I always knew I wanted 3 kids. I came from a family of 3 and have a sister and a brother. I wanted two girls and a boy, in that order. So far, I’m on track and have 2 girls! What I did not know, was how much harder it would be. I got into a groove with having just one child and knew when I would have an opportunity to take a moment to myself to get things done; whether that was housework, working out, prepping meals, blogging, etc. There was somewhat more of a schedule…most of the time.
Aria, my oldest daughter, was 18 months old when we found out we were pregnant with baby #2. My 1st pregnancy seemed much easier as I could nap when I was tired but this time around, I had nausea and fatigue plus I had to keep up with a very active toddler. She was too young to understand what was happening and that another baby was on the way. The 2nd pregnancy was much more difficult and my husband ended up cooking most of our meals (very out of the ordinary) in the evening because I was so tired plus I had an aversion to smells and handling raw meat. He also had to take on bath time because of my growing tummy, a lot more chores plus cleaning up the toys each night (Bless that man!).
Aria was almost 26 months old when our second daughter Avery was born. There was an immediate change in my sweet 2 year old. She went from getting all the attention from me and others to now having to share with another child. Her entire world had been flipped upside down. I have to hold Avery a lot because I’m breastfeeding and that caused a lot of stress for Aria. She started being aggressive at school with biting and hitting (I assume to get negative attention) and at home was constantly throwing temper tantrums and having to sit in time-out. (Do all parents go through this “phase”?) It was very frustrating and she seemed so hurt by me. It was a tough time for the first 2-3 months. Dealing with a misbehaving toddler constantly testing their boundaries, while you’re holding a newborn and never have both hands available, covered in spit-up (or poop), sleep-deprived and the house is a mess is a recipe for disaster. Even learning how to manage out in public alone with 2 pint sized humans that don’t listen is an adjustment! I tried to remember that this was only temporary and that it was a phase, but it was extremely tough. Around the time Avery was 3-3.5 months old, I started seeing big changes in Aria for the better. She now wants to help a lot more, hold her and just seems better adjusted and has accepted that Avery isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Aria is now two and half and Avery is almost 5 months.
I try my best to not hold Avery all the time, unless she needs to eat or is crying so that I can give Aria more one on one, hands-on attention. I’ve also learned that someone will have to wait; whether it’s one of two crying kids, my husband or my dog. I only have two hands. I’ve also implemented Mommy/Daughter dates where Aria and I go alone to do something fun together and I know it’s helped to make a difference.
I know that all children react differently to situations. This was just my personal experience with having two, 26 months apart. I still want a 3rd child, but sometimes when the going gets tough, I question it. I think if we can manage to make the age gap closer to 2.5-3 years apart, it “might” be easier. I’m still trying to come up for air and learn how to prioritize with my new situation. We’re all getting there! I’m learning that we can’t always be on time, we can’t say yes to everything and I can’t do it all – which is hard, because I WANT to do it all! The learning curve of being a mom of 2 is still in full swing in my household. I am grateful for my wonderful husband and the great support system I have around me from the moms of East Orlando Moms RUN This Town and Baby Boot Camp Orlando. No one said it would be easy…but they did say it would be worth it!