Dear mother of a baby and a toddler,
I totally get it. Whatever you’re going to say…I understand. My son was only 7 months old when I figured out that we were pregnant with our second child. We were trying, but certainly weren’t expecting baby #2 to happen so quickly. It was a surprising blessing. I knew I was pregnant, because my milk completely dropped in half (I was still nursing my son) so I had my suspicions. My husband and I were so excited, but nervous (as we should have been) trying to raise two children who were 16 months apart. If we knew how difficult baby #2 was going to be we would have been even more terrified. Our second baby (who is now 6 months old) has colic, eczema, bowel issues (he only poops every week or so), and he also has acid reflex. This all sums up to one miserable baby and two equally miserable parents. I know there are going to be some moms who judge me for using the word miserable, because let’s face it…some moms would kill to be as “miserable” as I am. I just am trying to explain the “real” side of motherhood. I am not trying to compete either. Two kids isn’t as hard as four (I get that). I just wanted to write a post explaining my situation with two…
(Declaimer: I love my children more than anything and I would do absolutely anything for them! They are my world!!!!)
But…Here are the top 7 reasons why having a baby and a toddler is difficult:
1. No Adult Contact: We are social creatures, or maybe I am just a social creature. I love talking with people. I love conversations and I feed off of that social communication of the “outside world.” I get refreshed when I get to go to a gathering or party. My (almost) two year old speaks enough for me to understand some of what he is saying and he understands most of what I am saying, but that does not count as filling my social bucket for the day. My poor sweet husband gets his ears talked off when he gets home. Thankfully he is a good listener. If you ever see me in a social setting I am sorry if I talk a lot. I HAVE BEEN DEPRIVED OF PEOPLE!
2. Picking Them Both Up: So there you are with your baby on your chest in your ergo baby. Your toddler is following right beside you and listens to everything you say, because he is so well behaved. You then say “Okay let’s go Johnney” and he says “Yes Mommy” and politely follows you to the car, right? Yeah…um…no. It’s more like you need to leave because your newborn needs to go eat or get changed and you tell Johnney you need to leave. So he proceeds to run away or throw a complete fit. You then have to juggle you diaper bag, purse, newborn and pick up your screaming toddler as he begins bucking in you arms. You then have to walk all the way to the car like this as you are silently praying that your car magically moves closer to you.
3. Increase Safety Concerns: With motherhood comes the unthinkable fear of something happening to your child. Some are completely irrational and some are things that actually must be considered. I am in constant fear of having my child run too far in front of me and something happening to him while I can’t do anything about it because I am focused on the baby. There are some situations where I want my child to be able to run around and be able to have some fun, but there are times that his freedom can get him into trouble. Just the other day we were leaving the store and he was walking right next to me and the automatic doors opened towards the outside and he sprinted through the doors. I had my baby on my chest and I sprinted after him (I was a lot slower than usual due to the baby on my chest). I caught up to my toddler and grabbed his hand in the middle of the parking lot. If there was a car there he would have been hit. That moment has haunted me. I am now one of those seemingly awful mothers who puts a leash on their child. Yes, I have been scolded for this. I have gotten “he’s not a dog!” But I would rather have my child look a little silly with an owl backpack leash on him then get hit by a car, forgive me for choosing safety. Of course the leash usually ends with my son pulling against it in the opposite way and me having to carry my bucking toddler (notice a pattern here).
4. Nursing and Being a Parent: So your nursing your baby and your toddler starts heading towards the cat food and you know what he is going to do. He is going to climb up on the cat tower (where we keep the cat food to avoid toddler hands). And you know he is going to begin putting the food into the water dish. You have a few choices. Option 1: You can rip away your nipple from the sucking baby. In my case the baby would start screaming and I would be spraying milk about three feet (yes my milk can get three feet). You can then take down the toddler (who will just do it again once you sit back down). Option 2: You could scream while nursing which will scare your baby and he will end up crying and you will still be spraying, so then you will have a screaming baby (who is now soaking wet from your milk) and your toddler of course didn’t react to your screaming attempts, so is still on top of the cat tower, or option 3: you could just do absolutely nothing and pray he doesn’t get hurt. I have decided to be the most inconsistent parent in the world and try each of these depending on my day. Usually I am the parent who just sits there and pretends that it’s not happening. My motto is “Keep the Baby Happy” because the baby is the hardest one to keep happy.
5. Grocery Shopping: So you want to go grocery shopping right?! So you put your toddler in the seat in the front, because he can’t be trusted walking next to the cart. So now you can either put the baby in his carseat and place him inside on the cart (not on the cart because that’s dangerous) or you can put him on your chest. If you put him in the cart then your entire cart is taken up by his seat and there is nowhere to place the groceries so you put him on your chest. This is going great right? Well until 15 minutes later when the baby doesn’t want to be in the ergo baby anymore and you have to hold him, push the cart and then grab the groceries you need. And lets not even talk about when you have to bag the groceries while other shoppers come up to you saying, “wow you have your hands full” and then they walk away (Yes I do thanks for the help). I don’t go shopping anymore by myself. I just won’t do it unless there is only a couple of items that I need.
6. Nap Times: Do you remember when you could nap when you just had one child? I do! When your baby would nap you could nap right? Oh those were the days! I would get a nap like once a day. I seriously didn’t know how easy I had it. With two children if you want a nap you must coordinate really well, but at 21 months my child decided that naps just weren’t for him. He thinks it is a lot more fun to run around the house screaming and singing to prevent his baby brother from getting any rest. The result….two very unhappy babies screaming at their mother! This is usually when Derek gets a call from a tired mom in the middle of his workday. I usually just say, “I don’t like the children. Okay love you!” And then I hang up. It’s like a fun little routine. 🙂
7. Night Time: Nights are difficult. It is a good night if we only have to wake up three times. Most time we are averaging 5 times waking up. My 6 month old still eats every two hours and my toddler occasionally wakes up during the night. It doesn’t help that we put him in a big boy bed about 2 months ago and so now he has free range of leaving his bed as he chooses. This has it’s good and bad moments (usually bad). Click here to see one of the bad mornings! My husband usually gets the baby and brings him to me (I know I have an amazing husband). I wake up really easily so if I have to get the baby, feed the baby and put the baby back I will be up for hours. If Derek gets the baby then I can feed, put him back to sleep and then still fall back to sleep myself. It works so much better! My toddler goes to bed really late (because he is crazy) and wakes up earlier than he should. For instance last night he went to bed at 11:30 (I told you he is crazy) and then he woke up at 7. He may or may not have a nap today. It’s like he doesn’t need sleep!! So last I went to bed at midnight and got out of bed at 7:20. I woke up 5 times last night.
I seriously do love my children. I have so much fun with them! They bring me joy everyday and they just make me laugh. I love how my home is filled with two precious spirits and their giggles brighten my world! They are truly and deeply loved and I am so blessed to be their mother. Being a mother is very difficult. People warn you and you think you know, but you don’t. You don’t know what it is truly like until you experience it yourself. Although I complain…I wouldn’t change it for the world!
I am sure that the list can go on and on. If you have another one that is hard for you feel free to message me in the comments! 🙂 I would love to hear your struggles as well.