Monday, November 5, 2012

And Then There Were Two (and Thoughts on Admitting Motherhood is Hard)

I've written and re-written an intro to this about 25 times over the past month, and it's never right. I think I'm just afraid to publish it and I'm putting it off. But I'm finally going to bite the bullet and tell you some truths. 

The transition from one kid to two? It's been ... difficult at times. You know how people with two kids will jokingly say "Oh, no, we're not planning on a third, because then we'd be outnumbered, ha ha ha!" Yeah, well, a few weeks before I had Genevieve, I realized (brace yourselves), since I was going to be the one doing the child-rearing ALONE, ALL DAY, until Jeremy gets home around 6 PM ... dum dum DUMMMM ... I was going to be outnumbered. I know, breaking news to all mothers out there with two or more kids, but it really hit me: THEY WIN. ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY. THEY WIN.

Don't get me wrong. This was all a choice. I WANTED my kids to be two years apart. It was a conscious decision on my part, and it was something Jeremy and I discussed extensively. Now, I didn't think my body would take me so damn literally and have them be EXACTLY two years apart (give or take a few hours) and have them both be exactly 37 weeks and 3 days on the day they were born. 


But, I got what I wanted. We knew there were going to be lots of difficulties in having kids so close together -- mainly the fact that Josephine would still be young enough to require a lot more of me than, say, a school-aged child would. Plus, since she's just at the beginning of potty-training (NO, we didn't force the potty training issue before the baby came, and YES, I have my reasons), it's like I have two babies sometimes. 

One of the hardest things is feeling like I am being of no help to anyone when they both need me at the same time. When both my girls are upset at the same time and one gets none of me while the other gets a distracted and rushed me? KILLER.

When I'm in the middle of helping Josephine with something and Genevieve starts crying, but I can't run right to her? When I realize I am rushing through feeding Genevieve because Josephine really needs my attention? When Josephine does something purposefully naughty and I can't react how I would because I am tied up nursing/burping/changing a diaper? When Josephine asks me to play with her but I can't play the way she wants because my hands are full with the baby at that moment? When I realize I have over-reacted to something Josephine did, because, by god, she's only two and doesn't get as much attention as she needs right now? When they both wake up at the exact same time and need me RIGHT NOW like they do every single morning? It kills me. It absolutely kills me. 

I remember how overwhelming it was to have a newborn (especially one like the newborns I tend to have -- one who needs to be held 24/7 for at least the first five months and doesn't learn how to sleep for over a year), so I knew what I was in for in terms of having a newborn around again. I wasn't prepared, however, for how it would feel to have a newborn need me all the time every day AND have a little person (who can now verbalize her wants and needs and feelings) need me all the time. It's ... a lot. 

I feel like an utter failure most days, but every day gets a little easier. A few people who had kids two years apart told me that they really didn't remember anything until their youngest baby was 6 months old (or older!), and the beginning was all a blur. I'm starting to really understand this. 

I also finally realized that I am mourning two things. The first is the fact that I can't have Josephine be my only baby, because I LOVED that. Ever since she was born, I knew I wanted her to have a sibling, because that is something that was just very important to me and Jeremy, but being able to give her ALL of my love and attention as the only child was awesome. 

I am ALSO mourning the fact that Genevieve will never have what Josephine did. My newborn time with Josephine was so wonderful, even though it was hard. There were times when I sat and stared at her for HOURS while she slept. Genevieve and I will not have that type of relationship, and it breaks my heart. Even though I was sad to give up some of my Josie time, I was so excited to give that time to Genevieve, because she is awesome and amazing and perfect, but I know that time is nothing like the time I had for Josephine.

I think what I really want is to have Josephine still be an only child, but ALSO have Genevieve be an only child so I can give her all that one-on-one time I gave Josephine, BUT have them both at the same time and have them be able to enjoy being siblings. Ummm, clearly this is not possible. 

So, I want a lot of things that will never work out, but I also love that we had them close together. I really do. In having them close together, I know I will bring them closeness. I love to imagine those two growing up to be besties and partners in crime. Then, one day they'll be all grown up and calling each other over glasses of wine to complain about how I get crazier by the day. Think of it! 

Plus, there are a lot of other practical reasons why I really wanted the girls close together in age. If we plan to have more kids, I didn't really have time to space them out by five years, since the years in which I feel comfortable making a baby are quickly running out. Also, if this is our last baby, we can get all the newborn difficulties over with, and in a year's time we might have freedom from 8 PM until 9 AM, like we do with Josephine. I know it's a strange way to think of it, but I wanted to start the sleepless nights again when I was not that far removed from them instead of fully rested and used to sleep again. I mean, Josephine is a sleeper now, but for the first year and a half? She NEVER SLEPT. EVER. And if we have to do that with every subsequent child, I have no desire to stretch that time out over the rest of my life; I'd rather get that part DONE.

All in all, we wanted this. When I told people I was pregnant, a few people had reactions that were ... well, not what I expected. I have been trying to let go of that for a long time, and I think I have now. To the people whose very first responses were "Oh no!" or "Was this planned?", I'm sorry I sprung the news on you and you didn't have time to collect your thoughts before you responded, because "Oh no" was never a thought that crossed my mind when I learned I was pregnant, and yes, this was planned, but really ... that's none of your beeswax, and even if this baby weren't planned, don't you know me? Don't you know that I would be OVER THE MOON to have another baby?

Okay, still working on getting over it, I guess. Getting there.


What I'm really trying to get at is that it's hard (duh), but I'm so happy to be here. 

And you know what? All of this is okay. It's okay for this to be hard. I'm not perfect. Nobody is. It's okay that these are hard days, and it doesn't mean I'm not excited to have invited another baby into our lives. In fact, Jeremy and I were just marveling at our amazing two-year-old the other night, and I said "We get to have ANOTHER one of these! One day Genevieve is going to do and say all these amazing and funny toddler things!" and we were so excited. I knew I wanted another baby; I knew all the wonderful things I could expect with another tiny babe, but now I know I am dying to have another kid, and I couldn't be more excited. 

I just think there's no value in me coming on here and saying "Oh, everything's perfect! This is SOOO easy! I never get tired or frustrated or weepy! Why, do you? How ridiculous of you!" That's not fair to the moms who are losing their shit a little bit and are looking for someone to say they feel the same way. If you are one of those moms, HERE I AM! I AM HAVING A HARD TIME, TOO! And THAT'S OKAY. It's okay to admit it's hard. It doesn't mean I love my babies any less. It just means I'm tired and worn thin and lonely. But it doesn't mean I'll feel like this forever, and it certainly doesn't mean I don't appreciate how wonderful my life actually is -- TWO KIDS! How on earth did I get this lucky?   

If you can relate to me, then great! Or maybe this was your easy time, and that's great, too! Maybe you are the newborn whisperer, or you have a not-so-needy baby, or you have a toddler who is okay with you sitting around holding a newborn all day. Maybe you rock at being a newborn mom and the school years will give you agony. Being a mom is hard, and some times are harder than others, and IT'S OKAY. It's all, seriously, okay. Because you love your kids more than anything ever in the whole world, no matter how hard some days are. 

Just the other day, Josephine had pushed me farther than she ever had before to the brink of insanity, all while I had the soundtrack of screaming (sick) Genevieve in the background ALL DAY. I was just DONE by the time Jeremy took her away to do the bath and story bedtime routine. But when he brought that little beauty out to say goodnight to me before they went to bed? I could have cried at how much I loved that little stinker. The same thing happens every single night. I see her face and all I want to do was scoop her up in my arms, kiss her until she makes me stop, and then keep her up to snuggle on the couch with me all night and never let her go. My love for these kids is like nothing I will ever be able to express in words. 

Seriously, is there any better reason to feel exhausted and stressed out?

I think not.


  1. Oh wow, people actually reacted that way? Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with people that they can't think before they speak. I'm sorry you went through that.

  2. i love this post - very honest. and for the record, i think you're an amazing mama. with one kid, i definitely have moments of being TOTALLY overwhelmed and exhausted and DONE and yet so totally in love with his little face, so i can't even imagine that x2. and the fact that you can step back and realize that its amazing and wonderful even though its tough and exhausting is just confirmation that you're doing it right. :)

    and wanting to get your sleepless nights done and over with makes complete sense to me. once you learn to function on less (or no) sleep, it seems it would be even harder to go back to full nights of sleep and then have to readjust yet again. i used to feel like a zombie if i "only" got 7 hours of sleep...and now i'm pretty sure i could conquer the free world if i got a stretch that long.

    ps: i hate people who comment on baby spacing. do they not realize that in a way they're point blank asking about your sex life? absolutely not anyone's business. and anyone who says "oh no" in response to a pregnancy is a kind of a jerk (in my opinion).

    pss: your girls are BEAUTIFUL. Josie looks like an amazing big sister.

  3. I have two boys two years apart, and I'm here to tell you right now is THE hardest, most exhausting time of your life. The good news is it is getting better…like in a matter of months. And then it just gets better and better.

    When my youngest was about six months old and sitting up, the boys started taking a real interest in and playing with each other, and everything changed at that point. Hold on, mama.

  4. I love this post. Love love love!! Like I could have written it myself.....right down to the not so nice responses in regards to housing beautiful life in your belly on your life's timeline. Pffff people, always wanting to run your life and be all up in your business with their endless crappy opinions.

    You are amazing. Your husband is amazing. Your two precious girls are amazing.

    Nothing can prepare you for the hardships of Mamahood....with any amount of children. The highs and lows.....the guilt you ALWAYS seem to have over SOMETHING. Look at me....batshit crazy. ;) But you know, I have a love for my children so fierce, nothing can touch it.

    It's hard. Real hard. I wish more people would admit it instead of keeping everything bottled up or putting on a false front for fear of judgement.



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