Life with Two Kids: What I Wish I Would Have Known

It was early on the day of my daughter’s two-week checkup, and we had an 8 a.m. appointment. I made the appointment in the hospital while I will still in a post-labor haze, and I hadn’t yet realized how challenging it would be to get both kids out the door by 7:15 a.m.
 
My daughter woke up discontent, which set the mood for the morning. She wasn’t interested in eating, being held or going back to sleep. She was cranky and wanted the entire family to know it.  
 
My four-year-old woke to my daughter’s cries, and he wasn’t pleased. His sleepiness and irritation manifested itself in neediness. Shouting above my daughter’s screams, he asked me to dress him. Although he was perfectly capable of dressing on his own, it was evident that he wanted some extra attention on this rough morning. 
 
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any extra attention to give. When my son realized this, his cries joined my daughter’s wails. As I tried to help him with one hand while bouncing my daughter in the other arm, a thought crossed my mind:
 
So this is life with two kids. What did I get myself into? 
 
With the help of my husband, we miraculously got out of the house and even showed up to the doctor on time. But that morning opened my eyes to my new reality. Parenting two kids was going to be harder than I thought. 
 

Life with Two Kids: What I Wish I Would Have Known | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo credit: Tim Gruber}

My daughter is only 3 1/2 months old, but parenting two kids has already been an interesting journey. If I could go back in time, I’d give myself a peek into the realities of life with two kids – both the challenges and the precious moments to come. 

Here are the top 14 things I wish I would have known

  1. The sleepless nights will feel harder this time around. Sleep will once again be a precious commodity that you crave, negotiate and even dream about. Try not to resent your well-rested toddler.
  2. Don’t assume that you’re a newborn expert. The mystery of how to soothe a screaming baby will perplex you just as much the second time around. 
  3. Treasure the moment your son meets your daughter for the first time. You will see the beauty of love at first sight.
  4. It’s inevitable that you will compare your kids. The trick will be learning how to navigate their differences without judgment or favoritism. 
  5. Your son will wake up the baby when you most need her to sleep. Try not to flip out when it happens – at least not every time.
  6. At first, your daughter will feel like an outsider in the family. Be patient. Redefining your rhythm and routines as a family of four takes time.
  7. Your brain will be a chaotic mess of details and worries about both kids and life’s demands. The term mom brain will take on a whole new meaning. 
  8. At times, you will need to choose between the conflicting needs of your kids, and it’ll happen more often than you’d like. Don’t dwell on these moments. Just get through them the best that you can.
  9. With the second kid, you’ll find more humor in the messiness of life with a newborn. Not only will your standards be lower, but also your four-year-old’s giggles about baby farts, poops and burps will be contagious.
  10. Frozen meals and convenience foods will become staples of your dinner table – at least for a little while. Celebrate the victory of getting a meal on the table. 
  11. Breastfeeding will fascinate your son. Embrace his uncomfortable questions, graphic demonstrations and desire to talk about your breasts. Trying to stop him will only bring more embarrassment.
  12. Accept that in some ways your daughter will get less. Less attention, less photos, less patience. But she’ll also get more. More of your wisdom, more love from a big brother, more toys. 
  13. Your son will think his status as a big brother also gives him co-parenting rights. He will want his “expert” baby advice to be followed. Give him grace. He means well.
  14. Life with two kids will be messy, chaotic and overwhelming. But it will also give you new purpose and make you marvel at the love you created. And this, my friend, is what makes it all worthwhile. 
Rachel Anderson
Rachel is one of those rare people who has never had a cup of coffee. She’s decided to start drinking coffee once she grows up. In the meantime, she gets her energy from the loves of her life: her husband of nearly 10 years, 6 year-old son, and 1 1/2 year-old daughter. She also loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the Thanksgiving holiday and the beauty of Minnesota. Rachel is a writer at heart and has built a career in corporate communications. The job closest to her heart is being a mom to her gregarious son and spirited baby girl. As a Christian, Rachel aims to give and receive grace every day.

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