Sometimes I wonder if, as the firstborn, Immy got the best of me as a mama. I was a full-time, stay-at-home mum who enjoyed the luxury of little to think about beyond the needs of a tiny infant and, as we lived in a low maintenance, one bedroom apartment at the time, an even tinier household. The rhythm of our day flowed around her routine. She fed when she needed to feed and slept when it was her time to sleep. Together we went to mothers group and kindergym each week, on walks or to play at the park every other day. We started each morning with books in bed and I chatted to her constantly with a running commentary of our day. She enjoyed all of the spoils of the undivided attention of a doting, first time parent.
In contrast, AJ is schlepped around from school drop off to school pick up, with nap times squeezed in somewhere between grocery runs and dance class. We have no mothers group this time, and despite eleven months sliding by, we still don’t seem to have found the time for kindergym. We’ve only made it to playgroup twice and it’s nearly the end of term and we are just not going to get there today either *sigh.* As for reading together, that happens as it happens, somewhere in the day, but the chatter so important to her language development is much less than it was for her sister, as I constantly mentally re-juggle the to-do list or strive for just a tiny quietening of my mind in the hustle and bustle of each day.
There seems to be so much more competing for my attention this second time around – two kids, husband, household,part-time work, and I am doing it all on a whole lot less sleep.
However, if there is to be a positive, then it must surely be this – the first time around I was so concerned with getting it right – was my baby feeding enough? Sleeping enough? Doing enough??? Was she meeting each milestone? Ready for each next step or stage at the ‘right‘ time? – that I didn’t take time to just BE.
When I look at it as a finite entity, I feel like I have so much less TIME right now. Less time to dedicate to this little person’s very important and very individual needs. But you know what? The time I do have is so precious to me and I am doing all that I can to be in the moment with her. I appreciate our time together so much.
Maybe it’s because I know in my heart that she will be my last baby but this time it’s been a lot less about what’s next and a lot more about being present in the moment. I love to just sit and watch her. I am constantly in awe of what she can do and what she accomplishes, seemingly by herself, despite my self-diagnosed shortcomings.
I want to look back and know that despite the struggle of the juggle, that I appreciated little moments of each and every day. That something as simple as watching her master the coordination to pick up a small piece of pasta and put it into her mouth was a privilege to behold.
Maybe it is enough to provide love and space to grow? She is is loved (oh, so loved), safe, fit, healthy, fed and rested, even if the timetable is completely different to that her sister enjoyed. She knows the joy and attention of a doting sibling which is something her sister had to wait four years for.
Being a mother, this second time around, is so very different. Maybe one is not better nor worse, it just is what it is?
All I can do is be in this moment. Provide what each of my children needs now with the resources I have available at this time.
All I can do is be the best I can be right now. And today’s best might be less or more than yesterday’s best.
But it WILL be enough.
What things did you struggle with as a mother the second time around?
- Things I Had Forgotten About Life with a Newborn
- You Are Your Child’s Strongest Advocate…Whatever Their Age
- Pressing Pause
- Being a Mindful Mum in a Busy World