Life As A Mother – Of – Two: The Transition

dsc_5672-photo-credit-libia-arteaga Friends and family members who already had more than one child described the transition from one to two children as pretty “crazy and a lot of work” … but what did that exactly mean ?

Well, in the past eight months I had plenty of time to face various situations and challenges, some of which I never had thought of. Knowing concrete examples  upfront would have been so useful so I thought that I share here what marked me the most in the first weeks of being a mother – of – two (under three):

When Toddlers Grieve

When the first born has to step down from his throne and has to start sharing his parent’s attention with the new baby, he/she will eventually experience grieve. Same as adults, the grieve of toddlers can have my faces. Some do cry, some reject the baby, some act out, some remain calm and unchanged while keeping it inside, but what they all have in common is that they do grieve.

In our case, the little bird did cry every now and then to cope with all this newness and mix of emotions. This was sweet but deep crying that mostly came out of the blue. Moreover, in the evenings, he started to jump around on the bed while I was breastfeeding his sister. He jumped and jumped and did not want to stop, even not after various requests from my side to do so. At first I thought that he was just being annoying until I realised that there was a pattern. The less attention he got during the day the more he jumped in the evenings. Right at that time I also read an insightful article (click here in German language) and learned that I was not the only mom experiencing this jumping toddler phenomenon. To help him during this transition and make him understand that all this was ok, we cuddled a lot and explained to him how much we loved him. I also tried to respond to his needs (when possible) without delaying and show him my full attention, meaning that I let my phone and any other things just be. Emails and messages kept being unanswered for quite a while but this was ok for me.

Guilt Is A Bitch

I definitely felt a bit guilty throughout the first months of being a mom-of-two. There were so many moments in which I had to tell the little bird things like “not now…later…please wait”. With a newborn baby around I just couldn’t be there, right away, all the time. This was not a nice feeling. Reminding myself that I was doing my best, that this was only temporary, that things would be better once my body had recovered and we had found our new groove, helped me a lot. Moreover, I decided not to walk down on memory lane and tell myself what a great mother I had used to be to my first born before the birth of the baby. Instead, I accepted the new situation and embraced our new now.

Discover Your Superpowers

Prepare yourself to become the queen of multitasking, to discover your ultimate strength, both physically and mentally because yes, juggling two children with different needs is a big thing !

A month after my baby girl’s birth, my husband went on a business trip and I was alone for a week with both kids. The days were long and exhausting. I still remember the evening when I was super tired, feeling pain in my weakened postpartum body. I was longing for my bed and some sleep but neither of my kids would just fall asleep like that, ha! Somehow, I managed to breastfeed and rock my baby, while caressing the little bird’s back and sing both of them a good night song until they fell asleep. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it…I just did! I always thought that women are strong but in that moment I realised that we have superpowers !

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About Chain Reactions Or How To Keep Calm and Laugh

There will be moments in which everything happens at once, leaving you under the impression that you are observing a chain of domino rocks has been set in motion and you cannot really do any thing to stop it.

Two weeks after our arrival in Panama City, I was alone with the kids in a super market. It was late in the afternoon, I just quickly wanted to buy something for our dinner. While we were waiting in line to pay our groceries, my baby in the carrier started to cry, louder and louder, asking to be nursed. I was full of hormones and felt the urge to respond to her needs but couldn’t as it was almost our turn to pay. Cherry on top, right in that moment the little bird said that he needed to poo because yes, we were almost through with potty training at that time (and those who’ve been there know how fast action is required when toddlers say the magic “caca” word)…to be honest, it were moments like this one in which I had the choice between crying like the saddest mom or laughing like a crazy chick. I chose laughter !

A New Way Of Breastfeeding

Whereas the first time around nursing moments were mostly of calm, peaceful and intimate nature, the second time it’s in exact those moments of deep connection with my baby that the little bird started to test me, letting me assume that he wanted to experience the same amount of intimacy. Indoors this meant that he requested food or help with going to the bathroom while outdoors he would just set off and run away which meant that I’d had to interrupt feeding his sister. Fast, I realised that I had to either involve him with helping to feed the baby (i.e. let him hold the baby’s head while she was latching), entertain him (i.e. sing a song with him, read a book) and make sure to be in a secure location (i.e. close doors). Wearing my baby in a sling facilitated the feeding process when we were out and about. After some time, his attempts to test me stopped. However, until today he still likes every now and then to jump/sit on my back or just be involved when I breastfeed his sister.

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The Couple

Yep, whereas beforehand, with only one child, you, meaning the adults, outnumbered the kiddo, now the kids and us were even, meaning that either my man or myself were always dealing with one or two kids at a time (unless one had free time). During the transition phase, it became crystal clear that now more than ever we would have to make time for ourselves as a couple on a regular basis.

But…It gets Better!

It really does get better. Remind yourself about that every time you think that you can’t feel any more exhausted. About eight weeks postpartum, we all started to feel more at ease, like as if we had found our groove. Sure, our house was and still is a crazy house but there were less and less of the situations which I mentioned here above.

So ?

Was this a lot of work ? Yes it was but not only physically saying, also mentally. The transition from one to two children was complex so I guess that’s why most people don’t go into detail. Anyway, all these points are based on my experience and my children. Every family, every mom and every child is different. However, at the end there is one thing that I’m sure we have in common: Whether it’s a lot of work or not, it is so worth it !

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