When people realize that my daughter is only 16 months old and that I’m due with my second baby in 3 short months, the comment that usually follows is “wow, you’re going to be busy”. A pretty harmless comment right? Maybe the first 100 times you hear it – but after that, it starts to feel like people are warning you of some impending doom. A doom that is pretty unavoidable at this point. So before you or your grandma or anyone else tries to tell me how hard, busy, or chaotic 2 under 2 is going to be, let me beat you to it.
Here’s why I’m already terrified of having 2 under 2:
- The fear that I’m going to screw my oldest kid up by ‘making’ her grow up too soon. Yep, for real. Some days I think about how I’ll try and manage her big feelings and sooooo many big changes during the toddler stage all while caring for an infant. Will I have enough energy and patience to give her and her brother what she needs? What if she feels forgotten about or neglected? But then I remember: one of the greatest gifts I can give my eldest child, is a sibling. Sure, maybe I could’ve given her a sibling when she was 6, but that’s not how we did it! And I hope that she sees her brother as the biggest blessings – and let’s face it, a little dose of ‘the world doesn’t revolve around you’ isn’t the worst thing to happen to a toddler!
- The fear that I won’t be able to enjoy the newborn stage as much as I did the first time. I’m one of those moms who really loves the newborn stage – it’s just my jam, even with the exhaustion and the 24/7 demand of a tiny bay. I really enjoyed JJ’s first 3 months of life and cherish the memories of just lounging around with her and her dad and just enjoying her. What if we don’t get these moments with her brother, being so busy already with life and a toddler? What if baby boy gets put in the baby swing too much and not held as much as his sister was? What if we don’t have time for newborn photos and bedtime stories at 6 months old?
- How a second child will affect my marriage, self-care, and friendships. Maybe this would be a very real fear no matter when we were having another child, but I feel like we have just found our groove as a family of 3 (lol, yes, 16 months into the game) and that I’ve just found my groove as a woman, wife and friend. So to throw another kid into the mix now feels really intimidating. At this point I feel like I can maintain my friendships, take care of myself, and have some fun with my husband all while raising a kid. But with two kids? I’m not so sure. What if I can’t do it all or it takes another 2 years to find a balance again?
- That I’ll never leave my house again. The fear is real people, especially as a 100% extrovert. Please visit me ok?
- That room sharing won’t go well. JJ and her brother will be room sharing after he is 3 months old (he’ll be in our room in a bassinet until then). We live in a smallish bungalow, so there are only 2 finished bedrooms (on the main floor). Therefore, our options are limited. While I appreciate the advice from friends to ‘prepare for room sharing not working out’, there aren’t really any other options. I mean, I guess I could room share with the baby and the husband could room share with the toddler, but that seems…less then ideal. So while we’ll do our best to make the transition a happy one and make both kids feel like they have their own space in their shared room, this is basically how it’s going to be. Room sharing can be super fun, right??
Things I’m not really worried about but maybe should be??
- Having 2 in diapers. It’s just not something I’m worried or bothered by! Diapers aren’t a huge pain in my butt to begin with, and I’m optimistic (like the first time mom I am!) that JJ will potty train early. Feel free to throw my naiveté in my face in about 9 months if/when I’m wrong!
- My oldest being jealous of the new baby. Again, I may be seriously naive here, but I think a lot of the sibling jealousy has to do with age of the eldest child when baby #2 is born, and how the transition is handled by the parents. My daughter will only be 19 months old when her brother arrives – so old enough to understand “this is the baby” but not quite old enough to understand “you’ve been replaced”. I’m kidding! But for real, I think this is one area where her being so young when we have our second child will bode in our favor. I hope!
- Having enough love for two kids. I know this is something a lot of women wonder about when they’re pregnant, “will I be able to love my second born in the same intense way that I love my firstborn?”. From what I hear, the answer is NO. It won’t be the same, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a real love. I know that it will for sure be different, especially because I’m having a son this time. But I know that whatever my connection with my baby looks like, it will change and grow with time. I used to think I could never be annoyed with my precious, darling daughter – trust me, I can be! I trust that seeing my son for the first time, learning who he is, and connecting with him will be it’s own unique journey. And I’m glad for that!
Things I’m really excited about, even if 2 under 2 is gonna be hella hard:
- Being done! Or, err, having my whole family here! Whichever phrasing you prefer (lol). From the moment we found out we were pregnant, we have felt a total peace about our family being complete. We have lots of great* reasons for wanting 2 children (and close together) but really what matters is that this is what feels right for our family, and we have no hesitation about it. And if a surprise oopsy baby #3 comes along one day, I will delete this blog post and tell everyone it was in the plan 😀
- Having 2 kids under 2! Ha. I’m really, genuinely excited to have my littles so close together, and hopefully being really close as they grow up together! I’m excited to be done the baby/toddler stage in short order. I’m really excited for the day I can sell allllllll the baby things and take parts of my house back (let’s be honest, by then it’ll all be replaced by other equally ugly toddler things). Sure it feels scary to be done this phase of our life (it was so short!) but it also feels really fun to be moving onto a new stage too!
- Being forced to slow down and change my expectations. I trie to do ALL THE THINGS during the first year of being a mom, and had all the mom guilt when I felt overwhelmed or let anything slip a little. Now, being pregnant and exhausted, I’m starting to realize that I need to adjust my expectations big time, and I think baby #2 will help me do just that! I’m ready to be the mom who uses her kids as an excuse to stay home and to let my house get a little messy sometimes. I’m also ready to say BUHBYE to the idea of doing everything perfectly (don’t let them sleep on your chest, make sure you keep them awake while nursing, don’t give them a pacifier until 6 weeks) with this second baby and just ENJOY my time with him. The chaos of 2 under 2 may just be the best gift I ever received, as a Type A perfectionist!
What about you? How did you space your children out and why? I’m guessing no matter when you decided to bring a second (or third or seventh) child into your family, it was a big transition and some parts were really hard and others really great! Either way, children are one of life’s greatest blessings and we are so excited to meet our second blessing in September!
*depends on your definition of great