From one child to two, what to expect
For many parents, once the ‘first child’ dust has settled, sleep becomes a thing you can actually enjoy again but the urge to add another to the family might start to creep in. The question is are you ready for the upheaval of adding another baby to the household; or will the second child just fit right in to your busy schedule? As with anything, there is an adjustment period before it all settles down to become your new normal. So what else can you expect?
Pregnancy may very well be harder this time. It is possible that you and your partner are both back to work full time (as much as you can be with social distancing in place) after your first child, or maybe you are a stay at home parent. Either way, if the pregnancy tiredness or morning sickness sets in there can be little respite as you try to juggle work and looking after your other child. Here’s your daily mantra – this will pass, this will pass, pass the crisps, this will pass.
You have done this before but you won’t remember anything. You might vaguely remember when your first child decided that sleep was no longer their thing at the dreaded 4 month regression but there is no way you will remember what you did about it. So go ahead and start your research again but let me help you out with this one: you didn’t do very much about it because, well, its a sleep regression.
The good news is, you won’t worry as much. I mean, you will worry, you are a parent and you will still abide all of the usual safety rules but you won’t spend the same amount of time stressing about every little thing. Because as soon as you get a chance to sit down and your mind starts to head in the direction of the big ‘what-ifs’, someone will undoubtably need to be fed again – probably the cat, go catch a mouse for goodness sake.
Your relationship with your older child will change. Since your first child was born, you have been immediately available to answer their every call. There is some adjustment to be had here that can be hard on both parent and child and feeling a lot of guilt is part of these changes. Carve out a little one to one when baby is napping to spend with just your older child and get them involved in helping looking after their baby brother or sister. Try to remember that adding another child doesn’t just double the love you feel, you are adding all that extra love to your older child’s life too. A sibling relationship is a very special thing and you will see the magic happen when your two little babies start communicating in a way that doesn’t involve you at all.
Perfectionism is out – prioritising is in. There really is nothing more to say on this except that you will care a lot less about the coffee cups sitting in the sink – until you need one. Once the murky brain of the first few months fades a little, your routine will start to emerge and only the important stuff will make the cut. You may very well become a super organiser and this a great time of forward thinking which is very much a learned skill. Use the tools available to you: meal prep boxes can be a godsend, if you can afford help with housecleaning get it, subscribe and save and say yes to offers of child care help.
Money may be less of an issue this time around. Navigating the loss of earnings waters is tricky whether its your first or second child but this time at least there is less expensive equipment to buy, assuming you kept it all from your first child and you are not expecting twins.
The first few months can be tough as you and your family adjust to a new baby but this is the same whether it is your first or fourth child. As ‘they’ say: the days are long but the years are short and they grow up so quickly. Good luck.