Why Being a 2-Kid Mom Sucks. Guilt, at Its Finest.

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.

Ever.

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:

Relax Mama. 

You’re doing just fine.

And your second, third, fourth or seventeenth child is doing just fine too.


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Side Note: Having seventeen children sounds horrible.

– Until the next time this Redhead rambles.


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About Jennifer 71 Articles
I'm Jenn... A blunt, redheaded mommy who likes to look at motherhood in a slightly different way. This blog consists of stories of how I survive my job as a SAHM, a job that I love. I tend to like sarcasm served hot with a fresh side of dry humor. Because who really likes to take life so seriously?

21 Comments on Why Being a 2-Kid Mom Sucks. Guilt, at Its Finest.

  1. Fabulous! I have twins and sometimes feel like they both got the short straw!
    Love your writing makes me feel NOT ALONE in this journey
    Thank you ?

  2. I love this Jenn. You were an amazing daughter and had no doubt you would be an amazing mother!!! However, I would definitely try to remember when Baby Berk cut her first fart….some things really ARE that important. I love you!!

    Dad

  3. I am a mother of four so I get the torment that comes from trying to split yourself between multiple children. It is a stark fact that my youngest has received much less one-on-one time with me than his older brothers did but I tell myself that balances out because he gets the stimulus of having three older brothers to interact with whereas, for the first 2.5 years of his life, my oldest son only had me to hang out with most of the time. Snore, right? In truth, I always sucked at filling out the baby book (we never had a decorative keepsake one so I am just meaning the one that medical professionals ask you to keep about weights and firsts and such like). I document my kids’ lives through photographing them and I am OCD about organising photos into albums and photobooks so that is all good. However, if someone was to ask my how old X was when they first rolled over then I have zero clue. None. But do our kids give a flying fig about statistics? No. And life isn’t a competition so who cares if one was potty trained months before another one was? Not me. They all got there in their own time sure enough. I think that so long as we are there for each of our kids in the way that matters and we are invested in them as individuals and we make their needs paramount and they know that they are loved then that is ultimately all that matters and all that other stuff is just tinsel on top.

    • We have kids almost the exact same age! We are in the same boat Mama! Glad you can relate 🙂

  4. I always look forward to your posts Jenn. Depending what happened with my day, it’s my pat on the back, high five, hug, glass of wine from you. Thank you.

  5. Jenn,
    I am new to your blog, and your posts always bring me a laugh when I’m close to pulling out my hair. I’m a new SAHM with a two year old and my second on the way tomorrow! ? My worries have grown over the past weeks about having two kids (to the point where I have no shame in admitting that I’m terrified when complete strangers ask how I’m feeling), and this is exactly what I needed to hear!! Thanks for doing what you do and I look forward to reading more!
    Julie

    • Hey there Julie! So glad you found my blog!! Congrats on the second baby! Having two is hard work but SO fun. Watching them interact will seriously melt your heart. You got this! 🙂 Thanks so much for reading my rambles and for the kind words. Good luck tomorrow – praying for a safe delivery!

    • Julie, I was terrified of having two as well – and shared it openly to the point that my family was a little worried. Even though my husband and I really-truly-genuinely wanted a second child, and I got pregnant right on schedule, by the time of the impending birth I was in a panic. I just couldn’t imagine splitting my affection and attention two ways; to my hormone-addled brain, it didn’t even seem natural. “I have one husband that I love and enjoy,” my whacked-out reasoning ran, “but that doesn’t mean that I want TWO husbands! So why should loving and enjoying one child mean that I should want to have another one?” (Pregnancy always does very weird things to my head; normally I’m not that crazy.)

      Anyway, it was indeed extremely difficult for the first few months. I felt torn. I felt disloyal to my oldest – and also to my youngest. I thought that I should be finding this baby-care thing EASY now, since I’d done it once before, but it wasn’t (duh). But mixed in with all that anguish were the most amazing joys. My oldest son adored his baby brother with a toddler’s passion that was so beautiful it made me cry, and the baby loved his noisy-and-wonderful big brother right back. The relationship they forged with each other, and the self-reliance they developed from me having to step back a bit, far-far-far outweighed all the little attentions and special projects that I could no longer give. They are now twelve and fifteen years old, and are partners in nearly all that they do. Looking back, I know that the best gift we could have given either one of them was the gift of the other.

      Hang in there through the rocky patches, Julie! It’s worth it.

  6. You are doing fine. Take that last long paragraph that you wrote and record yourself reading it out loud. Or have your husband or a trusted friend do it. Play it back to yourself as needed.

    • Thanks Greg! I am trying! And my husband is so supportive, which helps so much!! Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to read my post 🙂

  7. My kids are not quite 18 months apart so I definitely understand where you are coming from. My son (younger) was an awesome baby that rarely cried but as got older he became more of a handful. My older daughter has speech issues so I feel like I was constantly shuttling her to appointments while my son got left home with my mil. I’m sure he wanted my attention all on him but it just couldn’t happen. So you are definitely not in this alone!
    My empathise from a fellow redhead

  8. Sister- you are speaking TO MY HEART! I have a 6 month old and 26 month old. I seriously look at my 6 month old and wonder how she got here- to this age… I knnnneeeeewwwww my oldest, this kid is a total stranger in comparison. I blogged a little about it here…http://www.akreativewhim.com/dear-2nd-children/ Funny how often I read mom bloggers an hear my thoughts coming out of their fingers.

  9. I get this but sometimes I feel like a spend quality time with my toddler yet with my baby I just carry him around getting stuff done. Always feel you don’t quite do enough.

    • I 100% agree. 🙁 I really try to give the youngest undivided attention when my toddler is napping so she gets good quality mommy time! It’s hard!

  10. First I’d like to say that you’re doing fine. I didn’t even complete that book and I only have one daughter.
    That being said, I’m a second child. And I can say that my parents were exactly like you, which I find normal.
    When we go through our baby stuff I’m able to find a detailed description with photos of what seriuously important thing my big brother was doing at the time.
    I dare you to find stuff about me. 🙂 I have a book (it might be the only think that wasn’t borrowed from my brother) but besides my date of birth, height and weight, there’s ZERO there. I used to ask my mum about this stuff, and since had a child myself I wanted to know more things. The conversations went more or less like this:
    “Mum, when did I get my first tooth”
    “Darling, that I don’t know, but your brother drooled for the first time on the 24 of September of 1979 at 2 PM. I remember quite well, it was a sunny wednesday and I was just finishing doing the dishes, looked right and there he was!”

    But don’t worry…this doesn’t bother me ( I say while replaying this conversations over and over in my head). 🙂
    Now seriously, it really doesn’t bother me. I think it’s totally fine. The second time around you already take this stuff for granted. you’re fine 😀

    P.S. Sorry for the long comment. 🙂

  11. First, let me start by saying that you’re doing fine. It’s totally normal that that happens. Hey I can’t even complete this for my only child.

    That being said, I am a second child. And my mother did exactly that. So when we reminisce about our childhood and go looking at the stuff our parents kept, we find everything that was ever used, touched or breathed to by my brother. His baby book is filled with glorious photos and descriptions of every single event that occupied that small child. Then we go look at mine. It’s pure luck that I have one. I think someone must have given this as a gift, actually. It’s filled in…..with my name, height and weight at the time of birth. It appears that I just went from newborn to a 5 year old.

    I used to ask my mother about this, but then gave up. I restarted when I had my own kid and wanted to know stuff like:

    – Mum, with how many months did I start crawling?

    – Darling that I don’t know. I can’t keep track of everything! But I do remember that you brother drooled for the first time on the 25th of August of 1975 at around 2 pm. It’s was a beautiful sunny day and I had just finished washing the dishes.

    Well, but I don’t let this affect me….much. 

    I’m kidding, don’t be upset. My mum is really like this, but it doesn’t affect me one bit. I always found this totally normal. My mum had gone through this stuff once; it’s not that amazing a second time. Also, she now had two kids! She must have had a full schedule to have time to do this stuff.

    You’re a great mum! Don’t worry!

  12. I survived being the 4th child. Baby book? The entries are in my sister’s handwriting who is ten years older than me. When I had my first I dialed myself waaay back knowing that whatever I did for #1 I would HAVE to do for the next ones. Set the bar lower so that the whole family stays sane. Now that they are 22, 20 and 15 I know what was really important to them was cuddling with a book, going to the church nursery and making lifelong friends, seeing sedentary mommy take up tennis and start to take care of herself, being the mean mom who cared more about what God thought of my parenting then about being their buddy. My mother was busier than a tornado but I still remember the brush of her cool lips on my feverish forehead, swinging my legs on the piano bench while she played and sang, snuggling up to her while she took a break between work and dinner and read her book. I learned to love to read by seeing this busy mom take her only free time to read. I always knew that I was loved, and that I was not the center of her universe (shocking to a mom today).

    I really think parenting is raising the kind of adult you would want to be friends with. We aren’t quite friends yet – I still have to be Mom, but the roles are changing and I would gladly choose any of my kids as a friend. Best of all- I think they would choose me.

    Carrie

  13. As a second child myself I am hear to tell you that second children tend to be way more easy going since they n never had the stress of all that attention from their parents. I just had my second and while I know I’m not completely doting on her like my son, I know she’ll be okay in the end. Haha She’s also in a lot of blues. A cute bow does wonders!

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