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)