After one month, I have had some time to really think about the differences between the addition of our first child as compared to our second. Prior to having our youngest daughter, I was warned that the second child is the hardest transition that a family will make. I was told that my husband and I would be put into a tailspin while trying to keep up with both. People had me scared.
Sure, everyone has their own opinions on what they feel was the hardest adjustment for their family, but quite frankly, I found the birth of our first child to be harder than anything we have gone through thus far. Now, before you start forming your opinion on my opinion, let me explain some key differences between the events surrounding both pregnancies and further our household dynamic after each child was born.
At the time my first daughter was born (see above), we had temporarily relocated to a condo while our home was being renovated. I worked full time until the day that I went into labor. I went on to go back to work full time after being at home for 10 weeks. I am a CPA, so I went back to work on December 28th (i.e. the busiest time of the year). I also continued to teach at Flywheel. That’s right, two jobs, new mom, small cramped space. As I was spending my last few weeks at home with my daughter, I was stressing over childcare, pumping breast milk reserves and fighting fatigue.
In the middle of the night, I found myself wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. We are a spontaneous, easy going couple. Prior to having kids, we liked to travel the country, post up at the bar and watch football all afternoon and we were never afraid to get up early for a gym workout. When our daughter was born, every thought of that lifestyle was thrown out the window. Our new life required planning, packing and finding a babysitter. Although, I knew that my life would change, I was not ready for it when it actually came. HUGE adjustment.
That brings us to present today. Seventeen months later (almost exactly) our second daughter was born. Prior to her being born, I had phased out of my full time job as a CPA. I was still teaching at Flywheel part time, but the stress of being away from home all day was no longer an issue. I planned to have someone come over to the house two days a week for a few hours in the morning to help watch the girls so I could do simple things. You know, take a shower, workout, take them to the grocery store with me. I was no longer worried about indefinite childcare, pumping reserves and going back to work.
I was also familiar with this whole kid thing. I had been to the hospital before. I had changed a diaper. I had been pooped on, thrown up on and up all hours of the night providing for a human being. I really knew what was coming. My husband and I also already knew how to compromise. We had already given up our days of posting at a bar all day or just picking up and going away on the weekend with little to no planning. We knew what was the most important for each of us to keep up with when our newest addition got here.
That said, the transition to having our second child seems to be a smoother transition than the first. My outlet is fitness. Whether it be a run, a ride or a strength workout. My husband is the same. I am strictly pumping bottles at this point. This gives me a chance to leave the house when I need to without feeling like I need to be back at a certain time to feed our newborn. I have left my daughters with my husband several times already while I have enjoyed a run outdoors and ride at Flywheel.
I have started planning individual time with my oldest daughter to continue to maintain our close relationship. She loves going to My Gym, playing with bubbles and garden tools in the backyard and meeting her friends for playdates.
We have also been fortunate to have my parents in town more. My oldest daughter absolutely loves my mom and dad. She will walk right out the door to get in the car with them without thinking twice when it comes to saying “bye” to me. They have embraced their relationship with both girls. They babysit and force my husband and I to go out. In fact, we had reservations at Stagioni Saturday night for dinner at 5:30 PM. I know, early. We wanted to be home in time to tuck our girls in. We got there early so we could sit at the bar and have a drink prior to being seated. Diners beware – they don’t open until 5:30PM. They watched us stand outside the door and wait. Bummer.
With one month under our belt, we are surviving. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do at this point? We are surviving with a smile on our face. There are days that I wonder what we were thinking. We are tired. I have cried, but I have smiled. I think we could do this again. Under the new circumstances of course (and a lot further apart than these two!).