By Sarah Bregel
Recently, I went from being a mother of one to a mother of two. The first few weeks of having two children had its challenges. Everyone was short on sleep and I was constantly occupied by the newest member of the family -- my infant son. But dad stepped it up, giving big sister a ton of love and attention, and I was actually quite satisfied to be clutched by this new baby round the clock. I was happy to spend my days (and nights) getting to know the tiny person who'd already occupied my body for the better part of a year.
While there was undoubtedly more on my to-do list, overall, things didn't seem that much harder. I even told a friend who inquired about how my life was different that it really wasn't. While, yes, there was a new baby who cried in the evenings, we were still doing the same things we'd always been doing.
Now, five months into having two kids, I take it all back. I'm no longer high off birth hormones and newborn fumes. The acid trip has worn off and real life with two kids -- one preschooler and one infant -- has set in. Though I'm overjoyed to be reveling in what I feel is my "complete family," I can now say with complete confidence that having two kids is no freaking joke. I'll be the first one to fully acknowledge that having one child can be tremendously challenging, as well, but here's how my life has changed since I gained one more.
1. "Downtime," or whatever you kids are calling it these days, is fleeting.
When I had one kid, there was the occasional opportunity to pop in The Wizard of Oz, send her off on a playdate or enjoy some quiet time while she was in her morning preschool (actually, that's my work time, but I consider it my "me time," too). These days, when she's in school, my son is crying, nursing or gumming my nipple with his almost-teeth.
2. Sleep has gotten... complicated.
Perhaps some infants sleep, but mine does not -- at least not in more than 20-minute spurts. My preschooler is still working things out in that department, as well. So basically, we're really pretty screwed on this front. Most nights go like this: one goes down, the other gets up. The other goes down, the other is up. Between nursing, bad dreams, coughs and trips to the potty, it's kind of like some twisted version of playing whack-a-mole. With children. Only you don't get to whack them.
3. I always want to exercise, but usually don't.
Having two kids makes me wonder why, when I had one or none, I didn't work out every single day of my entire life and feel amazing and be insanely fit and attractive. Because now I'd commit most minor crimes in order to get to do so. Most days, I have intentions of exercising and am super disappointed when it doesn't work out. And I have a gym membership... with child care! But you have to call ahead, and it almost never works out with his "nap schedule" (or lack thereof). Also, when babies cry or poop at the gym (which mine really likes to do), no one changes their diaper or tries to soothe them -- they come get you.
4. Multitasking has taken on new meaning.
I thought I was pretty good at multitasking before. But now I feel like one of those one-man-band dudes, playing 14 different instruments with every body part. Making dinner, bathtime and bedtime are circus acts, and I'm the star monkey. And typing -- what I'm doing right now -- is done one-handed with a baby on my lap.
5. I roll with the punches.
With two kids who are more or less on their own schedules, there's a lot that can go wrong in a day. As the parent, I usually feel like I'm just along for the ride, and I'm learning to go with it. Out of necessity, I've become a more easygoing parent and maybe even a better mother.
How has your life changed since you became a mom of two? Share below!
Photos courtesy of Sarah Bregel
This piece was originally published by Sarah Bregel on Mommy Nearest. Sarah is a freelance writer based in Baltimore. She is also a yoga teacher and self-proclaimed "Mediocre Mama." Join her growing Facebook community or follow her on Twitter.