The other day, my mom asked me if I would do anything differently with a second child than I'd done with Gabe.
It's funny, because I realized in that moment that having a second child is an opportunity to fix some of the mistakes you made with your first- and make some new ones along the way too! It is hard for me to say at this point what I'd do differently, because let's be honest, I've only had 17 months of parenting. I have a feeling mistakes will come to the surface a little later on, but after careful consideration, these are what I think I will do differently.
1. I'll stress less about breastfeeding.
I was a breastfeeding nazi, but only to myself. I was super champion to all my bottle-feeding friends, and I would beg some of my uber-stressed out friends to let go of some of the stress when they were killing themselves with difficult breastfeeding situations. But for some reason, I couldn't cut myself the same break. I think this is my ultra-perfectionist side shining through. Thankfully, my first six months of breastfeeding were relatively easy and my milk production issues didn't show up until around 9 months, but those last few months were tough. I pumped CONSTANTLY, sometimes 5 or 6 or 7 times per day, sometimes I'd sit in the kitchen in tears until 1 am, shutting the breast pump on and off and on and off. I even got up at 3 or 4am at times, just to stimulate production. It was craziness. All in an effort to avoid formula. Craziness, I tell you.
2. I'm going to leave my children once in a while.
I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but I've never left Gabe overnight. Not once, not yet. I've never had a non-family babysitter, which wouldn't be an issue if I had family close by, but I don't. This means that Josh and I have been out alone maybe 3-4 times? Maybe. We haven't gone to the movies or out for coffee or for walks alone, because our babysitters are so rare, and those same babysitters are generally in town to visit us so we can't very well ditch them when they visit. The non-family babysitter has half-way to do with anxiety, and a lot to do with finances, so I can't totally berate myself, but still. With baby #2, we are definitely going to have to find a way to budget some help. Even if it is 2 hours a week, I think it'll do me good to have a tiny bit of "me" time.
3. Josh is going to have to help more.
Don't get me wrong, Josh helps a lot, but I have fallen into that silly trap of showing that I can do it all. This first trimester awfulness has shown me that I have to make a change. He has to step up and take a bigger chunk of childcare and house operations. Period.
4. I won't always assume this baby is hungry when he/she gets up at night.
When I was still breastfeeding, I assumed Gabe was hungry every time he woke up, even though the books and the pediatrician said he probably wasn't. I know he wasn't getting a ton of milk every time he fed, so I thought quantity was important and I'd feed him in the middle of the night even when we were approaching a year old. Once I'd stopped breastfeeding, he generally stopped getting up at night, but occasionally during trips away from home or when he was sick, he'd wake up and I'd give him a sippy cup. It was so easy, because he'd drink the milk and fall right to sleep. But sometimes, even after a trip or an illness, the waking up would linger and he'd be getting up for a week straight, often just a few hours after dinnertime and asking for milk. So one day, about a month ago, I just stopped. He woke up, I soothed him back to sleep. He got up again and asked for milk and I told him there was none, so he went to sleep. And STOPPED WAKING UP. I wish that when I cut out the nighttime nursing sessions, I'd never started with the sippy cups because I have a feeling we were waking up for much longer than we needed to. Hopefully I'll remember this in another year and a half.
5. I'll print some pictures out, maybe complete a baby book or two.
I still have no baby book completed, and although I have 5000+ pictures, I never print them out. This has to change, or my children will disown me in the future.
6. I'll email out more pictures too.
My poor mom has taken to paying me $5 a picture, if I'll just send her some.
7. I'll treasure the babydom more.
Now I know just HOW fast it really passes. I am treasuring my toddlerdom these days. I want to burn images into my mind- like Gabe standing at the coffee table with a car in his hand, vroom vrooming around the glass top, or singing to him last night in his rocker and the way he turns his face to look at me, watch me sing and give me the sweetest little half smile, or the way he comes over unsolicited and gives me hugs and kisses. Oh, the heartbreaking cuteness.
8. I'll be more patient.
This one will be the hardest, I suspect. Between the baby and the two dogs, patience runs short these days.
9. I'll cut myself some slack.
Or maybe this one will be the hardest, actually. I'm trying, though. A few days ago, I put the dogs in the kitchen, Gabe in his crib, and took a nap when I couldn't see straight from first trimester exhaustion. And I didn't even feel guilty about it. Everybody hits their breaking point sometimes.
What about you? What would you do differently? What advice can you give me? I'm more than a little nervous about this whole two kids under two thing. I have a feeling this winter is going to be a tough one!