When I found out I was pregnant, I knew life was about to get interesting. The fear of having two children and not having enough time for both were constant worries. Would I bond with the new baby the way I did with my first? Would my son feel neglected while I was caring for another child? How in the world was I going to manage maintaining my sanity when having one child felt like too much at times?
We tried to prepare J as much as we could for the incoming addition to the family. At 2-years-old, the concept was a bit beyond him, though he would place his little hands on my belly and say “baby come out.” Those words were both heartwarming and tear worthy as my thoughts would race with how he would accept such a huge change. He was already getting into his terrible threes (which I hear are worse than the twos), pushing all my buttons and trying everything he could to stake a claim on as much control as he could (the infamous “no” phase). His favorite phrase right now is “J do it,” insisting that anything and everything should be done by himself (even when it’s dangerous or outside of his ability). So, how was I going to redirect his, at times, insatiable need for control when a new baby arrives?
The days leading up to the birth had my heart breaking in two thinking that THIS would be the last time I put J down for his nap alone, just him and me. Or, the last time I play with him without an interrupting baby. The last time I would have just my J in my heart. Then, two months ago, B arrived (a week late I might add). The birth was much different than my first, but I will save those stories for later. I knew the second that B was placed on my chest that my fear of not loving him was so preposterous. Instantaneous love filled me as I snuggled this wriggling little boy with tears of joy. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life, my husband sharing the tears with me. We spent an hour just looking at each other and it was amazing to see this life we had brought into the world.
When it came time to introduce J to his new little brother, I felt guilty – guilty that I had spent an hour thinking only of B and not of my little J. In that instant, all the tantrums and power struggles I had with J seemed so silly. My beautiful, adventurous, curious and smiling little boy was all I could see, his eyes looking at his brother with a mixture of confusion and, well, disinterest. He didn’t want to really look at B (which was fine), just happy to see mama and dada after such a long time being watched by others. So, the initial meeting was uneventful, which was a good thing in my opinion!
Bringing B home was much easier than anticipated, likely because it wasn’t our first time. The worries of caring for a tiny, helpless human being may still have been there, but they were muted by previous experience with a less than easy baby. My greatest concern was adjusting to caring for two kids, though we were lucky that my husband received six weeks of paternity leave so the transition was more of an easing than a sharp change. Chris took care of J most of the time while I struggled through the initial period of breastfeeding and recovering from delivery. I felt like I was abandoning J, though I was glad that his dad got to spend some quality time with him (and I got some time to bond with B).
The six weeks passed very quickly! My first day alone with the kids was a challenge, though not as big as I had expected. J has slowly come to accept B, though he can be understandably jealous of the time spent with B (or as J says “B loud!”). However, I’m blessed to be able to stay home with J while my husband works. Although I envy the time my husband gets to do adult things away from the chaos of children, I know that having a 24/7 job to care for my child(ren) is a wonderful gift he is able to give me.
It’s been a few weeks of doing this solo while my husband works. There are definitely days when I wonder what in the world I was thinking having two children. Days when B won’t stop screaming unless I’m holding him (most days), J is pushing all of my buttons, chores are piling up, I lose myself in the day to day of caring for children and have little to no time and energy to give my husband (or myself), sleepless nights, drowning in diapers, so on and so forth. And I’ll say it again – how my mother had five kids in six years without completely going insane is beyond me.
But, then there are the good moments (or days) when everything clicks and my heart is full of these two little boys. J laughing as B starts to giggle or helping with little things while mama is busy with B. I admit that I have not mastered this thing. I have no answers. It’s early yet I guess. As B gets older and needs less of me, I know things will become easier. But for the time being, I know it’s going to be a struggle and require almost everything I’ve got to give.
That’s ok. They will only be small for a short amount of time (as anyone will constantly remind you). I’m just relieved that although some of my initial fears are true (like struggling to find time for both kids), I know that I can love them both as much as the other and not lose sight of either of them. I do miss the simpler days when it was just J and I, but the addition of B has added a way to break from the monotony of being a stay at home mom. And I am so excited for when B is big enough to play with J (who already tries to give B toys). Although it’s early days, I’m happy with both my boys and my husband at my side.