One child. The first one. The shock.
He turns you upside down. He takes your sleep, your time, your freedom.
Of course he gives you smiles and cuddles in return (I mean, this is the very least).
But he changes your life, your balance, your couple, your body, he changes you forever.
So once the storm dissipated and you feel ready to go for number two, you think “it won’t be so hard, this time”.
It’s gonna be a great deal more.
1. You are older
Technically, at least a small year.
So if you had your first child at 20 it may not make that much difference. But if like most of the we-want-il-all women of our generation (or we-simply-dont-have-a-choice ones), you focused on your studies/carreer/nightouts and started procreating around 30… well, you feel it.
2. The first one is still young
So at first he doesn’t GET that you’re tired, that you can’t carry him as much as you used to, that he suddenly has to give Mummy some quiet.
Then, he may be very happy with this small baby, but it is not a friend yet, right? And why does it get all the attention? He still needs you, he still wants you, actually he wants more, he wants the same treatment as the baby, why should he eat on his own, and no, Daddy can’t do it, it must be Mom. Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom.
3. You need the father
One kid, you can manage on your own : the cries, the nights, the daily travels,… not a big deal (well that’s what you just realised).
But you need the father to take care of the eldest when you feed the baby. You need the father to cook/play with the kids while you cook, to go to the supermarket, to help with the housework (because you somehow can’t cast off the washing machine), to pick up your toddler at school while you fly to the nursery, to cuddle with you when you throw a look at your finally quiet but devastated apartment when the kids deigned going to bed.
You need him. And you need to accept it. And to tell him (all the time).
4. (free) Babysitters are scarce
For the first one, you had to put so many barriers, you so didn’t wanna leave him with
your mother-in-law anyone else.
Now you know that you need to take some time just for you, to take care of yourself, too. But finding someone willing to look for your offspring proves to be a tiny little bit… more difficult.
5. You have 30’ a day for yourself
At least the first year (I will update you).
Because if you thought you had no life anymore when you got your first child, let’s be clear : now it is totally over.
Forget your – warm – coffee on Saturday morning. Forget about reading the news anywhere else than in the toilet (actually, forget reading the news, on the toilet, you’ll focus on Instagram flows).
You will look back with nostalgia to the days your toddler was playing on his own, leaving you a 5’ break. Now during those 5’ you rush to change the youngest’s diaper, prepare his soup, clean the morning table…
During the week if your routine is settled, you’ll be able to breathe at 21.30, which was early… before you had kids. Now you’re too tired to read, too tired for a (good) movie. Now you just wanna watch an episode of the Good Wife and sleep at 22.10.
6. You are a ping pong ball
Because the kids don’t have the same needs. Or at least never at the same time. Because at first there are few activities both can enjoy.
Just when you started having real quality time with the eldest : going to the movies, the swimming pool, even dining out… you’re stuck back with the baby issues : naps, diapers, milk bottles, buggy, cries,… And you’re frustrated. Again.
7. Your tricks don’t work
You thought you knew what to do now to calm a baby, how to get a child to sleep, right?
Well… you may have to find out other stratagems because the flying helicopter won’t make your youngest empty his plate, or he will just yell louder when you start a soft lullaby (sic).
Then you realize that every pregnancy, every delivery, every mother, every child is different.
And you reinvent yourself. Again.
8. Your body doesn’t recover (that fast)
Losing the weight gained during pregnancy is not always easy, for most it takes some time. Well multiply it by… I am not sure yet.
I finally lost most of the post pregnancy weight but it seems my body doesn’t get back to its former shape (this marshmallow belly, for God’s sake). Of course, it may also have something to do with the lack of sport consequently to point 5.
8. You have to work seriously on your work-life balance
I hesitate here, because the way it happened to me may be coincidental, but I didn’t really have to change my working ways until the arrival of my second child.
I felt I needed to slow down with the first one because of the sleep deprivation, the lack of spare time, and the psychological change of motherhood, but I didn’t need to adapt my work schedule that much.
But with our two kids it got very difficult not being home before 19.30 when they are supposed to go to bed, leaving my husband to deal with the bath, the dinner,…
As I already said, you really need your partner, this time. Practically.
And as a child’s day is considerably shorter than ours… you may need to adapt : negotiate some home working, adjust your work schedule…
I decided to change jobs.
So now, if you have no or one kid, you wonder : is it worth it ?
Tricky question… of course I’ll say yes.
It’s damn tough, guys, but it’s worth it.