Today I have a guest post from the wonderful Morna at Awesome Austerity. She has written a great post about how life really is with a second child. The decision whether to have a second child is something that plays on my mind a lot so this a great post for me personally to read and to share with you too. So here is Morna with more.
I’m Morna from Awesome Austerity. When Rachel and I discussed me posting on her lovely blog I wanted to find a topic which would fit in well with some of the themes she has explored so far. I really enjoyed reading her posts outlining her fear of postnatal anxiety with a second child and her letter to her pregnant self. I thought about how much easier I had found having a second baby and I came up with list of reasons why it is so much less difficult second time around.
1. Because having a baby is easy
Not at first of course. It was awful at first, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the most stressful and disturbing and life altering thing that could ever have happened to me. But it won’t be like that again. Having a baby is like exercising…….bear with me, this analogy will work. I took up running a few years ago. At first I couldn’t run for more than 20 minutes at a time. But I got better. Within a few months I was able to run 10km easily without stopping. Within a year I could run 10 miles. Within three I could do it whilst pushing a buggy – you see what I’ve done there?
Compared to having a toddler having a baby is easy. Babies require liquid sustenance and not to lie in their own effluent. Other than this the level of necessary input is minimal. Yes it’s nice if you can find a bit of time to wave a rattle at them but compared to your toddler who has a list of dietary requirements more complex and discerning than the master chef critics table, a thirst for knowledge to rival that of Jeremy Paxman during the University Challenge final and a desire for sartorial perfection which manifests as an unwillingness to wear anything that doesn’t feature a Disney princess or a superhero a baby is….Childs play.
2. You are used to sleep deprivation
It’s true you are. Maybe your toddler sleeps better than they used to but lie-ins following a late night? An afternoon nap? These are little but dim and distant memories. Yes the new baby probably will give you a few broken nights but don’t worry, you are a finely honed machine, capable of operating on little to no sleep – hurrah!
3. You are a master multi-tasker
You can answer questions regarding the manufacture of bricks, whilst simultaneously cooking a delicious pasta bolognaise, repairing an accidentally demolished Lego tower, painting your fingernails (badly), all the while wondering what is going to happen in Eastenders tonight whilst texting your spouse to tactfully enquire as to why they aren’t yet home. It’s not going to be difficult to change the odd nappy or prepare the occasional feed whilst you are doing these things.
4. You’ve already made the seismic shift
Do you remember how terrifying it was the first time you realised that this little human being was your responsibility? That it was up to you to meet their every need, that their life was literally in your hands? It’s exactly the same with your second child, except now you have a proven record. You have already kept one child alive and hopefully even happy for the last couple of years. Whilst the love you feel is equally as strong and overwhelming it’s simply not as terrifying as the first time. You have a job to do and the good news is you have a track record indicating that you are perfectly qualified.
5. You have assembled a kick-ass team
You know who to ask for help. Be it your mum, your partner or that friend who will come round and hold the colicky baby while you have a shower. You know where to buy nappies at 4am. You know what to do when they have a temperature at 10pm on a Sunday evening. You also have an extra helper you haven’t even thought of yet. I’ll admit at the age of 22 months Helen wasn’t that useful but every so often she would bring me the TV remote when I was marooned on the sofa or fetch more baby wipes when I was in the middle of a poo explosion. When we were stuck inside on a miserable wet day with not much to do my toddler kept me company. I’m not sure if it’s considered appropriate to leave your two your old to supervise the baby in their jumperoo whilst you go to the toilet but Helen was certainly up to the job. She still regularly informs me of Sally’s misdemeanours – admittedly often when I am trying to ignore them.
6. You know they won’t break
Sometimes you need to have a shower, or answer the phone, or walk somewhere or drive the car. Sometimes this will not be what your baby wants you to do. They will exhibit their displeasure in the only way they know how – by crying. I couldn’t cope with Helen crying, I would do almost anything to avoid it which resulted in me often not being able to shower, answer the phone, drive my car or walk my dog. With Sally I didn’t just have myself to think of, I had Helen too, and in order to meet her needs I sometimes had to postpone those of Sally. We all survived.
7. You already have no life
Sorry but it’s true. Perhaps you used to have a social life? You used to go out with friends for a drink or a meal or to the cinema. Sometimes you even used to do things spontaneously. Admit it though – that all pretty much stopped as soon as the bump turned into a baby. The huge shock of realising that your social life has disappeared can only occur once. In fact you are probably looking forward to another year of maternity leave. You’ll have an excuse to go to more ante-natal classes, you’ll make new friends and you can hang out with all your other buddies also on maternity leave. With baby number two their birth will increase your social circle rather than decrease it.
8. Babies are super portable
You really can take them anywhere, they are much more socially acceptable than dogs. Toddlers are noisy, fidgety and sometimes smelly. Babies are not that dissimilar to a large turnip really. You can easily attach them to you and carry on your daily living activities as normal. I didn’t really understand this with Helen. With Sally I attended a music festival, the fourth Twilight film, two weddings and several work meetings. I think that because she was considerably less noisy than Helen I simply assumed nobody could see or hear her.
Your first baby is a voyage into the unknown. It’s infinitely scary and of course infinitely exciting. Your second baby is different. You are different. You are an established professional parent, you know what you are doing and baby number two will know it too.
Since number two was such a breeze I can’t understand why my husband is being such a stick in the mud over number three!
To check out more great posts like this visit Morna here.