Years ago, I overheard two older woman I know talking about another woman, who was younger than them. The younger woman just had her second baby – the older women each had two children of their own who were college-aged.
“Why is she complaining about how hard it is to have two kids? Every mother has been there. She’s not going through anything special. Just wait until her kids are teens, that’s the hard part.”
At the time, I was studying for the LSAT (how funny is is that I planned on being a lawyer?). I was so nervous for this test. I’d taken prep courses and spoken with lawyers and professors. Some of them told me it was no big deal. “Every lawyer has taken it. Just wait until you’re in law school, that’s the hard part.”
But it was a big deal. Doing well on this test was so important to me. I was stressed about it and wanted to do well. (Ironically, I did – and then I decided not to even apply to law school.)
I had a feeling those lawyers were once stressed about the LSAT, too. And I have a feeling that those moms thought having a toddler and a newborn was hard when they were going through it. But just because so many people have gone through it didn’t make my feelings any less valid.
The thing is we seem to look at our pasts through rose-colored lenses. We hold on to the good parts and our memories appear so much better than what really happened. And when we think about the bad parts, we don’t remember them being quite so bad. Because we can only really feel the present.
Yes, they are the best gifts ever – but sometimes they drive me crazy.
This week has been tough for me. Both of my kids have been waking up in the middle of the night, and the hours from 4-8 p.m. have been even more challenging than normal. The other night I had to go in the bathroom and cry with Hadley while I distracted Wyatt with an episode of Little Einsteins. I thought I wish I was still pregnant and only had one to deal with.
Did I really want that, though? No. I was miserable when I was pregnant, but how easy it is to forget how terrible morning sickness and insomnia truly are when it happened months ago. So, I tried to reverse my thinking and imagine my future. One day they won’t want to hang out with me all evening – heck, I won’t even know where they are.
But I cannot even picture that right now because I have zero concept of what it’s like to have teenagers. I can only feel now. I hear her shrieking at the top of her lungs, feel my shoulders throbbing from holding her for so long, unable to comfort him during his tantrum because I can’t put her down, all while the house is an utter disaster and I have no idea what we’ll have for dinner. And you know what? In that moment those teenage years sounded pretty appealing.
Even though I knew millions of moms had been in my exact same situation before, it didn’t make me feel any better. That’s great that they survived, but in the midst of it I didn’t feel like I would (I’m not at all dramatic.)
Here’s what I wish we all could keep in mind. Just because you achieved something successfully – such as raising little kids – and have moved on to a new life challenge, doesn’t mean that people who are currently raising little kids have it easy. It doesn’t even mean that you had it easy at the time – you simply don’t remember how hard it was because you can only focus on the present.
Likewise, warning the person currently raising the baby to fear the teenage years is pointless, too. She’ll have zero grasp of what that’s like because she can only focus on her current situation. Plus, each person’s experiences are different. Everyone told me to appreciate Wyatt when he was a baby because toddlers were “so bad”, but I prefer toddlers to babies.
So, to everyone who is pregnant, raising little kids, or studying for the LSAT – it is hard. I hope no one gives you any “just wait” advice that belittles your feelings. Instead I hope they say “I’m so sorry – it sucks” and offer you a cupcake. Because, really, baked goods are infinitely better than any advice.
You know that saying “you have a child forever, but a baby for only one year”? It’s intended to make moms all teary-eyed and elicit baby fever. Well, it doesn’t work on me. When I hear that saying all I think is thank God.
No offense Hadley.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate each age and stage, and the last thing I want to do is wish away my daughter’s infancy. The baby year just isn’t my favorite. I thought it was because Wyatt was so difficult, but now I have an easy baby, and I’m still not a huge fan of this time.
It’s because I have another age to compare it to: toddlerhood. And even though the highs are high, and the lows are (so, so) low, toddlerhood is the best because…
That tiny person can now communicate with you. In the most honest, innocent, sweet, and heartfelt way. Even if you’re having the worst day ever a simple “I love you much, mommy” can turn it all around.
Toddlers hug back hard. They don’t just flop their head on your chest. Rather they wrap their arms tightly around your neck and squeeze you with all of their might.
They’re predictable (for the most part). Even if he skips his nap, I know there will be some amount of downtime between 1- 3 p.m., and the same goes for bedtime.
You can bribe them. Oh man, I'm not too proud of this, but bribery has become the norm since Wyatt hit 2.5. But if an m&m or an episode of Little Einsteins will give me 20 minutes to work in peace, I’m all for it.
Hippobus and the Beetlebugs bought me tons of “free” time this week.
And distract them. I used to dread bringing my son to my doctor appointments, and we’d rarely attempt long car rides. Now? I don’t think twice because of the best invention ever – the Ipad. Related: what are the best apps for 2.5 year olds? We have a long car ride to NJ coming up!
They’re eager to help. Sure, toddlers rarely listen but something magical happens when you give them a “job”-- they feel important. Wyatt loves it when I ask him to watch Hadley when I run to the other room. He talks to her like I do. So cute.
They’re literal. My mom said “it’s raining cats and dogs” the other day and my poor son ran to the window looking outside and saying “meow, where are you?”
I asked him to play with the blocks and watch baby sister – he literally did both at the same time!
They find joy in every little thing. Toddlers are probably the only people who enjoy life to its fullest.
An empty playground made his day.
Related: Can you tell which kid behaved better for me this week? Haha. I’ve started putting him to bed earlier, and he’s been sleeping and napping better and acting so much happier. Imagine that!
Hadley is 3 months old!
I’m shocked too, baby girl.
I’m going to combine our updates from here on out. There’s not much I have to add to what’s been happening with her:
- Sleep: She’s still sleeping very well overnight. She goes down around 8 p.m., wakes up around 5:00 a.m. to nurse (or I wake her up before I work out because she won’t take a bottle anymore), falls back to sleep and wakes up for the day between 7:30- 8 a.m. Naps are a different story, but 3 months means we’re halfway to being able to sleep train -- yay!
- Breastfeeding: My boob injury healed at 7 weeks, and within the past few weeks, Hadley has started nursing off the injured side as much as the uninjured side. I no longer have to hold her like a football which is great because she’s almost 15 lbs. I’m happy breastfeeding is going well, but I’m really frustrated that she won’t take a bottle.
- Mom of two: No new updates here. I wish I could say things get easier every day, but that would be a lie. There are always new – and old – challenges. Wyatt has warmed up to her and constantly wants to play with her, which is tricky because he’s a rowdy 2.5 year old. Bath time is still my least favorite time of day – Hadley just screams in her swing, and Wyatt cries in the tub because she’s screaming.
This is the best shot we got of the three of us. Of course she’s staring at my boob.
Postpartum weight loss:
I lost 5 lbs. this month and am 4 lbs. away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding hunger has definitely attacked this month, so I’m not sure how in the world I’m still losing weight, but I’ll take it.
I still don’t feel too great about my body. Which is ridiculous because I’ve shed 32 lbs. But I’m just being honest. I feel lighter running which is great, but I’m very aware of my larger-than-normal belly when I’m bending down playing with Wyatt. Also, I’m no where near fitting into any of my clothes yet, which is frustrating but also what I expected. I know that my hips, thighs, booty, and belly will shrink in time, so I’m trying to be patient and cut myself some slack. Nine months on, nine months off, right?
Return to running:
Running is not going as well as it did after Wyatt because I was much faster then. Sigh. But I’ve been doing more cross-training this time around so maybe I’m in better shape? Let’s go with that.
Here are my stats from month 3:
- Longest run – 8.25 miles
- Fastest run – 4mi race in 30:30 (7:33 pace)
- Fastest mile – 7:20 (during the race)
- Fastest stroller run – 3.1 miles at 8:28 pace (with Wyatt)
I’m trying to be OK with being a little slower this time around. My goal is to get to the start line of NYCM uninjured, and in order to do that I need to focus on endurance over speed. I’ll attack the half marathon again sometime next year, and get my speed back then… hopefully.
Overall, things are going well and I’m happy. I can’t wait to see what month four with my sweet girl brings!