Everything changes once you become a parent. Your sleep is cut in half (maybe even more), your social life takes a back seat, your child becomes the center of every conversation, and you probably won’t have much time to put makeup on or let alone go to the salon — and that's just after having your first child.
Just when you thought you got this whole parenting life under control, you start noticing that little bump, and here comes baby number 2! You might be wondering if it’s going to be the same gig with your firstborn, or if it’s going to turn your life upside down when it comes to having a second child.
Here are 10 things I wish someone had told me before I welcome my second baby:
1. What worked with your first baby may not work with your secondEven though you feel more confident and prepared this time around, parenting can be totally different with different kids. Even if it works for one kid, it doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing with the other, and you have probably forgotten about all the newborn things. The smelly, watery mustard-colored poops, the diaper explosions, the nipple pain from breastfeeding, and the struggle of trying to figure out where the buttons connect on that onesie! You might feel frustrated at first to start it all over again, but it will get better with time as you and your newborn get familiar with each other.
2. Your social life takes a back seatWith a newborn and toddler on your plate, there is not much time left for your social life. Weekends away and nights out will be much rarer, let alone overnight trips and oversea vacation. Yet you will learn that even if you have to cancel or postpone plans for your kids, true friendship lasts, and it makes all those long overdue reunion much more precious.
3. You worried about your firstborn not getting as much attention
No matter how old (or young) your firstborn is, with people’s attention focusing on the new addition to your family, your firstborn will have some adjusting to do. He might have a hard time adjusting when a younger brother or sister comes to the scene, which in turn throws tantrums to get the attention he used to have. It is best to prepare your firstborn before the baby arrives that he is going to be a big brother!
4. You get used to the new normal
If you used to felt disgusted by the sight of dirty diapers, dripping drools, greenish mucus, or dripping nose, now they no longer bother you. Little by little, you will start to see these bodily functions as a part of daily life, and you might even begin to find humor in them. What’s funnier than picking a booger out of your baby’s tiny nose, right?
5. Feeling tired reaches a whole new level
Being a mom is tough. From the second you wake up to the second you fall asleep, you are always on-the-go. Imagine adding a newborn baby to your life, with the night time feeding happening every 2 to 3 hours, and your first child waking you up early in the morning, your exhausted and overwhelmed body will continue to amaze you with how much it can accomplish on little amount of sleep.
6. Time with your partner becomes more important
Having two kids make it hard to spend quality time with your partner. You are parents now, but you are also a couple. Therefore, always keep in mind to find time to invest in your relationship, as a happy parent is what makes a happy family.
7. You are less concerned about being the perfect parent
With your first child, you made sure everything was done right. You googled every question you could ever think of about parenting, you made sure your baby has enough tummy time, you worried about your baby being too hot or cold, and you made sure you baby gets all the attention he needed. Now being a mother of two, you are much more at ease this second time around. Being “perfect” seems less important as long as your baby is healthy, safe, and happy, and that is all that should matter. You should never beat yourself up for not being the “perfect” parent as there is no such thing as a “perfect” parent.
8. Taking care of yourself should be a priority as well
Ask for help and accept help. It is no easy task to take care of two kids while you’re still recovering from delivery. Rest, eat right, exercise, and develop a support system to make sure you have a village to help raise the kid. To stay healthy and happy (and sane), leave enough time for yourself to rest and recover from delivery.
9. You will discover your inner strength
You are a mama bear taking care of TWO cubs! You are stronger than you think! Carrying a baby in a car seat with a toddler on your hip is guaranteed to make you feel more badass than ever. Or breastfeeding your newborn while patting your first child to sleep will make you feel like a multitasking super mom. You will discover an inner strength that you never thought you had, and you will find a natural fortitude within yourself that helps you face the challenges that come your way.
10. You love is infinite
You will wonder on numerous occasions how you'll ever be able to love another child as much as your first, but once he's born, you'll see the answer to that question is always YES, an absolute YES. You absolutely do have enough room in your heart for two kids. There might be some days that you feel guilty of not spending enough time with your first child, or you suddenly worried that you made a decision that is too difficult to handle, but heart-to-heart, you are being the best mom you could ever be, and kid #2 is going to add so much joy to your family!