I can’t help but feel that my parenting standards have dropped, being a mom of two is harder than I thought. Khumo turned 6 months a few weeks ago and this marked a huge milestone in my life as much as in hers. I felt like I had achieved something quite significant, because it’s been a mess behind the scenes.
Between the interrupted sleep, the kids constantly exchanging germs and making each other sick, teething, fevers, homework, full-time employment, blogging and house-holding, it’s really chaotic. I feel like I’m scraping through everything in under-achiever style and I’ve had my share of meltdowns over these 6 months.
Why am I finding it hard to be a mom of two? A few things have stuck out for me:
Having two children is LITERALLY double the work:
I feel like I should have known that, because… well, it’s “obvious” after all, but the realities only dawn on you later. It’s a case of “you don’t know until you know”. You can plan all you want while expecting your second baby, but you don’t know what changes it will effect for you and your family until that baby is actually there. Keeping both of them clean, happy, fed, and alive is quite the challenge :)! I used to be the mom that was on top of everything, when it was just one 7 year old to deal with. Sadly, I’ve dropped a few balls on both ends at some point and I’ve become the mom who is 100% reliant on the reminders in the parents Whatsapp group for the activities happening at school and I’m learning to be okay with that.
When you have your second child, it doesn’t mean your original responsibilities disappear:
After the post-baby high, things quickly go back to normal. Once all the extra helpers get over your new-born and return to their own lives, you’re still left to take care of BOTH your children. It’s a big change for a mother as well as the older child too, who still needs your full attention as well as the care they needed when it was just them. I touched on this topic in my post about helping your older child adjust to your new baby. A complete mind-shift is needed here really and lots of planning; this has been one of the hardest parts for me. I usually wear my baby in a sling when I get home, so I have my hands free to cook and help my son with homework.
It’s not a copy and paste job:
Although I found the new-born stage SO much easier the second time around, I can’t predict which night my baby will keep me up or expect that the things that my son liked will work well for my daughter. I’m realising that you can’t just duplicate everything. They have their own personalities, preferences and tastes, over and above the fact that they have a 7 year age gap. Khumo started solids (you can reference my guide to introducing solids) and I thought it would make meal prep easier, but Lesedi doesn’t like veggies at the moment so I’m doing double to cooking anyway.
I have no time for myself, this time I mean it:
I felt this way when I had one child, so this feeling has deepened quite significantly since my daughter was born :). My drive to and from work is the only time I’m alone and most of that time my thought-trail isn’t about myself, but rather what I’m going to cook, what I need to pick up at the shops, how many emails I need to get through… Not good.
Disciplining my older child is more challenging:
Not sure if this is just my personality, but I often feel guilty when I have to reprimand Lesedi. It’s the strangest thing but I just feel like it’s not fair for his baby sister to get away with everything and he doesn’t. I feel like I’m showing favouritism. Argh, does the mom guilt ever end??????
The point of this post is not to complain about my children, but to highlight some of the realities of being a mom of two that I personally hadn’t considered before. I want to encourage the overwhelmed mom-of-two (or more) that may be feeling as run down and overwhelmed as me – you might be sitting there, thinking you’re not alone at this and doubting yourself.
The most important thing to me right now is that my children are healthy, growing and happy. I know that this feelings of being overwhelmed will pass once Khumo is a little bit older, or at least that’s what I tell myself when I need to calm down. I know that we will find our new normal eventually.
Despite the chaos, I am still very open to us having our third child (madness I know) and every single night, I go to bed with a heart that’s grateful and ready to give them even more love the next day.
Any other moms out there feeling the same?
Modern Zulu Mom