiddish expression – “Man plans and G-d laughs.”
Also, you know the expression “I got this!”? I SO did not “Got this”.
When I see a baby awake and lying in a stroller, I am still amazed that babies can be awake and content. #3 was not like that. I learned every wrapping method. I used baby slings. I was a pro at attaching him to me so I could get things done (like peeing without having a screaming baby).
But they don’t stay babies
They are all growing up into beautiful, thoughtful, kind people who I am so grateful to know.
What I’ve learned over the years is that all the research of “stuff”, all the advice we think is so important, and all the fears we have are only leading us to one goal. Loving them.
If their schedule isn’t perfect, they’ll be fine.
If their meals aren’t perfectly balanced, they’ll be fine.
If they cry for 10 minutes so you can go poop, they’ll be fine.
Just love them and do the best you can.
You’ve got this.