I've been thinking a lot about going from one to two kids lately, as so many of my friends are considering having, or are about to become parents to their second child. As a mom to a three year old and a nine month old, I'm far from an expert in this whole two child business, but I can say with confidence that my experience raising my second child has been nothing like my first. In so many ways, it's been easier.
When you Google "how to handle two kids" (and let's not pretend that you haven't relied on Google for something this ridiculously personal and situational) you read a lot of horror stories! And I'm not here to sugarcoat it. It's hard, it's exhausting, and it's a big adjustment. But I can also reassure you that like everything else, you adapt, it becomes your new normal, and there are some pretty great things you learn and experience along the way. To name a few reasons why I don't think it is as bad as going from 0-1...
There is less of an identity shift.
You're not completely transitioning as a person on top of being a mom to an infant, which is HARD SHIT! You're already a mom. You already know what it's like to sleep in 3 hour shifts. You've already grown accustomed to putting everyone else first. You barely remember what it was like to go "out" on a Saturday night. The whole ordeal is far less of a shock to your system as it was with #1.
You have less time to think and worry.
I'm pretty sure Lucy was 3 months old before I had my first "ask Google" panic moment. The time seriously flies by with #2 and that is great for those prone to anxiety! I spend far less time worrying if Lucy is making her developmental milestones because by the time I have a free minute to stop and think about them, she's moved on to something new.
You understand there are phases.
While the lack of sleep in those first few weeks and months is still brutal, knowing from experience that there is an end to it makes it infinitely easier!
You are kind of a pro.
Don't doubt yourself mama. You've already done the hard part of raising your first kid... There is muscle memory with the second. While each child will be different of course, the fundamentals of taking care of a baby are similar. It's just like riding a bike!
You realize you have infinite amounts of love.
When I was pregnant with Lucy, I just couldn't fathom how I could love another child as much as I love Charlie. And to be quite honest, when she was born, I didn't have the same type of love for her as I did for my walking, talking, reciprocating toddler. Yes I "loved" her, and after 24 hours of meeting her I would probably throw myself in front of a bus for her. But it took me some time to really love love her the way I did my older son. It's hard to really connect with an infant, who has not yet developed a personality. But once Lucy got older, and started to do little things like smile, or extend her arms to me, that love crushed me. And low and behold, it didn't take away from my love for Charlie, in fact, I think my heart simply grew to fully accommodate both of them.
And those moments when you catch them laughing together, or giving each other secret hugs and kisses, you might just die from happiness!