How are you doing? So my second son turns 6 months today!!! Yay!!! I am so excited! I am very happy and grateful to God for such an amazingly peaceful boy that has helped make awesome what could easily have been a majorly stressful experience – life as a mom of 2!
Today, I want to share with you all things I didn’t know about life as a mom of two. I knew it was not going to be a walk in the park but it has indeed been an experience I cannot say I was entirely prepared for. It is a completely different experience from being a mom of one. I had to learn on the job and I am constantly learning every single day.
For example, just this morning, I learned that hitting is a sign of fear. I never knew that before. So when Enioluwa decides to hit his baby brother and laugh about how he cries, I would usually scream “Don’t do that to your brother!!! He’s just a little baby!!! Say sorry right now!” Now, I understand better that he is actually requiring reassurance that this new person is not coming to turn his life upside down. Now, let me proceed to share some of the main lessons I have learned since December 2017, when our second prince was born.
- The entire experience is totally different
At least for me, it was. From my pregnancies to the births and even the first weeks post-partum, I experienced something totally different from my first time. My emotions were different. My feelings were different. My babies were totally different. My first son was very there, difficult to ignore, very loud, cried about everything whilst my second was such a peaceful baby. Yes, he cried too but was usually content with a warm hand cuddling him and warm milk in his mouth. When they say no two pregnancies or babies are the same, they meant it. With my second, I spent the most part feeling super ill and had to go off on maternity leave considerably earlier (a whole month!) than with Enioluwa. Baby 2 kicked like he was preparing for the World Cup in utero whilst Enioluwa was much calmer in there!
- You will never be able to truly focus on Baby 2
With my first, I was so focused on him. It was all about him. From when he was 2 weeks in my belly, I would read Baby Centre, imagining what is going on in there, pray specifically for his limbs as they are growing, pray for his eyes the week Baby Centre says those will be sprouting. When he finally came, I would take extra care with all that pertains to him. I would plan his clothes for the week. With Baby 2, I hardly remembered I was pregnant except when I was bent over a toilet with hyperemesis gravidarum (intelligent way of saying severe morning sickness hehe!) at 28 weeks!
With Baby 1, I planned my baby bag with precision by week 18. I would watch preggo Youtubers’ update about every week of pregnancy and jot down important information. Now, I do not have that luxury. I have another child to take care of so that sole focus and attention is gone. Along with that comes the occasional guilt: Temi, I hope you are not taking this boy for granted because he is gentle.
- Things don’t “move” you as much
Now, I am pretty chilled. My former nanny came visiting one day and could not believe her eyes. She took care of Enioluwa from birth and had to leave when she got pregnant with her 5th child. “Aunty, is this you? Allowing them carry baby without first sanitizing their hands etc.?” Everything amazed her about how chilled I had become. Well, now I know what is a big deal and what can be dispensed with. Sanitizing is important but at 5 months, I think we can survive with the odd unsanitised hands. Before, I would have murdered you with my eyes, if you as much as coughed within a 10 mile radius of Enioluwa. With Baby 2, I don’t flinch as much since the major cougher around him is his very own brother!
- You don’t celebrate every milestone as much
With Enioluwa, I took pictures on the 11th day of every month till he turned one. I was so excited. I would have laid out the special outfit he was going to wear for his photo session with me and had his milestone sticker ready. On his 6th month birthday, I had a proper photographer come round to do a proper photohoot and I also had 6 cupcakes made from Cupcake Factory representing every month of his life. Now, I actually forget till 3pm on some 18ths that Baby 2 has added another month!
- You will wonder if you are being as good a parent to Number 2 as you were to Number 1
I HARDLY shop for baby 2. I mean I am an advocate of buying the best quality I can afford so most of Enioluwa’s clothes and shoes are still in perfect condition so usually I will say to myself: why exactly should I go a-shopping for Baby 2 just because? The next minute, I will tell myself- Temi, this is unfair o: why would you resign him to a life of hand-me-downs? It is always constant internal battle and these days, I meet myself in the middle. I buy some, we re-use most. Oh the joys of having same gender as baby 2!
- You will wonder if you are being as good a parent to Number 1 as you should be
Well this is a valid worry many second-time parents feel but I hardly feel this way. I give Baby 1 so much attention that I have no doubt I am being an amazing parent to him. Some people find themselves overly focusing on Baby 2 to the detriment of their first child.
- It can be extremely overwhelming
Having one child is hard work. Two kids is a lot of hard work and if you are not a centred person, you could very easily slip into the sphere of being totally overwhelmed and wondering “who sent me”. Their needs are so different, yet so important and you have to handle them all with aplomb (or at least try).
With a toddler, you are confronting issues from bedwetting, to ensuring he’s scaling through all his milestones, to teaching him courtesy and manners, to homework, to teaching him to pray etc, to sleep training. With an infant, you have to watch what you ingest because you have to breastfeed, that in itself can feel burdensome. Yes, I like coffee and sometimes feel it is unfair I have to give up what makes me feel balanced because I have to breastfeed.
Going for Sunday service is an entire production, which commences the night before. There is nothing like quickly dashing to Ebeano (our neighbourhood store) anymore. The thought of packing two versions of Baby bags (one with diapers and wipes etc. and the other with FruitShoot, N10 biscuit, Famous Amos and Gerber yorghurt) makes you just dismiss the idea of taking them out sometimes.
- All the things that made you feel frustrated will frustrate you all over again
So in other words, you won’t be “used to it” or “familiar with it” enough to find it okay to wake up every 2 hours or submit your sore nipples for someone’s lunch or mere refreshment or a plaything, whichever one catches his fancy per time. It will still feel new and freshly frustrating each time.
- Sibling rivalry is REAL
My two boys get jealous of each other and vie for attention. There I am, having some mommy-son time with my first son and at the point I am giving him a warm hug is the EXACT time Baby 2 decides to wail at the top of his lungs. He supernaturally becomes fine the minute I leave Baby 1 and proceed to carry him. With Enioluwa, I see all sorts and hear reports of all manners of attempts at reclaiming his position as One and Only: from smacking baby for no reason, to pulling his hair, to hugging him a bit too tightly. I must add some more information at this juncture: initially, Enioluwa totally, completely and entirely ignored the baby. I mean he acted like he did not see anyone at all. This lasted till about when baby was 7 weeks old when he started looking at him from the corner of his eyes. Then at 8 weeks, he began to acknowledge his existence. From reading articles and books, I realise that was his own way of saying: if I do not acknowledge it, it doesn’t exist and maybe one day, mom and dad will return this life-size toy to the store.
For the past week, Baby 1 has begun to whine and cry for no apparent reason. He will moan and whine and it drives me NUTS! I want to scream “SHUT UP!!!” but then I remember that I have pledged to be a good mom, take a deep breathe and sweetly ask “what is the issue darling” with all the strength I can muster. From my research, I found out that this is also a thing with toddlers who recently acquired siblings. They see how baby’s crying springs you into action and want to test it out too, anything to reclaim his position.
Sibling rivalry is a delicate topic for me and the way I choose to deal with it at this stage is to always prioritise Baby 1 (who is a toddler with real feelings that can form lasting impressions) over Baby 2 (who is just an infant and will forget all about my unfairness (hopefully)). By the time Baby 2 is 10 months/1 year, I know I shall need to revisit this technique.
- You will feel so blessed and your heart will feel so full
So when your kids are not killing you with stress, you actually will feel proud of yourself and be grateful that God handpicked you and your spouse to produce such gems and beautiful creatures to nurture and to build up. It is such an amazing task, the enormity of which leaves me overwhelmed sometimes, but I have absolute faith in the One who gave us the assignment and calling. He has given us the task and He has the expo which He freely shares with us. I am confident that He will walk us through and teach us exactly how He expects his little ones to be raised for indeed, our kids are God’s.
I can’t wait for the time they become best friends and entertain each other. I can’t wait for the time when Baby 1 doesn’t scale the fence of his crib at 3:30 am to continue the rest of his sleep in bed with me, his brother and his dad. Yes, we all sleep as one big happy family (covers face). This never happened with Enioluwa who was okay sleeping in his bassinet from birth and was whisked off into his own separate room at 10 months. I can’t for when they wake up and gist with each other instead of going to hunt for mom and dad. Until then, we are navigating this journey through the help and grace of God and amazing help and support system.
I sincerely hope I have not scared you. That certainly was not my intention. The aim was to prepare your mind that no amount of preparation can prepare you enough for the beautiful and sometimes stressful journey that lies ahead as a parent of two (or more)! Hehe.