Being a mom is tough. This probably isn’t news to anyone here. Being a mom to two is exponentially harder. You’d think having that first would give you enough experience, some sort of wisdom … and then you have the second who is, naturally, the polar opposite to the first. And then the first’s needs/likes/schedule/etc. don’t jive with the second’s needs/likes/schedule. And either the first is happy, or the second is happy, but either way mama is frustrated and second guessing herself (and her sanity). And no one really knows what the hell they’re doing anymore. God bless you if you have more than two. You have my utmost admiration. There is probably a reason why (high maintenance, spazzy, and determined) me is an only child.
Don’t get me wrong – being a mom to more than one is phenomenal. I am blessed beyond belief to have both of my girls and my days are more smile filled than not. Yet, I’m often left standing in the middle of my child-led chaos and wondering, “WTF is going on here?”
You see, toddlers and infants are very different breeds (duh, right?). With Sabine, I went through this natural progression of newborn hood to infant hood to toddler hood. I knew what to expect. With each phase, I felt myself become a little more savvy and I KNEW what she needed. What she wanted. What she liked and what made her utterly insane. Then … WHAM. There’s a baby in the mix. And Sabine was a baby so long ago (3 years is a REALLY long time. Trust me.) that I don’t remember what to expect and what to expect with Lilith is so different from what I expected with Sabine (then and now). Which may make you feel even more lost than being a first time mom because you start to think, “A-HA! I remember this!” but you really don’t. You think you have all the answers but you have none. In short – you are stoopid. Having children makes you stupid. I’m sure there’s a study on that somewhere.
The source of my confusions stems from operating constantly in two modes – I can be in “doting mama to baby” mode or “fun time mama to toddler” mode … but I’ve yet to figure out how to successfully operate in both modes simultaneously. How can it be possible? How can I both soothe the baby to sleep and play a game of Candyland with the toddler at the same time? How can I navigate through 3 year old drama queen meltdowns without scaring the poor infant so much she yearns to learn to crawl early in order to escape our madness? How do I even remember which child is which and keep from calling them the wrong flippin’ names (Sometimes even my husband’s name. Or the dogs’. Are ALL of us moms doomed to this?)!?
My preliminary answer is – you can’t. Or at least I can’t. If you, yourself, have figured out how to please, by all means, tell me. Let me in on this secret. Or do yourself a favor and package it in a book which you can sell to all the frazzled moms like me and then you’ll be able to retire early on your fortune.
In all honestly, the chaos that ensues from not having the answers isn’t that bad … it’s the admitting to myself that I can’t be the perfect mother than affects me the most. I’m a good mom. A damn good mom. But somewhere along the line I got it into my head that I could be the perfect mom. And I can’t.
The flip side of this is that sometimes admitting the “I had a crap day and let my kid eat cartoon character themed soup from a can for dinner!” is sort of freeing. 90% of the time I’m a rockstar. 10% of the time I’m just scraping by. Those odds aren’t bad, right? 90% means I still get an A on my mom report card (or an A-, and on some grading scales it’s a B, but still, it’s toward the top end of the bell curve) and I’m probably the only one counting anyway. As my 3 year old told me before bed last night, “Mommy. You’re my best friend. My very favorite” and that has to count for some bonus points somewhere.