Lessons from Baby #2 (and the Most Helpful Advice I’ve Received)

Now that our beautiful baby boy is 10 weeks old, I can finally sit sit back and reflect on the arrival of our new little chunky bundle. Naturally, I’d been warned that bringing him home would be a difficult transition, but you never really know until you’re in it. Plus, everyone’s experiences are different. Of course, I entered this time with a sort of naive confidence, that since everything was already pretty good that it would continue to be smooth sailing. Haha.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of seeing that little + sign (especially when you’ve waited a little while to grow your family) that you don’t really think about how much change this new little human will bring. You think, hey, our first one is great (yeah, now). All the memories of crying and blowouts and sleepless nights are gone (I’m pretty sure we are designed to forget about those for a reason) so you have this feeling that it’s all going to be good. You’re a pro, you’ve got this.

And for the most part, it is good (take heart, new mamas of two).

But for me, the lessons I learned from my first vastly differ from the ones I am learning from baby #2. Don’t get me wrong, I learned plenty from my daughter. She taught me about selflessness, feeding schedules, how to survive on less sleep and change a diaper in record time, a greater respect for yoga pants and Saturday nights on the couch. Most of all, she taught me about blind, overwhelming, unconditional love. It is my belief that first babies thrive because mom and dad are in survival mode. You can barely stop and think, and you’re too tired to overanalyze anything (except any kind of weird bodily thing and in that case, Google gets asked a whole bunch of weird questions at 3am). But that second baby brings with him a whole new perspective, and good friends offer different pearls of wisdom this time around. In just a short 10 weeks, here are some things I now know to be true (keep in mind that just because I know these things now does not mean I am this calm, zen person all the time, that’s just unrealistic):

  • Even as an adult, you’ll always need your mommy (or sister, or best friends, or any person to come stay with you and help really): My mom and dad stayed for two weeks with us this time. They spoiled entertained our daughter, took care of all dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, and transported us to doctor’s appointments and school and Little Gym. The only reason I didn’t bawl my eyes out when they left is because my sister and her fiancé joined us a couple days later to take over, and a few weeks after that, my childhood best friend.
  • On that note, asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness: Your people are vital. Lean on them. This was a hard one for me to learn because I can be pretty stubborn and independent and feel like a failure if I’m not doing it all. But, with this kid, I kind of had to give that up. One day, the hubby had to go up on the roof and fix something. I was nursing, and of course the 3 year old wanted to “help” daddy, which included climbing up a very tall ladder. Good thing we had another adult here that week to entertain her while daddy was busy or I would’ve either had two screaming children or a leaky roof. Another time, one of my kids’ “aunties” came over to take my daughter for a walk just so I could have some peaceful moments with baby. Countless people brought food (let them when they offer). And most importantly, I have a small army of women who have gone before me, willing to listen to my psychotic ramblings, irrational anxiety, answer my endless questions and just listen when I need to rant (thank you ladies, you know who you are). It helps SO much to be able to say your weird feelings aloud and to know that people aren’t judging you (and to hear that you aren’t alone and aren’t, in fact, a crazy person).
  • It’s okay, and sometimes necessary, to lower your standards:  Okay, so my 3 year old might have watched a little more Disney Jr. than normal. So she didn’t get gourmet home cooked meals or organic everything. So she might have eaten raisins off the floor and skipped a couple of bath nights. So my house is covered in Legos and Little People and random puzzle pieces. So she didn’t have my undivided attention during play anymore (hey guess what? A love for free, independent play is actually a great thing for children to develop!). So? She’s still a happy, well-adjusted, fed, and loved child. Isn’t that the goal?
  • The best gift you can give yourself and others, is graceSome of the best advice I have gotten time and time again is to be kind to myself. Give myself some grace. I’m not going to do everything perfectly. I will make mistakes. Just the other night, baby was screaming because we had tried (unsuccessfully) to give him a bottle and then he refused to eat. At the same time, sister was so sad because I had started her bedtime routine but had to tap out to dad because of screaming baby (she’s REALLY into her routines). I had to remind myself that she would be just fine and so would he, and just have peace in the fact that we were doing the best we could. I learned that my daughter needs a whole lot of grace as well. It’s really tough to invite a new baby into your home where you have reigned as princess since day one. It’s hard to share the attention and to learn patience. It was tough at the beginning, but we are settling into our new normal now, and that includes me being more understanding of her tender heart (and her sassy tantrums too).IMG_2977

Lastly, and most importantly, baby #2 has taught me that a mother’s heart can expand exponentially to make room for another child. It’s crazy how much, and how differently, I love my two munchkins. There are a lot of ups and downs in our days (more ups than downs) and sometimes I feel more like a crazy person than I do a competent mother, but ultimately, these kiddos are teaching me so much about life and love. And I am grateful for these lessons every day.


Currently Reading: Alllll of these (a chapter at a time because I’m really more of a novel lover), just to build up my toolbox with different ways to help my kiddos learn and grow and most of all, feel loved by me and their daddy.

Currently Baking: Grain-free “Oatmeal” Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here) except I don’t make the frosting and I sub chocolate chips for raisins. Also, this time I didn’t quite have enough almond butter so had to add in some Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (ala Nutella but “healthier”) so they were extra tasty! These are my hands-down favorite Paleo treat. Plus I love any excuse to use my Kitchen Aid and eat chocolate chips while baking, a trait I have passed on to my firstborn.

Currently Singing: “It is Well”- Bethel Music (YouTube link here). This song has done wonders to help calm my mommy anxiety this week: “So let go, my soul, and trust in Him; the waves and wind still know His name…” It is, indeed, well with my soul.

Thanks for reading and until next time, peace and love from my household to yours.

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