Friday, 10 March 2017

What I've Learnt From A Year Of Having Two Kids

So now Baby is one year old, that means I've been a mum of two for over a year now. Surely that makes me an expert, yes? Pahaha, nope. I'm still winging it just as much as before. But having two kids has taught me a few lessons. Such as ...

The second time is easier

Not easy, please note. I would never call parenthood easy. But with your second, you kind of know what you're doing to some extent. You're not having to learn the basics of feeding, changing nappies etc. You've learnt all the shortcuts first time round. Yes, there's the challenge of juggling two and at times that feels impossible. But so far it hasn't been. Then again, so far I've been able to strap Baby to me while running around after Girl Child. I suspect in a year's time I'll be a broken woman after trying to keep up with two mobile children!

It feels unfair - but not in the way you'd expect

Before Baby came along, I was so worried about the impact he would have on Girl Child's life. I worried that we were being unfair by taking our undivided attention away from her. Actually, most of the time it feels like baby has the raw deal. He has to fit around the school run. He has to wait for attention while I deal with the bigger, noisier one. He gets his toys snatched off him far more than he snatches toys off her. Even when Girl Child is at school I'm more preoccupied with housework than I used to be - because of course two kids means more washing up, more mess and let's not mention the constant battle that is keeping all required items of uniform clean and ready at all times! It's all he knows so he probably doesn't realise the injustice yet, but Girl Child definitely had it easy when she was a baby!!

Every child is different

You'd think this was obvious, wouldn't you? And it is. But it's only when you have your second child that you realise they really are born different. Unless you drastically change your parenting style for the second, they have similar upbringings and environments, and yet still they turn out unique. I used to worry that Girl Child's more, ahem, spirited behaviour was somehow down to me until I was pregnant with Baby and noticed that even then he moved less. Not that his movements were concerning, they were just more gentle and interspersed with rest times - whereas Girl Child would kick me so hard I'd actually gasp and never seemed to stop wriggling! Sure enough, Baby is now the calm to his sister's storm. So it's probably nothing that I did - she's just who she is, and he's who he is.

Fatigue is relative

When I had one child, I used to scoff ruefully at memories of ever complaining I was tired before. Now there are times when I wonder why I was so tired with just one! But here's the thing - I really was tired sometimes before I had kids. And I really was tired when I had one. And I really, really am tired now. But still I seem to be coping, just about. I wasn't a wimp before, my circumstances were just different. I'd be shattered if I went for a 1k run, but that's nothing to a marathon runner. Our bodies respond to the situations we put them into. So don't go rolling your eyes when someone with fewer children says they're tired - they really are!

Love grows

I think all parents who are expecting their second child have that worry that they couldn't possibly love them as much as their first. I know I did. But honestly, you will. Every bit as much. In fact, you'll love them both even more when you see them together, loving each other. When I look at them together, with the beautiful bond they have, my heart could burst. I believe the more love you give, the more you have to give. So bringing a new child into the family won't mean there's less love to go around - there'll almost certainly be more.

If you have more than one child, what have you learnt from them?

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