On Being a Second-Time Mom

In less than 6 weeks, Little C makes his grand entrance into our lives. Despite my fears at having two kids under the age of 2, I have to say that being a second-time mom does have its advantages. As I told one of my friends who is expecting her first baby, parenting is one of those things that you can only learn about from experience, and the time we've had with J has taught us a lot of things that should make the adjustment to having another baby in the house a bit easier.

For one thing, the shake-up to our daily routine wouldn't be as extreme as it was when J was born. That was one of the things that I had trouble adjusting to. I was so used to having quality time with Big C as the day winds down, and it was a pretty big change for me that we now had to make room for J. Truth is, you know your life will change once you have a baby, but let's face it. No one really thinks about the particulars or the minute details of what the changes will be. They come along and you kind of just learn to roll with the punches.

That's also another good thing about having one kid already. It makes you more flexible when it comes to changes. I've always been a rigid person when it comes to my schedule and plans, but with a baby, scheduling becomes quite trickier. I've learned to adjust daily plans depending on what time my son wakes up, because that pretty much decides his schedule for the rest of the day (what time he'll nap, when he'll need a bottle or to eat, etc.) Leaving on time is also pretty much impossible. I've learned to factor in the delays that come with having a baby when I make plans, especially with other people.

On the flipside, being flexible doesn't mean that I go with the flow all the time. I've learned to accept that my time is no longer my own, but that just means I have to be able to time my activities to consider J's needs. I have to be careful about scheduling outings. For instance, the time I leave mostly depends on what time J wakes up, because I don't like leaving the house without saying good-bye to him. Extensions on the time I spend outside the home are a no-no for me now. When I say that I have to be home at a certain time, I make sure to stick to it, especially now that J is bigger and knows how to miss Mommy. I want my son to know that he can always count on Mommy to keep her word; if I say I'll be home by the time he wakes up from his nap, I make sure that I'm there.

My experience with J has also taught me to sleep like a ninja. Funny as it sounds, I think it's one of the most important skills that you develop as a mom. You wake at the slightest sound because that means your baby needs something and you're instantly alert. While I've always been a pretty light sleeper, it was still an adjustment for me because it would take me a while to fall back asleep. But now, as soon as J's done with his bottle, it's back to dreamland for me to give my body much-needed rest. Otherwise, had my body not adjusted, I would have fallen asleep just in time for J to need another feeding.

I also have a feeling that the fatigue won't take me by surprise anymore. When you're a first-time mom, people tell you to get lots of rest before the baby arrives because you'll need it. And while you know that a newborn comes with sleepless nights, there is no way that you will understand what it's like until you've been there yourself. I knew I'd be tired, but I had no idea it would be like that. I still don't think there is anyone in the world as tired as a first-time mom breastfeeding her child. Since J still pretty much keeps a newborn's schedule when it comes to night feedings, I've gotten used to waking up four or five times during the night. Granted, I don't do it every night, since J doesn't sleep with us, but we did pretty well when Yaya went on a vacation and I feel much more confident about handling the tiredness that comes with caring for a newborn.

The discovery of my maternal instincts was also a welcome surprise. I've always wondered if all women had those and I secretly doubted having them myself, but I'd have to say that there really is an inexplicable bond that exists between a mother and her child. You know instinctively when something's wrong with your child, even though you have zero experience when it comes to kids. At least that's what happened to me. In the beginning, I allowed others to influence the decisions that I made for my children, because I was scared and unsure, but as time passed, I realized that in some cases, Mommy does know best. Now, with Little C, although help and advice will still be welcomed, I know now that I shouldn't second-guess myself.

Best of all, I won't be living under the delusion that things will be easy. As a first-time parent, I saw all of it as a great, exciting adventure, and when things got difficult, I got overwhelmed. Now, with a better idea of what to expect, I am more mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with the challenges as they come along. I've learned that even the worst days will pass and that tomorrow might just be a little bit better.

So here I am, on the verge of second-time motherhood, hoping against hope that I'm right and that my first experience with J has made me more prepared to be a better mom for Little C. But if I'm right, there are even more lessons in store for this young mom. Have a happy day!


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