Sometimes, I feel like I am royally sucking at being a mother to two children.
A few days ago I opened up my daughter’s baby book to jot down when she had gotten her first two teeth. It’s been three weeks now since her first pearly-white made it’s appearance, but I had just forgotten to write it down. Apparently, I had forgotten to write quite a few things down, considering the fact that my daughter’s book hadn’t been written in since she was three months old.
She is eight months old.
How had I let almost half a year go by without making a single note?! To some of you this may not seem like a big deal, but for me it’s huge. I’m a journaler, a scrapbooking junkie…. I live for writing details down that I never want to be forgotten. For my first child, I wrote down everything. First smile, first laugh, first spit up, first fart (seriously.) Everything. I wrote down everything. Anything anyone would need to know about Von’s first 1.5 years of life, I could tell them because it’s all in his baby book in chronological order. I even had to tape in sheets of notebook paper, because the six blank pages labeled “Other Accomplishments” weren’t enough.
My kid was quite the over-achiever.
Or I was addicted to unnecessary baby book journaling….whatever.
People warned me of this, that once the second child comes things would be different. That I would slack and things that seemed so important before will suddenly slip into the past. But I was completely convinced that this wouldn’t happen to me. I would never not take the time to write down these precious notes and milestones accomplished by my children.
I would be better than that.
It’s not just the baby book…. it’s a few things.
With my first-born, “tummy time” was a huge part of our routine. I couldn’t wait until he started making attempts to crawl. “We have a crawler!!” – what every mom can’t wait to post to Facebook or anywhere else on social media. “Your baby seems so advanced!” – the comment that every first time Mama drools over. I was this mom. Now, my daughter is starting to make motions of scooting, and army crawling and I find myself practically knocking her down. NO. No crawling for you. Once you have your second you know that crawling is the death of you. It’s all over after that, once they can crawl they are MOBILE, which is no good. I just want you to lay child. I like you as a cute baby blob that stays right where I left you.
My second baby cries longer than my first did. Luckily she doesn’t cry often, but when she does I am always tending to some drama or issue Von is having. When my first child cried, the house could have been on fire and wouldn’t have cared, I would have dropped anything in a second to run to his aid. Now, when my baby girl cries, I think to myself, “She’s ok, she is just upset that she’s in her crib, she’ll be fine, I’ll be there in one minute….” as I briskly finish whatever task I am in the middle of.
Buying baby clothes for my first was a lot more fun. My youngest is a sweet baby girl, so you would think that I would go nuts buying her clothes, but I don’t. In fact, she wears a lot of Von’s hand-me-downs, many which are blue, just for the sake of being resourceful. Going clothes shopping with two babies under the age of three is about as fun as a Brazilian bikini wax, so I don’t go often.
Von only ate homemade baby food, something that I was very proud of. I can’t say the same for Berkley. I used to stay up late at night steaming and pureeing veggies for my first born, so he could have home made food only, never store bought, but now, at the end of my long day I don’t want to cook. I want to sit down, write a few thoughts down, or lay and do absolutely nothing. I am mentally drained, I do not want to puree things at 10 pm. There shall be no pureeing past 7 pm.
Mama’s done, kitchen closed. Plum Organic baby food has gained a new customer.
We used to go out more. When I only had one baby attached to me, we would frequent fun places, like the park or splash pads. But now, not so much. It’s so hard watching Von on playgrounds while I have Berkley. Since I live in Texas, and the heat is insane and torturous, carrying her on me is only an option for ten to fifteen minutes. We both start sweating, she gets uncomfortable and her skin slightly pink. Von is still at the age where he has to be watched closely on the playgrounds. That kid is always attracted to the highest slides, slides that he has no business attempting alone. Because of this we play at home most days. I constantly wonder if not taking them out of their own backyard a few times a week is doing them a disservice in any way.
Von got to experience all the best Pinterest ideas when it came to sensory games and learning activities for six to twelve-month-olds. Berkley just gets thrown into the mix. If Von and I are playing toy cars, then she is playing toy cars. Sensory games? If chewing on alphabet puzzle pieces, and playing with sports balls and ninja turtles are considered sensory games, then yes. Yes, she does play many sensory games.
Basically, I feel like my second child is getting a far worse version of myself than my first born. She’s not getting the mom who is always energetic and took amazing baby book notes like her older brother did.
These thoughts keep me up at night, laying in bed looking up at the ceiling…. or down deep into the esophagus of my husband, depending on which direction I am laying and how wide open his mouth is. I pick myself apart, making mental notes of what I didn’t make time to do. My new found passion, writing, is how I spend a large amount of my nightly free time. This is just another thing that leaves a bit of guilt. Here I have been, yearning for something I could do from inside my house, I’ve found it, love it and yet I still find a way to place guilt on myself about it.
The pressure we put on ourselves as mothers is insane, and I am one of the biggest offenders. I am a perfectionist, which makes being a mother way more stressful. I do it to myself and I wish I could just let some of my expectations go, forget about them. The fact that Von separated beans in an egg carton (Pinterest sensory activity, which was extremely boring) and Berkley hasn’t is OK. She’ll be fine and probably just as smart as her older brother. The fact that Berkley has had store bought baby food (gasp, something I thought I’d never say) when I didn’t have homemade food prepared is OK.
Get off your high horse Jenn and cut yourself some slack.
The parenting game changes when you have your second child. Before you have kids, you said some dumb things and set unrealistic expectations for yourself. You do the same thing before having two kids. Things CHANGE. It’s chaos and you’re just trying to keep up. Some days go smoothly and two kids is a breeze. Other days, you feel like someone put on a wooden shoe and kicked you square in your lady-junk, it’s painful and leaves you with bruises (literally). On those days, I am practically throwing one of my children at my husband as he walks in the door. “Rough day?” he asks. “Nope! Why the hell you say THAT?!” – Not what I actually say, but definitely what I am thinking.
It shouldn’t be hard. I love these adorable kids more than anything else in the world, and I love that I am able to stay home with them.
But it’s still hard.
Parenting is hard. Being a mom is hard. So as I sit over these empty baby book pages of months that have passed, trying to remember what my child was doing at 4 months old, I am also telling myself this:
Calm down, you emotional freak (I blame breastfeeding hormones). Quit beating yourself up for small insignificant things. Your kids are happy, always smiling and laughing twelve times more than they are crying. They are never hungry, and never ignored or unloved. They love you unconditionally and think you are the best person in the entire world. YOU are their person. The person they want when they fall down and scrape their knees, the person they want when they are over-tired and just want to be held and the face they want to see at the bottom of the slide, arms out wide, ready for the catch. They don’t care if you aren’t the most creative “Pinterest Mom” and they don’t care that you forgot to write down the specific time and date of when you saw their first tooth.
I was there, I witnessed it all, and I am sure I have plenty of photos on my phone to bring back some pretty amazing memories.
For those of you who need to hear it:
You’re doing just fine.
And your second, third, fourth or seventeenth child is doing just fine too.
Side Note: Having seventeen children sounds horrible.
– Until the next time this Redhead rambles.
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