You read the books, you joined some mommy groups and you Pinterested the shit out of the nursery all in preparation for your first kid. And you did your best as a first-time mom, but you are strong enough to admit that there was a pretty steep learning curve to figuring out how to keep your tiny human alive and generally happy without pulling your hair out on the daily. Mistakes were made, tears were shed, and lots of wine consumed.
And just as you are getting into a comfortable rhythm with your first kid, number two comes along and you think about how you’ll have to do it all over again.
But before you rush out to stock up on your favorite vino, rejoice in the fact that you have evolved as a parent and this time around will be different. You’ve been through the trenches of parenting and have learned a thing or two.
1. You can spot BS a mile a way. You have been manipulated one too many times by kid number one and are now an expert in deciphering fake crying, fake injuries, fake hunger, fake boredom and just general life-is-not-fair moments. You almost look forward to when kid number two tries that shit because you’ll nip it in the bud before the words “I need a snack” come sliding from their whiny mouth. This new skill will serve you well when the oldest figures out what ratting on their sibling is all about. That’s a whole other level of manipulation. That’s some ninja shit. But you’ll be ready.
2. You are flexible. You stuck to a sleep schedule with kid number one. This put you on the early bird special timeline but you knew how important sleep is for kids so you didn’t care that you missed social gatherings to get your bundle of joy home in time for his naps (well you did care, but you know, kids). You’ll realize quickly that keeping a sleep schedule with the second kid is damn near impossible, which is oddly freeing.
While you will try your best to find a soccer team for your oldest that has a schedule that fits around the nap times of your youngest, at some point you will just say f**k it, the youngest will just have to nap in the car. Your sleep goals for this kid shifts to being a cumulative number of minutes their eyes are shut during the day. And blinking counts.
3. You acquired some tried and true methods to this madness. You mostly know what the hell is going on by the time kid number two hits the toddler stage. Yes, your house is complete chaos, but you know what to expect and nothing surprises you anymore. You don’t second guess your parenting choices nearly as much with the second kid as you did with the first. Any time your oldest had a cough or runny nose you would Google the symptoms, self-diagnose a life threatening disease, and take them to the doctor for them to tell you it’s just a cold. You’ve tried every tactic you could think of on kid number one to see what sticks. So thank you, oldest child, for being the guinea pig of my parenting journey. And sorry for all the unnecessary doctor visits. But you got a lollipop, so we’re square, right?
4. You are a shitstorm pro. You were always so careful and discreet when changing your first kid’s diaper. You opted for a bathroom or bedroom or somewhere far away from the masses to clean their toosh. When kid number two comes along, that all changes. You’ll find one square foot of space and you’ll change the hell out of that diaper. You won’t care where you are or who is around to see the literal shitstorm that is contained by a diaper. You don’t have the time or the patience to drag two kids to a private area to do something you have perfected in less than 60 seconds. At the county fair with a blowout in the works and only porta potties available? Challenge accepted.
5. You have the benefit of hindsight. Everyone told you that time flies when you are raising kids. And you nodded along and half-heartedly agreed as you recalled your oldest kid’s latest tantrum over not being allowed to touch the open flame on the stove.
But after you have two kids, you can’t help but be reminded of how quickly time passes because you have the visual comparison right in front of your eyes. When the second kid takes their first steps, you are instantly brought back to when the oldest did the same. Wasn’t it just yesterday? You’ll really cherish those “firsts” and you’ll look at your oldest to try and remember all of their “lasts.” The last time he was in a crib, the last time he wore footie pajamas, the last time…blah blah tears, more tears, more wine.
So fear not second time parent. Your time spent refining your skills with kid number one will serve you well for kid number two. And hell, you’ll be like Mary freakin’ Poppins by the time kid number three is in the picture.
Andrea Rhoades is the creator of Selfies to Selfless, a parenting blog for Millennials. She is passionate about exploring the unique challenges the newest generation of parents face. Follow her as she reveals the hopes and dreams, fears and failures of Millennial parents. Follow Selfies to Selfless on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!