The jump from one to two

I've been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now, because when I was pregnant with Cecelia I constantly wondered what it would be like to have two children instead of 'just' one. In fact, I asked a few of my girlfriends who had recently made the jump from one to two if they thought it was easier the second time around. I mean, going from zero to one is LIFE-CHANGING. I cannot even remember what I did with my days before Truman came along (I think I worked, ran, blogged, slept and lounged a lot?). I figured my friends would say that zero to one was harder than one to two. But the verdict? Not so much. Two of my girlfriends were very honest when they said it was a lot harder than they had anticipated. Gulp.

Now I'm not here to say it's harder for everyone to make the jump to two kids, because there are just too many variables out there to consider. The temperament of both the newborn and the toddler will make a HUGE difference in your own personal experience. Then there is the husband wild card---is he one that's incredibly helpful, present for weeks after the birth of number two, and able to handle the demands of one-on-one defense? Or will you be mostly on your own during the day with only a few hours at night and on weekends with an extra set of hands? And what about your employment status? Will you be going back to work outside the home in 6, 8, 12 weeks or do you stay at home? See? All of these variables make it impossible to compare situations between moms. So take my experience with a grain of salt. You know I still want to share my opinion, though, right? ;)

I think the bottom line is this: it might be easy to assume that jumping to two kids will be easier than the jump to one because you've done it before. You should know what to expect. But honestly? That is sort of laughable to me now. Because every child is SO different, you haven't done it before with *this* child. And you haven't juggled that second child with a toddler before, either. And so the transition from 1-2 is very much like entering a completely different universe. A familiar universe at times, but still unique for the most part.

I've even heard people say the phrase: 'One is like none, and two is like ten' which I think is a little dramatic. But it's true that on my days with just Cecelia at home, I marvel at how much easier it is with just one baby. I know when I had little newborn Truman to care for it didn't SEEM easy and looking back, it wasn't easy. But it's funny how your perception of 'easy' changes with more kids over time. My favorite article written to moms with 'only' one child is this one, written by a mother with nine kids. I love that she respects the difficulty of raising your first child. Maybe if I have nine kids then looking back on having 'only' two will seem like a cake walk? :)

I can't proclaim that the jump to two kids was harder than I expected, since I honestly could not wrap my head around it while pregnant. I didn't really have an idea of what it would be like to juggle two kids, which is good in a way. Going in without expectations means this experience is what it is. Not harder or easier than 'expected.' But I definitely feel a huge difference between having one child and having two children to care for. And I think the differences are so interesting they must be explored.

The biggest difference this time around is that I not only have a newborn to care for but a toddler, too. I mean, duh, right? But I didn't really comprehend how different my maternity leave would feel this time around compared to the last. Truman can definitely be labeled as an 'easy' toddler, which is something I promise not to take for granted. He's laid back, well-behaved, and rarely throws tantrums. He can play independently for a decent amount of time and is usually pretty agreeable when I ask him to do something. Now he's not perfect by any means---but I would not call him a 'strong willed' child, like so many other mamas in the blog world have. And because of his temperament, I know that he is making this round two with Cecelia a little easier on me. But it's still not 'EASY' by any means.

As you read in my DITL post, balancing Truman's needs and his constant energy is tough at times, simply because there is a also newborn in the picture to consider. He has to have activities to do and we have to get out of the house or it gets hairy around here. And because I have to be on the go-go-go with a toddler, I don't have that focus on Cecelia 100% of the time like I did with Truman's maternity leave. Sometimes I expect Truman to be all grown up, because he just seems so mature compared to helpless Cece. But obviously he can't get food on his own, he isn't (totally) potty trained, he can't dress himself, and he just plain old needs mommy sometimes. The kid is two-and-a-half, not twelve, like I sometimes assume.

And because I have two kids, my valuable 'me' time just got squished out of the picture even more than before. It's important to find some mommy time for mental health, but it's certainly a challenge with two little kids demanding your attention. I know I need to be better about forcing 'me' time. In fact, I think deserve a big fat massage in the next few weeks. Now I just have to make the appointment...

Another big difference this time around is that I don't get the option to sleep in bed half of the day if we've had a rough night. I really do miss that part of having 'just one'---no toddler schedule to follow, no need to take the baby out in the car for daycare drop offs/pick ups, and no need to force her into activities outside if we don't feel like leaving the house. But mister Truman kind of runs the show around here, not Cecelia. And so we are on the move and don't get to sleep as much with a toddler in the picture along with a newborn.

I guess the thing I miss the most from my days of having only Truman is the routine--I'm talking about Truman as a toddler here, and not as a newborn. There was no routine back then, either:) I miss knowing what to expect with my one toddler. I miss being able to leave the house without packing half of our freaking belongings into a bulging bag. I miss not having to whip out my tat to feed a child in public, while simultaneously keeping my curious toddler from getting hurt on the playground. Feeling on top of things as a mom----that is a thing of the past for right now, but I know I'll get there again. Because a newborn doesn't adhere to your previously scheduled routine. True story. Go figure. :) I'm a control-freak and felt a lot more in control with just one. I remember at the end of my pregnancy with Cecelia how I sensed that it was the calm before the storm. Life was pretty amazing and we were confident parents, knowing what to expect from day to day. I freaked out a bit then wondering why on earth we wanted to change EVERYTHING. And it's true--nothing like a newborn to really humble you as a parent. But man, it's freaking awesome having two kids, even though it's hectic and unpredictable. I would not change it for the world.

And! Now that I have two kids, I think that it's actually a LOT easier for me this time to put things into perspective. The first time around I had no clue what to expect as my little baby changed before my very eyes daily. I didn't know how fast it really goes. I didn't understand that everything is a phase--even the hard stuff. I couldn't see past the present moment because I hadn't gotten to experience a growing child, moving into new and exciting phases all the time.

That article I linked to above has a beautiful quote about children being light as air, nudging past you as they float away like balloons (makes me cry to read that, but it's true). This time around I understand that these times with my children are fleeting. I know Cecelia will eventually sleep all her room:) I know she will eventually drink milk from something other than my boob. She won't always hate her car seat. And I also know that she won't always want to be held. She won't always need me so much (and man, they really are helpless and pathetic as newborns, aren't they?). She might not be able to tell me exactly what she needs---something I find sort of maddening with newborns---but man, this itty-bitty stage still has a lot of positives to absorb. Of course, I cannot freaking wait to see her giggle, to see her sit, walk, talk, and interact with us like a real 'kid'. It's been nothing short of amazing to watch Truman grow into his own little person and I know it's going to be just as fun to see Cece emerge, too. That is another thing about the second child---you now KNOW how awesome kids can be as they age. And you also know there will be challenges. :)

The second-born definitely makes you appreciate each child for what they are. I love that Truman sleeps through the night and is somewhat predictable. I love that he can play by himself a bit and is constantly making us laugh with toddler-isms. And I love that Cecelia loves to cuddle me, nurse from me, and sleeps a ton (during the day). And that I can put her down in one spot and she actually stays there!

Since I'm a mom who works outside of the home part-time, this maternity leave is incredibly special to me---just like it was with Truman. But it's different this time, for a few reasons. First, since I'm going to return to work with a 20 hour per week schedule, and not my old 36 hours per week, I don't feel that sense of dread this time. I don't feel particularly sad about going back, or panicked like I'll never get to see my child again. With Truman I had a pit in my stomach, feeling like I should be mourning the loss of something. My child? My time with my child? I don't know but I was just so sad and scared to go back to work. It felt like the end of something....and I suppose it was the end of my maternity leave, but it wasn't the end of my time with Truman. Does that make sense? Now I know that life goes on and I still get to enjoy my children for a majority of each week. And even more so now that I don't work a whole lot:) I'm not as scared about my milk supply tanking, or fearful of the pump. I still loathe the pump but I totally know I can handle the three sessions each day this time.

Life is about finding a balance. Now I know I can work outside the home in a career I love AND I can be a good mom to my children. They can still be the lights of my life even if we aren't together 24/7. I didn't feel that way the first time around and I'm so grateful to be in a happier place this time as my maternity leave comes to a close.

Maternity leave is still a magical, dreamy period of weeks for me where time doesn't really exist. It's like you are in a bubble just drifting through the days without any sense of the world around you. That is probably because of the sleep deprivation, which would be the case for any new mom and not just working moms:) I am not saying that staying at home *in general* is magical and dreamy---just the first weeks with a new baby are like that. Because I do stay at home two days a week with my kids and it's not really 'dreamy' past the first three months. And obviously, there are really hard days during maternity leave and it's not always magical. It's just a wonderful time and I will definitely miss it. But I don't dread going back to work, either. I'll just look back on this time with a hazy, foggy perspective of what it was really like to be a new mom again. And I'll smile about these twelve weeks at home while I'll probably forget about the hard days and nights.

(and what good is a post without a baby pic?)


  1. I was terrified to go from one to two. I think it was because I would be outnumbered. Our son was almost 4 when our daughter was born so he was very predictable, self-sufficient, and mostly helpful. He basically ignored her for the first few weeks and was like "Oh the baby's still here" each day. Once we started bottles and got a couple months in, he always wanted to feed her and we got into this great little routine. Mostly is was b/c she was sleeping more and we all had a little more energy:)

    Good luck! Two is an adjustment and one day it will just click.

  2. I'm nowhere near ready to add a second child to our mix (or at least the hubs isn't haha), but I can already see what you mean about knowing that the hard times will pass and that they'll grow so fast. It really is hard in those first few sleep deprived days to believe it- even though everyone tells you it's the case. It's one of those things you just have to experience for yourself. So happy to see you loving being a mom of two!

  3. Sounds about right :) I mourned our family going from to 4 before Ben even got here but having had a high needs baby and toddler, this baby is a breeze :) though it's not easy per say, when your baby doesn't scream most of the day and you have a baby that SLEEPS :) it's a whole different ball game!

    Maternity leave is awesome and I'm MORE sad to go bak this time but know i will survive it.

  4. One reason I'm so anxious for baby to be here is because I'm just so curious to know what our transition will be like. And I *do* have expectations, because we've had a newborn in the house with Isaac, and I worry that is setting me up feeling like a failure if they aren't met. I guess we'll see...

    And I'm SO GLAD to hear you are feeling good about your return to work. I've thought about you a lot as it gets closer, knowing what a tough time you had with Truman. I figured it would be a lot easier this time thanks to your new schedule, and I'm happy that is indeed the case. Enjoy this last bit of time home, lady!

  5. Thank you so much for this post!! We will (God-willing) be going from one to two in the near-ish future and I have freaked out about it more than once. I mean, I'm not even pregnant yet and I'm already worried :) Noelle will be close to 4 by the time another baby comes along, so I am glad that she'll be a little older to "help" out with things. But that doesn't mean things will be easier by any means! It was great to read an honest overview of how it was for you and your family.

  6. I'm so glad you wrote this. I have to say this is one of the things I wonder and worry about. It doesn't help that my almost 8 month old is still eating twice a night and I cannot fathom getting up with multiple children.

  7. I've been kind of nervous to go from one to two, because my mom always said that going from one to two was MUCH harder than two to three!

    I'm kind of bracing for crazy, ha!

  8. I'm 12 weeks away from my due date, and I must say that earlier on in my pregnancy I was absolutely TERRIFIED. Now, I'm calmly terrified. I know that I am going to face tough days, I know that I will be sleep deprived, but I also know that I can survive and endure those days, and they will soon (hopefully) dwindle away. What a great post! And I loved the article that you referred to!

  9. Great post, lady. I know I'm one of the two girlfriends who told you that one to two was WAY harder than expected - and it sort of shocked me, since I was totally blissfully ignorant about how hard it would actually be. You're welcome for keeping it real for ya. ;)

    But six months in, I feel like we've really gotten into a groove and life is SO different than it was those first few months with two. THANK GOD! Now it's still more work, yes, but oh the joy. The joy!! I know you're already experiencing that, and it just gets better and better. And I agree that having one child already really helps you keep things in perspective the second time around. Everthing's a phase, and it goes so fast!!

    Glad, too, that you're not feeling too sad about maternity leave ending. It is such a magical time - but I think it's so magical partly because it's limited. Makes it so precious.

    Thanks for sharing all this!

  10. Loved this post! You summed it all up quite nicely, I think. Have you ever heard the phrase "One is an accessory, two is a lifestyle"?? Because I think that is remarkably accurate, to a point. Yeah, when it's your first kid, one is tough - but eventually (after 6 months or so)I found one kid to be pretty easy, and like you, right before Luke was born we were feeling totally like rockstar parents. LOLOL - hilarious to think about now. Now - it's certainly fine, like I said in my last blog post, I don't feel major anxiety being alone with both anymore, but there is NO downtime! I know that downtime will return someday though. I definitely agree so much that having 2 makes you appreciate the uniqueness of both - I seriously love having a baby so much (as much as I complain about him sometimes :) because he is just so SNUGGLY and his head is so FUZZY and I just LOVE to squish his face - and when I try to rub Annie's head or squish her cheeks now she usually just looks at me like I'm nuts (which, maybe I am...) but I obviously also appreciate a ton about Annie too. Namely that she sleeps all night. That is a big win in her column :)

    So glad that the end of your leave hopefully will be positive for you - I am jealous of your part time work schedule for sure!

  11. Thank you so much for this beautifully written post! We're so ready to start trying for #2 now that our little girl is 7 months but occasionally get worried about the big move from one kid to "10"! I can't wait to show this to my husband!

  12. Just wanted to say that this post is absolutely beautiful! I love how you referenced the article about the mother with "only" one child. That is one of my favorite mom articles and I always read it on the tough days....with my ONE child.

    I also feel the exact same way you did, and do about going through those tough moments as a new parent. I think sometimes more seasoned parents forget how much of a struggle it is when you are going through a particular phase because you truly don't know there is an end in sight. You haven't experienced this phase with a child before, so it's a difficult concept to grasp that it will ever end.

    Enjoy the rest of your maternity leave :)

  13. Erin K, your comment just made me smile. I love having a baby so much, too - he's so SNUGGLY and his head is so FUZZY and I LOVE to squish his face! LOL Having a baby is so freakin awesome. Aside from the whole not sleeping at night part, of course. ;)

  14. I mean, thinking about #2 is still mind blowing to me but I love reading about other people's experiences. Personally, I wasn't a big fan of the newborn stage and I really didn't like maternity leave. I was ready for work and getting back to "normal". You seem like "supermama" to me and handle everything so well. Enjoy the rest of your time with the little ones. That CC is just too darling :) (and Truman too, obvi)

  15. Zero to one was mind-blowing. One to two was better. At least that is my opinion. I'm not saying it wasn't hard because it definitely was but I think I was already used to being a mom so it involved getting used to being a mom to another.

    I always say - "It doesn't get easier, it just gets different."

    Every stage is so different. Now, when I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, it is still hard but in different ways. I hope this makes sense. Pretty sure I lost brain cells with the birth of each child.

  16. I loved this post. I am three weeks away from #2 and can't decide if I'm excited or overwhelmed. I don't have a toddler like you, my son will be eleven next month so I'm thankful that I he is excited to help out and love little brother to death. I am nervous about how my life will change because I already had the job down pat and lifestyle down pat-no diapers and daycare and freedom to come and go on a whim but now all of that will be gone. Your post did give me a little comfort though so keep up the good work. I know it's tiring, but we will survive-that's just what we do!

  17. Great post. When it comes down to the hardest thing about transitioning from one to two - for me - would be the loss of personal time. The fact that I'm still fumbling to get basics done 13 months later. Like my window of time to tackle things is so tiny that I just have to give something up everyday (whether that be showering, sleep, to-do list items, cleaning, blogging, etc.) I have two great but very demanding children, neither of whom were or are great sleepers. So time is such a scarce commodity that I mourn it all the time. I know it will get better, it's just hard to feel so deeply submerged in child management! But this is why I think 2-3 will not feel as jarring to me, if we choose to go that route. I don't really have much time right now, what's one more in the mix??

  18. Just wanted to give this post a "like" :) Thanks for sharing your story. We're expecting #2 in 8 weeks and I have no idea what's in store for us.

  19. Your blog told me I might like this from the bottom of the pre-mom Julia. We are expecting #2 in 12 weeks or so and sometimes I get overwhelmed with the thought. Our daughter will be 4 so she's potty trained, can dress herself, pretty independent, and excited to help with the baby. Love the insight.


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