One of my favorite friends in all the world, Kathryn, is expecting her second little beauty NEXT week! Today, she shares a few tips on how to prepare your family for a second child. And of course, provides a few laughs along the way! Enjoy!
Hello! Thanks for tuning into my guest post on Alyssa’s site. Alyssa and I have been friends for over 10 years now. We both attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and after an initial period of “feeling each other out” for a couple months, we became very close. By the grace of God we have maintained that closeness through good time and bad. In fact, I can thank Alyssa’s previously referenced plan to meet cute boys at church for bringing me back into a relationship with God when I was feeling very isolated and lost. I couldn’t possibly not go to church when the rest of my roommates were going! Thank God for my FOMO.
Anyway, I was really excited when Alyssa accepted my gracious invitation to be the first guest blogger on her amazing website (read: I forced myself into her awesome dream realized). First, a little about me. My husband Brian and I are lifelong Midwesterners. We’ve been married 5 years and have an absolutely amazing 2 ½ year old daughter. I work part time at a large academic health system helping imbed population health management strategies into current clinical and strategic practices (wow, did that put you to sleep or what??). Also, our family is less than one week away from welcoming a second baby girl into the world. (At least I hope we’re less than a week away…pregnancy is about one month too long in my opinion.) Since they always say “write what you know,” I figured I would provide you all with some tips for preparing for a second child.
Tip #1: Don’t wait until it feels “right”
Everyone says this about babies in general, but I am here to reiterate that unless you are Superwoman, you will never feel completely ready. In fact, if I start to really think about balancing a loving husband, a job, a house, and now two kids, and giving all of them the time and effort they deserve, I crawl under my desk and start sucking my thumb. I’m serious; the less thought you give this, the better. Millions of men and women have traversed this same landscape before you, and they have raised plenty of well-adjusted children. You will be fine. Plus, if you first child is anything like mine, he or she desperately wants and needs a sibling. When I found our daughter petting the ceramic dog our neighbor gave her, I knew it was time to provide her with a real companion.
Tip #2: Do nothing for the majority of your pregnancy
You’ve been through this before; you’re an expert. You know that you don’t need to read the books or know the size of your baby compared to a random fruit or vegetable. You also have all the gear, and have also probably realized that you really need only about a third of it. (Turns out, you can just put your hand in the water to figure out if it’s too hot; a tub thermometer isn’t quite so necessary.) You definitely do not need 9 months to prepare for this baby.
This time around, there was a period where I actually had to look at a calendar and count the weeks to figure out how far I was into the pregnancy. (This baby is still in utero and I think I’m already giving her second-child syndrome.) I would say that we waited until I was solidly in the third trimester to start thinking about prepping our house for a newborn again. I seem to do my best work after a solid period of talking a lot about it, dilly-dallying, and then briefly forgetting about all the things I said I would do.
One other thing that I feel sort of falls into this category…DON’T buy new maternity clothes. I guarantee you can make do with whatever you had during your first pregnancy. Also, when one of your best friends plans a black tie wedding for 2 weeks after your due date, you can always Rent the Runway (I totally wish I had thought of this business model).
Tip #3: Prepping your firstborn
My advice would be to somehow incorporate the news that your child’s position as center-of-your-attention officially has an expiration date with mass quantities of sugar. It helps soften the blow. We’re not exactly the type for big announcements on social media, but we did arrange for a single cupcake that was filled with pink frosting for our little one. Was she more interested in the frosting than the baby news? Maybe. Frankly, I would be concerned if any 2 year old put news of a baby that won’t be here for months above a delicious cupcake directly under her nose.
There were three things that I said we would definitely have done with our 2 year old before a second baby came: switch her to the bigger bedroom, move her to a “big girl” bed, and have her out of diapers. There was NO way I would be changing two sets of diapers all day every day! Well, I am here to tell you that, five days away from my due date, I have a 2 ½ year old that is sleeping in her big girl bed in her new bedroom…in diapers. Two out of three ain’t bad, right?? I fully believe that the thing you are reminded of the most frequently when you become a parent is how little you knew about parenting before having kids. I really feel like most of my life involves eating words I said before I had babies. I find comfort in the reminder that she definitely won’t be going to kindergarten in diapers. (oh, PLEASE don’t let her go until kindergarten wearing diapers!!)
Tip #4: Picking a name
My husband and I are both kind of traditional (read: boring), and like pretty traditional names. Our daughter was named after my great grandmother, and if we had our druthers our second-born would also be bestowed with a family name. However, the remaining family names we have for us are: Alberta, Doris, Muriel, Martha, Olga, and Ethel. Traditional though we might be, we cannot name a child Alberta Shindeldecker in 2015.
Continuing with the theme of giving our daughter second-child syndrome before she’s even born, we are five days away from our due date with pretty much no clue what we’ll name her. Although we technically didn’t name our first before she was born, we both had a pretty good idea of what her name would be – a beautiful family name that meant a lot to me when we gave it to her. This child is going to get a name…because we like it and could actually agree on it. IF we can actually agree on it. My hope is that we’ll see the baby and just know her name. I’m fairly certain they won’t let us leave the hospital with “Female Girl Shindeldecker.”
Tip #5: Meal Prep
I’m proud to announce that Brian and I actually prepped and froze a dozen crock-pot ready meals for after the baby comes. However, that is only because I dilly-dallied on writing this blog post. (Are you sensing a theme to how I get things done in my life yet?) The first phase of this plan involved a lot of talking about how I was going to prep all these meals for the crock pot and put them in the freezer so they are ready to go whenever we need them. The second phase included pinning a lot of recipe ideas and letting them linger on my Pinterest board for months. (If you are into really boring Pinners, you can follow me.) Finally, earlier this week, I went to the grocery store at 9pm, bought an obnoxious amount of food, and then forced my poor sous chef to prep all the meals before we went to bed. That means we both finally hit the pillow well after midnight. Considering we’re both normally in bed by 10 PM, I would call this a sacrifice for our children.
Seriously, I would highly recommend that anyone expecting a baby, regardless of whether it’s your first, second, or ninth, do this. With our first, I was not at ALL prepared for how hungry breastfeeding makes you. I’m talking ravenous. Even though we are blessed with lots of loving family and friends who graciously brought us meals, there were plenty of nights where we gorged on carb-heavy pasta meals (because they’re quick and easy) or expensive greasy take out (because I was sick of pasta with red sauce). This is a good way to ensure that you always have something relatively healthy and not necessarily pasta-based on hand to throw in the crock pot in the morning and have ready for dinner.
So, there you have it. Tips from an obvious expert on how to prep for a growing family. In all honesty, let your instincts kick in, and rely on family, friends, and prayer when you feel yourself losing it slightly.
What tips do other mamas out there have for a growing family? I’m certain there are plenty of more organized women out there than me!