Things that I did differently with my second baby
Motherhood is a complex experience and every woman needs some time to adjust and get used to this new role in her life. As it is also the most important role of our lives, we tend to worry too much about it and forget to enjoy each moment. However, this changes as we gain experience in parenting and we learn how to relax and enjoy it more. It was tense and tiring with my first baby, but with my younger kids I applied what I’d learned and it went more smoothly. Here is what I have changed with my younger kids, it might help you too.
Babies are so tiny and fragile and moms normally worry about their well-being. But I was one of those moms who worried too much. I would jump in panic every time the baby started crying, I would take her to the doctor because I thought she was sick. It was a disaster for me. But little by little, I got used to it, babies cry, full stop. It doesn’t mean something is wrong. With my other children I didn’t let negative thoughts rule and I was not overcome with fear for the baby’s health. As long as I tended to all the babies basic needs, I could relax. Even when the baby was sick, it was quickly resolved by giving her medicine, so that was another important bit for me to get – sometimes they do get sick but it will pass, just do your best to help them without panicking.
Since I could not stand the baby’s cry, I used to carry my first baby around all the time and I spoiled her that way, so she cried when she was in her crib by herself. That’s also one of the things I’ve changed with the other kids – we didn’t carry them around too much and we put them to sleep in their crib and not in our arms, and they were more peaceful babies.
I also worried too much about germs and I sterilized everything. It was time and energy consuming, but I don’t think it had much of an effect. Babies do require a safe and clean, toxin-free environment, but they also need to develop natural resistance and living in a sterilized room will not help much in that regard. I cleaned every day, I would freak out if the baby got some dirt or mud on her fingers, but I let the other two daughters play on the ground still keeping an eye on them. I have also hired help with cleaning the house, I have more energy for the kids and the cleaning lady is more objective about the overall cleanliness level in the house so I don’t need to go into the clean freak mode.
I’ve also accepted that I don’t need to handle the kids’ birthdays by myself. We’ve tried it once, I did everything by myself, it was good but I was so exhausted I almost got sick. Now we get professional animators like Superheroes, we organize great birthday party and we just enjoy. It is such a relief.
This is closely tied with my realization that the healthier the mommy is, the better the parenting will be. It does not help my kids if I overexert myself and neglect my wellbeing. When I had the first baby, I put all my attention on the baby’s needs and totally forgot about my own, from nutrition and exercise to sleep and grooming. I was haggard and I was depressed. But I know better now. Only six weeks after the second baby, I took up an exercise regime to get in good shape, I took care of my diet and my nutrition, I went out for walks in nature and I arranged for some much needed me-time. I stopped feeling guilt and shame for feeling I needed to be by myself for some time to wind down and relax. Sometimes I take a babysitter or I call the kids’ grandparents over and I take a few hours out. I journal, daydream, get in touch with my inner self, see an old friend or go to a spa. I’ve realized it is a necessity, not a luxury. The best mom is the healthy mom – physically, emotionally and spiritually. I try to be mindful, stay present in my everyday life and enjoy every bit of my motherhood.
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate for writing. She is contributor on High Style Life and her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” .