Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Second Time's the Charm
Remember how I wasn't sure I wanted to have another child? The thing no one told me was how much easier it is the second time around. It's harder in some ways, especially in the beginning when you're so exhausted, but mostly it's just so. much. easier.
The beauty of having a second child is that you're just too damn overwhelmed to give a crap. I don't mean emotionally - your love is just as intense, though different, the second time around - but I'm referring rather to all those parenting standards you set for yourself. When you've been there, done that, and you're completely and utterly exhausted, your threshold for caring about things that aren't really important is lowered significantly.
Therein lies the charm of second time parenthood.
Birth. You've done it once, and whether it worked out the way you planned (or not), you basically know what you're getting yourself into. Sure, you could do a bunch of reading and studying and self-hypnosis, but when you're nine months pregnant and chasing a toddler around, the only thing you want to do with your free time is sleep. You know that your baby is coming out one way or another, and the how and the why don't matter as much. Besides, those drugs they have at the hospital that keep you from feeling anything sound a-mazing. Any chance you could take some right now to dull the pain of parenting?
Nursing. Look, we all know that breast is best, but having a kid attached to your boob for 12-14 months pretty much sucks (pun intended). Once you've exclusively breastfed your first child you understand the unique Hell that is never being able to leave your kid alone for more than an hour at a time or, worse, having to pump every two hours. There's a freedom to repeat motherhood in that one understands that feeding your child however you choose to is what's important. Breast milk? You go girl! Formula? Sounds delicious! You also lose any modesty you may have experienced while nursing the first time around - heck I whipped a boob out at the DMV - because no one can keep one of those stupid nursing capes in place while trying to discipline a biting two year old.
Classes. There are any number of classes aimed at guilting new Mothers into wasting time and money supposedly stimulating their infant's brains. If you've done one Mommy and Me class, you've done them all, and exhausted second time Mommas can't be bothered. Second children get plenty of stimulation watching their older siblings run around the house screaming and terrorizing people. Need some adult interaction? Take your kids to the local park and befriend another sleep deprived momma; it's free and requires a lot less parental participation than that Mommy and Baby painting class.
Judgement. No matter what you do, people are going to judge your parenting. Standing too close to your kid on the playground? You're a helicopter mom! Texting while your kid does a head dive off the swing set? You're an inattentive parent! Perhaps the best thing to arise from my journey into second time motherhood is that I simply don't care what other people think about my parenting anymore. I'm doing the best I can - my kids are fed and loved and somewhat clean - and they are happy. That's enough for me, and I won't be taking any "suggestions" about my parenting from anyone other than my kid's therapist.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make myself a happy hour cocktail; because the other thing that second time parenting has taught me is the value of a strong drink.