Moms of More Than One,
Consider this my formal apology. I’m calling off the dogs, waving the proverbial white flag. If you want, you can say you told me so; I kind of deserve it.
Because, until I became a mother of two kids, I just didn’t get it.
Prior to my second son’s birth, I was still fairly well rested, had relatively decent personal hygiene, and ate complete meals with surprising regularity. Honestly, I didn’t quite get what all the hype was about never eating, sleeping or showering again. I was proud that I’d beat the odds and, somehow, retained a pretty decent amount of my old life in the face of new motherhood.
And then I had a second baby and, suddenly, the truth behind all those memes about moms mainlining coffee and hiding in the bathroom scarfing stashed-away chocolate became very clear to me.
I finally get it. I get all of it.
I get why the TV is always on, even though you once swore you’d never be one of those parents who uses Dora as a babysitter. I get why the attractiveness of 23 minutes of slightly subdued children outweighs the nagging guilt you feel over filling their brains with animated garbage.
I get how you go from freezing big batches of organic, homemade purees for your firstborn to stocking your pantry with 10 for $10 Gerber jars to feed your second baby. I know how you wind up slapping some peanut butter on a slice of stale bread and calling it a meal instead of the artfully constructed lunches you once made when there was still time for things like cutting up carrot sticks.
I get the sudden realization that one of your children is the dirty kid in class (you know the one I’m talking about) because the crusty dried milk above his lip and the remains of a car seat breakfast are somehow overlooked while hustling two kids into daycare.
I get how even the best of routines go off the rails; I understand how baths are foregone, teeth remain unbrushed, pages in the bedtime books are skipped. I see how you and your spouse end up convening on the couch after finally wrangling all the kids into bed (“I said that was the last glass of water!” “No, I don’t know where your lamby is!”) and think, “Where did the last two hours of my life go?”
I get why you give in to the temper tantrum, why you dispense a snack for a moment of peace and quiet, why you hand over your phone if it means you can get through the pediatrician appointment without a five-alarm meltdown. (I really, deeply vowed I’d never be that parent. Foot, meet mouth.)
I get how it can start to feel like you only work to pay daycare or that it would be easier and more efficient if you just handed your entire paycheck directly to Target. How the lifestyle that seemed tight with one kid feels, at times, downright impossible with more. (Did you know that kids have to eat every day? Apparently, they do.)
I get how the makeup suddenly goes untouched, the cute little dress stays on the hanger, and the novel sits unfinished on the nightstand, bookmarked on page 18 for all eternity. How you realize one day that you don’t recognize a single song on the radio anymore or that, lately, the only news you consume comes from Facebook and looks a lot more like a picture of someone’s brunch than anything truly newsworthy—I get that, too.
I get why you are perpetually, chronically, abhorrently late to every single thing, despite your best intentions. I know why leaving the house seems like the answer to all your problems until you spend the better part of an hour packing contingency snacks, searching for the always misplaced shoe, and nursing the baby who is predictably starving right after she’s strapped in the car seat. I understand why, suddenly, it makes so much more sense to just never go anywhere ever again.
I get how tempers are quicker to ignite, patience runs dry faster, and anger rears its ugly head more often than you’d like. I get how, despite the deep and all-consuming way you love your children, some days it feels like you’re merely surviving motherhood instead of enjoying it.
Like I said, I get it all.
But here’s what I also get: Despite the worry that you could never love another baby like your first, your heart morphs and expands to include every one of your children the moment they are born. That your love for each one takes a slightly different shape, but is equally fierce and proportionately profound. That, even on the days when it feels like you’re doing life blindfolded with both hands tied behind your back, you will never be happier than in this seems-like-forever-but-is-really-just-a-moment whirlwind of raising children. And, that, having more kids is, in fact, not the end of life as you know it, but really just the beginning of a life that’s different, but far better.
A Mom of Two Who Finally Gets It