So technically my oldest daughter is 25 months old. She turned 2, three days after my second daughter was born. Yes, I knew having children so close together was going to be hard. Not getting a shower every day, eating when they napped, and interrupted sleep at night, were all things I expected. Just when I felt I had mastered the skill of being a Mom, another baby entered my life.
I planned on giving her all my love and attention, but I forgot one little thing. I had two now! So I learned to juggle, real quick. Multitasking was my new survival mode. I read a book to my older daughter to get her to eat 3 bites of breakfast, while I nursed my newborn. I rocked the baby to sleep, while coloring with my toddler. I cooked dinner for my family, had a mini dance party with my oldest in the kitchen and burped the youngest over my shoulder without burning anything…a miracle, really. But as challenging as that all was, it wasn’t the most difficult part for me to handle as a Mom of two. The Mom Guilt. That was the most difficult to juggle.
When I first came home with my second born from the hospital, I knew I would have some baby blues. My hormones were all over the place with my first baby, so I was ready for the water works. But the reason I cried, almost every morning for about a month, had everything to do with the Mom Guilt that weighed so heavily on my heart. My routine with my older daughter had changed. We weren’t running off to library story times every day, or visiting our toddler/mommy friends during the week anymore. I wasn’t crafting some new activity for her to try at home or planning an exciting trip to a new museum. I was at home, with a newborn glued to my arms and my toddler looking at me, saying, “Mommy sit, Mommy play”. And all I could do was cry. I felt like I couldn’t be 100% there for my daughter, because truthfully, I couldn’t. At the time, my priority had to be my newborn baby. I needed to feed her, change her and hold her all day. When I couldn’t hold my older daughter, she would scream for me. That would break my heart, every time. During the day, there was little time to get down on the ground and play with her. And that made me feel so guilty as a Mom. My relationship had definitely changed with my oldest daughter. She was no longer my baby, she was my big girl. Realizing this new dynamic was really hard for me to come to terms with. But once I had, my older daughter and I were finally able to step into these new roles that made our days together fun, productive, and somewhat sane.
At home during the week, I was outnumbered. I needed a frickin plan to get me through the day, and keep my myself afloat. I pulled out the Ergobaby carrier, strapped my youngest daughter onto my chest, and got stuff done. That carrier, is a God sent! With that thing I could clean the dishes, feed and dress my toddler, do the laundry and play many games with my oldest all before lunch time. I also took the opportunity to share the load with my toddler. When I folded laundry, I gave her the job of putting it in the basket for me. When it came time for a little sister diaper change, she was there handing me the diaper. Giving my toddler little jobs here and there, really made her feel included, and it helped me out too! Fostering independence in a 2 year old, was the greatest thing I could have done. She wanted control and power over everything, so I gave it to her in all our household duties. And as time went on, I realized that she began to play on her own more frequently, and needed my attention less and less. My baby was growing up, so that I could finally take care of my new baby.
My Mom Guilt still lives on but it is most certainly not as bad as it was in the beginning. Sometimes I wonder if I am giving my newborn enough stimulation, and sometimes I wonder if I have been neglecting my toddler. Are they learning enough? Am I enough for them? But then I see my older daughter kiss her sister on her forehead, and my little baby look up at her with a smile. And I think, well, maybe I’m not doing half bad at being a Mom of two after all.