How I Parent Second Time Around.by Claire Chircop
As I approached the end of the second pregnancy I couldn’t help but wonder how I’d parent the second time around.
I’d already gained two years of experience, which in the jobs world would sure to see me right for future career opportunities. This isn’t the job world though. This is real life. Real mum life. So let's dive in and see how I parent differently the second time around.
I know I can do it because I've done it before.
The second time around I’m much more confident. I’m confident because I know I can do it. This isn't my first rodeo & if I've done it once, I can sure as hell do it again. Even on the dark days, which admittedly there haven’t been that many a second time around, I’m in a much more confident headspace. I understand that the sleepless nights are only temporary. I know my baby will gain independence and I'll start feeling more like myself again. I know this because I've been through it all already. I’ve made peace with the hard times and difficulties that come with parenthood because I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
I'm less strict with routine.
I remember with my first I was a stickler for routine. It seems as a first-time parent there's a lot of information about routine pushed upon you - As If sticking to a routine is the right thing to do. What I've learnt so far on my parenting journey is that there is no right or wrong thing to do with children. You can only do your thing, and that's more than okay. I'd worry with my first if she slept through her allotted feeding time that she wasn't going to get the right amount of food for that day, then my mind would downwardly spiral. Now with my second, I appreciate the sleep and I am more than happy to let her rest before feeding her. We're eight months in with our second and haven't yet established a firm sleeping routine. She doesn't have specific nap times nor she have a dedicated bedtime. We just follow her lead. We follow both of our children's leads now. For us ditching the routine means ditching the pressure and ditching extra responsibilities which with two small children is very much needed.
I don't rely on google.
The second time around I've barely had to Google anything when it comes to parenting and that's not because I know it all, it's because I'm confident in my own abilities and my decision-making as a parent. With parenting, I feel like you'll always have someone disagree with you online. So this time around I've eradicated that and I haven't bothered looking. The second time around I've shaken the guilt and I'm doing things my own way.
I find myself wishing time away.
Because I know what’s to come I find myself wishing time away the second time around. I love the baby stage but there’s just something about the personality and humour that comes with having a toddler / younger child that I just can’t wait for. I’m really excited for my youngest to be at an age where she can imaginatively play with my eldest. I’m counting down the days to the scenarios they come up with and all the funny things they’ll be coming out with. It goes without saying, but I’m also very much wishing the sleepless nights away. We’re at the stage with my youngest now where she sleeps through 50% of the time and oh my goodness, the power of a good night's sleep is incredible. I can't wait to have my batteries fully charged again.
I utilise my first child.
Without sounding like I’m trying to shake my responsibilities, I’ve learnt to ask my eldest daughter for help. She loves getting involved with housework & has even been known to ask to clean the house (although I’m not sure what that says about the state of our home). As a mum of two young children there are always (ALWAYS) jobs to do, so if I can lighten the load by delegating to my eldest I’m going to. With that being said I’m very aware of what she can and can’t do. I’ll also judge her mood before I ask her to do anything because if you’ve got a three-year-old you’ll know how much they know their own minds.
So that's how I'm parenting differently the second time around. The overriding factor for me is confidence. I've found I'm a much more confident and relaxed parent with my second. It's amazing what a bit of hindsight can do for you!