I still vividly remember looking at my 8 month old son the moment after I discovered I was expecting again thinking "but I'll never love anyone as much as I love you..." As if having another child meant I had to sacrifice the love I had for my first child to make room in my heart for the second...now, 9 months into life as a mother of two, I know that there is no sacrifice of love for either child. Our hearts have the capacity to love endlessly, if we let them.
So while I don't feel that there is any lack of actual LOVE in either of my relationships with my boys (I mean, sure after 3 sleepless nights you have to dig a little deeper to feel that love strongly...), I found that the most difficult thing about being a mom to two under two was sharing MYSELF and BEING ENOUGH (or feeling like enough) for the both of them. As you may know, the first couple years of your little one's life, they depend on you fully + completely. You do it all, you are their world. And being the "entire world" to two tiny individuals is, well...not easy to say the least.
Here are the top 3 things I've implemented to help me feel ( & know ) that I am enough for my two children.
1. I stopped comparing myself to others.
Of course, the toxic thoughts still occasionally creep into my mind "well, she has her kids on a napping schedule...why don't I!?" But for the most part, I have learned that we as mothers all have a very different and very unique experience. Because, we are all raising very unique and very different children! And that's okay! In fact, it's more than okay...it's a beautiful concept that we all get to have our very own parenthood journey! And, because I don't waste my time comparing myself to others, I am able to instead reflect on my personal "wins" and strengths. For example, instead of thinking "I should have a homemade dinner on the stove like Martha down the street..." I think "dannngggg, look at me, I checked off my entire to-do list, have two happy boys, and had time to take a shower today! #MomWin"
2. I "Let it Go".
The house is a mess. Your wearing the same shirt you wore yesterday, and to bed last night. Your kids are eating pretzels off the floor. Your 2 year old insists on wearing no clothes while in the house. Sometimes the only way to keep your kid calm is to give him a cookie (or 5 ) during your Target run. Let it go, mama. You can't control it all. When things aren't going my way and I feel the anger inside building up, and I'm about to burst, I will take a deep breath and belt out the Frozen theme song "LET IT GO." That, or Carrie Underwood's "Jesus take the Wheel." Both are equally satisfying in regaining sanity and calming my controlling tendencies. When you have a child, you are surrendering your ability to "do it all." It's just fact. When you have two children, you are surrendering your ability to do anything at all. (KIDDING!) But for real, at the end of the day all you can do is try your best to be your best. Your children won't remember how many days you spent in that comfy grey tee and joggers, or whether or not their snacks were served in bowls or from the floor...what they will remember is either memories of a happy loving mom or a crazy control freak mom. (Try as we might it is inevitable that our children will have at least one memory of us at our worst because...life. But I'd prefer for the majority of my time to be spent as the happy, loving mom!)
3. I make an effort to do all things with LOVE
I have made a conscious effort to be sure that all things I do are through love. Be it in my relationship with my children, family, friends, neighbors...I want every action I make to be rooted in love. That has made a world of difference in my decision making process. Be it a simple example: sometimes it is SO hard to not give in to your 2 year olds constant cry for "cooooookies" and it seems as though for the sake of your sanity it would be easier to just hand him a box of oreos and call it good. But, when I take the time to think "I love my son, and want him to be healthy. I have to say NO." It makes it much easier for me to stick my ground. Maybe this is not a new idea...but what it is, is effective! It keeps me sane. Because in those moments of thinking "it would be so great to just wait until my husband gets home and leave the boys with him so I can grocery shop in peace" I realize, to show my love for my husband I will make sure there is food here for him to eat when he arrives. (LOL if you're thinking I'm the type of wife to have dinner waiting...we're still working on that one!) But it makes the effort of getting the boys through the grocery store in one piece a more rewarding experience knowing it's rooted in purpose and not "just a part of life." And while you should always make decisions in an effort to show love to others, don't forget to love yourself too! Without love, happiness is nearly impossible to attain. When you make love the root of all you do, happiness is sure to follow!
I've learned more than I ever dreamed possible from my experiences so far as a mother. Being a mom to 2 under 2 is NO. JOKE. And while it is the most difficult venture of my life...it's also been the most beautiful!
To the mom expecting her second with her first under the age of 2, brace yourself. You are about to embark on the greatest/craziest journey of your life!
To the mom who is currently braving the world of 2 under 2, you are amazing! Never let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.
To the mom who has completed your venture in the 2 under 2 phase, HELP! What's next!?
And to the rude woman who told me that it is irresponsible to have two children that close in age and that it's impossible to give them both the love + attention they need...I'm sorry that you didn't get the love and attention you needed and became so mean.