When Anabelle came around, I felt pretty confident as a mother. All those years of being the oldest of six, changing diapers, bossing people around, and calming babies paid off , plus my motherly instincts kicked in. So instead of coming across as a paranoid, clingy, first-time mom, I already came across as an experienced mother, as if Anabelle was my second or third child… Or so my mom said… But now that we have Betty, my actual second baby, I now feel as confident as if I had army of kids behind me.
I’m not saying I would change anything in our baby days with Anabelle. If it wasn’t perfect, we learned from it. But now that I am experiencing motherhood of a newborn for the second time around, I’m giving myself a pat on the back for everything I got right the first time around, and I’m noticing the areas where my husband and I got even better at this whole parenthood gig the second time around.
Things I got right with Baby #1:
1. I asked for help.
In today’s society everyone seems to pressure themselves and think they have to be able to do everything. We all want to achieve Pinterest-perfect life all by ourselves. Well, I’m sorry to inform you, that’s just not realistic. And thank goodness I didn’t try to do this myself. No task is too tiny to ask for help. I had a friend come over early for a lunch date so that I could take a shower, and I asked sisters to come over so I could take showers so many times that I lost count. I asked my sister to come over and hold Anabelle so that I could finish cleaning the house, and another time so that I could do my hair (showering and styling my hair are usually two very separate tasks…). The worst they could say was no and then I would just have to figure it out on my own. So why not at least give it a shot?!
2. I trusted my instincts.
This is probably the best advice I received since becoming a mother. It is so natural to second guess every decision I make as a mother. Did I do the right thing? Should I have done ‘X’? I was talking to my mom about something to do with Anabelle and she told me not to second guess my decision. We could spend all day second guessing all our decisions and it would drive us crazy. Plus it won’t change anything. She told me to follow my gut and listen to my instinct. I am the one with Anabelle everyday and I know what’s best her. Now any time I doubt myself, I remind myself of just that.
3. I got my “me” time back.
Since teaching Pilates is my profession, it was pretty high on my priority list to get back into my own personal Pilates class. I didn’t even take the time to think or feel like I was being selfish. Again, society makes us feel like we need to be able to do everything for everyone else, all by ourselves, but then that leaves us exhausted. When do you get time for yourself? Is it selfish to want just an hour all to yourself? Even if I wasn’t a Pilates instructor, I would highly suggest getting at least an hour back once a week, once a day, whatever you can manage, to do whatever you please. Even if it’s just sitting alone in the quiet, you need some time to yourself by those mid-newborn days. You have to take care of you to be able to better take care of someone else. For me, a little Pilates hour helps me be more patient as a mother and I’m so proud of myself for getting that time back so quickly. I love my daughters and I will always be there for them, but there is no reason to feel selfish for spending a little time doing something I love outside of motherhood.
Things I did differently with Baby #2:
1. I got even more comfortable nursing in public.
I nursed in public pretty comfortably with Anabelle, or so I thought. I was actually way more comfortable nursing at dinner when I was out with my entirely family of 8 rather than just Kevin. They would create this human shield and no outsider would even notice I was nursing my daughter. And I definitely kept covered with a blanket (nursing covers were just too much for me. I just used a blanket.) But this time around, I hardly use the blanket, and if I do, it’s just to get started. In fact I’ve caught on that when I nurse with no blanket (and I’m usually always wearing flowy shirts) people just think the baby is sleeping. More than once I’ve had someone come up to see the baby and had to tell them that she is eating… They get more embarrassed than I am, but really, she’s just eating.
2. Diaper changes anywhere.
Baby #1: diaper changes at the diaper changing station. EVERY TIME!
Baby #2: who cares? Yes, those middle of the night diaper changes, we just did them in bed… Worried about pee mid diaper change? We kept the diaper table cover in our nightstand with the diaper and wipes. And those changing tables in the public bathrooms? Oh those are so gross! I change my daughters on the floor of the car or my lap before I dream to use those anymore.
3. I bring the sling or wrap where ever I go.
With Anabelle, baby #1, I used a wrap here and there. Usually somebody was actually with me who wanted to hold her if I couldn’t. But with Betty, baby #2, oh I bring that thing where ever I go! It was a lifesaver when I was getting Anabelle used to life with another center-of-attention baby, and it’s still the only way I can go grocery shopping without getting a babysitter. With baby #1 it’s more of a nice thing to have, sometimes. With baby #2 it’s a necessity!
4. I said yes to any one and anytime someone would cook me dinner.
With Anabelle, I felt determined to be able to do things on my own. I didn’t hesitate to ask for help, but with dinner, for some reason dinner was a little different. I would even go over to my Mom’s house in the morning so that someone would make me a latte, but dinner, I wanted to be able to do on my own. Dinner has always been a very important family time for me and I wanted to experience life as just a family of three, this meant putting dinner on the table for my family. I didn’t always want to go to my Mom’s house for dinner and it wasn’t because I didn’t want her help, I just wanted to be able to achieve that task on my own. I didn’t live at home anymore, and she had done it so many times for her own family, I just wanted to be able to cook on my own. One day Kevin came home and I had three different things going on in the kitchen. I was in so far over my head that I had to sit down and instruct him how to finish everything. I had no business cooking dinner.
This second time around with Betty, I was totally different. I soaked in everyone’s willingness to cook for me. In fact, we got so comfortable just going over to my Mom’s house for dinner that when I was clearly healed enough to the point that I no longer needed any help, I asked her what was for dinner. Unfortunately, she didn’t buy enough lamb chops for me… Another week or two after that, Kevin asked me what my mom was making us for dinner. I laughed because I knew she wasn’t. I had already had weeks of getting around just fine.