5 months ago
8 Lessons I Learned Transitioning from 1 to 2 Kids
Transitioning from 1 to 2 kids isn’t easy, but for me, it was a lot easier than going from 0 to 1. Sure, isolation, a pandemic, and cancer treatment only made it that much more complex. It has to be said that Kate has been a pretty easy-going baby compared to Margot who was…not. 😂 But there’s a comfort in the familiar – in knowing you have done this before and can do it again. And more important, you know how quickly the time passes. Those baby days are long and hard. Then you blink, and your baby is walking and talking. So today, I want to share 8 lessons I learned transitioning from 1 to 2 kids.
8 Lessons I Learned Transitioning from 1 to 2 Kids
1. The mom guilt will get you
We had some very unique circumstances. Having to leave my baby to take my toddler to clinic for chemo left me with immense guilt. Both your children have needs, and you can’t always support them both at the same time. I often felt like I was abandoning my baby (who was, ultimately, loved, cared for, and more than fine). There are moments and days where you will be forced to choose the one who needs you more.
I’ll never forget being inpatient at the hospital with Margot and rushing home after she fell asleep. I made it home to give Kate a snuggle and rock her to sleep before heading back to the hospital. It will pull your heart in a million pieces, especially when one of your kids is sick.
2. You’ll learn to let the little things go
All the little things that once stressed me out are no longer a big deal. I bought a new car last spring and the first time we took it on the highway, a rock cracked the windshield. Before becoming a mom, that would have ruined my day, but we continued our drive to Lincoln Park and took our girls out for a picnic, because that’s what matters most. There’s always laundry to do and there are toys everywhere (kids really like dropping things in the middle of the floor), but I’ve learned to embrace all of it.
3. Try to let go of expectations
I had this vision of what it would be like the first time my girls met. Margot holding her baby sister sweetly at the hospital, me sobbing because it was the moment I anticipated my entire pregnancy. Well, she wasn’t allowed at the hospital since Kate was born June 2020, and she wanted nothing to do with her for the first few weeks. I’d ask if she wanted to hold the baby and she’d casually reply “don’t have to” and walk away. She was always kind and gentle with Kate (all those kindness books paid off) but didn’t touch her for weeks and started sobbing any time Kate cried. It was not what I imagined it would be, but looking back, none of that matters. The girls are now almost 2 and almost 4, and love making each other laugh, and playing together. It’s so sweet.
4. Your babies will probably be very, very different
And even though you can’t imagine loving anyone else as much as your first, you will love them both like crazy. It’s really magical. You’ve done this before so there’s some familiarity, but your babies are two very different little people with different wants and needs. What worked with your first won’t be what works for your second. My daughters are my favorite people in the entire world, and I adore them both so, so much but wow – they could not be more different. I’ve talked about this before, but Margot was a pretty fussy baby and Kate was the opposite.
Alternatively, Margot could be so easily directed as a toddler (never fussed) and Kate lets us know when she’s not happy. 😂 She also cracks up if you so much as smile in her direction, so I suppose she’s pretty easy to distract. One never slept, the other has been sleeping through the night since she was 4.5 months old. Careful vs. daredevil. Adventurous eater vs. picky eater. I don’t like to compare them, but i’m also fascinated by how different they are. Even though there’s a comfort in parenting a second, you’re learning what works all over again.
5. There’s never been less time for self care and you’ve never needed it more
You’re more tired than you’ve ever been and now, have zero time to get anything done. Margot quit napping about a year ago (I know). Laundry and dishes pile up, and between meals and cleaning, there’s always something to do.
6. Learn to ask for help
If you can afford a sitter or nanny, take the help. We had let our nanny go due to the pandemic, and did not hire a nanny again until April 2021, just two months before Kate turned one. Call a grandparent, relative, or friend. If you have a partner, trade off getting some much-needed time for you.
7. Come up with a game plan (or routine)
If we have to be out the door early, I’ll have everything ready to go the night before. Snacks in bags, extra outfit and diapers for Kate, a bag of small toys, water cups, all of it. Dishes are always done at night before bed. We have a set bath and bedtime routine, too, and knowing what to expect makes it all feel a lot more manageable.
8. It gets easier
You’re a baby person or a toddler person, and as cute as babies are, I am very much a toddler person. It took a good year before I felt like I really had things down with the two girls. Before we were in a real groove where life with two felt very manageable. It’s so much easier once they’re walking and even more fun when they start talking. It’s been so fun getting outside with both girls on their scooters, or letting them play on our swing set, and they can really play together now. It gets so much better.