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Becoming a mama of 2 was harder than I expected

Now that I'm a tired mama with a baby on her hip and a toddler by her side I'm learning you can never say no too many times. No to extra stressors, no to unrealistic expectations, no to too many commitments on the family calendar.

Becoming a mama of 2 was harder than I expected

I was once a tired new mama with a new baby in my arms. Raw, weary, but new. New to motherhood. New to parenting. New to worry and responsibility. I still had yet to learn that all the parenting books didn't have the answers. That all the methods for sleep training, discipline, and eating weren't custom made for my child.

Fast forward several years. I have a toddler. I think I have all the answers. Okay, maybe not all, but at least some. I've survived pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, teething, crawling, walking and plenty of tantrums and a lot of sleepless nights.

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I feel prepared for our second baby. It will be hard, but at least I know what to expect this time. The tiredness, pain, discomfort and initial loss of self I can prepare for. Or at least they won't take me by surprise like the last time.

I am not a new mother this time but this baby is new. This baby is not like his older brother.

This time I find I'm not losing the woman I was before becoming a mother. This time I'm feeling the loss of the mother I was before. The mother I was the first time.

The mother who could do everything, every day, at the same time. Breakfast, playtime, nap time, dinner time, bedtime.

The mother who didn't already have her hands full when someone needed something.

The mother who had way more patience.

She's been replaced by someone new. A mother who hears two children crying and in a split second is trying to figure out how to meet two needs at once.

A mother who tries to remember who was last changed, bathed or fed and when.

A mother who is outnumbered. This mother has been outnumbered for 12 months and is just starting to realize she can't be the same mother she was before.

I can't.

Because though I am not new to motherhood, being needed by more than one person is new. Needing to care for two little people is new. This baby boy who might look similar to his older brother but is completely different might not be my first baby, but he is still a new baby to me.

I've slowly started to realize I can't be the same mother I was before because every child changes you, challenges you and grows you in a new way.

I can't be the same mom to every child—but I don't need to be. All I need to do is just be their mom.

Now that I'm a tired mama with a baby on her hip and a toddler by her side I'm learning you can never say no too many times. No to extra stressors, no to unrealistic expectations, no to too many commitments on the family calendar.

But you can never say yes too many times either. Yes to an extra hand at the grocery store or doctors office, yes to a babysitter when someone offers, yes to an empty weekend or evening at home.

As a mother with two children my hands are more full than they have ever been, and so are my days. But as cliché as this is—it's true. My hands are full but so is my heart.

My heart is full watching my two sons bond each day.

My heart is full seeing their distinguishing personalities emerge.


My heart is full of the different ways they love me and the unique ways I love and care for them both.

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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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