So, about that whole balance thing. I’m bad at it. Really bad. And as we mothers tend to do when expecting baby number two, I’m going through my mental list of things I want to do differently now that I have some experience under my belt. My list seems to revolve around achieving balance. Which, I haven’t yet learned to do with my firstborn. Here are some things I plan to try to get better at this.
1. I will put the baby down. Sometimes. Once upon a time, I thought bouncy seats and swings were for mean mommies. But you know what? We need both of our hands and a full range of motion from time to time. To feed ourselves, to tend to the needs of our other children, to wipe up that dust bunny that brings our hormonal selves to tears because we’ve been staring at it for a week with a sleeping baby in our arms. Even the fanciest slings and carriers come with limitations. Tending to other things, including, you know, basic hygiene, is part of the program. And the baby will be no less content and secure. If she is, I trust that my instincts will pick up on it. Which brings me to…
2. I will trust my instincts. I had a hard time with this one early on. Could you blame me? What did I know? First, I’d never been a mother, so it was all new territory for me. Second, my mother had passed away years before my first was born, so I didn’t have that person I felt I could call to give me the right answer every time. I relied on books, where each one contradicts the next, and instinct. In retrospect, I’ve realized that instinct usually trumped what I found in print.
This time around, I’ll acknowledge that my mothering instincts are there and in working order. We are equipped with them for a reason.
3. I won’t be so paranoid about nursing in public. More often than I’d like to admit, I left a cartful of groceries in the middle of the aisle to run out to the car, or ducked into a bedroom, or surveyed a building upon arrival to find a hidden place to nurse, or lugged around an extra 15 lbs of bottles, pumped milk and ice, or made my crying, hungry child wait for a bottle to warm. And for what? For the comfort of the few squeamish who, in my humble opinion, need to lighten up? Wow, I prioritized rude strangers’ comfort over my child’s and my own. Not cool. I can’t whine that breastfeeding isn’t the norm if I’m not willing to be a part of the change I’d like to see.
4. I will try to remember that I’m a person, too. And I shouldn’t feel guilty about passing off parent duty to the husband or a caregiver to go to that yoga class I wanted to try, or to take a hot shower, or go to an actual store to find post-partum clothes that fit (vs. buying online). True, the baby might cry. And if I’m not there, Dad or the person in charge will do their best to soothe her.
Confession: I still feel guilty if I take a shower while my toddler is awake. My husband would think this is stupid.
5. I will live in the moment. As soon as my little guy was born, I started my mental panic countdown to the day I would have to go back to my full-time job. How much time must I have wasted feeling sad about someday being apart from him when I could have been enjoying my time with him?
Although I will be able to stay home with my kids this time around, being present is just as important. Sometimes it’s hard to do the day-to-day thing mindfully in our multi-tasking, over-scheduling culture. I need to remind myself to slow down and enjoy every moment as much as one can on just a few hours of sleep here and there.
6. I won’t feel guilty when I don’t get it all done. Heck, I don’t get it all done now. I would love to be superhuman, but see #4. I’m just a plain ol’ person. Even if it doesn’t get done, it’ll all be okay. It always turns out okay.
7. I’ll ask for help. Well, I say that now, but when the time comes I probably won’t. Those who know me know that if I’ve asked for something, it’s pretty much a life-or-death emergency and they should rush to my side. Hey, I listed it, which means I’m going to try. (I hope I don’t alarm anyone.)
Maybe I should revisit this list once the baby is born…
Is there anything you would do differently?
16 thoughts on “7 resolutions for baby #2”
My son is 27months and my daughter getting close to 4 months. I agree with a lot on your list!
I found that I was naturally more relaxed with my second child, simply because I have more experience now.
I also found that I’m still weird about nursing in public (though I do it sometimes anyway). I think now, it’s harder because I have to make sure my son is with me and behaving. He’s a good guy, but he’s a toddler and busy!
You will be fine. And yes, you can put the baby in a bouncy chair while you tend to your other child or go to the bathroom or do something. They will be fine! 🙂
I’m pregnant with my second now and find myself making little pledges and promises to myself and my child(ren). I agree with so much of your list! Trusting my instincts is way up the list – I tied myself in knots reading every book I could find the first time round. My second big priority is sleep. Our first isn’t a great sleeper, and while I accept that it’s largely to do with her individual needs, I know that sometimes I haven’t helped (ie refusing to put her down even when she would quite happily have napped anywhere. Now, when I want her to nap anywhere but on me, she doesn’t like it!).
By baby 6 you might realize that it’s such a short time that babies wish to be held. Let the dust bunnies breed! Take time to stop and smell the babies!!! Do trust your instincts and enjoy.
I’m printing this out for myself to have as a reminder. I’m currently 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant with #2 and I have really been thinking about this topic a LOT! Each and every point was spot on to things I need to work on and I’m so appreciative that you were able to put how I feel into words and express it so well. Thanks!
Couldn’t agree more I’ve got a 2.5 year old and 6 week old and wow having to use the swing was a huge shift for me. I felt so much guilt over it for so long, but the fact is with a toddler around you just have to. I vow this go around to let Daddy learn how to put him to sleep. And so far I’m doing great at it, and what a relief that I don’t always have to be the one to nurse him to sleep, not that I don’t relish every time I get to, but knowing it’s a choice makes it so much more rewarding!
Ooh good post! I think I’m going to do this one on my blog as well. My list is different than yours but I can still relate to a lot of this. 4-7 ring especially true.
hmmm, my resolution was the opposite as number one… I didn’t want to feel guilty that I was hogging my baby by not letting everyone else hold him and I wanted the confidence to carry him in a carrier whenever I wanted to, not just on walks and when out. I didn’t want to feel like I should put him down. But a great list, one I could use as number second nears a year.
I have two kids, and I was definitely much more relaxed the second time around. It made parenting much easier. I think you need to go through the adjustment period when you first become a parent, to help you find your own groove. And you do it again with each baby, because they are all different little people. But it goes much more smoothly when you’ve been through it all before, and it’s quite lovely.
I will take just as many pictures of LO#2 as I did of my first.
I will make it a point to say no when I get overwhelmed. I brought out DD too much when she was little, I wont do that again…
Ooh I’m working on this too! I’m 18 weeks pregnant with #2, and mentally compiling a list of the SO many things I wish I would have done differently- like trusting my instincts!! No matter what mom-in-law and pediatrician say! My awesome, happy, thriving toddler boy is the only evidence I need that I am a GOOD mommy! It’s a shame though that AP is still so “unpopular.” It would definitely help the confidence of vulnerable new mommies not to ALWAYS hear they’re doing everything wrong!
I love it… you inspired me to think and blog of things I would do different too… don’t you love parenting?
Wow! This is exactly what I needed!
I’m only 8 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and DD is 11 months, so they’ll be about 18 months apart. I’m a stay at home mom but at times I’ve found myself getting overwhelmed easily even with just one child. Mostly because I don’t do #1, 4 and 6! Almost all of these are on my mental list of things to work on now and when baby #2 arrives. It is so great and relieving to have similar things affirmed by another real person. Thank you thank you!
It’s also great to hear from commenters that baby#2 isn’t as difficult as society makes it out to be. I know it will be challenging, of course, but it’s reassuring to know that things you learned with baby #1 will help.
My husband and I also vowed to limit visitors this time around, especially the first week or two. For DD we had tons of family from both sides at our house for the first 3 days home from the hospital and it was awful. I mean, we were so glad they got to meet and hold her, but we need to be more protective next time of the important bonding period. We’ve been waiting to see baby too! 🙂 So while we’ll let people come to the hospital and stop by for short, scheduled visits, we won’t be having any house guests, not even our parents. And I won’t feel guilty… 😉