I’m Not Prepared For My Second Kid Either

toddler kissing pregnant bellyI’ve always kind of felt like the Holly Golightly of motherhood. You know that famous first scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s – where she is on the outside of the store, longingly peering in? Yup. That’s me. Except replace Tiffany’s with all-things-motherhood and exchange her fabulous outfit for a pair of yoga pants. For some reason, I’ve just never been totally convinced that I know what the hell I’m doing. I’ve always kind of felt like I was on the outside looking in when it comes to motherhood.

Number two is on the way – soon. I’m due in less than a week. Lately I’ve been wondering – will I automatically be a pro this time around because I have done it all before? Yeah – I don’t think so. I’ve often wondered why I have such an inferiority complex about motherhood, and I think I’ve finally figured it out. Everyone else is just doing waaaaay too well. Stop showing off ladies – give the rest of us a break.

It’s become less evident since I left New York because I am just not around as many moms anymore. But hanging out in the mom zone of Brooklyn definitely made me feel like my parenting arsenal needed some serious attention.

We were in the park one day when I looked up to see a toddler swoosh down the slide, fall off and somehow slam his face at the base. It freaked me out because his face immediately began to bruise, swell and bleed. His father turned white, picked him up and tried to console his screaming child. Before I could even react, another mother came running from around the slide – backpack in hand.

Oh my! That was scary. Do you want my ice-pak? Here’s some Neosporin and some Band-Aids, too. Here sweetheart! Do you want Kermit or Big Bird?

My attention immediately shifted from wounded, bleeding child to Supermom. Who was this woman? Why was she carrying an ice-pack? I don’t even think I have an ice-pack at home. I know I have Neosporin somewhere – but I’d be hard pressed to find it in an emergency. I started looking around. Did everyone else have a first-aid pack with them on their afternoon walk to the park?

I glanced to one corner of the park. Three children were making the most exquisite chalk-mural I had ever seen. I didn’t even know they made sidewalk chalk in those colors. And mom was gathering flowers and other greenery to accent the piece. It was amazing.

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You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • chickadee

    I was, and am, not that kind of parent either. When the girls were small I was able to keep a bag with enough diapers, wipes, small toys, and extra outfits to prevent problems, but I rarely had other things with me. I was lucky if I remembered sunscreen.

    You are obviously fine as a mom, and the addition of another child will naturally increase the amount of time it takes to go anywhere or do most things, but you’ll adjust and it will be fine. Being relaxed and groovy is easier and less stressful than being an overprepared supermom, in my admittedly biased opinion.

  • msenesac

    I often forget to grab a pack of wipes and an extra diaper when out with my 15 month old son (let alone an ice pack). That same parent might be going crazy trying to prepare for every conceivable scenario. Or, for all we know, she might have forgotten something basic like a snack. What I’ve learned by watching my fellow parents is that everyone is struggling with something. For example, I have one stay-at-home mom who always looks impeccable but really she’s struggling with creating an identity for herself at home.

    I’m expecting number 2 in Oct and I’m worried about how I’m going to juggle it all. But parenting has taught me that you adjust pretty quickly to all of the changes. Good luck!

  • rebecca

    I’m The Same Way. Oddly Though, My Sister Is A Super Freak Martha Stewert. I’m Lucky If I Remember To Pack A Lunch For My Kids When Were Going To Be Out Of The House All Day.

    • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

      holy random capitalization

  • http://twitter.com/jlwrench JL Wrench

    I’ve always been hyper-organized when it comes to work, but I learned how to keep things like this from getting away from me by taking care of my niece and nephews. Then I had twins. If I am not prepared for every foreseeable situation, then all hell breaks loose. I have #3 do later this summer and I am a little concerned with how to get it all done and get some sleep. We all have our own style and just need to embrace it. You don’t need the ice pack, you need a mom friend who is the one who has the ice pack. You are in charge of the coffee. :)

    • Myriam

      And you don’t need Neosporin at the park. All you need is water to rince it off (don’t put Neo on a dirty wound…), and you’re good to go. Anything more serious will mean going home, and you can deal with it there :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

    My sister laughs at me because I use my purse (a medium size bowling bag style purse) as a diaper bag. Dude, it fits everything i need, and it looks better than one of those honking monstrosities they sell to moms these days ;). I’ve learned that less is more, and although I try to have everything my child would need (including the tylenol in case of a raging teething fit), I definitely don’t carry too many things around with me. I figure my child will be just as distracted with a napkin than a fancy toy…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Weber/1149485644 Jessica Weber

    I have two kids and preparation for me is tossing a diaper and a box of wipes in the car/stroller. I’ve always hated carrying purses and diaper bags are just bigger purses. I’ve had those moments of envy when other mothers are more prepared, or moments of anger when they act smug about sharing their kids snacks (seriously, why are kids supposed to eat 500 snacks a day?) or sunscreen. I’m probably never going to change even with baby #3 due any day, and I like to think my kids are more resourceful because of it.

    • sparklesmcgee

      Oh my god , the snacks! Why must we always have snacks? If my kid snacks he doesn’t eat his meals properly. Yet when we are around other kids they always have snacks, he wants them, the moms share them, and an our later he won’t finish his dinner.

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Amanda Low

    I haven’t gotten around to babyproofing my home yet. And my daughter will be two this year. <3

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      I haven’t gotten around to babyproofing my home yet either, and my son was 18 months yesterday. Needless to say, my house is destroyed 90% of the time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/megan.baznikwilson Megan Baznik-Wilson

      The closest I’ve come to babyproofing my house is those foam corner things on our cedar chest/coffee table. And I only did that after my daughter hurt herself on it. And my kids are 2 and almost 10.

  • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

    This sounds exactly like me now. My son is now 18 months and when we leave the house, we’re lucky if I remember to bring anything more than a sippy cup. Yeah, I manage to get a diaper bag prepared with diapers, snacks, a change of clothes, and Tylenol (just in case) for times when he goes to the sitter’s house or if we’re going out of town for a few hours. But for the most part, if we’re just running to Wal Mart or dropping one of the older kids at an after-school activity, he gets a diaper change before we leave and a sippy cup for the ride.

    When he was smaller, I was way more prepared. I kept a diaper bag in the trunk with all the essentials just in case we forgot it. And then I carried a diaper bag that literally had everything he would need for a week. And then I kept a stash of diapers, wipes, baby food and a change of clothes at places that we visited frequently, like my mom’s or my sister-in-law’s house. Then, the spare diaper bag sat in the car until I realized the diapers and clothes in it were too small for him and the formula cans had never been opened. The same happened with the stuff that I had stashed at other people’s houses. And I had never touched it. And I realized that I could be out with my son all day long, even if he had a raging case of a diarrhea, and never use all of the 20 diapers that I insisted had to be in his bag at all times.

    Now, all his diaper bag consists of is 5 diapers, a travel pack of wipes, a change of clothes (which usually stays in there for weeks at a time before it ever gets used), a couple of snacks, and a bottle of Tylenol in case he gets a fever or something while we’re out.

    There has only been one time in his 18 months of life that we have been caught out somewhere and didn’t have what we needed. And that was diapers, and we were at Wal Mart, so I just bought a pack.

    Parents who are over-prepared, like the mother at the park…. Yeah, those are handy to have around. But I will settle for a first aid kit in the car and more time spent being spontaneous. After all, it isn’t the end of the world if your child gets a cut or scrape and bleeds for a few minutes until you can get him home. And leaving them in the park (or even an open field) with nothing but what he has in front of him to play with will encourage imaginative play and independence.

    So don’t stress! You’re doing great. And your son’s baby sister will be just as blessed.

  • LadyClodia

    I don’t carry an ice pack around with me, but I do usually carry everything I could conceivably need in worst case scenarios. That means I have a first aid kit and sunscreen and extra clothes (possibly shoes too) and medication and snacks and drinks and whatever else I can fit into the diaper bag/backpack before it becomes too heavy to carry. I’ve always been a plan-for-the-worst type of person (but not in a year’s-worth-of-dry-food-in-the-basement way) and that hasn’t changed since I’ve had my sons. It’s not that I’m super-thoughtful, it’s just that I’m quite paranoid and pessimistic. Sometimes I look at the moms who can go out of the house without all of that stuff and I’m jealous because I’m not that carefree and also because I’m lugging around a huge friggin’ bag. I do not, however take extra toys to the playground; that’s just annoying.

    • LadyClodia

      Although, as I thought about it, I might not have an ice pack because my boys won’t let me use one on them. If they did I’d probably have one.

  • Andrea

    Maria, now that you joined us in the suburbs (ha ha), you must become acquainted with The Van. This is more than just a vehicle. Oh noes, it’s way more than that. This is where you get to throw everything that could possibly be known to exist. And carry it with you everywhere you go, because, well….in the burbs you need a vehicle to get anywhere. In my van you will find a 1st aid kit (which really you should have, it’s not all that organized-y), random clothing (because kids change in the van all the time from activity to activity and things never leave a van – EVER), random artsy-crafty stuff (because restaurants and other places will throw this at you and they just collect there..as I said, nothing EVER leaves the van) and a case of bottled water (this I regularly buy and store there). That way, you don’t have to think about it. You just leave the house, comfortable in the knowledge that should the armagedon happen while you are at the park, you and your kids have enough stuff to start a black market operation.

  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

    I’m loving all the mom confessions! You ladies are making me feel better about my ill-prepared park trips.

  • Rachel Sea

    I prefer your way. Delayed gratification, and boredom are good for kids, and they don’t need those toys anyway. They are at the park for goodness sake, creative free play is the best thing for them. If you orchestrate their time like a toddler event planner then you are robbing them of life lessons and neurological development. It’s swell that that mom had a first aid kit (maybe her kid is super accident prone, maybe she is just hyper-prepared), but what if she didn’t? Dad would have cleaned his kid up with a diaper wipe and the kid would have been just as fine – a bit more sore, and a bit more bruised, but fine.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

      Yes, toddler event planner I am definitely not!

    • Zoe

      Word. Kids who are encouraged to make their own fun, and have to deal with real-life situations such as a grazed knee without immediate treatment and the accompanying mummy-make-it-all-better-this-never-should-have-happened hysteria, make for more resourceful and independent adults.

      My mother works with 4- and 5-year-olds and she says that every year there are more and more kids who have never climbed a tree. 25 years ago, that would have been absolutely unheard of.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

    The difference between you and those people is that those women are going to die of heart attacks before they hit fifty. They make look very thrown together, but they are probably the most stressed out people on earth, I think that the president has less stress than the mom who brings everything everywhere.

  • http://twitter.com/witavorr AE Vorro

    I think the amount of stuff parents carry around has reached a critical mass of insanity. My SIL, for example, carries bags and bags of things for her two kids when she visits her parents (my in-laws). I really don’t understand why, seeing as my MIL has all the same stuff (minus as many changes of clothes) for the kids. Most kids don’t need most of that stuff most of the time (special needs kids, or adults for that matter, are a different story), especially if home is a short walk away. Not carrying an entire nursery with you makes you sane! But the fact that you’re worried about it does make you a great mom.

  • Zinaidasmith

    Some woman can take a time for born their second child within 2 year time.


  • Holla

    Umm, yeah. I love this. You are about to be in my mommy boat. I have a 29 month old and a freshly hatched 8 week old. I was the hyper planned, hyper packed mom until the second one came and I reverted to survival mode. I was amazed that, GASP!, my son didn’t need the extra sippy cup, or the 10 different varieties of toys from which to choose, or even the buffet of snacks to survive alllll the way to the grocery store or park. I forgot them, and he didn’t even notice. The car ride/park/store experience went off without a hitch and I was more relaxed not trying to remember to constantly offer him these things I thought he HAD to have. I find it’s even been better for him at home. We never, I mean never ever, stayed home during the day due to fear of boredom and my innate tendency towards cabin fever. Yeah, screw all that with a second kid; we have to be on lockdown a lot more. Meaning, my son had to make his own fun. It took a little to get him used to that, but slowly we are working on it. So Good luck fellow warrior!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ericahedworth Erica Hedworth

    You keep goldfish in your purse? (Might have missed the main point of this article).