Updated: Jun 1, 2019
On Parenting, Starting a Local Business, and Building a Healthier Lifestyle
People say all the time that going from one kid to two is the hardest transition. Well, they weren’t kidding. Between empathy crying, kids stepping on siblings or trying to ride them like horses, keeping track of both and keeping them happy, and logistics and sheer amount of physical, mental, and emotional effort it takes to take them anywhere… well it’s no wonder moms feel exhausted. If your kids don’t nap at the same time (or at all), or if you just aren’t able to nap when they do, you find yourself exhausted and groggy at 5pm wondering if it would be possible to fall asleep for just a little while without your kids killing each other or getting into things they shouldn’t. People are never available right when you need a break because, let’s face it, most of your friends are either also exhausted moms or they’re normal people with (ugh) day jobs.
So you suffer alone, trying to maintain your sanity at least until bedtime, where you may or may not just skip the whole routine of stories and brushing teeth in order to rush them off to sleep so you can get some time alone. But by the time they’re asleep and you’ve managed to slip away, it’s already 9:30pm, and you have to decide between being responsible and going to bed early so that you won’t be exhausted tomorrow or staying up for a couple more hours to get some much-needed adult time. The adult time almost always wins. Having a meal without being climbed on and watching a Netflix show without being interrupted sounds so appealing that you just convince yourself that you’ll “be alright as long as I’m in bed by 11.” Then you get into bed around 11:30, and can’t seem to pry yourself away from social media and internet research on easier methods of parenting… only to realize that it is now after midnight, and your kids will wake up at least once in the night and be up for the day around 7am.
Why do you do this to yourself, repeating the cycle of exhaustion when it should be so easy to resolve this issue? Because you need some time to not be in “kid mode,” to not listen to incessantly repeated toddler phrases, to not have a baby cry every time you put him down, to feel… human. The problem is that it only really feels good at the time. You don’t necessarily feel more relaxed the next day, you don’t have enough sleep, you don’t do anything different to make it better. It’s times like this when I wonder how in the world my mother survived raising 4 kids. It blows my mind how anyone makes it past two! If it’s this hard now, what compels people to want another, to add even more chaos? Well there are a few things that I can think of that aren’t a strong enough reason for me personally to pursue having more kids, but I can see why other people decide to.
The love between siblings is a big one for me. Nothing warms my heart more than hearing my toddler and baby giggling together over some unknown game they’ve made up (that sometimes involves the toddler whacking the baby in the face or the belly with some toy). When I see my 3-year-old taking care of her little brother, shushing his cries, offering him a burp cloth or a pacifier, it makes me so happy, and I love seeing her in this new role. It would be interesting to see my son in that role someday, but that will (probably) never happen.
It is also interesting to see how the genetics play out in your kids. That honestly was part of the reason that I wanted to have two kids “of our own,” rather than adopt the second one like my husband was considering. It seems like a weird reason to have kids, but obviously it wasn’t the only factor. We definitely got an intriguing pair though, who look different enough from each other and from us that people sometimes question if we are even related. I am half black, thus the kids are a quarter black, but you would never guess by looking at them… especially if you were looking at my son. He took nearly every recessive gene that was offered to him in the womb - blonde hair, bright blue eyes, a double swirl of hair on the back of his head, fair skin that I hide from the sun for fear of him getting his first sunburn. If he turns out to be left-handed like his sister, well, he should be given some kind of award for most recessive gene traits in one human being.
Another thing that I love about being a parent is watching my kids learn about the world. Seeing someone learn things that we take for granted like talking, counting, identifying colors and shapes, building a tower out of blocks, opening and closing containers… it’s just amazing. People often overuse or misuse that word, but it truly is amazing to see a child learn a new thing every day. Suddenly they are speaking in almost complete sentences and asking questions you had no idea they know to ask (like “How are you?”) or they are doing things independently that you didn’t realize they were capable of, and it is just mind-blowing.
Suddenly, this child is no longer a baby or even a toddler, but a kid (cue gasps). Soon enough they’ll be learning how to read or to do geometry proofs (I still don’t know how to do those) or to drive a car. People always say that you’ll blink and they won’t be kids anymore, and yeah it’s a cliche, but even though each moment may feel like forever, when you look back, you will realize how fast those moments flew by.