As I came to the end of my second pregnancy, I started thinking how I would cope as a mother of two. Would being a mother to two be that different to being a mother of one? I assumed I would be busier as there’s an extra person depending on me, but given that I had done this gig before, would that somehow make it easier?
As I reflect on the last 4 months, I am definitely more confident in any decision involving my kids. I seem more comfortable asking for help and oddly, I’m more organised. I am also more tired, maybe because I’m almost 5 years older than when I had my first and the demands of a little baby and juggling everything else is being felt more, or maybe there’s just more I have to fit into my day. It’s probably a bit of both.
With baby no. 2, I have cut myself some slack. I’ve accepted that I can’t do everything. It wasn’t easy, as I do like to think I can do it all. It took me a while to realise that putting unnecessary pressure on myself was only causing me stress. As Liele was almost 5 when Ben was born, she has become my little helper and has stepped up to the role of big sister with ease. I make it fun and see it as bonding time for us when she helps me out.
My favourite word is outsourcing. In fact, “outsource” is my middle name. I’m not afraid to ask for help. I don’t see it as failure or a sign I can’t cope, but quite simply, it takes a village to get the job done. I started back at work when Ben was 6 weeks old, I felt ready. Working from home works well for me, and it means Ben can maintain his routine. This time around, I’m much more flexible. I work around his sleeps where possible and if not, I have someone take care of him whilst I’m consulting. I am fortunate to have family support and with Liele at school, it makes balancing motherhood and work much easier for me compared to some of my friends. Although I must say, those school hours go very quickly! I think I’m more organised than I’ve ever been, and scheduling has somehow become my new hobby! It makes me feel more in control of my day and it ensures I don’t forget anything – not all the time, but most of the time.
I have also learnt that I can’t be there for everyone all the time. I used to feel guilty not playing with Liele when she was little, but now I am proud when she heads off to her room to play, I think it’s important for her to be able to entertain herself at times and enjoy her independence. Ben also has some time each night before bed to enjoy his own company. It helps him sleep well not being overly stimulated before bedtime. I returned to my exercise earlier than the first time and this has really helped me mentally. It’s important for me to have ‘me’ time. It clears my head from that newborn baby blur and gives me more energy to take on the day. I don’t do it every day, just when I can fit it in, but I am trying to make it more regular.
I have a hands-on husband, who loves his time with the kids, but he travels a lot for work. When he’s home, it’s all systems go and some nights we barely have a proper conversation. After Liele was born, we felt a bit overwhelmed and my husband was working long hours so we didn’t have that much family time/us time. Since having Ben, we’ve started doing date night. How refreshing to have a proper conversation over wine – without interruption!
What I have really noticed this time is that I now take what others say with a grain of salt, and I am much more confident trusting my own instincts. Comments on how I do things, about Ben’s weight, what I’m feeding him, are just opinions. I no longer take these comments to heart. When I had Liele, those comments would bug me to the point that I would be thinking about it for days. I have learnt that as the mother, I know what is best for my kids. It doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes, but I’m happy to do what I think is best for them without requiring reassurance with everything.
As mothers, we all want the best for our children. We have to look after ourselves too. When I feel things are getting too hard, I now ask for help when I need it, not when I’ve already reached my wit’s end. It’s ok to ask for support, it’s ok to outsource. It’s not an easy job we have, but it’s an important one and we need to be happy too.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all you amazing mums xo