Monday, May 18, 2015

Guest Post – 2 Under 2

Hi there, I’m Lilly! I am a born and raised Texan, Texas Tech Red Raider (Guns UP!), IT professional, firefighter wife, and mama to 2 littles. Evelyn Kate aka EK, Ev, or wild girl is 2 (almost 3) *Born 5/17/2012 and James Augustus aka Jamesy, bubba, or sweet boy is 1 *Born 12/31/2013 – My NYE baby!

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I love following Kendra on IG and reading her blog, and thought this opportunity to write a guest blog post would be fun! I’ve always wanted to document my “story” of becoming a mama of two under two, and this was the perfect reason to write it out!

Also, I wanted to share my story because I think it’s important to see variations of normal. My journey and challenges are different than everyone else’s, and I want others to see how we made our own normal. I love reading stories of parenthood and how different families navigate the unique challenges they face. Our challenges and struggles are what made our family, and overcoming those trials have made our family stronger.

So here is my story into motherhood of two under two:

Let’s go back…. The last five years of my life have been a little crazy, here is the short version on my story:  I fell in love, started grad school, got married, bought a house, had a beautiful baby girl, finished grad school, had a handsome baby boy, and lived happily ever after*!  *Still in progress

Life leading up to when my daughter was born was busy, some might even say hectic! We bought a house when I was 8 months pregnant, my husband was finishing up fire school (like EK was born the day after he finished), and I was working full time + working on my MBA.  But after EK was born, we settled into life with a baby fairly quickly! My husband starting working as a firefighter, I continued grad school, and eventually went back to work. And Evelyn’s first year was great! Yes, there were many sleepless nights. Yes, some days were just plain HARD. But we survived, and had figured out how to navigate our lives with a baby. But not to belittle the first year of parenthood.. surviving the first year should be overlooked, it is TOUGH!

The week leading up to EK’s first birthday, I didn’t feel quite right. I chalked it up to being busy planning a birthday party and excited about seeing all of our friends and family. I had a brief moment when I thought- “What if I’m….” and laughed it off. But in the back of my mind, I knew I was pregnant. I waited until after her birthday was over to confirm my thoughts, and it was POSITIVE. I was going to have a BABY and a 19 month old, and was terrified (insert scared face emoji)!  We knew we wanted more kids but we were just coming off the high of surviving a year with ONE baby, and the thought of a second was a little scary! And as luck would have it that WONDERFUL baby girl of ours, turned into strong willed, stubborn toddler (still applies)!

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Secretly a family of 4, but I think someone had her suspicions! (Photo cred: IG @debbafaith)

My second pregnancy was hard. I didn’t lose all the weight from the first, plus I was carrying a toddler around. My body just hurt a majority of the time! My back was killing me until the day I gave birth. I was too stubborn to go to a chiropractor, and regretted it immensely. I was finishing up my last semester of grad school, and thankfully walked across the stage with my MBA 5 months pregnant (with my 15 month old snoozing in the stands). I may have blocked out parts of this time in my life, because it was tough! I even survived a 3.5 hour road trip at 38 weeks pregnant to make it to my sister-in-laws wedding, because I just couldn’t miss EK being flower girl! Which she ended up being the cutest flower girl, ever (well worth scaring everyone and my doctor)!!  

On the eve of 2014 sweet baby James was born. He was perfect and sweet from day one! However, he was not a sleeper and was a spit-up master. He was the complete opposite baby than his sister, and I had to “re-figure out” how to take care of a newborn. NOT TO MENTION still take care of a very busy toddler. A few weeks before James was born our beloved babysitter gave us the devastating news that she was moving, on December 31st (ha)! So we were in the process of transitioning EK to new childcare, after being passed around throughout the holidays. She was completely out of her routine and had a really hard time adjusting. Unhappy toddler, unhappy life….

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This is motherhood of two under two

While my husband had a few shifts off, he eventually went back to his 24 hours shifts leaving me alone with TWO for 24 hours at a time.  It was just plain hard, to put it bluntly. There were many sleepless nights, long days, and times of doubt. But survived! Mainly because you can’t give a baby and a toddler back to the hospital, so we were stuck with them. (I’M KIDDING!) We had tons of help and support from our wonderful family, all who live 3+ hours away and willing drove over to help us at the drop of a hat. And as time went on, we figured it all out again. Baby James started sleeping more, EK got into a new routine, and life got easier. We found new childcare for both littles, and I went back to work and we figured out our new normal again.

I quickly learned that life with two littles is like running a marathon (not that I’ve run one, but I assume it’s like one)! It starts out a little tough, then you get in a groove. Then you hit a hill and slow down, and struggle to find that groove again, but then sprint down the hill and find a good pace etc, etc… BUT when you cross the finish line (1st birthday of #2) you look back and say, ehhh that was hard but I’d do it again!

I could write a book on the challenges we’ve faced throughout this journey, and I could also write one on all the happy moments that have filled my heart with more love that I ever thought possible. But I thought I would leave you all with my lessons learned throughout this journey.

I am far from an expert, but this is my personal “what I would do differently” list:

  1. Not keeping a consistent routine for baby #1 before/after baby #2

In my case this was hard. James was born a week after Christmas, so EK being out of her routine was kinda unavoidable. Plus, she had to start at a new daycare a few weeks following. But I should have tried a lot harder to keep her daily routine consistent. When a toddler doesn’t know what’s happening when, and then mom is holding a new baby.. wahhhhhh! Disaster alert!

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Pic Caption: I promise, she really does love him! She just wasn’t thrilled about him at first…

  1. Stop constantly comparing babies

I promise I tried not to compare my first baby with the second, but it’s HARD. EK loved to sleep, and loved being swaddled, and nursed a certain way… But that was all out the window. Baby James had a nasty case of acid reflux and was the spit up master, and I found myself frustrated because his sister NEVER spit up like this. So I had to constantly remind myself that they are not the same! So just because you think you’re a baby pro after surviving the first one, you’ll quickly be reminded that you still have plenty to learn!

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Pic: But I mean.. they looked so much alike! Sorry about the pink tub bubba! (EK top, James bottom)

  1. Put my fear of leaving the house aside

You know how it’s a daunting task to leave the house with a baby – diaper bag, car seat, bottles, snakes, toys, etc. Well double that with two. I just was too scared/tried to get out a majority of the time. But I wish I would have pushed that fear aside and gotten out a little more. Even though it was a lot of work, it was always worth it once we were out.

Side note: A week vacationing at the beach with a 2 year old and 8 month old is debatable on if it’s worth it. I may know from experience. ;)

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(Photo cred: IG @debbafaith)

  1. Not try to control it all/do it all

My attempt at supermom status failed! After trying to cook, clean, feed, diaper 2 babies, etc. I quickly realized that something had to give. I wish I would have “Let it Go” (like Elsa kept telling me) and just enjoyed the early days more. As long as there was two happy healthy babies in the house, it shouldn’t matter if it’s clean or dirty. And as long as a majority of the food served contains fruits and vegetables, a little pizza or mac and cheese never hurt anyone!

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(Photo cred: JRenePhotography)

  1. Try to take all advice as positive advice

One of the hardest parts of motherhood is the criticism and judgment that is passed to us, not to mention the endless suggestions that everyone wants to give out. Unsolicited advice and suggestions can get overwhelming, and start to feel like criticism before we even realize it. I was too hard on myself the second time around, and started taking any and all advice as judgment. When I probably should have tried a little harder to have listened to it with a positive undertone, whether it was or not. And just brush the haters off! Grandma’s suggestion on swaddling really is heartfelt, she means well (even if it is slightly outdated). Smile and nod!

Side note: I am so guilty of trying give out suggestions to others, but NEVER mean it negatively or judgmentally. I just like to share my lessons learned if I think it will help someone. But I have to remind myself now that I once was the one struggling with unsolicited advice, and to make sure it’s warranted!

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The best sibling days are spent in pajamas (pant-less), in a messy house, sharing a pink chair

I’m not a writer or a blogger, my daytime job is on a software design team, but my full time job is being a mom. I am nowhere near perfect, but I try to admit my faults and continue to improve. My husband is my rock and without his support I would never be able to live my dream of building a career and a family (see, variations of normal). I’ve decided that parenting doesn’t get easier with age, it actually gets harder and scarier, BUT somehow so much more rewarding, fun, and heartwarming. My kids have grown into two pretty amazing toddlers and life with them continues to get more exciting. I never thought I would be a mama of two littles 19 months apart with a full time career, but I honestly can’t imagine my life any other way.

Verdict is still out on if there will ever be a baby #3! I’m totally down for another challenge, husband isn’t on board yet… ☺

2 comments:

  1. I applaud you!!! Seriously... I am currently 35 weeks pregnant with my 2nd and my 1st is 5 1/2 and I am scared to death of the change and adding another one it. Moms like you remind me that women are powerful beings and can do anything we set our minds too. Proud of you for all you have accomplished the past 3 years... while taking care of those precious babies!!!

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