When I found out that I was pregnant with my first little guy, I was completely elated. I’m not going to lie, it was difficult to transition into my new role in life, but within a few months, me and my little guy were well-acquainted and I was rocking mommyhood (at least I’d like to think so!)
A few years passed, and while I was totally loving the toddler years (most of the time) with my firstborn, I found myself yearning for another little one. I always wanted more than one child, and I definitely didn’t want an only child (I know there’s nothing wrong with only children, but I wanted more than one).
When I found out I was expecting baby #2, I counted my blessings and was super excited; but I’m not going to lie: I was also a little bit scared. How would I manage more than one child? How could I juggle being a work-at-home mom with two little ones at my feet? How would we afford it? Would we have enough space? Would the routine I worked so hard to establish with baby #1 be squashed? Would baby #1 resent his brother or sister, or mommy and daddy?
But when my second little one arrived, I instantly found out that it was a lot easier than I expected it to be; for the most part. However, I won't sugarcoat it and say that it’s all sunshine and rainbows, because the second-born can definitely be harder than the first. So, moms who are having or thinking about having a second child, here’s my two cents on how baby #2 is so much easier than baby #1 (and how he’s harder, too!)
20 It’s Not Your First Rodeo
The reason why baby #2 is easier than baby #1 is simply because of the fact that you have experience behind you. It’s not your first rodeo; you already know that mommyhood is kind of like a bucking horse and you’ve figured out ways to navigate it. With the firstborn, no matter how prepared you think you are, you have absolutely no idea how much your world is going to change until you’re actually in it. With the second, you’re already in the mommy world, so you know full well how drastically your life changes with a little one in tow.
19 Labor and Delivery isn’t as big a deal
As a first-time mom, labor and delivery is one of the scariest things ever. At least for me, it was. Even though I did tons of research and spoke to dozens of moms, I was still nervous as all get-out. But with baby #2, labor and delivery wasn’t really a big deal. I mean, of course, it was a totally unique experience, but I knew what to expect, which made it a whole lot easier. I wasn’t panic-stricken the entire pregnancy, and when labor started, I actually knew what was going on; not like the first time around, when I thought every little twinge of pain as I approached my 40th week was a sign of labor.
18 Feeding? You’ve Got This!
For me, one of the hardest things about being a first-time mom was trying to figure out feeding. I totally didn’t expect it to be such a challenge, but a challenge it was! The breastfeeding and pumping battles, supplementing with formula, trying to determine if he was eating enough… It was so darn hard, and I definitely shed more than a few tears. It took a few months to get it all sorted out. But with my second little guy, I was well-versed with feeding that it came so naturally. It was pretty much a no-muss, no-fuss situation. I was so relieved!
17 You’re More Confident
I was always confident in my abilities as a mother before I had children (before is the operative word in that sentence). As soon as we came home with my firstborn, my confidence waned, and it continued to do so for quite a while, if I’m being honest. The realization that I was completely and totally responsible for keeping this tiny little being alive hit me square in the face, and it definitely shook me. Navigating mommyhood was definitely hard. But with my second, I was WAY more confident. I knew what to expect, and I knew how to care for a newborn, an infant, and a toddler, so I definitely felt more sure of myself.
16 Baths Won’t Freak You Out
I don’t know about anyone else, but I was a little paranoid about bath time with my first baby. Even though I read books, took a class, and assisted with giving other babies baths, I was a bit petrified when it came to me own. The first few times I gave him a bath, I had to have an army of people around me (well, at least my husband and/or my own mother). What if the water was too hot? What if he slipped? What if soap got in his eyes? With my second guy, bath time was a no-brainer! In fact, the only reason why I even asked my hubby to be nearby was so that he could experience his second son’s first bath and take pictures. Otherwise, my baby and I were totally fine on our own.
15 You’ll be Fully Prepared for the Long Nights
OK, maybe not fully prepared because there’s nothing that can really prepare you for those nights when you experience when you’re a mom; but, it won’t take you completely off-guard. With my first, I knew that I was going to be up a lot at night, but I didn’t realize just how much I was going to be up. Between feedings, diaper changes, settling him down, and my mind racing when he finally did fall asleep, the sleepless nights pretty much flabbergasted me. With baby #2, I already knew that I was going to be up for hours on end at night, and while I was completely exhausted, I wasn’t as shocked by the long nights and lack of sleep.
14 You Aren't as Paranoid
As a first-time mom, I freaked out over every little cough, sniffle, cry, and weird, contorted expression my baby made. I had the doctor on speed dial and frequented his office. I was so paranoid that I was going to hurt him or worse! About 99.9% of the times that I called the doctor with an “emergency”, I was told that everything was just fine.
With the second baby, you definitely aren’t nearly as paranoid. You know that babies make weird noises, and that a little sniffle is nothing to worry about. Since you aren’t as freaked-out and on edge, you get the chance to enjoy those fleeting baby days so much more.
13 You’re Not Afraid to Ask for Help
I consider myself a very independent woman. As such, I like to try to handle everything on my own. With my first baby, it took me a while to realize that I really needed to ask for help. In fact, it wasn’t until I was sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor sobbing because I was so utterly exhausted with trying to manage the baby, the house, working, and everything else that I finally broke down and asked for help. Silly, I know.
With baby #2, I didn’t refuse the offers for help that my friends and family made; in fact, I not only accepted their offers, but I came right out and asked for assistance before they could even ask! It takes a village, right?
12 You’re Prepared in Advance
With baby #1, I didn’t know what the heck to expect. I mean, I knew what babies were like, but I had no idea what it life with a baby would actually be like. Even though I read tons of literature, spoke to lots of moms, and have some experience with newborns, nothing prepared me for what living with – and being completely responsible for – a baby would be like. Not gonna lie: I often felt like I was totally unprepared.
The second time around, I was way more prepared; after all, I was a veteran mom. Blowout diapers? Projectile vomit? Yep. I’d been there, done that before, and I was totally prepared when these calamities arose.
11 You Aren’t as Hard on Yourself
Mom guilt is a real thing, and with my first child, I found that I felt guilty all the time. I felt guilty when I let him cry while I took a shower, when I missed him rolling over for the first time, when I said that I just needed a break and wanted alone time… I really beat myself up a lot. But with by the time the second baby came around, I realized that I had to let go of that mom guilt. Yes, I definitely still do feel guilty about things, but nowhere near as bad as I did the first time around. I realized that I’m a human and I have needs, and that I can’t be in 80 places at the same time, so I let go of a lot of the guilt that I carried around with the first baby.
10 You’re Outnumbered
While there are plenty of ways that baby #2 is easier, it’s not always such a cakewalk. There are definitely ways that the second baby is much harder than the first. For starters, when the second one comes along, you’re outnumbered, and that can be super hard to get adjusted to.
While it’s true that I had the help of my husband and my amazing village (my parents and sister), they weren’t around all the time. I am a work-at-home mom and 90% of the time, I’m by myself with the two kids. Trying to meet the needs of a newborn AND a toddler at the same time can be super demanding. At times, you feel like they are turning on you and that you have lost all control!
9 Lack of Sleep x 2
So, I know I said that you’ll be prepared for those long nights when the second baby comes along, but I didn’t say that it was going to be fun. If you thought that you were tired with one child, just wait until you have two! Your toddler wakes up for the day and is raring to go just as you got the baby down after that early morning feeding. All you want to do is crawl back into bed or take a nap, but you can’t, because you have another child to take care of. If you’re lucky, your first will still be taking naps and maybe, just maybe, you can get both to nap at the same time so that you can squeeze in much-needed snooze yourself.
8 Baby #2 Tries to Keep Up with Baby #1
I don’t know if this is true for all second children, but with my kiddo, it definitely is. And I’ve witnessed it with other second children, so there must be some truth to it. My first child didn’t start walking until right around his first birthday, and when he did, he wobbled about, taking slow steps until he was sure of himself. My second child? – He started walking at about 9 months, and he went from taking his first steps to sprinting within a matter of hours. I kid you not! I swear he walked so early because he was trying to keep up with his big brother.
That’s just one example of how baby #2 will try to keep up with baby #1. He is always following right behind my firstborn and mimicking his every move. Yes, it’s adorable, but it’s also downright exhausting when a child is trying to do the same things that someone who is 4 years his senior is doing. I don’t think I have sat for longer than a 10-minute stretch since my second-born started walking – and now, he’s almost 5!
7 Time is a MAJOR Obstacle
Ever since I had my second child, time has been a serious issue in that there never seems to be enough of it. With my first, I was able to sit down and do arts and crafts projects, play without interruption, and just spend more time with him. With my second one, I feel like there is absolutely no time at all! I mean, I try my best to squeeze in as much quality bonding time with him, but trying to split my time between two kids, my husband, work, errands, chores, and the billion other things that have to get done throughout the day, I really feel like time has become a major challenge.
6 Relationship Strain
I’m going to be honest: having just one child can put a strain on your relationships; especially with your significant other. I’m not making it up either; I’ve read dozens of reports that say the same thing. It’s really hard to transition from being a party of 2 to a party of 3; and even harder to transition to a party of 4!
The lack of sleep and time, the demands on schedules, all the responsibilities, and just trying to juggle to little ones can really make it feel like you and your partner are strangers passing through the night. Add to that all the differences of opinion, and well, it’s no wonder why baby #2 puts even more strain on your relationship.
5 The House Becomes a mess
Not to toot my own horn, but before I had kids, my house was pretty immaculate. One day a week was dedicated to cleaning it from top to bottom, and at the end of each day, I did touch-ups to keep things in order. When the first baby came along, it wasn’t as neat and in order, but I still dedicated one day a week to a deep cleaning and every day, we cleaned up his toys and put them where they belong. Once baby #2 arrived, that definitely changed! Trying to find the time to even vacuum was nearly impossible! And forget about putting things away where they belong; toys get tossed into any bin I can find. In other words, I feel like my house is a shambles since I had my second baby!
4 Trouble Abounds
For me, my second-born child is much more of a troublemaker than the first. Maybe the word “troublemaker” isn’t the right word to use, because he doesn’t mean to cause trouble; he really is the sweetest and kindest little boy. But, he does get into a lot more trouble than my first. From making messes to just not listening, I feel like he is always getting into trouble.
Turns out there’s a good reason for that: studies confirm that second-born children are more likely to get into trouble than firstborns. The reason? – It’s simply because they don’t get as much attention as the first child. I hate to admit it, but it’s true; while I try my best to give my second baby as much attention as I gave my first, it just wasn’t/isn’t possible. While my first doesn’t get as much attention as he did when he was an only child, he had almost 4 years of undivided attention from me, his dad, his grandparents, his aunts and uncles; something my second never had.
3 Going Back to Babyhood is Tough
I love babies. I really do. There is nothing better than that sweet, toothless smile; the coos; listening to that soft breath, feeling the weight on your chest, and smelling that intoxicating aroma of a baby as he naps on your chest. Babies are amazing! But, with that said, it’s really hard to go back to babyhood when you have an older child. The diapers; the late night feedings; the lack of sleep; just when you feel like you are starting to get some of your independence back because your older child is more independent, you’re thrown right back into the demands of babyhood – with an older child to care for, too! It’s tough!
2 The Breaks are Few
With two kids in the mix, the opportunities for mom to get a break are few and far between. In fact, I can’t tell you the last time that I slept in. Actually, it was the other day, but it was until 7am! That’s what I’m talking about; 7am is not sleeping in, and it’s sad that I think it is!
I’m always on! Once I take care of all the stuff one child needs, I have to take care of everything the other child needs; it feels like I’m constantly doing this juggling act, and it’s exhausting, and at times, it’s very overwhelming.
1 Mom Guilt: It’s Real!
Moms have this horrible habit of feeling guilty. Even though our kids are the center of our universe, we still feel like we aren’t doing enough for them. And unfortunately, you feel that mom guilt way more with baby #2 than you do with baby #1; at least I did (and still do!)
Why do I feel guilty? Because I just don’t have the time to spend with him like I did with my firstborn when he was an only child. Because I’m tired all the time. Because I let him watch way too much TV. Because there isn’t enough of me to go around! That mom guilt can eat you up inside; but if there’s one good thing about that guilt it’s that whenever I start to feel it hit really hard, I stop everything I’m doing and make sure that I spend some quality, one-on-one time with baby #2.