Like many women in their mid-30’s, I have 2 small kids (ages 1 and 3), and my life is pretty much consumed by them. Was life more simple, with less crying spells, toddler tantrums, and spilled chocolate milk before they arrived? Yes! Would I trade my crazy life with them for a life with fresh folded clothes and a lack of cookie crumbs littering the floor? Of course not.
Before the arrival of my spunky Isaac, and then sweet Henry, I was obsessed with working out, reading books, new trendy restaurants, and my career as a teacher. I worked hard to get my 6-pack abs (at the time) and even harder for my Masters Degree in Education. Once Isaac was born I went through the dilemma that many new moms face over whether it made sense to go back to work full time, but the numbers said otherwise. I then made the decision to work part time in another field, and spend the majority of my time with the kids. I envisioned long walks to Starbucks in the morning with my baby, and then lazy sun-filled afternoons.
This was accurate for the most part. Isaac and I filled our days with music class, story time at the library, bright sunny parks, and nap time. He was a spunky, yet sweet baby, and I was always surprised at how he seemed wise beyond his years. We were so fortunate in that Isaac was always a good sleeper, and was actually sleeping through the night at around 6 weeks old. I remember going to bed every night feeling so grateful for my little man, and silently urging him to never grow up.
I got pregnant with Henry when Isaac was 15 months old. I remember feeling shocked, yet excited, at the notion that I would soon have two babies. How much harder could it really be with a second? (This is your moment to just laugh hysterically at my ignorance).
My pregnancy with Henry was embarrassingly easy. I was sick the first trimester, and then after that it was smooth sailing. I had no swelling, minimal weight gain, and was able to work out and stay active throughout. This is why it came as a shock to everyone when Henry decided to make his appearance a full five weeks early! I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and realized my water had broken. We left the house in a rush, and I could not have felt more guilty at having to wake up Isaac, who was sleeping like a peaceful little cherub. I think I felt most guilty at the fact that I knew his life was about to change forever. On the way to the hospital I was already mourning for those last few weeks that had gotten stolen from me and Isaac. Never again would it be just us.
True to his feisty (but also sweet) nature, Henry came with a vengeance. The doctors had no time to give me the steroid shots to make his lungs stronger, and they actually had to ask me to wait to deliver because my doctor was stuck on GA 400. The delivery was easy, and my hospital stay was short.
I arrived home just two days after Henry’s birth in tears. I was still grieving that time that I had lost with Isaac, and also sad that I had gotten robbed of my last 5 weeks of pregnancy. I knew I should be grateful for the extra time that I got to spend with my little one, but I didn’t feel ready. It also did not help that Henry was very colicky, and was not a good sleeper like his brother. To make matters worse, Isaac, who had just turned two the month before, was very jealous and not quite so gentle with his little brother. As I sat there on the couch with my two little ones in diapers I felt shock run through me at the realization that I really did have two babies.
The first few months with Henry flew by in a blur of diapers, lactation cookies, and very little sleep. We struggled to figure out why Henry had so many stomach issues and why he wasn’t growing as quickly as his brother. If I could go back in time I would have told myself to just enjoy him more as a baby and not worry over every little thing. He had stomach issues because he was a preemie, stolen from the womb a full 5 weeks early, and he didn’t sleep as well as his brother because every kid is different. Henry just wasn’t a good sleeper, and still isn’t today.
I am not going to lie- those first 6 months as a mom of two were hard. I am also going to be honest and admit that I did not enjoy every minute of it as everyone insisted. I was guilty of trying to escape through work, or through barre classes, or making lots and lots of plans on the weekends. At 3 weeks postpartum when I should have been just lying around with my newborn, I was already taking Pure Barre classes again in an effort to forget how hard it was just for an hour. People were not lying when they said having two was 10 times the work. What little free time I thought I had before was gone. My sleep life was nonexistent.
When Henry turned 6 months old something miraculous happened. He started to turn into his own little adorable person, and he and Isaac began to interact as brothers. I could finally set Henry down on the floor for him to play with Isaac without worrying that Isaac was going to pick him up and drop him. Henry developed the cutest most contagious smile that made my heart melt into smithereens. Isaac lost some of that primitive toddler jealous rage and was whispering sweet nothings into his brother’s ear. Things finally started to get easier, and I began to really enjoy my two boys and live in the moment again.
As of today, Henry just turned one, and Isaac just turned three, and I can finally say with a giant sigh of relief that I am enjoying every minute of being a mom. I am loving it so much that I have decided to stay home with my kids for the next few years and really focus on them instead of my career. Are things easy? No. My days are still filled with muddy hands being wiped on my freshly painted walls, peeing accidents in the car seat, and toddler tantrums. Am I happy and fulfilled? Yes. 🙂