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Dear friends,

I miss you.

It feels like we haven't seen each other in ages. It's been too long since we stayed up too late, laughing 'til we cry and foraging for salty snacks from the far back reaches of our pantries.

It's been forever since our last happy hour or leisurely brunch and I can't remember the last time we took a meandering walk or met up spontaneously just because.

I'll be back, I promise.

This first year with my second kid is a doozy, I tell you. Or I will tell you when I get back from this alternate reality.

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Because it feels like a journey out into a long-lost universe, only I'm the one that's lost, barely staying the course between newborn naps and preschool pickups.


You see, having these two small humans to love is magical. It's transformative and heart-melting and I also cannot keep my clothes spit-up free for more than a few minutes. Definitely not long enough to leave the house and pass as an adult who has everything together.

Going from one to two kids was easier for me than from zero to one (I suspect the big difference is that I escaped the shadow of postpartum depression this time around), but it is still all-consuming.

We used to hike with my firstborn in her carrier or go out to dinner while she slept in her car seat. How I miss those halcyon days; how little I appreciated their ease.

With two, my hands, my heart, my head all are full.

It's a physical challenge—somebody or somebodies are always attached to my body, seeking attention and nourishment and comfort.

It's mental absorption—just keeping track of the roving bodies and keeping them alive, not to mention stimulating their brains and souls.

It's a logistical quagmire—the razor-thin margins between overlapping nap schedules are packed with nursing and negotiating whether toddlers need to wear pants. Even on my most optimistic days, I recognize that leaving the house happens only when meticulous preparation collides with unthinkable good fortune.

Some moments feel like I'm overcapacity. I need four more hands and 16 more eyes and possibly an additional heart to soak up all these sweet-smelling squishy snuggles.

Sometimes I feel like supermom, totally handling this and everything that comes with it. Poop up the back of a screaming infant while a threenager melts down in the middle of a crosswalk on a busy street? I got this, I think. I am unruffled, capable.

Other times I wonder what in the world I've done to myself as I soothe fuss after tantrum and wonder when, if ever, I might shower, or step outside, alone. I wonder why I'm nursing all night instead of dancing 'til dawn.

And some moments, I find sudden stillness: When everyone is asleep longer than I expected, when I've crammed all of my to-do lists into all the space I thought I had, only to discover some spontaneous free time.

It's in those secret stolen moments I think, I should call my friend who I haven't spoken to in ages. And once I find my slobbered-upon phone and fire up my frazzled brain, a small someone is stirring and poof—there goes my moment.

Or I might sit, phone in hand, feeling guilt-wracked about how long it's been since I talked to you and also paralyzed by the very real possibility that the baby will start to squawk as soon as I find your name in my contacts.

I miss you, my friends, my grown-up people, I really do. And I'm sorry that I've vanished into this quiet homebound domesticity.

I'm starting to see the faint promise of a return: a time when I won't be so exhausted after the littles' bedtime that sending that text or—gasp—sneaking out for a drink or a late dinner will feel energizing and freeing.

I'm on the homeward journey and I can't wait to catch up and reconnect. I won't be able to tell you much about this year—too much has faded into sleepless and mom brain oblivion—but I will be so ready to hear about yours.

See you soon, my friends, and above all, thank you for your patience.

XO,
Me

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    Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

    Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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    Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

    Go shopping with a veteran parent

    As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

    By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

    Include items at a variety of price points

    When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

    At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

    Think about the gifts you would like to give

    The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

    I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

    Ask for things to grow with your child

    Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

    Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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