About a year ago, a coworker of mine came back to work after completing her year of maternity leave with her second child. I asked her what it was like to be a mom of two. Her answer?
"It feels like I am a mom. Of two."
I think I know now what she meant.
There are two kids to dress, to feed, to keep clean, to get up with in the middle of the night. Two bedtimes. Two car seats. Two sets of wants and needs.
There are also countless comparisons to make as I try to avoid second child syndrome. Have I taken as many pictures this time around? What about videos? And where has that baby book gotten to? Am I giving her enough attention? Is she getting lost in the shuffle? Am I rushing her nursings? Her diaper changes? When was the last time I changed her, anyways?
Ah, the second child syndrome. My older brother was the second child in our family. A few years ago, while looking for photos for a family project, my mother realized she didn't have a single baby portrait of him. Any portraits of him under the age of three also feature my older sister, or are of the whole family. There aren't any of just him. It took her over 25 years to notice...
That speaks to the positive side of the second child syndrome: you really aren't paying as much attention. For me, this means I am really just too busy to drive myself mad overthinking every little thing. I don't count how many times I woke up during the night, or keep track of how often I sit down to nurse. Being on the go with a 3 year old means I use the baby sling more, and worry less. I am reading fewer parenting books, and am taking a stab at trusting myself.
I have come to realize that if I define 'fair' as 'the same', it will never be fair. Alexa doesn't have the same mom that Baby Nik had. Baby Nik had a vigilant, research-oriented, problem-focused, brand new mom. Alexa's mom is broken in. She's a little more relaxed, and a little less concerned with getting everything right.
So, I am definitely feeling like a mom. Of two.
There are two kids now, to hug, to kiss, to snuggle up with in the middle of the night. Two sweet little faces to photograph. Two sleeypheads to carry in when they fall asleep on the way home from Grandma's. Two sets of hopes and dreams.