When I was pregnant with my second child, I had a whole lot of people tell me how much more difficult it was going to be (funnily, none of those people offered any kind of help either… but that’s another post for another day). Of course, I realised things were going to change, but there were a few things that happened that I didn’t expect when going from one child to two.
It wasn’t just that it would be double the work (because let’s face it, it’s more like quadruple the work), or that we’d go back to some serious sleep deprivation. It was more the subtle things, the things I didn’t really think too much about or had genuinely expected to be different.
This might not be the case for all women, after all our experiences with motherhood are unique and varied. But some mother’s may nod and agree, others may read this and find it hopefully informative or at least entertaining.
Either way, these are some of the things I didn’t expect when going from one child to two, and that surprised me (in a good way!!).
1 – My Love Grew
When my husband and I were talking about having another baby I honestly didn’t understand how I could love another baby as much as I loved my son. On the same hand, I also feared that if we were to have another baby, my son would be left out and wouldn’t feel as loved.
This was such a major part of my anxiety during my pregnancy and even in the first few weeks after our daughter was born. I just couldn’t fathom how I could give them enough love.
But I did.
I remember the first time I felt that wave of love for my daughter.
You see, I’m not one of the mothers who had that ‘smack in the face’ kind of love as soon as my babies are born. It didn’t happen with my son until after I took him home from the NICU (he was 10 weeks old) and it didn’t happen with my daughter for almost a week.
With her, it was when I saw my husband holding her and my son kissing her. It was a feeling of being complete and that kind of love that makes you feel like your heart is literally about to burst. So much oxytocin, so much love!
I know people kept telling me my love would grow, but I genuinely didn’t believe that it would. Until it did.
2 – I Still Managed To Shower and Eat
To be honest, I had kind of come to the conclusion that showering was going to be a ‘treat’ and eating was going to happen in the snippets of time when I didn’t have a baby or a child hanging off me… I mean, who can blame me? Take a scroll through social media and you’ll see women saying they haven’t showered for days since becoming a mother…
I kind of thought that I’d had it ‘easy’ with one child, and that two was going to be a game changer.
But guess what?
I still showered.
You’ll be amazed at how resourceful you can be when you need to, and when something is a big motivating factor. I feel awful if I haven’t showered, so I knew I needed to make it a priority, and wash my hair because somehow it always smelt like breastmilk too…
Whether I showered during nap times, or while my husband had the baby, or while the baby laid on a play mat on the floor outside the bathroom so I could see her… we made it work. Even if I did always think I could hear a baby crying every time I turned the taps on.
As for eating, single-handed snacks became my go to. Anything that could be eaten with one hand, that was already prepared and was quick to eat. Things like egg muffins, crackers and dip, carrots and hummus (my fave!!) or a nutty trail mix were easy to eat on the move or one handed while breastfeeding or rocking to sleep.
Taking care of yourself and making sure you not only feel good, but are nourished too is so important as a Mama. You can’t pour from an empty cup so any chance you get to fill it, even if it’s just a little bit, is worth it.
3 – We Had To Plan More
I love a good to do list, and as a Type A personality, spreadsheets and planners are my jam. But when it came to having two kids, things were kicked up another level.
We had originally planned to let our daughter fall into her own sleep cycle, which she did and it worked perfectly for us. Until our son started school and her sleep cycle fell right on the drop-off and pick up times. Of course.
As much as I didn’t like the idea of putting a baby on a ‘schedule’ she was old enough to be able to cope with it and it worked pretty well. For a few weeks… until she changed her sleep pattern and went through the next leap. Thanks baby.
In general, we had to be more organised than before. Things like meal planning became a sanity saver, and simple daily routines meant that both kids had stability and we knew what needed to be done and when.
4 – We Had To Learn To Be Okay With Not Getting Everything Done
Speaking of what needed to be done… we also had to learn to be okay with not getting everything done.
On top of my Type A personality, I’m also what some would call ‘an overachiever’ (Caitlin says this to me all the time). I am methodical, I create to-do lists and I get frustrated if I don’t get it all done…
With one child, I managed to keep on top of things fairly well. But when we transitioned to two children, it all kind of went out the window. I don’t know why I didn’t realise this would happen, perhaps it was more stubbornness than anything else. But it had to change.
Juggling naps and bedtimes and feeds and lunches and bath time and cuddles and homework and reading books and work and business and marriage… and somewhere there’s meant to be housework but I’m not the greatest at that either.
I found myself becoming frustrated and feeling like I was failing because I wasn’t keeping up with my own standard… but I had to be kind to myself. It’s okay to not get everything done.
5 – It Was So Much Easier Than I Thought It Would Be
With the number of people who give you a cheeky smile and jab and say ‘oh you wait until your second one arrives‘ you’d think it was going to be the hardest thing in the world, raising to children. Despite all the things I wasn’t expecting, one of the things I truly did expect was for it to be so incredibly difficult.
I think I’m glad I did though, because transitioning to two children was actually so much easier than I thought it would be.
Once I adjusted my expectations of myself and cut myself some slack, and figured out our systems and routines, it actually all just fell into place somehow.
Sure, I feel like it was easier for me before, gosh it was easier before I had kids. And it has its moments when it is really bloody hard. But it’s definitely not as difficult as I expected it to be.
Going from one child to two is definitely a challenge, but when I look at my beautiful little family, I wouldn’t have it any other way.