As a working mom of one I was stressed out and stretched to the limit, so how is adding a new baby resulted in less stress and more happiness? Read on to discover what I found so different (and great!) about being a second time mom.
You are in no rush.
With my first baby, I was eager to check off every milestone, always thinking of what’s coming next (“Ok, great, he can lift his head up 45 degrees now when on stomach, but for the next month we have to work on getting him to lift it up 90 degrees!”). With your second child, you are in no rush. You know they are going to grasp a rattle, sit up, walk, utter their first “NO” and throw their first broccoli in your face. You can’t stop them. You don’t need to “develop” them. You are enjoying your baby here and now and your baby feeds on that, filling up with your confidence and calmness.
You have (hopefully) learned self-care and how to ask for help.
My second pregnancy and delivery (at 34) took a much bigger toll on my body than the first one. The recovery was slow, I had lots of aches and pains, and recurring back issues. And every morning I had to put on a bright smile and hide my pains from my four year old so that he doesn’t think that the baby “broke his mommy”. So no more waking up to stare at the baby breathing, no more two-hour rocking sessions, no more forgetting to eat or drink. In goes the pacifier, white noise machine, rocking chair and a night stand stocked with bottles of water, nut mix and dark chocolate bars.
You allow your husband to take care of the baby.
With my first one, I would hand the baby over to my husband only to run back in the room 2 minutes later to check on what he is doing and offer (unwelcome) instructions on what he should be doing instead. Nowadays, I hand the baby over with a simple “milk is in the fridge if he gets hungry” and then go on with my day. As a result, my husband is a much more confident parent and the baby is very happy being around him.
You are spared the advice.
You are not a clueless new mom anymore, and people pick up on that. The doctor talks to you differently. The public health nurse does not lecture you on the benefits of breastfeeding. The elders in your life can see that your first born is turning out ok (despite some of your outrageous parenting decisions), so they back off on the lecturing and tone down the advice. In fact, people actually start asking YOU for advice and inviting you to share your experience, which is a nice change and goes a long way in building up your confidence.
You get to hit a pause button on your career (again) and figure out what works for your family.
After my first maternity leave, I felt ready to get back to work. I had just been promoted to my first ever manager role and was excited about the new responsibilities. I did my best to find a good balance, but it was insanely hard. I felt like I was failing at everything. When you are in this “survival” mode, it is hard to think straight and find new solutions. Looking for another job, or another childcare arrangement, or setting up home based business are all out of the question when you do not have the time to research the options or the space in your brain to think them through.
Being a first time mom is the hardest and scariest thing ever, but there is a reason why people choose to do it over (and over) again. As your confidence rises, the level of anxiety drops and you get to enjoy and appreciate your parenting journey that much more.
To find out more about The Manager Mom, read our interview.
Feature photo by World’s Direction