I’ve had this post unfinished on my desktop for a few weeks now. Nick just came home from work and took McCoy to shovel snow and Riggins is asleep in my lap. The house is quiet and candles are lit and taking a few minutes to write seemed fitting.
I was so terrified to bring a second baby into our life. Some people are just so natural at being mama’s. My sister in-law could do it blind folded and the way my own mom mothers - well she makes it look so simple. I knew nothing about motherhood when I had McCoy. I know lots of first time mama’s obviously don’t know much about ‘motherhood’ because they’ve never done it before, but I literally knew nothing. I had never even babysat an infant or changed a diaper. Two and half years later I’m juggling my toddler and potty training and meal times all while walking around my house breastfeeding my 8 week old. Multitasking is the name of the game when it comes to two. The real reason for this post was to offer some suggestions to other new mama’s and new mama’s of two. I’m not a professional mom by any means, and most of the time I’m just trying to get through each day by keeping everyone fed, alive, and happy. But the following are things that seem to work well for me and our boys.
The most important thing for me to accept was that the housework can wait. People said it over and over and over. ‘Let the house stuff go.’ I spent the first few weeks being able to manage it all and keep things under control, however, now that Riggins is much more alert, the house has become low on my priority list. If it ever works out that both boys nap at the same time, I power clean. I actually power clean, power laundry, power dishes, and power brush my teeth whenever that happens. Other than that, just let.it.go.
We aren’t huge on screen time over here, but I do find it necessary for my toddler. He is extremely busy and active (alllll boy). He is always climbing, wrestling, jumping, dancing, running, building, and doing anything else that requires lots and lots of movement. So giving him the iPad is good downtime for him and it allows me to breastfeed and deal with Riggins without feeling like I’m leaving McCoy out. If you believe in screen time at all for your little’s, I highly recommend using it when that second babe comes - at least until you get into the swing of things.
My favorite products have been the Dockatot Deluxe (Riggs is giving us 7 hour stretches at night already), the Boppy pillow, Nature Sutton Pacifiers, Max and Moose swaddles, Miracle Blanket swaddle for sleeping, and the baby shusher. These have all been lifesavers for me.
Make time for you. This is a big one. When it was just McCoy, it was easy for me to use his nap times to either work, write, walk on the treadmill, or read. I felt like I had a portion of my day every day that was mine. Add a second baby to the mix and that all goes away. After 6 weeks of trying to just get by and tell myself I’ll have time for me eventually, I finally became brave and realized that it is okay to ask for help. And taking time for yourself isn’t selfish. My mama comes over once a day and just lets me go for a long walk or run. I come back feeling so good and so strong and just knowing that I have that time makes me a better mom. The days she isn’t able to come, my husband always makes sure that I get that time when he gets home from work. Those nights he goes downstairs with the boys and I either exercise, stretch, read, or shower. Honestly, I usually just take a long shower and shave my legs because, well, priorities.
Speaking of husbands, make time for them. Parenting is a two person job and even though I am at home full-time with my kids, the minute Nick walks in the door, both of us are handling one or both of our kids until around 9 PM when they go to bed. That being said, we don’t get much time to even have a conversation with each other. We’ve tried to get better at cooking dinner together every night. This gives us at least 20-30 minutes to be together and be present. We also have many talks in the middle of the night when Riggins is feeding. Since he is usually only up once, it’s typically a longer wake time and we have some time to chat - or maybe I just chat and he lays there with his eyes closed pretending to listen :)
Lastly, mothering two has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. It’s also been the most rewarding. I have awesome days and some pretty crappy ones. But in the large picture, adding another person to our family makes me feel so complete. My biggest advice to new mom’s or new mom’s of two is to give yourself infinite grace and remember that marriage and the start of parenting is the absolute best time to develop teamwork. It does get stressful at times and can really test you as couple, but ultimately, this family we’ve made was our choice.
And it’s the most wonderful decision we’ve ever made.