On Having a Second Child
With Owen’s first birthday on the horizon, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my life has changed by having a second child. People have their own opinions on whether it’s harder to adjust to having a first child or when adding a second.
On the one hand, your whole life is forever altered when you deliver that first baby. You lose a lot of “me” in the process – no longer can you have complete control over when to wake up in the morning, when to eat, when to go to the gym (I still haven’t been back since I was pregnant with Olivia – 6 years ago), or any other random and carefree things I did before kids.
As we prepared for Owen’s arrival I didn’t think too hard about how our lives were going to change again. I knew there would be some new sibling dynamics and adjustments to having a baby (and diapers!) in the house. But, in general, I already felt as if we had made the larger and more difficult transition. How hard would it really be to add one more?
Ha! Ha! Ha! I can hear all you moms and dads with 2+ kids laughing hysterically at my naiveté. Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t alter the past year for the world. But boy has it been a journey – and adjustment.
So here is what I have learned about having a second child:
- There is no way you can be everything to everyone. This is especially true for working parents. To be fair to the first time parents reading, this is true for you too. But as a mom of one I heard this but I didn’t really put it into practice. I still tried to be everything to everyone and I managed it “for the most part” successfully. With Owen I’ve had no choice but to accept it – not even kicking and screaming. I just can’t do it all. I never would have said that a year ago.
- A clean house moves from 3rd or 4th priority to as long as it hasn’t reached “Hoarder” dirty then we’re doing okay. It still bothers me, like ProgressiveMom in her Cleaning Tips post, about wanting to have the house a little more company ready. But now my definition of company ready has changed. In fact, I even let my mother-in-law come to my house without washing the floors recently – a big “no way!” a year ago.
- Dinner doesn’t always have to be “balanced” as long as it’s eaten together. I’m still pretty firm on the “we eat as a family” routine but find we’re having pancakes or bagels more frequently. And that’s okay.
- Can’t miss TV? Well I do and a lot. I fondly recall the days when I didn’t miss a first-run episode of Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, or Top Chef. Now I don’t even know what night or time anything is on. Everything is now on at 11 p.m. on my Kindle Fire and usually takes 5 nights to watch. The silver lining is that I’ve discovered some great series I would never have watched before – hello Downton Abbey and Pushing Daisies!
- Time with either one of my children solo is much more valuable. I sort of took for granted time spent with Olivia in the pre-Owen days. Now that I have to spread my limited time out by two I find that each and every activity – no matter how mundane – is valuable. And solo time is a treasure chest.
- Life is a lot more hectic but so much more rewarding. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And if the notion that you can’t imagine loving another human being like you do your first born…think again, because the heart is a powerful and expandable muscle.
I still have a lot to discover on this topic. Tell me some of the things you’ve learned along the way.