So I’ve been doing the mama-of-two thing for five whole months now. FIVE MONTHS. That’s almost half a year! And I’ve survived! Sure, I’ve had moments when I’ve hidden myself in the bathroom with half a melting chocolate freddo clenched in one fist and my phone in the other while simultaneously yelling ‘Mummy is on the toilet, you stay outside the door!’ just to get a few minutes of peace but for the most part, we’ve come through ok. Some things have been harder, oh so much harder than I thought, while other things have fallen into place quite easily. I remember being absolutely paralysed with fear at the thought of having to get two children fed, dressed and into the car on kindy mornings all on my own but after a week or so we were into a nice little groove. Yes, I’ve realised on more than one occasion that I haven’t washed my face and the almost 3 year old hasn’t brushed his teeth but hey, it could be worse (and I swear I give them an extra thorough brushing of an evening..)
Other stuff has proved challenging. The emotional stuff mainly and the juggling of two small people with my own needs plus the ability to get tasks done that I would have managed ridiculously quickly when it was just the almost 3 year old and I. Work has proved difficult. I have a babe who doesn’t really enjoy the whole sleeping thing. She’s a catnapper and her favourite spot to curl up is on her mamas lap. I love the snuggles but they aren’t always conducive to getting shit done. Grocery shopping is about three million times more difficult (to be honest, I now save it for kindy days when I’ve just got the baby bean or on the weekend when le husband is home), trying to fit ‘proper’ exercise into my week is akin to attempting to slot that weird ‘Z’ shaped piece in Tetris into a square shaped spot and wearing clothes that don’t have a ‘V’ neck or the ability to be worn over a Bonds feeding singlet is nigh on impossible as I need to remove at least one boob from my shirt every few hours. It’s all worth it though. Even with the challenges and the sleep deprivation, I am enjoying being a mother of two more than I imagined I would. It’s been especially lovely this time around to see the newborn phase clearly, without the fog of PND and PPOCD that unfortunately clouded the first few months of my sons life.
That’s been one of the hardest things to handle at times if I’m honest; remembering just how much I struggled when I first had a newborn back in 2012. I knew this was something that would come up for me, it’s not uncommon to be revisited by old thoughts and emotions especially when you’re living through the same thing, just 2 and 3/4 years into the future. There have been so many occasions when I’ve been doing something with Evie and been vividly reminded of doing the exact same thing with Ollie and I’ve wondered how the me from back then was feeling. Was I able to enjoy seeing my little boy taste a chunk of apple for the first time or was my mind so precariously stacked with thoughts of what a terrible mother I was that I couldn’t really be fully present? I like to think that I did the best I could with what I had available to me at the time. Being able to see the bond I now have with my boy and what he’s taught me about being a mother has also been quite amazing. He was the best teacher and I’ve taken the lessons he taught me into my mothering experience with Evie.
I’m a far less anxious, less stressed, more at ease person in general these days. I used to worry constantly about not being good enough as a mum, of my faults outweighing my strengths and of never truly becoming the parent that I imagined myself being. Ironically, being thrown into the chaos of life with two, drawing from my experience with my first attached at the hip, cat-napping, infrequent sleeping little man and learning somehow along the way to take a deep breath and just let it just happen has meant that I’m actually becoming the mother I saw myself being. That’s not to say that I wasn’t the perfect mother for my child back in 2012, just that I’ve grown, blossomed in a way as I’ve continued to wander down the parenting path and learn how to mother a toddler and now a little boy as well as a baby.
I’ve no doubt that things will continue to change as Evie gets that bit older and becomes a bigger presence in the family. She’s now taking part in meals, commando crawling like a demon and attempting to ‘share’ her brothers toys. Navigating and referring the battles that are sure to ensure is going to be interesting. I’m excited about it though. Watching my husband carry one kid down to the pool yesterday while I carried the other. Seeing my little tribe mucking around in the shallows together, catching Ollie carefully kissing Evie’s head while she managed to splash him in the face; it’s such good stuff. Stuff that makes my heart happy and seems to magically erase some of the sleep deprivation and general exhaustion that comes with raising two small children. I can honestly say that I am so looking forward to the next chapter.
I’d love to know.. How did you find the transition from one to two? Easier than you thought? More intense? Feel free to share in the comments!