There should be a mandatory test to have two children under the age of two. It would involve wrestling an alligator (changing a toddler’s diaper), after drinking a bottle of wine (sleep deprivation delirium), while balancing a book on your head (holding a newborn), and not showering for 2 days (no cool reference, just not showering for 2 days). THIS. IS. HARD. I am constantly reminding myself that this new season of life is short, and although incredibly challenging sometimes (read: Audrey’s tantrums) it goes fast.
Truthfully, I can’t complain. Maxwell is only 4 weeks old and still in that very new newborn stage of life where all he is doing is sleeping, pooping, eating, and back to sleeping. We have been blessed with a unicorn baby so far and that has been a breath of fresh air. He is the calmest little soul I have ever laid eyes on. So the majority of the time it’s been learning to balance Audrey with his schedule. We’ve been doing things a bit different this time around and I thought I’d share.
With Audrey we did the free spirit, crunchy, let the baby choose the schedule schpeal. FAIL. This is a tried and true method for some parents and children. NOT Audrey. It was an epic fail for us and I wish I would have put her on a schedule earlier. This time around, we vowed we would be “those” parents from day 1. I promised myself we would include Maxwell into our already established routine and form a schedule early on with him. It’s working!! Maxwell has meshed nicely into Audrey’s established wake time, nap time, bedtime. I am hoping we can keep this up because both kids napping at noon and bedtime at 7 is working nicely for this Mama. We’ve been using the Baby Wise schedule with Maxwell and although I know if you Google “Baby Wise” you’ll find thousands of articles bashing it…it’s working for us.
With Audrey I was terrified to leave the house and hunkered down for awhile. With Maxwell, hiding out in the house isn’t possible because #1 it isn’t healthy and #2 we have a toddler who has a routine and needs to have social interaction. Within limits, we’ve maintained our normal lifestyle of getting out and about and trying to keep up our norm for Audrey. We’ve been blessed to have Jamari home this entire time and have a plush paternity leave so we’ve been trying to take advantage of that time and do fun things for Audrey and Maxwell just tags along. I think us getting out of the house has helped me tremendously in adjusting to two children so I don’t get stir crazy in the house. Full disclosure though, I haven’t attempted going out solo with both kids. That will happen this week…pray for me. For all the Moms I previously judged for having their newborns out and about before I had kids, I am sorry. I am not sure why people expect you to hibernate after having a baby, but personally my hibernation with Audrey was detrimental to my mental health and being out is much healthier.
Less is More
I had SO much baby gear when it came to newborn Audrey. Lesson learned was that very little of said gear was ever used and it was ridiculous. With Maxwell I am relying on very little and it is working out much better. These little humans really don’t need much and I wish I hadn’t purchased every “must have” item on every list I searched on Pinterest with Audrey. When I mean we are working with limited items, I mean we pull our stroller/bassinet into the living room and that is his “crib” while downstairs. He takes all his naps there, it’s safe from Audrey and Kingston, it required no extra purchase since we already had it for Audrey, and I am ready for a walk at a moments notice (HAHA, like I go walking). I didn’t even purchase new blankets and you can find Maxwell swaddled in lots of purple and pink blankets being recycled from Audrey.
I am a fed is best motto Mama. Audrey was formula fed and Maxwell is being breastfed. I have zero passionate connection to either and don’t care to debate if one is better because the only strong feeling I have is that as long as the baby is fed…you’re doing your job. I am breastfeeding Maxwell this time around for a few reasons; it’s easier to do with a toddler running around, it’s working out for us this time around, and it is saving us money because formula is ridiculously expensive. We plan to transition him to formula eventually but 4 weeks in this has been the easier solution for us.
This isn’t my first rodeo and it feels good knowing that. I am more confident as a parent and my abilities. Being totally honest, I have no clue what I am doing as a parent most times and am completely winging this, I am confident that I know Audrey and I am doing what is best for her most times. Jamari and I know our strengths and weaknesses as parents so we don’t bicker with each other with expectations of one another. Everyone told us that with the second child you feel more confident which makes it easier and that is the truth. To a degree, we know what to expect and even if something random pops up; we know it isn’t the end of the world. Maxwell currently has jaundice and although something we aren’t familiar with, we didn’t panic and freak out like we would have the first time around. We just flow with it. I think this comes with knowing you managed to keep another human (other than yourself) alive previously that you suddenly gain a confidence that you can' handle pretty much anything that comes at you. Except vomit. I can’t handle vomit…still.
The past 4 weeks have been completely different for both Jamari and I than our first 4 weeks with Audrey. Emotionally, I am handling this postpartum period much better and healthier. Physically, I bounced back quicker although you don’t have much of a choice when you have another little person relying on you. Spiritually, I am praying for more patience than i ever had before but reminding myself this is a season of life that I will someday miss but until that day I am eternally grateful for routine and bedtime. Jamari and I realize that some days will be more challenging than others but at the end of each day, we are beyond blessed to have each other, two healthy children, and a cabinet full of wine.