Lately I am asked the question, "How is it going? How are you adjusting to 3?" many times a day. And I have engaged in email and verbal conversations about the transition from 1 to 2 compared to 2 to 3.
Before number three was on it's way - momss of three assured me that three is a lot of work. However, the transition from 1 to 2 was WAY harder than going from 2 to 3. All their reasons made sense. So I felt confident that this transition wasn't going to be completely horrendous.
I have a few friends thinking about having two or fresh into being moms of two. And I remember all the feelings and struggles that came along with going from 1 child to 2 children. A few random thoughts that come back full force when I think about it...
-Bedtime means chaos if I am on my own putting both of them to bed. It also means there no longer is the luxury of Ed taking Monday nights and I take Tuesday nights. Now we are both on duty every night - if we want it to go smoothest. The first couple weeks when we had Henry I remember Ed had to work late. So I survived by asking our neighbor girl to come over and read with Charley or help with Henry so I wasn't on my own with bedtime.
-Nursing, to begin with meant I had to manage the proper latch while also playing candyland, reading books, or doing a puzzle. There was no more sitting on the couch all afternoon staring into my little miracles eyes. No, the new reality...when baby was sleeping I was fully engaged in playing cars. And when baby was awake and nursing I was having to juggle another little one's need for entertainment. Our first, Charley, didn't play well on his own. He was needy.
- The guilt. It was immense. I felt like I wasn't bonding enough with baby but also neglecting my first. I couldn't manage it all. I didn't have energy or the positive attitude to always creatively juggle it all. Friends would say, the TV is going to be on a little more, and that is okay. And slowly, I realized that for this time period in our life, I was in survival mode. And a little more TV was okay. We all survived. And many of days - survival was achieved with far less issues because we snuggled and watched an extra episode of Max and Ruby.
- Going out and about meant not only lugging that awful car seat and diaper bag...but now you were managing to hold hands with a 2 or 3 year old. And they didn't always want to walk the direction you were hoping for. Getting through Target with two chances of breakdowns meant gritting your teeth and praying a little more profusely.
And the list goes on...
Going from 1 to 2 really is more overwhelming. And it is okay to feel it. And it is so important to vent, talk, and ask for help from those friends who offer.
Now, I am in the midst of transitioning from 2 to 3. I am smitten with little Miss Sydney. I am so glad we expanded our family from 4 to 5. I can tell the adventures she is going to bring into our lives will be life altering and amazing. I am already getting to see a daddy become daddy to a daughter. I am so honored to watch Henry become a big brother. And I can think about some of the experiences that come along with girls that I will get to experience as a mother to a daughter.
I am finding that I don't jump at her cries. Don't get me wrong, I completely respond when she is calling, but just not at the first little peep or squeak. And amazingly, sometimes she settles and finds her own solutions.
I am finding that snuggling her and letting her sleep on me is not stressing me out. With the other two I always had in my head that I might be starting a habit that will kick me in the butt down the line. Now I know that this teeny tiny stage is just that - so teeny tiny in the grand scheme of life. And I am soaking up just a little bit more.
The boys are brothers and best friends. And because of this they entertain each other so that I can snuggle her, change her diaper, or nurse her for hours and hours during the day without feeling AS MUCH guilt.
We are already both parenting all the time. No one is really off duty. So adding another little to our bedtime, bath time, or bundling up to get out of the house routines isn't too big of a deal.
I have two runners...so when I call for a burp rag, nuk, diaper, or blanket...if one isn't in the mood to help, there is a grand chance that the other one is very anxious to please. Lovely!
Overall, I can tell I am just plain more relaxed and confident in lots of the little things that for number one, and even number two, caused me a lot more anxiety. And being relaxed about some of those little things allows the bigger things to be a little more manageable.
Am I still stressed over the amount of sleep, what she needs when she is crying, how to make dinner while also nursing her, how to get everyone bathed and fed and out the door in the morning on time, how to juggle a butt that needs to be wiped (Henry) while having a little girl attached to my boob, when is the safest time to grab a quick shower, and the list goes on? Yes, all of this still overwhelms me.
I am so blessed to have a pretty content little lady. Who has been a pretty decent sleeper and napper. I have a better half that is so supportive and helpful in this journey called parenthood. I have two glorious big boys who love each other and entertain each other for huge amounts each day. I have friends who check in, pop over, and offer to help every chance they get. And I have family that is so excited about this new family member. And because of all of this...I think I can agree, at least at this point, that going from 1 to 2 was WAY more overwhelming than going from 2 to 3.
Mothering ebbs and flows. Everything happens in stages and phases. It is overwhelming with 1, 2, 3, 4, or 19!
So what do you think? Was it more challenging becoming a parent? Going from 1 to 2? or 2 to 3?