Welcome a new little one into our family has brought more joy than I ever could have imagined, and more tears than I could have imagined, too ;). For me, transitioning from one to two children was (and still is) challenging. With one child, I was still able to hold onto a bit of my freedom, my sense of self. I could multi-task like no other; clean the house while playing hide and seek while cooking dinner while doing my makeup. Just kidding, I wouldn’t do that much, but you get the drift. Then, our precious Fields came along, and the amount I was able to accomplish in a day became… FEED THE LITTLE PEOPLE AND KEEP EVERYONE ALIVE. And maybe get them dressed…maybe.
Those first few weeks with two are SUCH a blur. If I didn’t have picture documentation, I might not believe it even happened!
I also found myself beating myself for not meeting my own unrealistic expectations and truly experiencing mommy guilt for the first time. I felt guilty the laundry wasn’t done. I felt guilty because I couldn’t give Piper all the attention she needed when I was nursing around the clock or calming a fussy baby. I felt guilty when Fields was being left to cry on his mat when I’m in the bathroom with Piper trying for a potty training breakthrough. Guilt, guilt, guilt. It was all over. Scofield started talking me through mantras when he got home from work every night, ha. “Did you feed them?” “Yes.” “Are they alive?” “Yes.” “Great, you’re doing perfect! You’re the best mom there is!” He’s a keeper, that one ;)
Now Fields is almost 4 months old, sleeping, cooing, smiling and giggling, and I’m starting to feel like I can breathe again. It’s as if his little smiles are saying “You’re doing amazing, mom. I’m so thankful for all the late night feedings and diaper changes and pumping and songs and lullabies and baths and walks and kisses. I love you.” At least that what I tell myself he’s thinking.
So anyway, here are a few things that helped me get through the fourth trimester and transitioning to life with two little babes…
1. Don’t go at it alone
Have someone to talk to. Have other moms in the same season on speed dial. Older, seasoned women on speed dial. Your mama on speed dial. Cry to your spouse every night if you have to! Just talking through it, knowing these steps have been walked before, and getting a good cry in can make all the difference.
2. Create a meal train
The best thing my friends did for us was to set up a meal train for people to sign up to bring meals. It was so helpful to not have to worry about dinner the first 6 weeks after Fields was home. We were able to rest and recover and focus on our new routine and transition.
3. Get out of the house .. everyday if you can!
At first, this just looked like sitting on the front porch and blowing bubbles and playing with sidewalk chalk. When Fields was about five weeks old, I ventured to the grocery store for the first time with both kids…and to my total surprise, we all survived! I was so overwhelmed at the thought of errands with two kids, but now that we are getting into more of a groove, it continues to get easier and easier. Generally, I’ll wear Fields with my solly baby wrap and push Piper in the grocery cart. OR, if we’re just picking up a few things, I’ll put Fields’ car seat in the grocery cart and let Piper sit in the toddler seat. Strolling home goods this way, with a coffee in my hand, while Piper watched Peppa Pig on my phone and Fields slept in his carseat was my saving grace those first few months.
4. Take care of yourself
It’s easy to feel like you’ve lost yourself in the chaos of motherhood. Which, honestly, I think is a beautiful picture of the gospel. I’ve found that when I give up myself, my body, my plans, my schedule, my life to care for my little people, I really feel like my life takes on purpose. In many ways, I feel like I’ve found myself. But, there are definitely moments where I feel like I’ll never be able to claw my way out of the exhaustion…and that’s when I know it’s time for a little ‘me time.’ Early on, this looked like a bath and a face mask. Lately, it’s looked like a 20 minute run ON MY OWN, while listening to a podcast. It’s also looked like a facial, a manicure, a pedicure, or a massage. Treat yo’self, girl!
5. Hire Help
I love hiring someone to come clean the house about a week before my due date, and then again a few weeks after the baby, since the last thing you’ll find me doing those first few weeks is vacuuming and mopping ;). Also on my list of help to hire is Terminix! When you are home with a fresh baby and a toddler who gets into everything, the last thing you want to worry about are pests, wildlife, or bugs that are threatening your space and making it feel unsafe. Trust me on this one…we had a mouse and I thought I was going to DIE of anxiety about it! And even though this isn’t a fancy topic, it’s just a reality of home ownership. Having some home inspection and maintenance with Terminix before baby comes can make a world of difference in your peace of mind after the baby is here!
This motherhood gig isn’t perfect. It’s surrounded by messes and tantrums and sleep regressions. But it’s also surrounded by love, and giggles, and cuddles, and games of hide and seek, and dance parties, and kisses, and “nosies,” and i love you’s, and i missed you’s, and “what was life before you!?.” Motherhood is some messy magic, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. These two little babies, that grew inside of me and are now on the outside in the world … they are all I could have ever dreamed of and more.
photos by sophie brendle photography
this post is in partnership with terminix services, inc. all opinions are my own!