My son was 10 months old when I got pregnant with my daughter. We were thrilled! We had always wanted a small age gap between kids.
I guess part of that was driven by me. I have five siblings and the closest to me is five years older than me. I was seven when my oldest sister moved out, promptly followed by my other three siblings. I always joked about having three moms and four dads. So I always knew I wanted a closer relationship for my children—more of a sibling relationship than a parental vibe.
I knew the guilt of dethroning my son as the only child was going to hit me at some point, but I decided I was going to make the most of the time we had with only him. To soak him up. We worked so hard on our bond over the next few months.
Robyn was born a few days after Max turned 18 months. And that's when the reality of it all hit me. Don't get me wrong, we knew it was going to be hard, but wow. The jealousy and the guilt were even harder than I thought they would be.
It was one of the toughest periods of my life. All my son wanted was me and, of course, my newborn wanted me—and my boobs—constantly. He just didn't understand and how could he? He was just a baby himself and we didn't want to make him grow up any faster than he had to. I remember thinking, What have we done? We turned his little life upside down.
The original plan was to keep him in daycare and not have him lose his routine. Plus, I knew I would have my hands full with my newborn. It was my first time breastfeeding—which was an emotional rollercoaster I never saw coming. The work that goes into it those first few weeks. We had formula fed my son, so I had no idea the work that went into those first few weeks of figuring out a breastfeeding relationship. It hit me like a freight train.
I felt so guilty for sending him to daycare every day while I was at home. There's that word again. Guilt. So, after too much guilt, we pulled him out which was one of the best parenting decisions we've made. He changed drastically because he was happier He stopped lashing out at me. Our bond came back and strengthened tenfold. I had my little sidekick back.
But oh, was I tired! When two are babies crying at you, who do you go to first? I'm still trying to figure that out. When they each have their "needy" days and all they want is me, when I'm unable to put them down—well, suffice it to say the housework seriously suffers, which is something that really bothers me.
I survived on chocolate for a good six weeks once my partner went back to work. It was such a hectic time. Did I mention we had just bought our first home too? And we were renovating some of it. So, it was me, on my own, for a solid nine weeks with work being done to our home and both kiddos—morning, noon and night. I learned the true meaning of the word exhaustion.
Am I happy we had them so close in age? Absolutely! Are there tears? Oh yes. Mostly mine due to hormones and exhaustion, the rest are from my toddler because I likely gave him his juice in the wrong cup. The baby doesn't really cry so I can't complain on that front. The house is chaos, and nothing gets done anymore.
Every time my mom comes over she gives me the look, you know the "what have you been doing all day" look? The "I had six kids and ran a tight ship" look? Yes, my standards have dropped—but something had to give. My house is no longer pristine, dinner is never on the table by 5, and I rarely have perfectly applied makeup and perfectly styled hair.
It's still chaotic four months into having two kids. I used to shower daily, now I'm lucky if I shower twice a week. The exhaustion is just ridiculous. I feel like I'm on overdrive, constantly.
Only our kids can bring us to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But one thing's for sure, I'm trying to be present for every second of it—, the good days and the bad days—because one day we'll wake up and they'll be gone. There won't be any cuddles on the couch or comforting them when all they want is you. They'll be no more messy bath times or dinner times, and our beds will be empty. The noise will dissipate.
And then we'll long for the days where we felt like pulling our hair out. (Or in my case, now falling out. Yes, the four month postpartum hair loss has hit me for the second time.).
So right now, even in the chaos of raising two under two, I'm trying to enjoy this special time when my two children are still my babies. Even the bad days, even the tough moments. We are all working mamas, housekeepers, teachers, parents, referees, nannies, nurses, handywomen, chefs, cleaners and cuddlers. We don't get vacation time and there are no real days off. We are amazing and we do it all with a smile on our faces (well, most days).
I'm finding that happiness truly is the highest level of success. I'm in love with this life I live and I'm so grateful to be called "Mom."