With the first child we are often caught off guard; no matter how well prepared we think we are, or how many books we have read. With the second child, the situation is rather different. Being a mom (and dad) for the second time is just much easier, funnier and more relaxed.
There is no need to note everything
I remember that I paid strict attention to all the hours of breastfeeding, diaper changes and the number of hours of sleep afterwards. I desperately tried to find a routine. I knew that a baby had no perfect rhythm, but I clung to anything that seemed consistent. I was happy during those days when the baby slept for hours. Still, I knew that this regularity could shatter at any time and it put too much pressure on me. After my second child was born, I lived more peacefully, because I accepted that things work like that.
This is something I stressed over with my firstborn. I was obsessed with what kind of food to give her; when to try using a spoon, should I put a bit of salt or not, and so on. My baby didn’t really enjoy her food and it drove me crazy. I could have used a good blender or something like that. There wasn’t as nearly as much pressure with my second girl. At the age of one, she wanted to eat like us, so I let her.
I stopped helping with the process of learning to sit and walk
I did everything I could to help my oldest girl learn to sit, move and walk. I used to put the seat against cushions for her to learn on and sit up. I know today that a child remains seated in the natural position and that this shouldn’t be forced. Before sitting, the child learns to turn over, to recover, and then to sit straight. With this order, muscles develop properly. My girl was so frustrated at not being able to move on her own. When it came to walking, I trained her for days to stand up, sit down then move. When she was ready, she started walking. Having known this, I encouraged individual effort with my second (and my third, later on). I didn’t help them by holding their arms in the air (a position that is unnatural for walking). Nor did I allow them to use a walker, because it does not teach children how to keep their balance by allowing them to fall without getting hurt.
Asking for help is more than OK
When I became a mother for the first time, I thought that I had to do everything by myself; that it was my duty. I wasn’t so foolish when my second girl was born. I asked for help every time I could, and I even hired house help for some period of time. Things became a lot more manageable then, even with two children around.
Children need to experience real fun
When I look back, I feel really bad for being so strict and cautious with my oldest daughter. I was always afraid that something would cause her trauma; that she would develop a fear of Santa, noise, or crowds. I even restricted parties for her birthday, New Years, and Halloween. Well, she taught me that children are a lot more resilient. That is why I now try to organize fun parties for my girls, with costumes, superhero animators, balloons and all kinds of fun and games for them to enjoy.
In my experience, you can relax a little with the second child, and stop facing everything with such intensity and nervousness. It is also true that you have more work with two children and perhaps you will not pay much attention to detail as you did with the first. I have a friend who says that the second child is a ‘survivor’ because it has to grow up with less attention than the first one. However, being a proud mom of three beautiful girls who I absolutely adore, I strongly disagree. Children do not have to do everything the same way just because they are siblings, and each of them deserves my unconditional love equally.
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and planning awesome parties with Superheroes . Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” You can find her on Facebook.