Hope this post finds you well. Today I wanted to share a post on transitioning from one to two kids. The transition is something that I reflect upon often, but have failed to put into words. It is something that has been amazing, but also challenging. Now that I am nine months into the transition and feel like I have gotten to a place of equilibrium, I wanted to share my experience in going from one to two kids. As such, this post will include:
Also, a huge shoutout to Playtex Baby™. We are happy to be in a partnership with them and are thankful they make our lives easier (especially in transitioning from one to two kids!). Below are some of the respective products we use and love. They are shown in the photos and I also refer to some in this post.
Playtex® Sipsters® Stage 3 Thomas & Friends™ | Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners
Use 3 Ways Bowl | Playtex® Toddler Utensils
Transitioning from one to two kids: What's the same?
Life is still a balancing act.
Whether you have one kid, two kids, three kids, etc., life is still a balancing act. With the first kid, you are thrown into the pits of parenthood, floundering not knowing what to do. You are running around like a chicken with your head cutoff, and life can be difficult to balance. When you have your second kid, you are a life-balancing pro. You know what to expect, you know the challenges, you know the demands, and you still have to balance them all the same. Yes, there are different kinds of challenges and there is more to balance, but because you know what you are doing, it seems like the same ole thing.
Life with two kids is still "hard".
Do you know that feeling when you have your first kid and you think that life has forever changed... and even though you are absolutely in love with your kid you realize that life is harder now? Rather than focusing solely on yourself, you are now required to manage and care for another human being. It is hard, guys! So, when you go from from one to two kids that feeling of life being hard is still the same. In fact, when you have your second kid you realize how freakin' easy it was to have only one kid.
I categorized this as something that has stayed the same because of the fact that you don't realize how much easier it was with one kid until you have your second kid. When you are in it, no matter how many kids you have, life always feels harder (than maybe it is). Now that I comprehend this phenomenon, I try and remind myself that having two kids isn't all that bad!
You will still have a strong relationship with your first/oldest.
While the relationship with your first may inherently change (and I will talk about the difficulties of this down below), the relationship with your first will remain strong and you will still feel a strong bond. The fact that your first was your first in and of itself makes that relationship special. Bringing another baby into the world doesn't change that, unless you allow it to.
I admit that I was worried that my relationship with my first would change when we had our second, and to a certain extent it did because he was no longer the only one. But, the reason it changed wasn't because of him, it was mostly because of me. I put feelings of guilt and sadness on myself. If I were to assess how it made my son feel, I'd say that he adapted quite well and still looked at me and our relationship the same. After we were able to settle into our life as a new family, I outgrew the sadness and guilt and was able to re-initiate the relationship with him in a new way and because of that, it grew stronger.
Transitioning from one to two kids: What's different?
You're day-to-day routine will change.
For me personally, I got very comfortable with my day-to-day routine with my first, and when I was about to deliver our second, the thought of giving up our routine was hard on me. I had finally hit a very sweet spot with our first baby, Lincoln, when he was about one year old to about twenty months (just before the terrible twos!), which was ironically (or probably why) I got pregnant with our second. At this point, everything sort of clicked for me as a mama, and our routine became very manageable and fun. The thought of uprooting this and changing our lives/schedules scared me. I knew that with a newborn, we would be thrown back into the hardships of schedules and the craziness of baby life.
In the first few months (maybe first three months) after delivering our second, I was lucky that I recovered quickly and was able to carry on my routine with my first as much as possible (which I highly recommend you try doing if you're able to!). I kept the same playdates, I took him to the same story-times, we took the same walks, the same outings, the same everything. That is until newborn life, sleepless nights and rigorous nap schedules started taking a toll on our "original" routine. I felt bad for Lincoln; he had to stay strapped to the house during this time. I was bummed that our schedule was forced to change.
All of this said, while our schedule did change and as difficult as it was for the first several months, we have now gotten into a new rhythm and a new sort of schedule. While it is different than our original schedule, it accommodates the two boys nicely and they are happy as can be (and so am I!).
You may be unsure if you want more kids at this point.
When I had my first, I 100% knew I wanted another kid, and I wanted him/her sooner than later. I probably started getting baby fever around 8 to 10 months postpartum. At that time, I loved being a mom and wanted to grow my little family, and fast, because I knew I wanted our kids to be close in age. Thus, when Lincoln turned one, we started trying. Boom. I got pregnant right away.
When we had our second, V, there were several moments during the newborn stage in which I told myself and made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to have anymore kids. With Lincoln (my first), I didn't have this sensation. The sleepless nights and demands of the newborn stage was hard on me. Not only that, but dividing my time, energy and attention between two kids was also very hard on me. I love being able to give my kids a lot of my attention and now with two kids, I often struggle with not being able to give them as much as I could be. Therefore, the thought of now having to give another kid attention seems unfathomable. There is a part of me that may have room for one more kid, but I certainly don't have the surety that I had with my first.
You love your kids all the same but in different ways.
This is an interesting point and one that I wasn't sure I was prepared for. In having another child, I guess I didn't realize how different they would be and how much this would impact my parenting style. Not only are the boys different in terms of their age, but they are also different in terms of their personality. What motivates one child, may not motivate another child. What makes one child laugh, may not make the other laugh. What discipline works for one child, may not work for another. This isn't good or bad, it is just different.
Transitioning from one to two kids: What has been difficult?
You're "baby" is no longer your baby/youngest, and that relationship inherently changes.
When I became pregnant with our second child, I would tell you that the idea of my relationship changing with my first (the reality that he was no longer my baby) and in actuality when it happened, was all really hard on me. Not to mention I finally came to terms with this when I was going through my first (and only) encounter with postpartum depression. It was difficult, not going to lie. I had grown to fall so deeply in love with our first and poured all of my time, energy and love into him. He was so young when I had our second that there was a part of me that wished I had had more time with him as an only child.
When we had our second, it felt like a betrayal. I struggled to find a balance and felt a major sense of guilt. Again, I think the postpartum depression and anxiety majorly contributed to this feeling. In addition to the new reality that I had not one but two children to pour my love into, when we had V, Lincoln all of the sudden grew out of his baby stage and into a two-year old. Some people told me that the older sibling would "revert" back to babyish tendencies, but in my case, Lincoln did the opposite. He grew up and matured rather quickly. While I insistently appreciated this, I also grew sad about the feeling that I had somehow lost my first baby. It was a weird sensation that I had to emotionally overcome - and that took time.
The silver lining in saying all of this is that the guilt, and possibly sadness, you feel will reside and you will reach a place in which it becomes second nature to give to both children. It is bittersweet to think, but your days with an only child will become distant. Personally, I had to mourn this maybe a little more than others. If you are struggling with these feelings, I guarantee you are not alone! (And let me add that the sadness/guilt was not because I didn't love my second baby as much as my first. I absolutely did. It was the fact that the transition now to have two kids to love rather than one was difficult for a period of time).
If the age gap between your kids is close, that may be a challenge (in the beginning).
I put this point under the "difficult" section because I feel as if I won't reap the benefits of the close age gap between my kids until they are a little bit older. As for now, the twenty-two month age gap between both kids has been challenging! First, it was difficult because again, I was sad for a period of time that I didn't have more time with my first as an only child. I wished that I had gotten a little bit more time with him, especially while he was so young. Second, the age gap is hard because I was thrown right back into the newborn stage when I had just gotten out of it. It felt as if my son transitioned from babyhood to toddlerhood, and then I was thrown right back into babyhood with our second. The days of schedules and sleepless nights seemed far behind me and then I was thrown back into it. This was hard.
While the age gap has been a challenge, I know that it will benefit my kids in the near future. As two little boys so close in age, they will be the best of friends, will have a lot in common and will be able to share in life's adventures. It may be difficult now, but it will pay dividends in the future! I am confident in this because I have talked to a majority of parents who say that this age gap is preferred (big phew). I also like the fact that my kids won't know life any other way than with a sibling. From as early as their memory's can recall, they will always know life with a little/older brother. There is something endearing about that; always having a constant companion.
You will have to share your time and attention between your kids.
Sharing my time and attention between both kids has been a tough one, as well. I think it stems from my personality; I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the best I can; I'm a bit of an over-achiever, and in motherhood, it's no different. There is so much that I want to pour into my kids. I want to pour love, attention, adoration, knowledge, healthy food, good sleep, lots of stories, etc. etc. I want to pour all of life's good and healthy things into my kids.
I was able to achieve this with one child, but when you add another kid into the mix, your ability to pour into each kid diminishes. Sorry, it does. Not only that, but it can also become overwhelming, especially if you have a high-achieving personality like myself. It is not possible to put 100% into each kid all of the time because you cannot give each kid the same attention at the same time unless you're God! You either have to group parent, aka read them stories at the same time, or pick and choose when you pour into each kid. As you pick and choose when to pour into each kid, it automatically may take away from the other. Do they care? Probably not, they are happy as can be, but it might be hard on you -- in the beginning.
As life continues and you grow used to the transition from one to two kids, this aspect will become easier. You're oldest will become (tear*) more independent and will be able to entertain himself more often. You'll have nap times with one kid that is devoted to providing the other kid with attention. Sooner or later, you'll get the hang of it and again, it'll become second nature.
You don't have as much one-on-one time with each kid.
Getting one-on-one time with each kid is uber important to me. If you think about how precious your time with your first kid was, you'll realize that a lot of that stems from the fact that it was because you were one-on-one with them, giving them 100% of your time, energy and love (to the point above). When you have two kids, you clearly don't get as much one-on-one time with your kids.
Because I value one-on-one time, I now carve it out with each kid during the week. While Lincoln is at school, I get one-on-one time with V. While V is with a nanny, I get one-on-one time with Lincoln. During this time, I am sure to focus 100% on each child. I also try and make that time special. I put away my phone and pack their favorite snacks. For Lincoln, I bring along the Playtex® Flip Top Snacker filled with organic Snackimal Crackers (his favorite)! I also pack his favorite drink, usually almond milk with cinnamon, in his favorite cup, the Playtex® Sipsters® Stage 3 Thomas & Friends™ .
All of this said, it is still hard to balance how much one-on-one time is enough, meanwhile coming up with the resources (babysitting money and time) to be able to do so. And more importantly, do your kids care? I seem to think so! Lately, what I find happening is that I spend a lot of the time with the baby and my husband spends a lot of time with Lincoln - especially on the weekends. Is this ideal? No, but it ensures that each kid has adequate attention.
You are stuck in the house and are thrown back into the baby stage (in the beginning).
Being thrown back into the newborn stage was hard on me. I think it was hard on me because I felt like I had JUST gotten passed it with Lincoln. After delivering V, just twenty-two months after Lincoln was born, I had to rewind back to the hard part that I thought was over! The newborn stage is hard at first because you have sleepless nights and are breastfeeding around the clock amongst other things. Around three months your baby starts to eat less and starts sleeping through the night, but then you are chained to the house because of nap schedules (if you're strict with schedule like me). It's tough, guys, or at least it was on me.
During this difficult phase with two young children, I was thankful in my ability to step away from the house, alone, when I needed time to recover as a mom and as a person. This was necessary for survival! I hired a nanny two days a week and either left her with breastmilk or formula, directing her to use V's favorite bottle: Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners. There was no issue with either child in my ability to take personal time for myself (and no issue with my little guy taking a bottle using the Playtex Baby™ Nurser®). I highly encourage you do this; you will be a better mom for it.
The silver lining during this stage, as hard as it is, is that the newborn phase is the sweetest ever. Even though it is freaking hard, it is freaking magical. And thank goodness for that. Some more silver lining (and also the sad part) is that it doesn't last forever. You'll get out of the strict schedules, sleepless nights, breastfeeding around the clock and your routine will normalize. I hit this point when V (my second) started napping twice a day, around seven/eight months of age.
Transitioning from one to two kids: What has been amazing?
You can enjoy the "baby" stage a little more with new perspective.
With my first, I was on edge all of the time. I was a first-time parent and had no idea what I was doing. I was nervous about everything! With the second kid, you know what you are doing. You realize how short the newborn stage is and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Additionally, you are a lot more relaxed about things because you know how resilient children are. For instance, with my first I freaked out about giving him formula. Because of this, he had a difficult time taking the bottle. With my second, I wasn't afraid of formula, In fact, I welcome it. I realized the balance that I needed and the reality that I needed time away from my children. I was able to give him the Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners which simulates a nursing sensation similar to breastfeeding. It worked like a charm. Mom was happy and baby was even happier!
Because you are more relaxed and confident in your parenting ability, you are able to enjoy the "tough" phases a little bit more. You know what to expect and you know what should be concerning and what to relax about. Most of the time, you are able to enjoy the ride a little bit more. Equally, it also gives you wise perspective on how to parent your oldest. Instead of freaking out about their attitude or the fact that they aren't potty-trained, you can see it as a phase and appreciate it for what it is, knowing that it will be over before you know it. I do love the perspective that having two kids gives me!
You get to enjoy the stages of your child's life all over again, and in a new way.
This one is bittersweet and makes me want to cry as I think about it. As parents, we all know how precious time is in watching our little ones grow. With your first baby, time is a blur; so much that you don't know what to appreciate and how much to appreciate it until it is gone. In having a second child it is as if you get another chance to enjoy the stages all over again. To the point above, you also get to enjoy those stages in a more relaxed way and with a new and unique child. In having our second, it has indefinitely made me appreciate every single freaking second of life. Not only with him, but also with Lincoln. Time is flashing by, but I am holding onto the moments as hard as I can because I know how fast the clock ticks when they are little.
You find a new "normal."
As difficult as the transition from one to two kids is, you will reach a place of equilibrium -- and when you get there, it'll be amazing! It may take some time, but I promise it'll be worth it. Again, I hit my stride at about 8 to 9 months. This is when I really felt like I had the whole two kid thing under control and we were in some sort of a cohesive routine. I'm not sure if this particular point in time (8 to 9 months) had to do with the fact that I was now out of my postpartum depression/anxiety period or the fact that my second was now on two naps a day or the fact that I forced myself to find a schedule. One way or another, all of my ultra-intense emotions started to calm down and I found a good rhythm with our family of four.
If you are freaking out, I suggest that you literally calendar out a schedule. Write down things that are important to you! What is stressing you out? What do you need to change? Do it. It'll make things go back to normal faster and you'll be able to enjoy your family tenfold.
You're love for both kids will be infinite.
People tell you that your love will multiply and expand when you have more kids. While I struggled with a variety of emotions in transitioning from one to two kids, loving each child deeply was not one of them. A child (especially your own child!) is a blessing, always. Bringing another baby into the world and introducing them into your family will generate so much love from your heart. That love is powerful beyond belief, as it was/is with your first child.
You'll love to watch your kids interact (even when they fight).
Because I have two boys and had them so close together, it took a little longer for them to start interacting. Lincoln, being a boy, wasn't really into his baby brother and was too little to really comprehend what was going on when we brought V home from the hospital. Now that V is eight months and fully coming into his own, I've had the pleasure and pure joy of seeing my kids start to interact with one another. Whether they are playing with toys, standing together, wearing the same outfits or even fighting with one another, it fills me with so much happiness in seeing them together.
One of my favorite things is seeing my older son's adoration and concern for his younger brother. Sometimes he wakes up from his nap asking where "Vancey Bear" is. Or, he'll instruct V on how to do something. Or, I'll catch him taking a toy away from V only to replace it with something else - something we taught him. I feel as if having a sibling has really sharpened my oldest in his emotional intelligence and empathy.
Your heart grows fuller.
This took me awhile to realize because again it took time for me to fully settle into the transition from one to two kids. It was difficult at first to comprehend how my heart could ever be fuller than it was with one child. For awhile, I felt as if I had to split hairs. That said, once you get through all of the emotions and life settles into a new routine, you will feel fuller (in a new way), I promise!
Playtex® Sipsters® Stage 3 Thomas & Friends™ | Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners
Use 3 Ways Bowl | Playtex® Toddler Utensils