To the Mama with a New Baby and a Toddler

Mama, this stage is hard.

This stage is overwhelming.

This stage splits you in two.

When you had your first baby, everyone probably came to help. You were up all night feeding a newborn, but at least you could rest while the baby napped during the day. At least your baby wasn’t mobile yet.

It’s funny how hard newborns seem when you have your first one, and how easy they seem when you have a toddler. Now mothering two kids means being up all night with the baby and up all day with the toddler.

I’m not here to tell you to try baby-wearing or how to do it all. Honestly, I tried to put my baby in a carrier and keep up with my toddler but it killed my back. Maybe it was the fact that my baby was huge: he reached 15 pounds within three months. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t have a name brand carrier, or that I didn’t have the straps positioned just right, but honestly I think it was just my back. I’m not super strong and I get backaches easily, so I gave up baby-wearing. I felt guilty because maybe I would have been able to help both my toddler and baby at the same time if I’d been better at it. But the truth is, there are times when the baby will cry while you help the toddler, and other times when the toddler will cry because you are helping the baby. Sometimes in those early days I wanted to scream because I couldn’t keep everyone happy all the time.

It’s hard to split yourself in two. When you had your first baby, he captured all of your love and attention, and you gave it willingly. But now, there are two little beings who you love with all your soul, and you want to give them each all of you, but you can’t. There is just one you.

If I could have taught my toddler anything to prepare him for being a big brother it would have been to teach him how to wait.

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As a mom of one I attended to his needs immediately. If he was hungry, he got a snack. Thirsty? No problem. If he wanted to play, there I was. We did everything together.

But when his brother came, he needed me, too. I remember sitting on our brown leather sofa with the recliner popped open, getting the baby situated to nurse, and then my sweet big boy asked for his milk. He was too little to open the fridge himself, but I’d just gotten the baby latched on so I couldn’t move. Remember, I wasn’t superhero, baby-wearing, nursing mom. I was exhausted and in pain still trying to heal from childbirth. I told my sweet almost two-year-old boy to wait and I’d get his milk later. Then came the biggest meltdown of his life. I felt so bad in that moment, so split and torn. But what I learned was that my toddler was okay. He learned how to wait. He learned that he wasn’t the center of the universe, and it made him a much better person.

So what I want you to know, new mama of two, is this: It’s okay that you can’t do it all. It’s okay that sometimes your toddler has to wait and sometimes your baby has to wait. It’s okay if you aren’t cooking from scratch. It’s okay if you need a shower and they have to wait. It’s okay if you need to wash some dishes and they have to wait. Even in the waiting you are teaching them and loving them well. So hang in there sweet mama, you can do this. You are not alone. And I can promise you it does get better.

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