5 Mothers On The Transition From One To Two Kids
There has been coy chit chat between friends off late about when we're all going to start trying to expand our families. In and of itself, it's an awkward question made more so when we all stare lovingly at our glass of wine that we're not yet ready to part with. I speak for myself when I say a year and a half in, I feel like I have my head, my partnership and my rhythms back together a bit and the idea of shaking it all up again seems daunting. I asked five smart and seasoned mothers on their take on the transition from having one child to two:
Mother to three kids, ages 8, 5 and 1
Funny thing is when you ask me about my transition from one to two I have trouble remembering. Like childbirth maybe I blocked it out so I would do it again....
I don't know that anything prepared me for the transition from one to two kids. My daughter was almost 3 when my son was born and I had experienced some new mom friends having their second child around the same time but no one really sat down to fill me in on losing all of your free time. The period of tag teaming with my spouse ended and navigating life with two was a bigger transition for me than moving onto three.
Being with my older child when my second was born was so magical. I wanted to make sure that I gave her attention even though there was a new baby. Carving out that time with her was really special. While at times I was overwhelmed, looking back I remember key moments where I felt a totally new connection with her.
There isn't one way to navigate the transition. Each child and experience is so different- some fall naturally into place and others take a ton of work. I got lucky.
Mother to two kids, ages 3 and 1
Siblings Without Rivalry is the only book you'll need. It'll help you see the world from your kids' perspective, and give you practical techniques you can implement immediately to prevent problems from developing.
Mother to two kids, ages 4 and 1
Nothing prepped me--I thought I knew what I was getting into, but really I had no idea. What surprised me is how I felt spread very thin in the early weeks and it was difficult to get my bearings. The best piece of advice I got ...there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and you can do it! We all find the inner strength to make the best decisions for our families and you will find empowerment through the struggle (I hope).
Mother to two kids, ages 3 and 1
I think seeing some of my friends transitioning from 1 to 2 put my mind at ease and helped mentally prepare me. My kids are 23 months apart so my first, R, really didn't understand what was coming but reading books and talking about babies in general seemed to help prepare her. I was very surprised at how at ease I was. I genuinely felt relaxed and calm. R stayed at my parents and in-laws for the first few days. We were home so I laid around with the baby and enjoyed watching tv and not entertaining a toddler! Felt like a vacation.
The best piece of advice I got was to take the pressure off and accept as much help as possible. First time around, I didn't accept meals from people or help at night because I felt like it was unnecessary but this time around I very much appreciated everyone who dropped meals and snacks. We also got a night nurse 1-2 nights a week and I started formula from the start so the pressure with breast feeding was off. I had a toddler to run after during day so I needed my rest!
Mother to two kids, Ages 3 and 1
I took out all of the baby stuff about a month early so C could play with it/see it. I showed her videos of her using it so when the baby came along the play mat/baby swing/bouncy seats/bassinets were nothing new. C is also very interested in playing babies... some toddlers aren't.
My biggest worry was the impact on C, but she was old enough that we could ask her "do you want to go to the hospital" to which she said, "No I'm fine" so she never came even though our plan had been to bring her.
We didn't make a big fuss over C interacting with S until she was ready. C looked at her when we brought her home. The first few days she would bring her a blankie, but didn't touch her until maybe day 5. Now she kisses and hugs her and pets her head and says, "I love you S". I think if we had forced it she wouldn't be so loving towards her.
What about you? Did anything prepare you, surprise you or help in adjusting from one to two children? Or if you're still enjoying life with one, what are some of the things you're thinking about before making the leap?
Featured Image via Eboogie615 on Flickr