I recently visited a friend who just had her first baby. While I was holding her little one, she was telling me how much harder being a mom was than she expected. She said that I looked like a pro and I assured her that I certainly was not, but I do have two. I told her how my sister in law came to see us 3 weeks after I had my first kiddo. It was in the evening, and my son wouldn’t go to sleep and kept crying. I was a nervous wreck. My sister in law (a mom of 3) scooped him up, wrapped him in a swaddle and did the “mom bounce” around my living room. Almost immediately, he stopped crying and fell asleep. I remember telling her that she was a baby whisperer and I was in complete awe.
All of these feelings came back to me when I was with my new mom friend. All the worrying and frustration you feel when you have your first baby. You are terrified. Every sound makes you feel like you need to jump up and do something. You feel like letting them cry even for one minute will buy them a lifetime of therapy. You read every book about how to feed them, when to feed them, and how to get them on a sleep schedule. You started decorating the nursery when you found out you were pregnant, and everything had to be a perfect theme and color combination. You are crazy about changing every diaper right when it is dirty and of course outfits when it gets one spot on it. It’s daunting to leave your house because you basically have to take the whole house with you. You are doing everything to keep them safe and happy, and sometimes you feel like you aren’t doing a good job. B the truth is, you ARE doing a good job, it’s just a hard job to do.
And then a funny thing happens when you have your second kid. You finish folding your laundry while they are crying because maybe it will help them sleep a little better. You start rice cereal a little bit sooner to help them sleep a little better (notice the trend?). You don’t take them to well checks if they aren’t receiving vaccines because why would you drag them up there for the doctor to tell you how much they weigh? Heck! You don’t even care how much they weigh. Your hand me downs (and yes, now you are using hand me downs) have stains. I literally took my first son’s name off the wall in the nursery and called it ready for my second. You get out of the house with them sooner, because let’s face it, everyone is going to go nuts if you have to be trapped in a house with a toddler. And finally, you let them eat their lunch off of a grocery sack (see picture below—this was sent to me from a dear friend and this is her second child).
My mom always tells me as we are going through every stage with my children, everyone learns how to [insert milestone here]. She says, you never see adults crawling, refusing to eat, using a bottle, or walking around in diapers. Everyone sleeps, everyone eats, and everyone walks. I am always so thankful she tells me these things and puts it into perspective for me. Most of the time, caring for children is messy. There are a lot of tears and screaming (from children and parents). There are ups and downs, and everything in between. Once we get out of our own heads, we realize that loving our children is the most important thing and we are able to enjoy motherhood more. When new moms ask me for advice, I tell them to just keep their heads above water. Give up on the “perfect” picture of how it is supposed to be, and do what you need to do to keep your sanity. Believe me, everything will fall into place in its own time.