“Oh that'll be nice” they said. “Having babies in quick succession must make things easier in the long run”.
Whoever ‘they‘ are, must never have changed 4,775 nappies by the time their first baby turns two. Or perhaps old age has deleted some memories of tag team screaming.
We were just about adjusting to life with an 8 month old when we discovered our little surprise. Having two under two has changed my life, definitely for the better and before I’m bumped out of this unique club, I thought I’d share a few things learnt along the way.
1. Forget simple maths. Going from one, to two children is like going from one child to FIVE.
That’s five times the mess, five times the luggage you need to take with you on simple family outings, five times the washing but of course five times the fun too.
2. You find out why women are from Venus and men are from Mars.
Hormones do bad things to good people. Team that with getting up multiple times during the night to tend to not one but sometimes two children and it’s no wonder why second time parents get rage. I’m no scientist but thinking the ratio of night feeds is 10:1 in terms of woman to man. For some reason the dad’s ears don’t work as well and even shouting and a few elbow digs result in a "MEH!" response so it’s the mums that turn on survival mode. Don’t despair, this means mums have every opportunity to play the trump card in any argument. “I pushed out two of your children” is often a fave comeback of mine.
3. You feel guilty a lot of the time and its silly.
Running after a toddler is hard enough but balancing both your babies’ needs is tough work. Unfortunately, the one that shouts loudest normally gets the attention and let’s face it, that’s the oldest. I have tormented myself because I simply can’t be the same mum as I was to my first-born. Having spoken to friends in the same position, they too felt like they were letting their second baby down. In reality, being a mum second time round makes you more confident, strong and relaxed about things. You might not get to sensory classes or swimming lessons this time but your youngest will have the added benefit of constant engagement from your eldest and a mum, who although twice as busy, is way more chilled than she was.
4. It’s harder to snap back.
Your body is not your own for a long time. I was extremely fortunate first-time round and I was back in skinny jeans relatively quickly. Fast forward until after my little girl was born I wasn’t only left with a post-baby body and no energy but my hormones were all over the place and so had skin break-outs, new cellulite and horrendous hair. Not really fair is it? Good job I don’t have time to actually give a s**t. I’ve spent a fair few years being pregnant, recovering from birth, nursing, changing nappies and wet-wiping up all their snot and mess. That takes it’s toll. On the flip side, you get arms of steel.
Due to the almighty pressure on both body and mind (imagine all the tasks that are running through your mind), it’s important to set aside some ‘you time’. Have a bath, get out for a walk or buy some expensive new make up and you’ll start to feel a little more human. I’m just about ok with my new-mum bod.
5. The ‘friend for life’ and ‘you’ve got your hands full’ comments get a bit tedious.
If only I had a pound for each time I’ve heard those phrases. As I struggle with a ridiculously heavy car seat and a toddler wanting to run after a cat who has just darted across the road, the last thing I want to hear is the obvious. Nope they aren’t friends yet and my hands are indeed full so why don’t you offer to help instead? The truth is that some days are really, like really testing and you need the patience of an angel but you and your family unit adapt accordingly. Two under two may (or may not) mean that your littlies will grow up with a ready-made bestie. However, the way they make you feel when you catch a glimpse of them both in the back of the car smiling or talking to each other makes you understand that you wouldn’t have it any other way.