Difference in parenting baby #1 and #2

Scarlett will be four months old soon!! Where did time go? It seemed to have gone by so much faster than time with my first born Blake.

People ask me if there is any difference in the way I parent for baby #2, and if I feel different the second time around. The answer is a definite YES. Take a look at the list below and for my brilliant mommy friends, do you feel the same way?

1). “You are a pro now!” How often do we hear that as a second time mom? Most of the time this comment comes from first time moms still trying to find their groove. The truth is: you will never be a pro!

Motherhood is the most humbling experience I’ve ever had in life. Just when you think you know what to do, you find out that you don’t. Each kid is different and there are a whole new set of challenges even though you are really good at recognizing signs of overstimulation this time around. Some old challenges do not become easier just because you have been through them. I literally feel my brain cells dying a little bit every time I have to get up in the middle of night!

2). “It must be easier the second time!” My answer to this is yes and no. Yes in the sense that you definitely are more experienced. Scarlett has the same colicky conditions caused by acid reflux as Blake, but I do know how to deal with it better hence there is a lot less crying in my house this time around. No is because she has her personality which presents new difficulties, such as how she decides to scream her head off EVERYTIME we travel by car. Car rides used to be peaceful with Blake, and it is the opposite with Scarlett. There is also the challenge that you still need to tend to your first, so when Scarlett wakes up crying the middle of the night, I may need to sooth TWO kids back to sleep after.

I’d like to think that although I may be equally clumsy, I am wiser as a mom the second time around. Here is the list of how I, parent differently, consciously and well, sometimes out of necessity.

I am definitely more relaxed.  With Blake, every little cry triggered a sprint action from me so fast you’d think his life was in danger. Over time, I learned that it is ok to leave them fuss a bit, give them a chance to self sooth, and for myself to rinse out the soap in my hair. Acid reflux, she will soon outgrow it and it is not a deadly disease. For that odd time I didn’t have enough water for her formula, using the water from Starbucks will not mess up her digestive system.

There is less adjustment to motherhood.  In a nutshell, this time around, I already accepted the fact that my own life is over for a long period of time, so I stopped waiting for the next phase to happen so I could get my life back. Motherhood IS my life now and I learned to enjoy it. Oh yeah, I also stopped wasting money on embellished fashion items that “I’ll wear when they are older”. Everything has to be machine washable, period!

I stopped researching and trying to problem solve. Childhood behaviour is not a  problem that needs a solution, so I learned. I don’t need to have a dozen doctors appointment and do the formula roulette to solve her ‘spit up’ problem, she will soon stop on her own. I will not sleep train Scarlett this time (I understand the necessity to do so for other moms though) because ‘not sleeping through the night’ is not a problem, but simply a character of babyhood. She will soon resent the fact that I am waking her up to go to daycare in the morning. Her love of napping in my wrap/carrier is her way of being close to me for this limited time, and not a ‘bad habit brewing’. She will soon become too big to be comfortable doing so. This time around, I am just letting everything BE. Strangely enough, I actually recognize how wonderful these ‘probems’ are at times and how little I am bothered by them.

Last and not the least, I am stopping to smell the roses this time! Maybe watching my first grow up makes me realize how precious, short these moments are. I am less concerned with her reaching milestones, training her to be independent and I am that much more confident that everything will be ok, naturally.

Every time I look down to see her sound-asleep-face resting on my chest in the carrier, my heart melts. I make a point to revel in her littleness and savour it when time allows, because I know all of this will quickly become fond memories of past. I just kinda wish I’d done the same with Blake!

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