Even though my ball-and-chain, Miss L, is FAR from easy – she’s in a gassy, fussy phase and still nurses every two hours on average – things are remarkably less crazy and stressful now than with our firstborn.
Compared to the overwhelming emotions I experienced during those teary, achy, sleep-deprived first days with Jules, I am less stressed and a more relaxed this time round. I guess there’s truth in the saying that it gets easier.
Despite having its own set of challenges and anxieties, I dare say being a mother of two has become even more enjoyable than being a mother of one. Here’s why:
1. You know what to expect
From the startling noises a newborn makes when asleep, to the exasperation of colic – these things are par for the course now. For sure, there’re a lot more diapers to change, bottles to sterilise and cries to attend to. But when you are familiar with the drill and have a basic support system in place, you are much less panicky and more confident of overcoming difficult phases the second time round. And guess what, this same support system (a.k.a. grandparents) can also be depended on for days you want to run important errands, enjoy some much-needed couple time or simply get your hair cut.
2. You’ve accepted your Mom Bod
With the second child, stretch marks and jiggle arms have become familiar friends rather than the frightful foe they used to be. With Big J, I spent a year actively covering up my postpartum weight. This time, I’m all about playing up the positives. Life’s too short anyway, to worry about a lack of thigh gap or limit the activities I can do with my kids just because I’m not instagram-worthy. Plus, raising confident children means modelling confidence too. So excuse me while I show off some cellulite in my old shorts (button left undone for mobility), but I’ve got a toddler to run after and a newborn to bounce!
3. Can you say CHUBS?
Based on one observational study* (*me as the observer, people around me as the observed), second borns tend to be chubbier than first borns. Maybe it’s to do with the muscles down there being stretched, allowing more room for the next foetus to grow in. Or maybe it’s to do with second time mums being less strict about their diet (i.e. letting themselves go).
Whatever the case, my little one now is definitely rollier than my first. So, lucky me. I’m chomping on my daughter’s cheeks all day and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
3. You are more flexible
Gina Ford ruined my life 2 years ago. Alright, to be fair, it was my Nazi adherence to the baby whisperer’s routine that caused me such misery. Restricting night outs because I didn’t want to ruin J’s bedtime, quibbling over whether to dream feed or not…it pains me to remember how rigidity kept us from enjoying life and our new baby as much as we could have.
With Lil L, I now work around her natural rhythms and patterns, putting in place just one fixture in her day – the evening bath. Like her brother, she isn’t great with sleep, but it’s okay, as long as she’s thriving. And its been so much more liberating this way. Routines and structure are wonderful, but it’s important not to imprison yourself and your family in it.
5. You know just how fleeting now is
Those tiny Mickey Mouse glove hands; the milk coma face; the cuddles and first giggles. These little things are so precious and even more so with the second because I know they’ll be gone in a flash.
As for the not so fun times, like those nights L screams hourly or refuses to be put down, I try my best to remember two things: They’re only young once. And that massive chocolate bar in the fridge is all mine once I get through this.