There’s a question that always finds its way onto motherhood forums and blogs: What transition is the hardest – 0-1 kid, 1-2 kids, 2-3 kids, or more? It’s followed by a wide range of experiences and opinions with no clear answer. That makes sense, right? Difficulty or ease of parenting transitions really depends on where you’re personally at in your life and relationships, what age your current kid/s are, how much help you might have, and if any other complexities arise.
I’ve been meaning to write about my experience going from one to two kids for, well, 28 months now. Thankfully my procrastination led to a new perspective on the transition because if I would’ve written this in 2019 it would have been led by hormones and fatigue, and I probably would’ve scared the crap out of even myself.
The months leading up to having baby #2 were so very emotionally challenging. I couldn’t imagine loving another child as much as I loved my first, and the guilt I started to feel for making him share me was overwhelming. I thought he would feel neglected. I thought I wouldn’t be able to give him the attention he deserved. I thought that although this new baby would bring immense joy, it would also change my relationship with my first born. All of that was true – the first couple months were hard. There were days when my older son wanted more attention than I could give him; there were days when I wanted so badly to do a play date or fun activity with him but the baby’s schedule made it impossible; there were days when I just wasn’t at my best from tiredness and postpartum emotions.
Fast forward to the next year or two, and I can tell you in all honesty that it gets better. A few months into having two kids, I realized that my younger son brought my older son happiness as well – he loved helping him, watching him, and giggling with him. Life started to mold into our new normal which mostly meant doing activities with three of us instead of just me and my first. Sure, things took more time, more preparation, and usually resulted in someone crying but it started becoming fun!
As G became more interactive I saw R morph into an amazing big brother. There were things G could give R and vice versa that I would never be able to as a parent. Now at 2 and 4 they are immersed in a world of brotherhood – full of extreme fun, yelling matches, and giggles that I will never understand. They play together with common interests, using their big imaginations at a level I can no longer get to at the age of 33. They understand each other’s language to the point where sometimes I have to ask R, “What did G say?” G is two so he has huge emotions, and sometimes that rubs off on R, but mostly it has taught him a lot about empathy. I overheard him the other day telling his little brother, “It’s okay to be sad G,” and they are constantly telling one another, “Just keep trying, you’ll get better.” (Thanks Daniel Tiger for the catchy phrase.) I love seeing the radiating proudness on R’s face when he teaches G something.
I wish I could rewind and tell my guilt-ridden pre-baby #2 self that although having two kids would rock my world in the most intense ways and change my relationship with my first son forever, in the process I would give him the biggest gift I could ever give him. He has a brother who provides to him the perfect playmate, wrestling partner, Star Wars co-pilot, button pusher, hug giver, and all around Chewbacca to his Han Solo. Yep, I just referenced Star Wars twice in one sentence. What can I say, my kids are obsessed.
It’s been fun reflecting on G coming into our family. I needed the reminder of the ever evolving nature of kids because we are about to make a transition once again in a few weeks – this time from two to three kids! I’m sure I’ll have big thoughts about being outnumbered by my children. Plus, if I have a third boy, I can most definitely see myself writing a blog post in two years with an extensive list of things that have been broken in my house.
Whatever stage of your parenting journey you are on, I hope you can look back one day and appreciate the changes you went through both good and bad. If you’re anything like me, you’ve realized along the way that the difficult parts fade and you’re left with sweet memories of baby giggles, toddler snuggles, and hearing your child’s cute voice as they mispronounce words. 💕