My Life With Kids: The Differences From 0 to 1… and 1 to 2

posted by Andrea | 04/14/2014

life with kids

When I announced I was pregnant with baby #2, EVERYONE (and I mean everyone) told me the transition from 1-2 was WAY more challenging than the transition from 0-1.

This naturally freaked me out since my transition from 0-1 was pretty traumatizing for me! I can remember many times when Nora was a baby wondering how on earth we could ever handle more than one child… but things did eventually get easier (I know, everyone tells you things will get easier and you just can’t believe them… but I promise, they WILL eventually get easier!)

However, it was still very unsettling to have mass amounts of people (friends, family, and complete strangers) telling me that the transition from 1-2 child would  most likely be even worse than my transition from 0-1 child.

Yikes! I wasn’t sure I could handle that.

Thankfully, everyone’s own personal experiences are different; and I can confidently say that after 6 weeks, the transition from 1-2 has been much easier than from 0-1.

Physically, I was in much more pain and took longer to recover after Simon’s birth. But mentally, I feel SOOOOO much better the 2nd time around — and I didn’t even need medical intervention, counseling… or a straight jacket :)

When Nora was born, I basically felt like I was “thrown under the bus” and totally misled by all the advice from friends, family, and parenting books. Obviously, people want to focus on the positives of having a baby — but seriously, no one told me just how crazy hard it was going to be. They told me how awful labor and deliver would be (mine was a breeze, by the way). But after the baby was here, everything was apparently all butterflies and rainbows.

Life with a new baby was supposedly blissful — especially with your first when you can “nap when they nap” and just take it easy. Clearly, Nora did not get the memo that she was supposed to take naps and let me have it easy!

I fumbled through my first year of motherhood with feelings of failure plaguing me at every bend in the road — but I learned SO much. And if I’m really honest, although it was absolutely awful at times, the best way for me to learn is via hands-on, real-life experience — Nora gave me plenty of that!

Nora was my guinea pig and I’m sure I made a bunch of mistakes. However, all the trials and hardships she caused me helped me become a better mother, a more knowledgable mother, a more easy-going-life-will-go-on-and-it-WILL-get-better mother.

So when Simon was born, my whole mother mentality was completely different. I was as ready as I could be, I was confident, I didn’t need to worry about every little thing or wonder if I was doing something that would mess him up for the rest of his life.

I held him, fed him, changed him, and loved him… and prayed that he would sleep! 

I also swallowed my pride and asked for help.

Since Nora is SO super-active and very high energy, I just knew I couldn’t deal with her all day AND tend to the high needs of a brand new baby. I’m sure some people could, but I couldn’t. I knew that going in… and because of that, I asked for help. Lots of help!

I didn’t necessarily ask for meals, but when our church came to me and asked if they could set up several meals for us during the 3 weeks after we came home from the hospital, I graciously accepted. And anytime someone called or emailed asking if we’d like a meal, I readily accepted.

I also took any physical help I could get. My sister lives just down the road and has a pretty flexible schedule, so she has taken Nora off my hands MANY times over the past several weeks. And my dad can completely set his own schedule, so he has been over to our house almost every weekday at some point or another. He’ll stop by for a couple hours in the morning to play with Nora… and now that the weather is warming up, they can play outside while Simon is sleeping. This means I get the house to myself for a bit — and yes, it’s amazing!

Both Dave’s and my parents live within 10-15 minutes of our house, and they take any and every opportunity to “stop by” and see Simon and Nora :) They love their grandkids and we love their help.

If we wouldn’t have had so much help while Dave was at school all day, I’m confident I would not feel so “with-it” and “on top of things” right now. Plus, with how physically sore and tired I was at the beginning, I honestly don’t know if I could have handled Nora those first few days. She’s heavy… and stubborn!

Of course, it also helps that Nora LOVES babies… especially “her” baby Simon.

This girl is just a little mother and it’s so cute to watch. Any time I feed, burp, bathe, or change Simon, she’s right there watching and learning. She now feeds her babies (both bottles and by literally sticking them under her shirt). She also wants Dave to feed her pretend bottles and then burp her (she just shouts out the word “burp” and it’s hilarious to watch!)

She is extremely protective of Simon and anytime she doesn’t see him, she worriedly asks, “Momma, where’s my brother? I need to know where he is.”

I realize everyone’s situation is different; but I for one was thrilled that the transition from 1-2 has been much easier for me — I honestly don’t think I’d be working on the blog right now if the transition was more difficult with Simon than with Nora!

What about you? What number was the hardest or easiest parenting transition for you?

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48 comments

  1. Pam

    04/14/2014

    When 0-1 rocked our world I asked a few mothers why they don’t tell you how hard it is. One honest mother at church replied, “If we told you, no one would ever have any kids” !!!!

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  2. Shawn Fore

    04/14/2014

    For me the hardest was from 3 to 4. By the time # 4 came along numbers 1 & 2 were already in school and involved in baseball, Brownies and dance lessons. Number 4 was born on Thursday evening and attended her first baseball game on Monday evening! I’m not sure if I was strong or just FOOLISH!

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  3. ShellyL

    04/14/2014

    Good for you! You deserved an easy transistion. You had your difficulty the first time. My second one was much harder. I’m not sure why, but number three was easy. I guess it’s difficult for everyone. I’m happy to read that things are going better for you this time around. Blessings to you and your family. :)

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  4. Amber Woods

    04/14/2014

    Precious picture at the bottom!

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  5. Verity

    04/14/2014

    Definitely 3-4! (My kids are 4 1/2, 3, 22m and 5m)

    First, I had to change some of my parenting approaches. They had worked great for my parents who had 2, but not well for a larger family.

    Second, I had not cracked down enough on some obedience issues with the three older ones.

    Finally, I had to minimize and remove tons of their toys clothes etc.

    Things are a lot better and I agree that the experience makes one a better mother, but it all came to a head at Christmas. We were completely in survival mode!!

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  6. Jennifer P

    04/14/2014

    I feel like the odd ball here because I didn’t have a difficult time transitioning from 0-1,1-2 or 2-3. All in the span of 4yr 4mts. I never had those overwhelming feelings, no OMG moments. I guess it goes with my laid back, easy going personality and 3 easy babies. All good sleepers (sleeping all night between the ages of 3 and 6 weeks), minimal feeding issues.

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  7. Amanda

    04/14/2014

    This does not have anything to do with transitioning from child to child, my parents live 2 miles from us. I can not imagine life without my parents help and I am always amazed at people who have kids without any family help close by.

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  8. Autumn

    04/14/2014

    I love your blog, it is the only one I read regularly. I have triplets so I don’t know the experience of 0-1, but actually I felt like 3-4 was the hardest. I had a little girl when my triplets were 1.5, and that actually seemed harder than having the triplets because they had so much energy, and needed to do things, versus a newborn who you can basically stay inside at home week after week (and we did with the triplets) and they never know the difference. I do regret spending their naps sanitizing the house though, and you definitely don’t do that by the time you have your second/fourth. Glad to hear transition has been smooth.

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  9. Mary

    04/14/2014

    Definitely 0-1! We were married 8 years before we had kids, so it was hard to adjust to not doing or going wherever we wanted whenever we wanted!

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  10. Sandra

    04/14/2014

    Andrea,

    Great to hear how things are going. You’re a “natural” at momming!

    Sandra

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  11. Kerrie

    04/14/2014

    I’m so glad to hear it was easier for you this time around! We’re about to transition from 1 to 2, also, and all of the comments about how much harder it will be has been making me nervous.

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  12. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    04/14/2014

    Going from zero kids to one was pretty tough. Life changed completely. Going from 1 to 2 didn’t seem all that hard. I mean – it was difficult at the beginning – but like you, I had some extra help and that made the transition easier. You hit the nail on the head when you said everyone’s experience is different.

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  13. Ted Olivas

    04/15/2014

    Another great post, Andrea. I really feel it’s different for everyone. The age of the kids have a lot to do with it, as well as everyone’s personal dispositions (high-need or not, etc.) My wife and I have 3 daughters ranging in age from 6 years to 6 months. This most recent transition has been the most difficult, at least from my perspective. But no less fantastic at the same time. And I’m grateful for another set of eyes to look at in wonder which cause me to forget about the chaos of the world…If only for moment.

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  14. Mandi Jayne

    04/15/2014

    It’s definitely different for each mom! For me, the hardest transition was 2-3. 1-2 was easiest for me, because I had learned how to say NO to all the advice and ideas I was given and just go with what I felt worked best for us.

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  15. Sherry L

    04/15/2014

    My transition from 0-1 was the most difficult. Not only was I young, but I didn’t have family nearby to help. Support, whether emotional or being physically present to help, is important the first few months. Babies 2, 3 and 4 were much easier to handle due to practice as well as finding confidence in myself that I wouldn’t break them!

    I’m happy to hear that your transition is going smoothly!

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  16. Pyper

    04/15/2014

    2-3 was really hard for me, but my #3 child was very difficult. I had a lot of family stress during that pregnancy, then we bought a house shortly after he was born. It was a time of great change! 4-5 was hard too, but in completely different ways.

    I’m so glad your transition this time has been better! You certainly deserve it! I was grateful that baby #4 was much easier than #3.

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  17. Courtney

    04/16/2014

    I just had to comment on Nora nursing-my daughter just turned 3 when I had my 2nd. I expected she would soon imitate me nursing, but nothing could prepare me for the sight of her walking in “nursing” her stuffed elephant. The laughter was certainly good for me!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — that’s hilarious!

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  18. Tara

    04/17/2014

    I am so glad to hear that 1-2 is easier than 0-1. I thought I would “adjust” to being a mother 3 weeks tops… 6 months later I was still trying to figure things out… at 1 year I started getting it down. Now she is 15 months old, and I feel like I am continually getting better! I have thought quite a few times, i hope getting another kid is a little easier!

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