Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mother of Two

I have to admit, I haven't really found my groove as a mother of two yet. I do pretty well during the week, when Pumpkin is at day care and I can spend my days trying to come up with ways to entertain a newborn (so far, this mostly involves nursing her, but she does seem to enjoy a rousing game of "knock over the foam block tower" now and then) and running errands. But on the weekends, Hubby and I are struggling to figure out how to cater to the differing needs (and schedules!) of a toddler and a newborn, while also managing to get the necessary chores done.

Yesterday, we went down to a park by Mission Bay with both kids and my sister, to take some photos for our Christmas cards and to let Pumpkin have a good long play at the park with the fast slide and bouncy bridge. The plan was for me to make dinner when we got back- tacos and sweet potato fries (shut up, food critics, you try to come up with gourmet meals that don't feature cheese- I'm still not eating dairy as we try to figure out if Petunia will have the same issue with that as her sister did- and that contain at least one component a picky toddler might agree to try). We got home, and I went to start dinner. I started the taco meat, cut up the tomatoes and got the cheese into a bowl (yes, food critics, I use pre-grated cheese). Then Petunia started fussing, and needed to be nursed. So I told Hubby what needed to be finished for dinner, and sat down to nurse Petunia.

And then it hit me. I hadn't put the sweet potato fries in the oven (yes, food critics, when I said "sweet potato fries" I meant "frozen sweet potato fries" and not "lovingly made by hand sweet potato fries"). At this point, it was too late to start them, so they were not part of the dinner. Unfortunately, they were the dinner component I had hoped Pumpkin would eat, since I knew the taco meat was probably a non-starter for her. She was hungry (I know this because she actually tried the taco meat before spitting it out and saying "I don't like it"). So I missed an opportunity to get something approximating a vegetable into her stomach, and she had a dinner of cheese and tortillas with butter on them.

Hubby and I are also suffering from a general lack of child-free time in which to talk. This has led to some problems. For instance, I finally found the time to research non-stick skillets (and you thought I was joking when I said we have to research every purchase). I determined that Scanpans are probably are best bet for non-stick skillets that stand up to Hubby's high standards for durability coupled with his general disregard for instructions on how to care for them. Hubby never actually trusts my research, so he went to Amazon to read the customer reviews. As we passed each other in the hall, me on my way in to get Pumpkin down, him on his way to do the dishes, he said he'd been on Amazon and thought Scanpans were indeed the way to go. I assumed that he had actually ordered them. He assumed I would handle this. The pans did not get ordered.

These are just a couple examples of the daily reminders I get that no, I really don't have this all figured out. The tantrums from Pumpkin and Petunia's evening fussy time are further reminders. Pumpkin's tantrums can often be short-circuited by some Playful Parenting type techniques, but Hubby and I are having a hard time coming up with the energy or brain power to use them. Petunia's evening fussy time can usually be avoided if I take her for a walk at about 4 p.m.- she falls asleep for 20 or 30 minutes of the walk, and is in a much better mood for the rest of the evening. But on the weekends, it is hard to fit this walk in. Last night, we were at the park. Today, I had to get the grocery shopping done.

So at least once a day, I sit there listening to a child meltdown, and think "I suck at this mother of two thing." It reminds me a lot of how I used to feel when Pumpkin was a little baby- incompetent and a little bit overwhelmed. The difference is that this time, I know that I will figure things out, and that eventually, I'll feel like a competent parent again, and eventually, Hubby and I will get new household routines figured out.

And then, I'll go back to work and we'll have to figure out how to get everyone to work or day care on time.


  1. MrsHaley5:33 AM

    Cloud, it took me a good 8 months to get my feet back under me after having my second. It takes a LONG time.

    You're doing a great job. Give yourself a break and lots of time tp figure this out! And remember ... 1 is like none, 2 is like 10!

  2. I may love being a mom of two, but I never said it was easy! Groove? What's that? Each time we start to find a groove, everything changes yet again! Every time I have a great day where things work out just right, it seems to be followed by a day where it's one meltdown after another.

    For us, it's been incredibly hard lately because the Pumpkin is bring home sickness after sickness. A good night's sleep is something I only daydream about. (Get it? Because I don't actually sleep I have to daydream?)

    I know we and you will all get through this. There will be groove eventually for you guys. Hang in there!

    @MrsHaley - That helps to hear. 8 months. We can make it to 8 months.

  3. My two girls are 4 years and 17 months old, and I am just now starting to feel like I am in the groove (or something resembling a groove anyway).

    Also, we buy a new non-stick frying pan every year or two because of my husband's "general disregard for instructions on how to care for them."

  4. Our tactic right now with two is to divide and conquer, but that works for us because I'm home with #1 all day, so even though I miss being a part of his evening routine, I don't miss it that much.

    My other tactic is like what you said - to keep reminding myself that finding a rhythm would be pointless since as soon as I do, something is guaranteed to change because these are fickle times, these newborn months.

    As far as trying to communicate with DH, who puts #1 to bed at 8:00 and falls asleep with him 70% of the time, is lots of emails and a white board on the fridge.

  5. Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!

    @Marianne- the buy cheap and replace often strategy was my original plan. Hubby balked because he sees that as wasteful. He's a "spend a lot and don't replace often" sort of guy.... I decided that spending $100 on a frying pan would be OK if it meant we didn't have to waste time arguing about it.

    @Nanette Jula- we divide and conquer, too. Luckily Petunia's evening routine is unbelievably simple, so we're managing OK. It is the weekend days that are really kicking out butts right now!

    We should try to email communication method. That might work... Its funny. We use that a lot when I'm at work. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. I think that dinner sounds pretty good for a little girl whose parents have a new baby. :)

  7. The one thing you can be sure about is that nothing will stay the same for very long. That goes for the good stuff too. Things don't ever get 'easier', just different. And that's fine too.

    My kids will be 3 and 5 in January and today becasue the 5 year old didn't have a nap at kinder he was tearing around the house like a ferrari. The 3 year old was crying because she didn't want any help with her puzzle, but couldn't do it by herself. It was mayhem, but a differnt type of mayhem to when one needs a nurse and the other needs to go down for a nap and can't because, well, you need to nurse.


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