Friday, February 27, 2015
life with 2: going from 1 to 2
I've got a 3.5 year old and a 9 month old and I feel very much like how in the world did I get here?
One minute I was feeling like my life would never resume and crying tears every evening because a dreaded night of interrupted sleep was ahead of me (as well as a day of toddler-entertaining), and the next I've got schedules aligned to where I get 1.5-2.5 hours of naptime peace every day and full 12 hour nights of sleep for both kids. Sometimes I'm stunned at how something can be so ridiculously chaotic and exhausting and then turn into something that is doable. Still exhausting, still a lot, still causes me to lose my mind, but this 2 kid thing is doable. And it's more than doable; it's fun and I like it!
Going from 1 to 2 is not easy. (If you missed my breakdown on the first 5 months of adjusting, read it here.) However, going from 0 to 1 was much harder in my opinion. When you transition from "no kids" to "kid," your entire life and how you do everything changes. You stop sleeping, new expenses are added into the budget, new limitations exist in your life, new furniture crowds your house, new schedules fill your days, new laundry adds to your load, and new worries float around in your mind. Life turns upside down for a bit and you have to find your new normal. But when you transition from "1 kid" to "2 kids," that base of parenthood is already there. Instead of dumping everything out and reorganizing all over again, you just move some things around. You've already been parenting, so the new challenge is figuring out how to do it with a few new multitasking skills to add to the ones you already have.
Now, the daily life with 2 is harder than 1 for obvious reasons. It's harder simply because you have one more person you're taking care of. I mean, sometimes you have to hold the baby with one hand, hold the bottle with your chin, and use your other hand to help your toddler pull up his underwear after peeing in the potty. That kind of thing. But then you just get used to using every limb on your body to get everyone through the day. You get used to standing up while eating your bowl of cereal because you know that you will inevitably need to wipe the 3.5 year old's bottom and constantly move the 9 month old away from the million pieces of who-knows-what on the floor that she's attempting to shove in her mouth.
But because you know what's ahead of you (because you're looking at your toddler and wondering how the heck they got that old), you know all of these hard phases really are just phases. You know that all of your unbelievably awful days are not your forever norm. You know that it really is hard taking care of people that cannot take care of themselves. You know that all of it is so worth it.
I know it's different for everyone. Some may feel the 1-2 transition is harder. But I wanted to throw my thoughts out there because after having Duke, I remember feeling defeated for awhile. If having 1 is this hard, how am I supposed to ever have another one (or two or three)? Just remember that everything is relative to your experience. Just like you wouldn't expect a middle schooler to figure out high school, you can't expect to know how to parent a toddler and a baby when you've only parented a baby. So, if you're a new mom of 1, I say you're doing the hardest part right now!
Moms, I'd love to hear from you. I've only experienced these 2 transitions so I can only wonder what 2 to 3 or 3 to 4 must feel like. What has been the hardest transition for you? What has been the easiest?