Being a mother is real hard work. Only when I embraced motherhood myself did I begin to appreciate all the other mothers around the world -- including my own, who did a fabulous job raising four difficult kids! Motherhood tests you in every way, be it emotionally, physically, mentally or financially! That said, it also rewards you in ways that cannot be quantified.
When my husband and I had our first child, it took me a while to stumble my way back to normalcy and to adapt to the role of a mother successfully. Having learned the tricks of the trade, I believed that things would be a lot easier with our second child. Guess what? I was wrong.
But overwhelming as the experience was, I did learn some things along the way. Here are five of those things I wish I'd known beforeour second child came into our lives:
1. Sleep deprivation reaches a whole new level
Catching a good night's rest with a baby in the house is not easy and it gets even harder with the second child. My baby used to keep me up all night with his wails and cries, and I rarely had the luxury of catching a few winks during the day. Right from 7 in the morning I had to be on my toes dressing up my older kid for school, making him breakfast, packing his lunch and dropping him off at the bus stop. During the first couple of weeks, especially, I suffered terrible mood swings courtesy sleep deprivation. Over time, my husband and I worked around our sleep schedules to ensure that both of us got a decent amount of shut-eye!
"I thought with our second child, I'd be a lot better at handling the daily drills and emergencies. Turns out, no two kids are the same..."
2. The first baby doesn't make you an expert
This one was indeed my most surprising discovery! I thought with our second child, I'd be a lot better at handling the daily drills and emergencies associated with raising a baby. Turns out, no two kids are the same, nor is the way to handle them. I realised that every child reacts differently to words, people, things and situations. Just because my older child loved having people over didn't necessarily have to mean that my little one did, too! One has to be prepared to embrace raising a second child without any preconceived notions.
3. Chaos becomes the new normal
It can get pretty chaotic raising one child, and when there are two, you sometimes have to surrender to the chaos and accept it as a part of your life. That's what happened to me with the arrival of our second child. I used to find myself always running late to places; things would be scattered here and there within minutes of me cleaning up and each day there'd be something that would magically disappear from the house. Though it was frustrating initially, I got used to the disorder with time. It became a normal thing.
4. Asking for help is completely okay
It's a real struggle to bring up two kids, especially if one of them is an infant. I wish I had known that reaching out to my support system for help when I needed it wouldn't make me look small. It is, in fact, completely understandable and even important to ensure that you get some personal time. I wish I had known that asking for help wouldn't make me a bad mother.
5. Your love grows by leaps and bounds
It amazes me, the amount I am capable of giving and loving. I suppose it's one of the powers that god blesses us mothers with -- to love boundlessly and unconditionally. With the arrival of our second child I was amazed that my love for my two kids never got divided; it only grew beyond my imagination. That's the beauty of motherhood.
Most importantly, I wish I'd known that my understanding of happiness fell short. The truest form of happiness is seeing my entire family together. It helps overcome all the problems and hardships that come along the way. In the end, family is all that matters!
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