5 Concepts I Didn’t Understand Until I Had 2 Children

When my daughter was born I did what any over-emoting, internet-generation, halfway-decent writer does: started a mommy blog.

I think back on that time now and am amazed at how little I knew. I had a baby, sure, but what I have now is kids and the distinction could not be greater. Here are five things I understand now that I have two children that I didn’t when I had only one.

1. Mommy drinking culture

drunk momI like wine as much as anyone and I’ve been through whisky phases and rum phases. Lord knows no special occasion in my Russian universe is complete without shots of vodka.

But I never quite got the whole “mommy juice” thing where the kids go to sleep, or sometimes not even, and the mom goes straight for the bottle. But now. Oh now. I have all this stress in my neck and back, I’m exhausted, and wow does a late-night large whisky with an ice cube hit a spot I previously didn’t know existed. When we go out to dinner these days I choose places based on what kind of alcohol I feel like drinking. I enjoy the mid-day beer with the other moms before picking up my daughter from school on the occasional Friday a lot.

(photo: leyla.a)

2. Hating on your partner’s job

frowning babyI never understood when women complained about their men working too much–especially when the man was the primary income-earner. The scene in the Sex and the City movie (I’m sorry) sticks out where Samantha has covered her naked body in sushi and waits for Smith to come home. When he’s delayed at work she becomes enraged and ultimately breaks up with him. It always seemed obvious to me that, other than that segment of men who don’t want to go home to their wives, the rest are working because they have to and would much prefer to be eating sushi off our naked bodies.

So it was surprising to me that when my husband went through a really busy time at work during the first two months of our son’s life I was really irritated. And when he took calls on weekends I may have snapped once or twice that he better get off that effin phone or I’m going to lose it in the middle of this kiddie party. It’s not reasonable, I realize that. But I needed him and hated that his attention was so divided.

(photo: tiffanycsteinke)

3. Bullshit mommy advice that doesn’t apply to me

awkward family photo

When my daughter was born so many people said to me “enjoy every minute, it goes by so fast.” And I’d say “yah, I know” and roll my eyes. I did enjoy every moment of her. Why wouldn’t I? And who wouldn’t? But with my son I’m hurrying him along to get bigger faster so that he’ll sleep through the night and be more active during the daytime. I look forward to the day he could be reasoned with that really, he’s crying for no reason. Today is not that day. I haven’t enjoyed every minute of his newborness at all because it’s been so freaking difficult to have this delicate, fragile baby and also a needy, active toddler.

(photo: djwudi)

4. How women end up breastfeeding into toddlerhood and beyond

breastfeeding twins

I formula-fed my daughter after abandoning the effort to breastfeed her less than a week in. I couldn’t keep up with her demand and once she took a bottle she refused to go back. My son has been super easy to nurse and suddenly I understand those women who breastfeed for years and years. The way he looks at me while he feeds is intoxicating. The symbioticness of it all is amazing. He needs to eat and my body needs to feed. We’re at the four-month mark now and I keep thinking I’ll start weaning (I hate pumping and have travel coming up). But can never manage to actually start.

(photo: عʈ¡ – ʇıɯs ıʇə ʞıɹə)

5. Parenthood doesn’t make sense

baby asleep

I’m bone-tired and stressed out. When my husband comes home, I hand him the children and lay in a heap on the couch. Yet when I’m out during my limited alone time I can’t wait to run home to them. When I’m at work I miss them. And the craziest one of all: I think often of having more children. There’s nothing rational about parenthood. Most of us no longer have kids to plow our fields or tend to our cattle. We have them because we want to and that is truly nuts.

(photo: Beth Bellydance)

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  • HS

    “Most of us no longer have kids to plow our fields or tend to our cattle. We have them because we want to and that is truly nuts.”

    I love this. Brilliant!

  • Lori B.

    Funny! But I have to disagree with #3. I saw all of the details and terror that lies ahead as my daughter grew up, so I am totally stopping to enjoy every moment of my 8 week old son. I know that just when he is old enough to understand reasoning, he will still have no part of it!

  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    “I haven’t enjoyed every minute of his newborness at all because it’s been so freaking difficult to have this delicate, fragile baby and also a needy, active toddler.”


  • Bethany Ramos

    Can I say thank you times 1000 for #3? I am having a day where I feel like an asshole for wanting my 5 week old to be as old as his 17 month old brother. Toddlers are so fun! Newborns are so scary! I’m hardly enjoying my second child’s babyness because I know it gets so much better in less than a year. Yes, that makes me feel bad, but at least you’ve felt it too!

    • keelhaulrose

      I didn’t think I wanted my baby to grow up… then I spent some time with them. Things got so much easier when I didn’t have to cart a baby carrier while dragging a three year old. I’m waiting not so patiently to be done with diapers. And when the toddler is old enough to play with her sister and cousins at a party so I can have an adult conversation that’s not punctuated with questions like “did you make poopy?” and “Where in the world did you put that sippy cup?”

    • Bethany Ramos

      It gets easier as they get older, right?? Someone please say YES! :)

    • keelhaulrose

      It certainly got easier when the baby started walking. And when she started playing with her sister so they weren’t all over me constantly (though now I dread the maniacal laughter from the other room). And it’s totally easier when they’re old enough for drop-off programs/preschool/school. I had 2 1/2 hours this morning with only the toddler to take through the grocery store. She still sits in the cart- no random surprises in the basket with her around (as in- I don’t remember putting in a giant bag of M & Ms… no, sweetie, you can’t have these… mommy can, though)

    • Andrea

      Yes it does, in terms of logistics. Things are much easier. However, there are other challenges. You get busier with other stuff…mainly they have more stuff going on: events, parties, activities, games, recitals, etc.

      And we won’t talk about the whole teen thing. We don’t need to think about it.

    • Erica

      You’re still busy no matter what the age but some people (me) ENJOY the children more when they get older. I’m happier. I’m healthier (no more stress eating or drinking coffee obsessively). And 3 yr olds are more fun than babies. But to each his/her own. I know some people love the baby stage.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I’m thinking I don’t “love” the baby stage… I already think my 1 1/2 yo is much more fun. Good to hear!

    • Andrea

      I don’t love it. I didn’t even like it with my 1st, although, that was also compounded by the fact that U went back to work at 4 weeks.

    • MammaSweetpea

      YES!! I am there!! My kids are 14, 11 and 10. When they were babies I couldn’t WAIT for them to grow the hell up so I could have a rational conversation. Now they argue with me. I wanted them to be able to help around the house, but they actually make more of a mess. They have a better social life than I do. So the money I’m no longer spending on diapers and formula is now being spent on soccer shoes, and gifts for birthday parties, and school supplies, and trips to the mall…..

    • Erica

      Yes. It is sooooo amazing when they start doing things for themselves! It gets easier!!!!

    • EmmaFromÉire

      Honestly I just hate looking after babies who are still in the ”big floppy head” stage because it’s so terrifying.

    • Toaster

      I was talking with some other moms the other day and all of us preferred the older baby/toddler stage to the newborn/younger baby stage. You’re not alone!

  • keelhaulrose

    I’ll admit to hating my husband’s job. When we had Baby 2 we agreed it was time for one of us to drop out of the workforce, and I became a SAHM. While I know the more my husband works the more he gets paid (he’s a mechanic, paid by the job) it drives me crazy that I’ll have something planned to the minute and all of a sudden he’s stuck on another job that will force him to stay an extra two hours. Even the fact that there’s an early shift and a late shift and they can’t seem to pick which he goes on bugs me. He loves it, but I dread that text message telling me a blown radiator just came in, and it’s going to be a while. There have been a couple times where he’s gone from when the kids wake up to after bedtime. It’s frustrating to feel alone all day with no help or even an adult conversation.

    We’ve talked about me going back to work part-time when our youngest starts school. I’m already dreaming about returning to my old job.

    • Talia Gamble

      That’s why I never gave up working! I would have pulled out all of my hair and might have drunk myself into a coma!

    • Shelly Lloyd

      I hated my hubby’s previous boss. We’re a fairly non-political, agnostic, science oriented house hold. But his former boss was very right-wing, evangelical, creationist person. He was always trying to engage my husband in political or religious conversations which stressed my husband out because he disagreed with his boss–but felt as if his job was on the line if he did not agree with his boss.
      While it was a finical hardship and a struggle–I was a tiny bit secretly pleased when he was let go from that place. It took a few months and wiped out our saving account but he found a better job and is so much happier. And if he is happier and less stress it has made us all less stress.

  • Beth

    I LOVE #5! Parenthood certainly does NOT make sense. Sometimes (or many times) I long for the freedom that comes along with being childless. I think about how much easier it would be to run to the store without carting around 3 kids, how nice it would be for my husband and I to go out for a drink on a whim, or how our incomes would be distributed differently if it was just the 2 of us again. But then when I do have my time away from the kids, I miss them and can’t wait to see them. When my husband and I do get the opportunity for a much needed date night, we always end up talking about our kids and laughing at the silly things they do. And whenever I’ve been at a bar late at night, I look at all the single ladies who have that freedom I find myself missing and then I realize that so many of them just want to find a guy and start a family, just like I have. I love being a mom. It comes with a ton of sacrifices and demanding little humans, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  • Kat

    Sometimes, I make an excuse to leave the baby with her dad when I go to the store (hmm, does she look sick to you?) so I can just bring my toddler who doesn’t scream and cry and need to eat and be changed every couple hours.

    Then of course, I miss her the whole time.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      As the mom of three kids I think you’re on to something. Giving each kid their own special mama and kid time (or daddy and kid time) means a lot to them and helps to solidify your bonds with said child(ren). I make sure to put aside an hour or two for each of mine at least once a week and they really seem to appreciate it.

      I just started this with my son, who just turned 3. He turned around last week, and looked at me when I took him along to get some food at the beach and said “I love mama and (insert too cute for works nickname for himself) times!”. I almost died.

  • besire

    I loved breastfeeding my newborn. Sometimes it became a chore (like when I had to pump or take supplements) but I LOVE breastfeeding my 14.5 month old. No more pressure to pump and he and I have the best routine. My life is purely hectic at the moment and I love that breastfeeding. It keeps me centered and in tune with him.

  • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

    With my oldest, we didn’t push for potty training, because by that time we had a baby brother, so we knew we’d be buying diapers for the next 3 years at least. But now that Big Brother is completely potty trained, we’re pushing Little Brother to potty train. Poor kid. Maitri ~ http://maitribathbody.com

  • Courtney Lynn

    I read this to prepare myself for August, when our daughter will be born, our second baby!

  • Jo

    Screw you.

    Parent of one

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