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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TWO KIDS UNDER TWO

It's harder than I thought


They say your life changes dramatically when you have a baby. They say you don't even know what you're in for until it happens to you. But when I had Baby T, things didn't change that much. I was a homebody anyway. It wasn't like I had to give up gourmet restaurant meals and late nights at the bar. Our idea of a perfect meal was grilling out in our backyard, and I hadn't stayed up past 1 AM since college (before the night I had Baby T, that is). The sleep thing was hard. I do like my sleep, so waking up every 20 minutes with Baby T and going to work the next day was miserable.

But I was happy. In the first three months, I would pack Baby T in the car with some blankets and diapers and head out--to friends' houses, the park, wherever. I remember a friend commenting on how much I was out in the early days. She said she had laid on her couch for the first eight weeks watching bad daytime TV. If I hadn't gotten out of the house, I would have gone crazy. Even though I normally love staying home, there was something about seeing my friends with kids that made me sane. And there was something about proving to the world that I wasn't afraid of living my life even though I had a kid.

Another friend who had her second baby around the same time I had Baby T would call me up, completely overwhelmed, and describe how she hadn't showered in days. She would tell me I was welcome to come over her house, even if it was just to cry. Cry? I thought. I was fine. I showered every day, exercised, and had time to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Have an other one? Sure. No sweat.

Flash forward 20 months. Cry all day? Check. Shower only once a week? Check.

Everyone told me how hard it was to have a baby. But no one had told me how hard it was to have two. I mean, people had joked about it. But so many people have two--and three, four, and five--kids, that I figured it couldn't be that bad. Especially if having one baby was so easy. Hell, if the Octomom could do it, I could too.

But the first few weeks at home with both kids was chaos, physically and emotionally. One one hand, all I wanted to do was sit and snuggle with my new Little M. But I felt so guilty for giving love to another baby. On top of it, Baby T was sick the first week, so he was a miserable wreck. In a way, that made it easier, because he didn't move around much. I was able to sit on the couch and nurse both kids.

I cried every day. I knew a lot of women who had had post partum depression with their second child. Now I knew why. I was afraid that I would fall into depression too, because I was so emotional. Everything was harder. When I had had Baby T, I had written down everything he did: every poop, pee, nursing, wakeup, and cry. With two kids under two, though, I could barely even feed Little M, much less record those feelings. I felt a lot of guilt. For both of my kids. I couldn't give Little M the same undivided attention I had given to his big brother, and I couldn't give Baby T the same undivided attention he had once had. Nursing sessions with Little M were cut short when Baby T threw a tantrum, and Baby T wouldn't let the poor kid sleep.

There were days that I struggled, wondering if I could really do this, wondering why people had more than one child, and feeling inadequate because women with less education, money, resources, and support did it all the time. I wish that someone had prepared me a little better. Not that it would have stopped me from having a second child, but because I would have been more prepared. But maybe it's just something you have to experience to believe. I probably would have waved away helpful advice from people telling me how overwhelmed I would be. I mean, I did fine with one baby--how hard could one more be?

You live and learn, I guess.

Luckily, the learning curve was pretty quick. I hate change, but after I fight the initial impetus, I ride the wave pretty easily. My pregnancy hormones must have regulated after two weeks, because the crying jags ended. It wasn't that having two kids got any easier, but the guilt went away. That made it easier to deal with Baby T when he threw a tantrum and Little M when he woke up crying and I couldn't get to him right away because I was bathing Baby T. Once my emotions were in check, I was able to figure it out. We have some little routines that we've established, and I wouldn't be able do it without wearing Little M in a baby carrier for the majority of the day.

And for so long, I kept saying it was so hard because they were so close in age. But then I would talk to a friend who had kids spaced four or five years apart, and she would say how hard it was because the older child now had to be driven to school and extracurricular activities, which left the baby crying in the backseat of the car while mom drove errands.

It is hard for everyone. I'm not a wuss. But I just wish someone would have sat me down and been honest with me about how difficult it was. Then I wouldn't have felt so crazy.

3 comments:

Trista Teeter said... Best Blogger Tips

You are right mama, it is HARD. Way harder than I had thought as well. But I will tell you that now that I have a 3 and 5 year old, looking back at where we were 2 and 3 years ago, it still makes me want to bawl my eyes out. It was HARD. So I guess that's my way of saying that it does get easier. It's still difficult, just not in the same ways at ALL.

You are a great momma, and it definitely takes awhile to get into a groove. I think it took me about 2 years after having Sam. No joke....sigh. But you can do it, you're super momma!!

Stephanie said... Best Blogger Tips

I will say, I have always said, that going from one child to two children is a HUGE struggle. BUT, I will promise you, anymore children you do decide (or don't decide) to have in the future; its SO MUCH MORE EASIER. Its not anywhere near as hard as going from one child to two children. Keep your head up, it will get easier!

Perspective said... Best Blogger Tips

What a great post! I'm so excited to find out that you are a blogger! It looks like I have some catching up to do, but I'm liking it already! This post is so true....It makes me feel a bit 'normal' to know that other mamas felt this way too. I don't know if having two at the same time is easier or more difficult...I guess a bit of both in various ways. Thanks for making me feel normal today
:-D

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