Preparing for life with two children under 3 years old

Perhaps it takes courage to raise children”  John Steinbeck, East of Eden

A baby and a toddler????

Family of 3So here I am, preparing for life with two children.

People have told me that the shift from having 1 child to having 2 is much less of a shock to the system than going from 0 to 1.

They’ve warned me that the first year of having a baby and a toddler is indeed tough, but that actually, after that, having more than one child is a bonus. They have each other for company and there isn’t quite the same 1-on-1 pressure to be the main entertainment in the room.

Comforting

All of this is very comforting. I’ve found myself greedily devouring such tid bits of positivity. But I’m not going to lie. On the brink of “Motherhood II: The return of sleepless nights and days spent in a fog of mental sludge” I find myself with one main, recurring emotion – Fear.

I’ve felt it on and off throughout the pregnancy. It’s only recently though I’ve realised that it’s been a kind of nameless darkness. What am I actually afraid of?

Madwoman in the attic

Firstly I’m scared that the beautiful relationship I have with my daughter will be disrupted, destroyed even. Our almost two years of devoted closeness is coming to an end. I love her so much that the thought of her feeling pushed out, no longer a priority in my life, unloved in any way, is heart breaking to me.

I’m scared about the fact that I already feel stretched juggling life as is. I’m fearful that my second child will be the breaking point, the trigger which transforms me from a (mostly) rational and competent human being into something akin to the madwoman in the attic. A ranting, unkempt and frankly dangerous person to be around.

I’m scared that my relationship with my husband will change again. We’ve (just about!) found our rhythm and routine with our new life as a family. We’re able (just about!) to navigate our way successfully through our different approaches to parenting. Most days we work really well as a team. Whilst there are niggles on both sides from time to time, in the main we’re united, in love with each other and the family we’re growing.

And I’m scared about the loss of time for my creative projects. Having one child has transformed my life to such an extent that it’s only really been relatively recently I’ve been able to claw back a sense of time for me. The thought of losing that again makes me feel sick, as though the walls are closing in…

the creeps…

But here’s the reality. All this fear is founded on staring out into the unknown again. A different unknown to being a first time parent obviously. There are a lot more baby raising knowns that were previously unknown now. But there are new ones shaping up in the shadows, giving me the creeps.

And when I dig a little deeper, the reason this fresh set of unknowns are so scary – despite the fact that I have a solid track record of dealing with pretty much whatever life, including motherhood, has to throw at me – is because of my deepest fear, my fear of failure. Failure as a wife, a mother, a friend; as a creative, intelligent, empathic human being.

There is one, small but significant light in this wall of darkness however. One small candle that casts a more hopeful colour to the scene: I don’t fear not having enough love for this new life that is coming to join us.

Love is something I have felt more powerfully and more passionately present in my life in the past ten years. My sense and awareness of it increasing through the big life events as well as through the small daily acts of kindness and wonder the universe has gently delivered to me. So I don’t doubt love.

80% denial, 20% petrified

That knowledge doesn’t however cancel out my other fears per se. A friend asked me at the weekend how I was feeling about baby number 2. I explained I was 80% in denial and 20% petrified. Being in the same situation she laughed and agreed.

So, the real way I’m preparing for life with two children is by cleaning the fridge, packing my hospital bag, rearranging the house and getting baby things down from the loft. I’m talking to other parents who’ve been there and remembering I didn’t think I could do parenting the first time. And, ultimately, I’m focusing on the fact that the only way is through….

Now, where did I leave that bag of courage…?!

4 thoughts on “Preparing for life with two children under 3 years old

  1. Dearest Becky, Your honesty has made me quite emotional. You will never be a failure in anything you do, because of your honesty and thoughtfulness of all around you. I know I don’t know you that well, but from this distance, you will always be a WINNER as a wife, a mother, a friend; as a creative, intelligent, empathic human being. I’m absolutely sure all will be fine – You so deserve it lovely lady. Love to you all. Jayne xxx

    1. Jayne, thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate them! love to you too Becs x

  2. Thank you for your honesty! And it’s all true, and some of it will seem impossible (like, how do you sit and feed the baby in public, without losing the toddler?!) but somehow, you will find a way. You’ve got this! I totally empathise with that feeling of possibly losing the special bond with child 1, it’s not “have I got enough love for two?” but “how can I possibly love anyone as much as I love this one?” Turns out, it’s easy, and as I tell my eldest frequently (when the others aren’t listening) “you are my special one, my first one, my number one.” Juggling two (and then a third) has been, and continues to be, a big challenge, especially when you add in the other things you mention, like your relationship and your sense of self. But it’s great, and fun, and magical. Good luck, I hope these special first days are going smoothly for you. X

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences of life with two (and three?!?!?! I am so in awe of you!). The first couple of weeks have gone really well actually and Aimée has taken to being a big sister like a happy go lucky natural. Feeding in public and not loosing the toddler. Oh my, I do have some challenges ahead! Eeeps! Hugs and love to you and your brood petal xxx

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