(This post is part of our Real Talk with Real Moms series. Be sure to check out the other posts today from The Fresh Exchange || Sugar and Cloth || Lovely Indeed || Studio DIY || Natalie Borton || The Proper Blog || A Daily Something || The Sweetest Occasion || Parker Etc. || Oh Lovely Day|| The Life Styled || Apartment 34)
They freaking love each other so much. That's what everything else you will read in the next few paragraphs all comes down to. Of course two kids is harder than one. For me it didn't feel doubly harder, it felt exponentially harder, but the love these two have for one another supersedes everything else. They've been best friends since Ever was in the womb. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning...
It was always the plan to have a second babe... and pretty much always the plan to just have two kids. We've never been those on-the-fence-about-baby-number-three people, we pretty much always knew we wanted to have two kids. Parker always wanted a sister. She asked for her on repeat long before we had even decided to try and get pregnant again. When we found out we were having a girl and told Parker, she looked at us like why are you telling me this? I've been telling you I was going to have a sister for months now.
These two are little serendipitous sister soul mates who were always meant to have one another.
That said, it was far from a cakewalk when Ever first came on the scene. (Speaking of, you can read her crazy, insane birth story here.) Aaron started back to traveling when she was just six days old and I was at home trying to figure out how to get them both fed, bathed and asleep while also managing a job that you can't really take maternity leave from and a house project that was in it's final few months of construction. It's hard for me to write about this period of time because it sounds like I'm complaining which is really not at all how I feel, it's just that I don't think people talk about how hard having two can be. Those first few months after Ever was born were just logistically and exhaustingly difficult.
She was a decent sleeper (better than Parker had been) and a good nurser (once we got past the first week), but she hated the carseat (would scream door to door wherever we went and would never fall asleep in it) and didn't take a bottle for the first 13 months of her life. But was also the easiest, chill baby if I was close by and she wasn't in the car! And did I mention their love for each other?
Parker and Ever are 3 years and 4 months apart and I think that's some of the reason that it was so challenging at first. I was fully out of the baby stage. I had a potty trained, real live human of a child who liked to sleep in until 8:30am and I was totally beyond spoiled. We decided to move to Austin when Parker was 15 months old, moved to Austin a couple months after she turned two, and lived with my parents for the next seven months while we were building our house. Then we moved into a rental house. All of this probably pushed our timeline for baby number two back more than if we had just been living in California still, but there are actually really great things about their almost 3.5 year age difference.
Parker was so helpful with Ever. There were things that I didn't have to worry about because of her age which would have been different had she only been two or two and a half. I was worried that they wouldn't play together because of the age difference which was so silly because they play together all the time now and just adore each other!
Here are the things that saved my life once I had two kids:
- A swing. I didn't have one with Parker, but this thing saved my life with Ever. My cousin actually lent us theirs and I'll be forever grateful. She would nap in it. She would chill in it. I used it in those early months when we had a photo shoot or when I needed to make dinner, etc.
- Instacart. Dinner delivery services. Friends who bring you dinner. Literally anything that kept me from having to put my baby who hated the car seat in the car seat.
- Sleep training. I did it earlier with Ever than I did with Parker and it was a great decision for our family. I was solo parenting frequently and needed to not be a totally exhausted insane person for those two kiddos
- Ergobaby 360. I rarely wore Parker unless we were in an airport, but I wore Ever all the time. I had another kid, so I needed my hands free. A lot of times her last little cat nap of the day in those early months was in the carrier while Parker played outside with the neighbors.
- Date nights. When we got the chance, we tried to squeeze in at least 2 a month. I needed a reason to get dressed up and feel a little like my old self.
- The month that Ever was born, we had our highest traffic numbers ever on the blog. Things were going so great for the business and it was hard to step back from all of that momentum. She was 5 weeks old when we turned the corner into Q4, historically always our biggest quarter of the year. I was reminded, though, that everything doesn't just disappear when you press pause or take a step back. So much of what we hear is go harder, faster, set bigger goals, don't slow down... or else! But guess what? I had a child that I couldn't leave for a year because she wouldn't take a bottle. I had less than 10 childcare hours a week for her first year of life because I just wasn't in a place where I wanted to be away that much. And guess what? It wasn't catastrophic. Actually, the business continued to grow and 2018 was our best year yet. Whether you have one kid or five kids, I think it's important to remember that you get to be the kind of mother you want to be, not the kind of mother you think you should be. You don't have to stay home x number of hours or work x number of hours or do the thing or not do the thing. You get to decide. And maybe that's different for baby number two than it was for baby number one. It was for me.
But bottom line? THEY LOVE EACH OTHER SO FREAKING MUCH.
(This post is part of our Real Talk with Real Moms series. Be sure to check out the other posts today from The Fresh Exchange || Sugar and Cloth || Lovely Indeed || Studio DIY || Natalie Borton || The Proper Blog || A Daily Something || The Sweetest Occasion || Parker Etc. )