Let me first say this: I’ve worn the same leggings three days in a row, I have spit-up crusted in my hair, and I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth twice this week. And it’s only Wednesday.
That said, life with baby No. 2 is going much better than expected.
During my second pregnancy, my OB/GYN said to me, “Having one child is like having one child. Having two children is like having 20.” I believed it. Because honestly, I have a hard time not losing just one kid at the zoo. So, adding in another human, I anticipated the worst.
I’m now eight weeks into Motherhood Round Two. And yes, I’ll admit it’s harder to feed two mouths than one. It’s harder to get two kids into the car than one. And I’ve realized (the hard way) why God gave humans two arms: so we could breastfeed a newborn with one arm and wipe a toddler’s butt with the other.
But in some ways, baby No. 2 has actually made life—wait for it—easier than having just one.
I know. It defies logic. Let me explain.
With my oldest son, I was the classic neurotic first-time mom. Every ounce of my mommy brain was spent obsessing over doing everything right. I avoided pacifiers for fear of “nipple confusion.” I enforced a rigorous eat-play-sleep schedule. I didn’t snuggle him while he napped for fear of creating bad habits. Breast was best. Formula was the devil. And anything that passed his lips was most definitely organic, free-range, non-GMO, and dye-free.
This second kid? We pumped pacies and formula the first week. I snuggle him so hard his face might be permanently imprinted with my collar bone. He naps on the go, between preschool pick-ups and library story time. And I’d probably feed him pureed Cheetos if it meant sleeping through the night.
Having a second kid has given me permission to chill. the. frick. out. About everything—feeding, sleeping, peeing, pooping, burping, crying. I was so afraid of messing up my first son that I forgot to celebrate the little wins along the way. This time, I’m learning to give myself some grace. Are the kids fed? Are they (mostly) clothed? And are they loved so fiercely I would give my life for them? Yes, yes, and absolutely yes. Then hallelujah! I’m an amazing mom! And even if the whole family eats hot dogs for dinner, it likely won’t land my kids in therapy.
With two kids, I simply don’t have the margin to worry about the stuff I used to. When my newborn wakes me up 82 times during the night, I don’t have the time to bemoan my exhaustion in the morning because my toddler is up at 5:46 a.m. and demanding pancakes. When I’m elbow-deep in a blow-out, I can’t worry that my toddler is grinding Play-Doh into the area rug. When I’m bandaging up the toddler’s skinned knee, I can’t fret that the newborn won’t nap longer than 12 minutes at a time.
Having two kids has forced me to view problems with a new perspective. Unless someone is on fire, everything is probably fine. This time around, I’m spending less time stressing and more time loving, snuggling, and savoring these little years.
That said, I’m not getting cocky. I know my limits, and I’m not signing up for baby No. 3 anytime soon. After all, God didn’t give me three arms.