Well, it’s really hard to believe I am inching toward one year of Rory. He is actually, I am convinced, the easiest, sweetest baby on the planet. And with this milestone also comes one year of being a mommy to two. To be honest, I was really scared after the excitement of a second pregnancy died down and reality set in. I remember asking Paul on multiple occasions if he thought it was normal to feel jealous for your firstborn. Like, I genuinely felt jealousy for time with Knox and a gut wrenching feeling anytime I thought about having to share my heart with another baby. It felt impossible to even imagine let alone live out.
Momma, I am here to say the cliche… your heart just somehow really does multiply. You CAN do this. You CAN love more than one kid despite how utterly unreal and difficult to wrap your mind around it you may feel it is. So today, I wanted to give practical tips to those of you mothering two babies. Going on 11 months now, though far from perfect and lots more to learn, I feel I have figured out some basics that might encourage you if you find yourself pregnant or thinking about a second [or feeling currently overwhelmed with two!].
It’s okay to feel sentimental [and jealous] for time before baby is born with your firstborn.
I truly did feel a fiery jealousy in my belly as I would ache thinking about having to split my love between Knox and a new baby in our home. It hurt and genuinely made me sad. I cried a lot about it. The weirdest part was it was completely unrelated to the excitement I felt for Rory to be born. I felt a wild rollercoaster of emotions. And, well, turns out it’s fairly normal. I didn’t feel my pregnancy was fully real the second time around until I was in labor, because I tried so hard to just focus all I had on Knox. I soaked up every last possible thing I could with him – just us. It was a really special time and I am so grateful. COVID also made this time incredibly easy as we were in lockdown the final months of my pregnancy.
Preparations with Your Firstborn.
We included Knox in everything possible for Rory before he was born and talked about all the ways he would make a great big brother. Positive talk was the key to this big life change. We would talk about all the fun things brothers get to do together and would have Knox talk to us about the things he was excited for. Knox had ownership & security of his role in our family and as a brother before Rory was born, and I really think that helped us transition. There were random days/weeks over the last year I felt like Knox was being a little mean toward me, and I know it was from feeling frustrated about a baby. But, for the most part, the transition has been almost seamless *knock on wood*. After Rory was in the NICU for a week, it definitely made coming home over and over without baby confusing. But, the moment we got to bring Rory home and introduce Knox was so special and everything I dreamt it’d be. We let Knox show Rory to his room, holding onto the newborn carseat and helping daddy carry it to the nursery. From the second Rory arrived at our home, Knoxy got to be an important role to Rory.
Also, something I say often to Knox as our firstborn is that I get to be the mommy and tell Rory “no” so that Knox just gets to be the big brother. Already at a young age, I am trying my best to help him know he isn’t responsible for Rory or being held to an unrealistic standard of a “mini parent.” He just gets to be Rory’s brother, for fun and friendship, and nothing else. I say it so much to Knox that he is starting to be able to repeat it back to me or finish my sentence.
Take time alone with each one.
Often, Paul and I will split and conquer with intentionality. Knox loves himself a special daddy date, and likewise enjoys just some one on one mommy time out of the house. We also will take turns going out with just Rory to enjoy that intimate one on one time with him. I used to just stroll for hours with Knox in a Target with a coffee in hand, cooing and showing him things for the home he had no concept of, and I don’t want to miss out on that with Rory. Though it is so SO fun to go on adventures with both of my boys, I think making sure I set aside intimate time with them alone is so important even when Rory is so little. I feel just as bonded to Rory as I do to Knox, and I think that has taken intentionality to not just “survive” with two boys on my hip as I navigate my days.
It is what it is, I am a better mom when I get sleep, alone time, my nails done, and a good book in from time to time. Going to the nail salon twice a month is part of our budget – I need it. Telling Paul I need a car ride alone to listen to an Audible book with a fresh cup of coffee is medicine to my soul. Getting in a Peloton ride during nap time is vital to my well-being. It is so easy to put yourself on the back burner in motherhood, and especially as you add more babies to your home. But don’t. I am serious… don’t do it. Your spouse needs to be your number one accountability that you’re getting that to yourself, and visa versa. My number one tip to new mommies is ALWAYS do whatever you need to to feel like you again the quickest postpartum. I truly think this helps you be the best mom you can be and helps battle those baby blues. I also believe that truth remains solid throughout your entire motherhood journey long after those first 6 months or so. It’s true for every season of motherhood. Don’t lose YOU. Become a better you alongside the journey of motherhood. I am a better Hannah Marie-Cheves Morrison because of my sons, but I am still me.
Sibling Love Makes It ALL Worth It.
No, I am serious. Knox can make a toot noise with his hands and Rory dies. I try… and we have crickets. Knox is the funniest person in the room to Rory and I think it is absolutely perfect. It’s pure magic. I don’t know what fairy dust is sprinkled into their little hearts at birth that makes them feel such a sweet bond to their sibling, but dang it’s real. And it’s so sweet. It makes me mushy thinking about my own siblings. Surely we had that, too. I can only imagine we did and it makes my heart swell. Time and distance may make their lives or relationship change, but I think Rory and Knox [and all siblings for that matter] have some special fairy dust forever that bond their hearts.
You will miss the “cute” things like milestone blanket pics… it’s okay.
With Knox, all I had to focus on every day from sun up to sun down was… well, Knox. Now it’s a toddler and a 10 month old. I am just trying to make sure Knox doesn’t run outside without pants on while also making sure Rory isn’t putting his finger into a light socket. I had the milestone blanket pics up on IG on the right day with some magical caption to pair with Knox and I believe Rory has had… three? My love isn’t reflected for Rory in a milestone blanket picture or a grand gender reveal [which I intentionally did privately with my husband for baby #2] or designated highlights on my Instagram just to him, though. I want Rory to see I loved him intentionally every single day as his mom… that’s it. And though I wish I could have done all the things just as cute and beautifully as I did with Knox, the truth is… life changed and my time did, too. But my heart swells and runs over equally. So what I am saying is… forget whatever guilt you might have for not “keeping up” with this one and go smooch them on the lips and spend time with them. It’s better anyways.