Making the transition from one to two children
Going from a one child family to two is no joke. Lots of people will tell you it is the hardest transition of all. When you have one child, you can still maintain at least a portion of your pre-baby life. Going on a holiday or even just out to dinner is manageable.
Leaving the house and catching up for coffee with other new mums was a breeze. With two kids in the mix the work does not just double it can feel like it has infinitely multiplied. There is no way on earth my oldest daughter would sit still long enough for the baby to be fed and mummy to attempt to finish a coffee.
When we added a second baby to our family my first born had just turned two. This was a tough age, as she was independent in some tasks but still a baby in so many other ways. So I am not going to lie, the first couple of months were hard.
Here is what I learned from surviving the transition.
You will worry less
With my first-born I used to stress out about every runny nose or cough. When she had a cold I barely slept that night checking on her every five minutes. For my second baby I was far more relaxed about things when he got sick (and the third? So relaxed we were almost horizontal).
I don’t think I looked once at whether he was hitting milestones at the right time, whereas with my first I read every article about when she should roll, sit up, walk the list goes on. I was far more chilled in that sense of intuitively just knowing my bub was doing exactly as he should be doing.
Dividing your attention is your new normal
You will start to feel like you are an octopus with 8 tentacles juggling the focus and energy between your two kids. Breastfeeding the newborn whilst setting my two-year-old up with Paw Patrol on Peppa Pig on the TV ended up being what I needed to resort to. Whatever saved your sanity the most in those early days I say go for it.
There will be less down time
With just one baby at home there would be times where she would be asleep in my arms and I could relax and watch some trashy reality TV. No chance of that with a toddler running around.
When the baby was asleep it was time when my toddler could get my undivided attention so she always took advantage of this.
I would love to tell you I was able to synchronise their schedules and get them both to nap at the same time. But that level of utopia only happened once! Once in about a year, until my three-year-old decided she was too cool for naps anymore.
You and your partner will need to be more of a team
In our house we used the divide and conquer method. I will take the reins with one of the kids and hubby will round-up the other one. This works well for bath time and the bedtime routine.
It goes swimmingly until both girls decide they want the same person to look after them. Luckily for me, Daddy is favorite so he tended to end up with both kids hanging off him at any given time.
There will be more chaos
More cleaning. A larger pile of laundry. More babies to bathe. At the end of the day all you should aim to have done is focusing on what matters – your kids wellbeing.
So if the laundry pile starts to resemble Mount Everest cut yourself some slack, you are doing the best you can.
As the kids have gotten older it has gotten easier, the chaos has turned from mess more into noise. One child will cry, yell and scream and the other one will feed off this and start crying as well. Even though they have no good reason too.
Sometimes when this happens all I can do is take a step back and laugh at the chaos.
Your heart will melt when they interact together
In the early days I needed to watch the kids like a hawk. Early on I made the mistake of going to the kitchen and leaving them both about 5 metres away from me in the lounge room. I start to hear a strange noise so I rush back into the room and my two-year-old had managed to put a bowl over her little brothers face. It was only for less than three seconds I would say, but it scared the heck out of me. From then on at least one child needed to come with me wherever I went. No more peeing alone.
Now that the kids are older my heart absolutely melts when they play together. They will give each other hugs and kisses as well as play together nicely every now and then. It is amazing to watch them become the best of friends.
Talk to your partner
Whilst I was more relaxed in terms of worrying about my second born. I did find that I developed a bit of anxiety when I needed to take both kids out on my own during the week.
I always went to the gym in the morning and they were good in the creche there, so I never worried about that.
But once we got home I could not bring myself to leave the house again with them. As I would get anxious about my two-year-old running off while I was caring for the baby.
It was important at the time for me to talk about this with my husband who helps me get through that trying time.
You may find that you need further support from your GP and that is ok too. Don’t ever feel like you should be doing ok because this is your second child. It is a new kind of mum that you need to morph into and that can take some adjusting too.
So go easy on yourself mamas.
How did you survive the transition from one to two kids? Or are you about to go through this soon?
Katie is the Managing Director and Editor at Mums of Brisbane. She loves reading, sleep and exploring, not necessarily in that order. Most days will find her drinking coffee, trying to keep up with the kids, and praying they will sleep. She lives with her husband and three children in beautiful Brisbane. You can read her story here.