I’m going to say something that still sounds weird coming out of my mouth.
I have two kids.
It’s been over half a year since I stepped into my new role as a mama of two, and some days I still can’t believe it. I’m not even sure how so much time has passed already. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was waddling around and asking people to tie my shoes for me? Now our little girl is here, crawling and causing mischief, and I can barely remember what it was ever like before her.
All those things everyone told me about how my heart would grow? They were so right. Of course I knew that…but I didn’t KNOW, know. Ya know? I had to experience it for myself, and now I’m overly obsessed with TWO perfect little ones.
Life has changed so much, yet somehow feels like it’s always been this way. It’s been the most beautiful 8 months with my little crew. Tiring and busier, but oh so beautiful.
Welcoming our tiny new family member was extremely exciting for us, but it didn’t come without its challenges. No matter how happy everyone is, or how well your kids react to a new sibling, the dynamic of your family shifts – it has to in order to make room to grow. We all had to adjust and find our groove. We had to learn and lean on each other, and build a new definition of family. We had to transform from three into four, and navigate through what that entailed; each of us individually and as a whole unit.
Taking care of two kids is all consuming in a way that one never was. You have to figure out how to divide your attention between two people who depend on you, while also juggling every day tasks and maintaining your sanity. Above all that, you ultimately just want to be doing a good job for your family. We’ve always been a very tight knit group, and our main goal was making sure that we remained that way. That we were exactly how we had always been – just better and a tiny bit bigger. My focus was ensuring that both children felt loved and seen…especially my 4 year old, who was acclimating to a whole new lifestyle. With a little ease and a lot of patience, we all helped each other through the start of a brand new chapter.
Things that helped us with a smooth transition:
The buddy system: Making sure that at all times, one parent was focusing on one child while the other parent was with another. Whether we left the house and did something fun, or just spent quality time alone in the next room, it made a huge difference for all of us. It helped us spend one on one time with each child, while allowing them to have uninterrupted moments with us and not be battling for attention.
Little helper: Never turn down an extra pair of hands! This is something I barely had to bat an eyelash over. Right from the start, big brother rushed to help with anything related to his little sister. He waited so long to finally put his brother duties to work, and he didn’t disappoint when the time came. Diaper changes, baths, bedtime…you name it. No task was too big or small for his assistance. You would think that after all this time, he would have grown tired of it by now. On the contrary, he still loves it and takes his jobs very seriously. No, really. One time I tried to do something myself instead of asking him and he almost drop kicked me. Determined kids are savages.
Routine: Once you have multiples, routine. is. everything. A good schedule saved my life when I had my first born, and is my best friend now more than ever. Before I had kids, I never thought I would be the mom that loves organized structure…but here I am making lunch at 1:07pm on the dot every day. (JK, that would be weird. I wait for it to be an even number first.)
Keep old habits: Regardless of what was going on – no matter how many hours of sleep we had gotten (or didn’t get) or if the sink was filled with dishes (even though we ate a lot of take-out in the beginning), we stuck to our usual family traditions. We got bagels on Sunday mornings and played board games each night. We cuddled up in bed after just waking up, and asked one another about our day while eating dinner. We laughed and made jokes and acted silly…just like we had always done. The only difference was that now we had an extra person to do all of those things with…and it felt so right.
Even though it’s old news now, I’ll still get that nagging feeling sometimes that tugs at my heart. You know the one. The infamous mom guilt. I feel remorse for not being able to give my son every second of my attention the way he’s always been used to. I feel sadness for my daughter, who won’t get the same undivided, one-on-one time with me that her brother received for so many years. I feel inadequate – like I can’t possibly be enough for everyone who relies on me, no matter how thin I stretch myself. I guess no matter how many you have, the guilt never goes away. Some things just never change.
However, that guilt vanishes instantly when I see the two of them together. I watch them playing, hugging, and laughing and every worry washes away. I dreamt about this for so long. I hoped, prayed, wished, and crossed every finger and toe that they would be a great match. But my wildest dreams don’t even come close to what they have. Their bond is special and pure, and I adore watching the magic unfold between them every day. If we’ve done anything right, it’s that we’ve given them each other. (At least until they’re older and start fighting.) I look at them and I’m at peace. I look at them and I know I must be doing something right.
I was prepared for it to be tough in the beginning. I knew I needed to head into it being practical, assuming things would be crazy for awhile. What I didn’t expect was how much the love would trump the chaos. How much the happiness pouring out of me (all of us, actually) would make all the other things seem so minuscule. How my love for every single member of my family would increase and solidify. How collectively, we all became better. That, I was not prepared for.
At this stage right now, we’re adjusting to big changes and having new experiences – all while still being that same old/new family of people who are smitten with one another. We’re jumping headfirst into this new season of life and loving every single second of this journey we’re on. I’m forever stuck between wanting to pause time to make it last just a little bit longer, and wanting to fast forward to see what’s in store for us next. I can’t wait to keep living through every episode of our lives together. So far, it’s been pretty damn binge-worthy.
Harrison: Party of 4 is officially complete.