Now that I’m a mother of 3 children I’ve worked something out and it actually makes no sense at all.
Having one baby is actually the hardest.
Mothers of one are reading this and shaking their heads.. I know how you look at mothers of multiple children.. you wonder how do they do it? You can clearly see that they have a newborn yet they still run around going to soccer practice, doctors appointments and cooking big dinners while you with one newborn baby are proud of yourself for just washing your hair and getting out the house that day. They are throwing birthday parties for the older children while you barely attended a coffee date on time. But believe it or not.. one child truely is the hardest and I’ll tell you why.
You have no idea what you are doing:
Well here’s a secret, neither do we! Yes we’ve done it before but by the time we get to our third we have made peace with the fact that we have N.F.I. We somehow fumble our way through without any aim of perfection but rather with just the aim of doing it.
We don’t sweat the small stuff:
You know why? We don’t notice it.
Your one child is your whole world:
Our worlds are chaotic, we run around from drop off to pick up barely finding a minute to breathe never mind focus on any one of our “worlds”.
We don’t play (very much) with our children:
I remember sitting on the playmat with my first bub for hours. We built blocks, sung Incy Wincy Spider together and looked at picture books together. I haven’t done that for either of my subsequent babies.
My 5 year taught her younger sister how to spell her name, her colours and sung nursery rhymes to her. Yes I taught the first one but now I’m done. I have passed on the “teaching” baton. My baby will learn from her big sisters and I’m fine with that.
Lets just hope they know their stuff!
Routine is not as important to us.
I know routine is important, I’m a sleep consultant – of course it is!
But there’s not much I can do about it. My daughters have to get to school, I can’t worry about the babies morning nap. She has to just come along and sleep where and when she can.
I’ve stopped researching:
Before I had my first, I researched everything! Best pram, which suncream to use, Baby Led Weaning, which sippy cup promotes independence, and admittedly .. I once googled newborn poo. What To Expect When You’re Expecting was my go-to reference book next to my bed. And you know what…? It doesn’t actually help! Now I don’t sit around dreading the next sleep regression or developmental stage but rather deal with each stage as it comes and know how quickly it will all pass.
We are already exhausted.
You live in hope of your baby sleeping through… we with multiple children know that there’s always something and are used to sleepless nights and use coffee (and/or wine) to help us deal with that exhaustion. The exhaustion is new to you and hits you like a hurricane. We are used to ear aches, nightmares, wet beds and gastro through the night so our expectations are lower and like our babies are good at utilising the time we can get some sleep and take it where we can.
So I take my hat off to all you mums just learning the ropes. Oh and please give yourself a break – you are doing a fab job!