There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” – Sue Atkins
Being a first-time mom is terrifying. The fear of messing up is immense and the anxiety can feel overwhelming. But, after a while you find a flow.
Then, for many of us, a second bundle of screaming joy comes barreling into our lives. This one looks a lot like the first one, but you feel a little more prepared. You have done at least some of it before. That’s why being a second time mom is different. It is better in some ways and worse in others but it’s all motherhood and we must take the good with the bad.
So, here’s what you’ll do differently this time:
1Give up on perfection
Second-time moms buy the cheap diapers and let their toddlers eat too much cake sometimes. They don’t worry so much about dirty pants. They let the kids go a couple of days without a bath and don’t stress if the house is a mess.
You’ll quickly forget about being “the best mom in the whole world” and realize that there is no such thing. It’s not a competition. There is no greatest or worst. We are all doing the best we can.
2Believe in yourself
The second time around, mamas know that they can do it – at least sort of. They have evidence of their capabilities in the first kid. It’s a bit less terrifying.
You’ll still have plenty of self-doubt and anxiety, but you will also achieve a better balance and trust your own intuition. You will call the doctor less and ignore other people’s opinions more easily. Comments from your mother-in-law that might have angered you before, will roll off your confident mama bear back.
3Forget about milestones
Experienced mothers know that kids develop at their own rate and in their own time. Second time moms are much less likely to say things like “Maybe Johnny will never potty train!!” “What if Alison never walks?”
With the first kid, you count the days, minutes, seconds until they walk, talk, sleep through the night, etc. and if they do not do it at the exact time that the online mommy forum said that they should, you panic. With number two, you’ll understand that your kiddo will do it when they are ready.
4Panic a lot less
Moms who have done it before are less likely to freak out and call their mom at midnight because the baby is fussy. They will schedule less doctor’s appointments and spend fewer sleepless night worrying about nothing.
Because you will believe in yourself more and feel better about your own abilities, you will generally be a lot less panicky. I remember when my first son got the hiccups as an infant, we were pretty sure he was dying. But, the second time around, my husband and I could roll with the punches better.
5Mommy brain x 2
Remember when you could remember things? Of course not. You can’t remember anything. You’re a mom. With the second kid, I’d like to tell you “it gets better” but it gets worse. There’s twice the mess, twice the appointments, twice the everything… That Mommy fog will only grow thicker.
6Never get anything done but enjoy motherhood more
The second time around, moms (hopefully) slow down and enjoy the ride more. They see the beauty in all the chaos and learn to function with no sleep. Because they are more confident and less worried about being perfect, they free themselves up to be really good (albeit imperfect) mothers. That’s the best that a mom can hope for!
With two kids, you will be lucky to get much of anything done around the house so just give yourself a break if the dishes pile up and the laundry reaches the ceiling.
There are worse things. If the kids are alive, moms of two should count themselves successful. This way, you can enjoy motherhood. If you beat yourself up about the dirty floors, you will be missing out on your fantastic kids.
If you are expecting your second child or thinking about having another, I hate to break it to you but