Friday, January 25, 2013

Tips for the Second Time Mom

Having survived 15 months of life with two munchkins, I thought I could share some of what I have learned, as I have many friends starting to have their second baby. 

I think the first 6 months were difficult just figuring out logistics, hope these might help....

1. Car seat positions - put the baby behind you, the driver, and the facing forward toddler/older kid behind the passenger seat.  The toddler needs to see you and interact with you more. The baby can be soothed by your voice...or in our case, nothing soothes Abigail so it is a moot point.

2.  LIFO - Last in, First out.  I have seen some advertisements for these stickers you put on your car for your older kid to put their hand on while you get the baby out of the car - DUMB.  You are still relying on a kid to stay put and in a busy parking lot, I just don't trust them.  Take the baby out first, put them in the stroller or on your hip, or pull the whole carrier out.  Then, get out the big kid.  If you have to unstrap them still, just put the carrier on the ground against the car and lean over it to unstrap the kid.  When you return to the car, throw the big kid in first and shut the door - don't worry about strapping them in, unless the baby is in a carrier and it is easy.  I have Abigail on my hip most of the time, so I just throw Wyatt in and shut the door.  If there isn't crud in the floorboard, I just go to Abigail's side and have Wyatt crawl in there.  I strap Abigail in and although this doesn't seem super efficient, then go back and strap in Wyatt.  He will usually get in his seat and somewhat strap himself in.  This way both kids get strapped in tight and appropriately.   OH, and park next to the cart return if you aren't already in that routine.

3.  Get yourself a carrier/wrap.  Get yourself 2...or 3.  I used my Moby/Bjorn quite a bit with Wyatt but I could not have survived without it with Abigail.  I prefer sleepy wraps (like a moby but has some stretch to it) when they are little, Moby wraps as the get a little older and I am now a Boba fan.  I had a Bjorn with Wyatt and heard all the negative "crotch dangler" and hip displacement things....also, a boba is MUCH more comfortable to wear and can be used for back carry.  Abigail does well it.  A ring sling is awesome once they are "hip kids" and you just need to have them close to you for a bit (quickly running in a store that doesn't have carts), they are smaller and can be stuffed in a diaper bag if you decide you don't need it while in the store.

4.  Use the wraps out and about, not just at home - keep one in the car.  As Abigail didn't tolerate her carrier AT ALL (and still screams in her car seat), I always wore her at the grocery store/Target/everywhere.  At first I was a bit anxious and annoyed about doing it but then realized it was the BEST thing.  You actually have room for things in your cart!  When Abigail was little, I always wrapped the Moby on myself before I left the house and just rode in the car with it on.  It is so much easier than trying to get it all setup in the parking lot.

5.  Drive thru Pharmacies are your friend.  Kids get sick.  Moms get sick.  And that is just when you realize that what you thought was in your medicine cabinet isnt.  Have no fear, your neighborhood Walgreen's pharmacist is more than happy to go shopping for you while you sit in the drive thru.  I, of course, have only gone in the mornings during the week when there was no line, but they are MORE than happy to go grab you OTC stuff when you tell them you are sick and have kids in the car or sick babies you don't want to drag around the store.  I am one that is bad about not asking for help, but when I was desperate one time and went thru and asked, they said they NEVER mind and were happy to help.  I know I would do the same for someone if I worked there.  On this same note, if you are headed in to get a specific item at a store, call beforehand to verify they have it and ask when they go to check that they bring it to customer service.  I have done this at Best Buy and for a larger item at Babies R Us.  I have never gotten anything but a willing employee and was able to get in and out of the store faster.

6.  Get schedules in sync.   This is kind of impossible when you have a newborn and a toddler but as they get older, try to figure out a way to sync up naps.  Or sync up the baby's nap for when you and the older kid eat lunch so you still have time to sit down and eat.  They are second kids...they have to adapt more to the family then when the first baby was born and you fit everything around them.

7.  Fix the nasties with attention.  When Wyatt would get "the nasties"....meaning he was hanging out in time out a lot and just seemed angry, 10 minutes of one-on-one time went a LONG way and still does.  As much as I wanted to rush around the house doing chores while Abigail napped (which was very rare), I found that Abigail's morning nap was the time for me to play with Wyatt...sometimes I would get him to help me with laundry or dishes but whatever it was, it needed to be about he and I, together.  When Abigail started sleeping thru the night, we stupidly had them going to bed at the same time in the beginning - which made bedtime awful when just one parent was home.  We smarted up and made Abigail's bedtime 15-20 minutes before Wyatt's - that 15-20 minutes is specifically for playing a game or puzzle or doing something fun with him before we head to read books and go to bed.

8.  Lose the guilt.  It is  okay the older kid watches a little too much TV at the beginning.  It is okay that y'all are eating more take out dinners and PB&J's every day for lunch.  I was told that giving the gift of a sibling really is the best thing you could ever give your first child and it is SO true.  The first time you hear your littlest one call your older one by name is the sweetest most magical thing.  Or when they talk to each other in the backseat.  It is amazing and overwhelmingly wonderful.

9.  Realize that you live with them, not vice versa. You just thought your house was overtaken by toys and kid junk with the first one. HAHAHA (picture me throwing my head back and laughing a hearty laugh).  We try to do the toy rotations and keep things organized and have toy bins and toy shelves and toys cabinets, but at some point you just have to give up and realize we live with them, not vice versa.  I am working to make my bedroom my refuge and now have most all kid junk out of there (although they do have a drawer full of toys in my bathroom to occupy them when I am getting dressed). 

10.  Make things handy.  Have yourself wipes/changing stations throughout the house.  Both babes were in diapers at the beginning and I always made sure to have "stations" with diapers and wipes for both around the house - I made sure to restock them in the evenings.  PLUS, when you spot a dusty shelf, nothing better than having a handy wet wipe to do some cleaning (those things are wonderful).  Now with a potty trained (still in training really) kid we have extra undies in all bathrooms in case there are accidents.  If you are ever some place and think "wish I had this right now and didn't have to go in the other room" and it might happen again - put some in that room. 

11.  Go to the older kid first.  A baby's screaming is easily remedied usually by picking them up or feeding them, etc.  They cry for 1 minute for the same thing they will cry for 5 minutes.  BUT, the older kid starts fussing AT FIRST because they want some juice, but if it goes on longer, it turns into them being angry because you didn't get them the juice fast enough and then it goes into something else.  If it is a quick fix, go to them first.  Let the baby fuss for a bit - they will be okay. 

12.  Split up the kids. Although it seems easiest to go run errands and leave both the kids at home with the hubby, take one with you. Enjoy the time with them.  JB and I have learned that it is faster (and more fun) if we have multiple errands to run on a Saturday to split them up and each take a kid. It is amazing how much the kids love being out on their own with just mommy or daddy and how much you enjoy the time with them.  Wyatt is SO fun right now and Abigail is not so tough when she is on her own. 

13.  It is just that stage of life.  My very smart husband says this to me a lot.  It is just the stage of life where our houses are a disaster, I only get to shower every other day, I watch the clock a lot, I feel frustrated, and we don't get to leave the house much by ourselves (because leaving 2 kids with a sitter or grandparents is SOOO different than leaving just 1).  But enjoy this stage.  Having a newborn and a not even 2 year was tough but fun.  Having a 3 year old and 1 year old is tough but fun. 

I am one blessed woman, that these cuties call me Momma!


  1. 14) DRY SHAMPOO IS YOUR FRIEND! You may not get a shower every day, and you only get to wash your hair every 2-3 days... but you can get rid of the wet rat look with some Dove dry shampoo.

    15) Prioritize your spouse. Your children need to see a healthy marriage. They need to have healthy parents. Find a way to take some time to put eachother first.

    1. Agreed. And on 15) hubby and I make sure we kiss right when he gets home. Doesn't matter if my hands are in the sink doing dishes and dripping wet. We want our kids to see that we're a team and affectionate with each other.

    2. Kissing immediately is smart! My kids tackle my husband at the garage door so I barely get to even say 'hi' usually until we sit down for dinner! :)

  2. I think you wrote this for me. :) Love it!!

  3. I have a 2 year old and 3 month old and totally agree! Parking next to the cart return is mandatory...even if it's the farthest spot from the door. And I just saw those "stand here" stickers for your car and I thought the same thing - no way! I get my youngest out first, then the one that can run. Never trust a 2 year old's self control when their safety is at risk (like in a parking lot).
    PS - I'm Gara's friend :)

  4. I think about writing stuff like this all the time but then think "I'm not expert, I think I will sound like a know-it-all". Now I plan on writing more things like this. Think some people found it helpful! LOVE IT!