When you become a parent for a second time, there is always much anticipation and anxiety about how life will be transitioning from one to two- well that’s how it has been for us. And it would certainly seem that way for many others as one of the first questions everyone nervously asks, is…
How are you finding it with two?
Our answer, honestly…it’s been OK! There have obviously been good days, better days and the odd ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ days, but that’s expected of all parenting, no matter how many children are involved, right?
I have spoken to numerous people about this over the past few days and the general consensus is that going from 1 to 2 is actually a lot easier than expected. Now, I completely understand that this isn’t always the case and I know that some people may be reading this and screaming at me for suggesting such a thing, but I am basing this on the conversations and experiences I have had so far.
The aspect of having two that I have found the trickiest, is getting out of the house on time. Although every day this gets a little bit easier as I train myself to be more and more organised. The toddler also doesn’t help with this, especially as she now has a will of her own and she is not afraid to make it known! I can be as organised as I like, coat on, Odette in the carrier/pushchair/car seat ready to go and Ivy will have taken off her socks, refused her coat and dived head first into the toy box. I’m not the type to just give up though, and have found myself on several occasions, finally getting out to then realise we need to actually get back home because it’s suddenly lunch time already! I am also getting better at preparing Ivy for leaving the house. Talking to her lots about our plans in advance so that when the time comes she is more prepared for it.
I know we are lucky, because so far (touch wood!) Odette seems to be reasonably calm and easy going. For the most part, as long as she is fed and changed, she will happily watch the chaos unfold around her as we focus on Ivy.
If I think back to when we had Ivy, she was much the same…I possibly had more night wake ups but in general she was quite content. So why was it so hard to become a parent of one? The logistics of having two is only hard because of the toddler. The problems we have encountered have all been about the toddler; getting out of the house, ensuring meal times happen on time and that its not fish fingers (again!), the jealousy, trying to entertain a toddler whilst breastfeeding etc. Newborn babies are, dare I say it, easy! The transition to two hasn’t been a huge shock to the system. All of the above ‘challenges’ were to be expected when you think about it.
Today I was laughing with some friends as we reminisced about how easy we had it in those early days with just one- yet we all said the same…
Why did we find it so difficult?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I have come to the conclusion that becoming a parent of one is so much harder than becoming a parent of 2/3/4 etc. because of just that, you are ‘becoming a parent’. Before one child you are responsible for yourself and no one else. When you become a parent for the first time, you suddenly have to adjust to being responsible for another tiny person, a tiny person that can’t do anything for themselves. That is a huge adjustment and it is really hard to suddenly take on such a responsibility, even though you had 9 months to prepare for it. Everything you once did so easily, becomes ridiculously difficult and in some cases impossible. No longer can you leave the house with just your purse and keys, instead you now pack every possible item you may need for your baby into a huge bag, only to realise once out that you forgot your purse, or keys…or both!
Becoming a parent for the first time is overwhelming and can feel ‘SO’ difficult because it changes your life in every way. When you go from 1 to 2, you’re already set up, you’re already a parent, you know what to do. Not only do you know what to do, but you’re already in ‘parent mode’. Looking after a new little person isn’t out of your comfort zone, because you’re already doing it. Unlike first time parents, you have experience and your lifestyle pretty much stays the same, it is just logistics that change like the need for two car seats, double buggy’s, working around nap times etc. When you have your first child, it can take a long time to come to terms with the huge lifestyle change. My husband, Rob, recently told me that it took him a good 6 months to adjust to our new life as parents when we had Ivy and he often felt anxious and unsure about what we were doing and if we were ‘doing it right’. Rob essentially wanted to ‘have his cake and eat it’; he wanted a child and to be a parent and was enjoying it greatly, however he also wanted to be able to go out and socialise with his mates, in fact he wanted ‘us’ to go out, just like we always had before, which of course wasn’t always possible/appropriate with a small baby. This time around, with Odette, he has openly said how much easier it is, because we know what were doing now and our life hasn’t really changed. We still follow a routine that revolves around a toddler, Odette just, sort of…slots in!
So, how are we getting on with our new addition…just fine, but if someone could take the toddler, that would be great!! Only kidding, although it would make things so much easier.