The Fourth Trimester is coming to a close. Wow! Time goes by a lot faster when the Fourth Trimester involves a toddler… Life as a mother of two has been filled with dichotomies. So sweet, yet so exhausting. It has been so much easier than I expected, but so much more difficult in unforeseen ways. I feel a sense of freedom I did not find with my daughter, yet miss the freedom I had arrived at. I am still trying to make sense of it all and find myself as a parent again through the new challenges of caring for two very dependent children.
While I have cared for a newborn before, this child is a unique experience. Fortunately, this child is not as demanding in this stage as my first. He must know I have to dedicate a lot of my time and energy to my toddler as she goes through the transition of not being an only child any longer. While my son sleeps pretty well, the extra amount of energy I spend during the day as a mother of two leaves me exhausted and with thin patience. Sometimes I am disappointed in how I handle situations, but I immediately give myself grace because I am learning and growing too.
What I’ve learned so far as a mother of two:
The heart is big enough to love two! I mourned the loss of having a single child quite a bit during the last weeks of pregnancy. I worried about giving my full attention for two bedtimes, but so far they are going to bed at about the same time and their routines are seamlessly weaving into one.
Sleep. The second time around I have noticed how much the little one actually sleeps! It is so much easier to enjoy time with my toddler than I thought!
When both are crying I go to the toddler first! She notices that I am helping her first and caring for her needs
Scheduling time in the day for only my oldest and a separate time for my youngest is a great way to give each my undivided attention as a mother of two. This is possible when one is napping/in quiet time or if partner is able to care for one child
A carrier is a must! I need my hands free just in case the toddler decides to explore.
Outdoor time or a bath can pretty much solve any problem.
Get organized. Plan to set up clothing the night before, otherwise it will be a mad dash out of the house and things will be forgotten
Check the diaper count! I’m out of the habit after potty training
Double check for an extra pair of clothes. Another one to get out of the habit of…
Supplies! The car is constantly filled with coats, blankets for tummy time, food, extra shoes, toys, stroller, bike etc. Thankful we have a mini SUV
Say yes. People seem to be more willing to help me out. I always accept!
Let go. Long walks I had with my first child probably aren’t in the cards since my toddler isn’t in school yet and doesn’t go to daycare regularly. This one is a sad realization for me!
The TV can be my best friend. It’s the only guaranteed time I can do chores or get some work done during the day with a napless toddler
Let her help. The toddler loves to help with the baby! I let her and correct later.