I love a good commercial. I am typically the girl who gets the strange looks because instead of asking about a particular television show, I am asking if you saw a certain commercial. Weird, I know, but stick with me. One commercial series that I totally got a kick out of were the Luv pamper commercials. They showed how a mom handled situations with her first child as opposed to her second. We saw her hold nanny interviews for her first child, where the interviewees had to have an impeccable resume to be a contender for the position. Then, when it came to baby number two, the only qualification was for the nanny to basically be available. You do not have to take my word though; check it out here for yourself. You can thank me later for the chuckle that ensues. In all seriousness though, I think I found it so funny because I found it so true.
Being a mom can be tricky.
You go through all these physical and mental changes, you endure labor and delivery, you are surrounded with help by your nurses or midwives, and then bam! You are sent home with a squishy little human completely dependent on you, a few pairs of mesh panties, a handy dandy squirt bottle, and absolutely no idea of what you are doing. Am I right or am I right?
I can remember so vividly the day I brought my first son home from the hospital. We both sat on my bed looking at each other like, “What’s next?” I was so nervous that I would break him. I was constantly wondering if he was eating enough, whether or not he was cold, checking to make sure he was breathing, and frantically baby proofing every inch of our house. I was adamant about the food he ate, limited his screen time, was a borderline germaphobe, and would get paranoid if he was not hitting milestones when I thought he should. I was basically a crazy lady. Even though I joke that “crazy” is like the top qualifier to be a mom 😊, I was seriously nervous I would screw up my son.
Now, three long years and another kid later, I have recalled those Luvs commercials more times than I care to admit, and my goodness, how they have become my reality. I KNOW my youngest baby eats enough because his dirty diapers and sufficient weight gain tell me so. Instead of worrying that he is too cold, I simply put a pair of socks on him and let it go. I know our house is baby proofed, so the completely irrational idea that he will somehow get a hold of scissors and jam them into the electrical socket is pretty slim to none. I have learned a toddler will think a certain food is the best thing on earth tonight and hate it tomorrow. A sucker and an iPad can be your best friend when you need a few more minutes to finish laundry and get dinner started. Or even that sometimes chores can wait, because kids will recall the time you spent with them more than the house you kept get spic and span for them.
The second time around is just…different.
This is not to say you get irresponsible. It is just that the confidence you have in your capability as a mom increases. You know you somehow did it with kid number one so you are certain you can do it again. Or, you know you get an opportunity to approach situations differently if you are not pleased with how things played out with your first. Essentially you have a chance to right your wrongs.
One thing in particular that stands out for me is potty training. To paint a picture, imagine lots of frustrated tears and extra laundry. It has been my least favorite aspect of parenting thus far and one that I was already starting to dread with my second. When it came to my oldest son, I put so much pressure on him to do something he was just not ready to do. A good friend shared with me how potty training, like crawling or walking, is a developmental milestone. She asked if I would be this aggravated if he took a while to master those. She assured me his timing was just fine and that he would get it when he was ready. Eventually, that is exactly what happened. Perspective was key here and understanding this made my life so much easier. As a result, when it is time to tackle potty training with my youngest, I will approach the situation with a brand-new mentality so the experience can be more enjoyable for the both of us.
As a mom for the second time, you learn this whole motherhood game is simply trial and error. You figure out what works, what does not, what is worth stressing over, and what to let go. You learn to use the process of elimination, phone a friend, ask an expert, and most importantly of all, to trust your gut.
Having a second, third, or even a tenth child does not make you a perfect mom, but it does make you a better one. You tend to find yourself more relaxed and at ease. You realize that motherhood is all about worrying less and enjoying more. You learn that grace is real, and that your children will extend it to you much more than you deserve. And for me, the most important thing you will learn, is to simply enjoy the little moments because before you know it, in the blink of an eye, they will be the big memories.