i'm a huge reflection person. that's probably not shocking as i come back to this space week after week, year after year, to talk about my life. this past year was such a year of learning and growth for me. a year ago, i never imagined what i was in for, being a mama to two small children. how exhausting it would be on a day to day basis, but also how much love would fill my heart for these little people. i've learned so much about myself (and my kids) in the past year, so i thought i'd share some of my biggest lessons. i'm far from an expert on parenting, and more often than not i feel like i'm completely messing everything up, but my kids love me nonetheless and depend on me immensely, so i just keep doing the best i can and pray for a little more patience.
my second baby is not a clone of my first baby
you're thinking "duh" right? i'm sort of joking, but time and time again over the past year i was reminded how true this is. when you are a first-time parent, it's so easy to attribute your child's successes to the way you are parenting them (i was totally guilty of this!) "azalea is a good sleeper, because we do xyz". "azalea likes almost all foods because we introduced her to a good variety early on". then ashford came along and refused to sleep anywhere other than my arms for more than 20 minutes, hated baby food, won't eat vegetables, and the list goes on. it was enough to make me feel like a first time mom all over again. to be fair, in some ways their differences made things easier. i worried whether i would be able to breastfeed ashford since that did not go well with azalea, but i had no reason to worry. he was a champ right from the beginning. once we got over the initial latching pain and weight loss the first week, it's been smooth sailing. my kids have such different personalities, and i cannot wait to see them develop in the coming years.
you will love your second baby as much as your first
i think this is a common worry for many moms who are pregnant with their second baby. you look at your first child and think 'how in the world could i possibly love another child as much as i love you?' but you will...and you do! it's hard to explain, but the moment your new baby is placed in your arms, you think 'how did i ever live without you?' and watching your kids love each other is just the icing on the cake.
some things i worry about more and some things i worry about less
first time moms worry about just about everything (i know i did!). it's nice to have the familiarity with the baby stage the second time around to suppress some of those needless fears, but if you are anything like me, new fears will arise with baby #2 such as 'i can't be lucky enough to have two healthy children' and 'will my older child resent me for spending so much time with the baby?' you win some, you lose some, but overall having some experience under your belt is a good thing :)
i have a lot less patience than i ever realized
this one applies more to azalea than ashford. you guys....age 3 has been the hardest year ever for me. i know anyone who's parented teenagers is probably snickering at me right now, but seriously. so many days over the past year i asked myself "is my child more difficult than the average 3 year or or do i have a lot less patience than the average mom?" things always always go more smoothly when i stay calm and patient with her, but sometimes i just.can't.take.anymore. and i become this mom i don't even recognize, who gets really mad and yells. i hate being that mom, but she just comes out sometimes. then i think to myself "really melissa? you are the adult here, why are you fighting with a 3 year old?" i'm happy to report azalea is becoming much easier these days. it's really true what they say about it getting easier the closer to 4 they get. but there are still times when i'm alone with both kids and they both want me rightthissecond!
your older child will come around to your younger child...eventually
i'll admit i sort of struggled with the fact that azalea wasn't instantly in love with ashford or the "best big sister ever!!!!!!!" like i saw so many other moms posting about. i wondered why she didn't want to hold him or kiss him or hug him. that was our reality for probably the first 6 months of his life. once he could sit up and play and became a little more interactive, things started to change. and now, she loves him so much and it's so fun to watch. so, don't worry if your sibling relationship isn't picture book perfect in the beginning. it will get better (i mean, look at the progression of these pictures!). and while they love each other a lot now...they also fight a lot too! and it's only the beginning...
so tell me, did any of these things apply to you?