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by Laura Hoverd

Its (NOT) easier second time around....

If you you ever hear someone say ‘It’s easier second time around’ please ignore them. It’s probably the same person who’s baby slept through the night at 2 weeks old.

This lovely saying belongs with ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ and ‘treasure every moment’. In other words…. it’s a load of [email protected]
Lets just think about this for a second. Was it easy first time around?? No.
Would it have been easier if you had another person to look after?? Another person to feed, another person to get dressed and another persons bottom to wipe?? No
So WHY in the name of all things caffeinated would it be EASIER second time around. It just defies all logic.Yes, it is true that maybe you did learn a lot the first time round. However, you learnt a lot about how to deal with baby number 1. But you are not having a clone of baby number 1, you are having baby number 2…. and that changes EVERYTHING.When it comes to second time around, there are 5 things you need to remember….
1. Babies are a BIT boring.
The visions you had of your first child staring at the baby in adoration, wanting cuddles, wanting to hold it, feed it, kiss it……. don’t last. Once reality kicks in and the novelty wears off, so does their interest.

No, they don’t want to be ‘mummy’s little helper’ and they are not interested in showing their cute little baby brother to visitors. All they want is to have you back, for the baby to go away and for things to go back to normal. They don’t want to share you with this ‘baby’. It doesn’t do anything but cry, and they cant play with it, so to them, a baby is pretty rubbish.

2. They WILL test you.
They may only be 2 years old but they will test you, and trust me this is no reflection of them, or you. Its normal. Their world has been rocked, and they don’t like it. They want your attention, and if that means using the TV as climbing wall, so be it.
Picking your battles becomes your only form of defence at this stage. Ask yourself, will they (or you) come to any harm? Does it matter that she eats her lunch on the sofa, in front of the TV.  Does it matter if she has had fish fingers for tea 2 nights in a row because you are too exhausted for anything else? Does it REALLY matter that she wants to take 4 cuddly toys on your walk to the shop and hold them ALL at the same time. Yes you may have to pick Makka Pakka up every 4 paces because he keeps slipping out, but hey…. least you are out of the house??

3.You WILL be in emotional turmoil.
Just like that, you are back to the first time around. You are once again faced with feelings of uncertainty, self doubt, worry, and a truck load of guilt.

This guilt, this feeling of being torn between the two beings you love with every breath of your soul, is the hardest part of all. This is the part I wasn’t really prepared for. I totally underestimated the emotional toll it would take on me, and Eva. Again, this is all perfectly normal.

So you go through each day trying your best to split your time between them both, so that neither one feels neglected, but it is really hard work. Entertaining a 2 year old in the winter months with a baby on your boob, is not easy. She watched A LOT of TV. Bing to be exact. Meanwhile I’m googling ‘screen time for kids’ and crying into my cold cup of tea because she had her allotted 2 hours of TV… 24 episodes ago, the baby won’t stop feeding, and any attempts at me trying to lure her away from the TV have been rejected. Essentially this means that I am an awful parent and she will be developmentally screwed for all of eternity!!! Waaaaaa!!

4. You CAN do it.

Somehow we muddled through. Each day you get a little bit more confident, the baby is a little less fussy and you just work round all the obstacles in your way to make some kind of routine, that kind of works…. for that week… then you move on. Each day I told myself ‘thats one more day I never have to do again’. I know how awful that sounds, and I wasn’t wishing away our lives, it was just about self preservation. Taking it literally one day at a time.
5. It IS worth it.
So here it is….the biggest yet truest cliche of them all…. ITS. SO. WORTH. IT.

One day, the baby will do something that captures their attention. Normally a giggle, or a smile, and suddenly, this baby is a person. It does stuff, interesting stuff, and they want to make them do it again…. and again…. and again.

All of a sudden, you breathe a sigh of relief because you realise everything will be ok. Your first born will not be forever emotionally scarred by the introduction of this baby and hate you forever. In fact, this might actually be good for them! Now is the time to undo all those hours spent watching a billion episodes of Bing the annoying bunny and develop some social skills. Hurrah!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

With the second one, in my opinion, things just get better and better. Don’t get me wrong, on a scale of 1 to impossible its still probably nearer impossible at times, but the rewards are far greater. Remember how with your first you loved it every time they learnt something new, every new word, every new skill? Well this time you have another little person celebrating with you, and its their older sibling.
When Theo walked for the first time Eva was so excited and actually said ‘I’m so proud of him’. I thought I was going to burst!
Now I watch their relationship grow daily and I absolutely love it. Yes, they can fight like cat and dog, but when they get up each morning, the second person they always ask for, is each other, and that makes it worth it to me.
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