Let me preface this post by saying this:
When you become a mama its like your heart just falls on the floor because it can’t handle the amount of love you have for your precious babies. However, motherhood is hard, lonely at times, and 100% worth it. But, if one more person tries to tell me that I need to enjoy this time while my kids are little, after I have just shared about a massive kicking and screaming toddler tantrum in the middle of Publix, I might just smack them over the head with one of my daughters baby dolls. Forgive me Jesus. When I talk about my tough days as a Mother I am NOT complaining. I’m simply sharing my struggles so that another Mama might feel a little less alone. I’m sharing my struggles so that I don’t feel alone.
ALL the Glory to God in ALL circumstances, ya’ll – even when you gotta whip your ‘mean mommy’ voice out in the middle of the Walmart because your toddler thinks its hilarious to run away from you screaming at the top of her lungs AND she got a random bag of noodles in her hand.
Life with kiddos is so WONDERFUL, even in the chaos.
People say to me all the time “I don’t know how you do it with two kids”. And I’m like shoot I’ll tell ya how: Jesus, gallons of coffee, a Lexapro prescription, and a dang good support system. Oh, and Clorox wipes.
I honestly wasn’t sure my heart could love another tiny human as much as I love my first, but the moment J entered this world I was wrecked all over again. Not only do I get to raise another precious gift from God (who looks JUST like his handsome Daddy thank you LORDT), but I also get to watch Maddie step into her new role as Big Sis; and let me tell you she’s a daggum rockstar at it.
But, the love I have for my children doesn’t make our day-to-day any easier.
I’m v tired all. the. time. I haven’t seen a mascara wand in months. There are Frosted Flakes crumbs in my bed. The only perfume that gets sprayed on me is spit up and Cheetos dust. I’m still wearing my maternity clothes. I probably forgot to brush my teeth. And yes, this is the same outfit I slept in. I’ve retired my Longchamp for a diaper bag. The only “club” I would go to is the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And I only drink mixed drinks, because my toddler decided to take a sip and mix her backwash into it. No, Karen, that doesn’t mean I’m complaining about my life as a mother or that I don’t love my kids; it’s just the ugly truth.
Hi. Welcome to my life with a toddler + a newborn. I’m constantly sweating. Something is always sticky. And we’re usually all crying.
I’d like to think I’m a seasoned Mama; I felt pretty dang confident going into the hospital to deliver my second, Joseph. I knew what to expect. I knew I would get an epidural (YASS QUEEN). I knew I would have trouble breastfeeding (nipple shields are annoying AF). I knew that I’d be going home in diapers too. I knew I wouldn’t be getting any sleep. I even knew how I was going to feel towards my husband (sorry babe) – because let’s be real, when your breastfeeding there isn’t much for a dad to do 2 am besides change a diaper and offer moral support.
I was prepared for postpartum life. I was prepared for newborn life. But holy shirt balls I was NOT prepared the postpartum + newborn + toddler life.
Having multiple young children close in age oddly mirrors the time when I was sober and had to take care of my two drunk best friends – they couldn’t form complete sentences, couldn’t walk straight if at all, and I was throwing food at them praying to Jesus they would pass out asap (looking at you Codie + Ashlyn).
It’s a lot to juggle. Like, a lot.
Having kids means that you are ultimately going to have to get out of the house because cabin fever is real and it more than likely will end in disaster – I say that in the most positive way possible. At least, that’s what happened to me the first time I decided to get out with both kids. Alone.
There are no books out there that teach you how to successfully go out in public with a toddler + a newborn. It’s a scary game of Russian Roulette. I remember when I had my daughter I spent the whole first month of her life inside on the couch. It was horrible. I had crippling anxiety and depression and the LAST place I wanted to be was in public with a crying baby. And the last LAST thing I wanted to do was go grocery shopping with a crying baby. But, when you’ve got now two kids, two dogs, and a husband to feed and you forgot to order for pickup, you gotta put your big girl diaper on (bc ya know the bleeding never stops), load the kids up, face your fears, and head to Walmart. And yes, I was already sweating before we even left.
Expectant Mamas, get ready for that postpartum life because it ain’t pretty. You’re going to sweat. A lot. And you’ll continue to sweat until you literally feel like you’ve done a P90x workout but really all you’ve done is load the diaper bag. Just me? Ok cool.
I should have known that the trip was going to be a failure from the start because the minute I put Joseph in the car he was screaming. And the whole way to the store he continued to scream. *enjoy this time while their little, I think to myself* We get to the store and I’m praying to Jesus for patience because I just know Maddie is going to put up a fight to sit in the cart. And for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to leave Joseph in his carseat and just set the big ol thing down in the cart. Dumb.
So, we’re doing good. We’ve made it into the store. And then Maddie sees the freaking bananas. Tantrum #1. I should have just given her the dang banana but instead I ignore her and b-line for the meat section leaving a trail of sweat behind me. I’ve distracted her enough to calm the whining, but now she has decided that she doesn’t want to sit in the cart anymore and thinks its funny to play the stand up-sit down game. NEWSFLASH IT’S NOT AND ONLY CAUSES MORE SWEAT TO DRIP FROM MY FACE. Tantrum #2. Then I realize that I have a secret weapon. My iphone. #momwin I calm her down and now she is my sweet angel watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and I just want to remember this moment forever.
And then Joseph starts crying.
I went to pop the paci back in and I realize he has spit up all over himself. And not just a little, it was like a daggum venti iced latte from Starbucks. So now he’s all wet and sticky and crying and I’m sweating even more. And all I have to show for myself at this point is a family pack of chicken and a bag of lettuce. I HAVE to keep shopping. So I clean J up and decide to hold him for a bit to calm him down.
Have you ever tried to hold a newborn, push a shopping cart with a 25lb human, and shop for groceries at the same time – with one hand?! It should be an Olympic sport. Not my finest moment. But when you’re a mama you gotta get it done.
I continue to shop, continue to sweat, and people continue to stare with sympathy. I’m fine. We’re fine. It’s fine. At least no one is crying. My shirt might be a different color because of the sweat BUT AT LEAST NO ONE IS CRYING.
And then we head to checkout.
I unload the cart – with one hand – and then put Joseph back in his car seat. He starts screaming and we’ve been in the store for so long that Maddie starts getting restless too. At this point I’m almost positive that people think I’m detoxing from drugs because of the amount of sweat that is pouring from my face. It’s fine. We’re fine. Let’s just pay and get the HECK out of here.
But then I realize that I have more groceries than I have space in my cart so I need a second cart – one for my kids, one for my groceries. Im so freaking extra rn. And my proud self LITERALLY TRIES TO PUSH THEM BOTH OUT OF THE STORE. The cashier stops me and calls in reinforcements. I was so freaking thankful that the workers at Walmart we’re about to pull a Publix and push my buggies for me. But also so freaking embarrassed. We made it out alive and then we ALL cried the entire way home. And immediately took a bath.
*Siri, remind me to always order my groceries online*
Life with a toddler + a newborn is not easy. There are times when both of them are crying at the same time and you have to choose who to comfort first. There are times when your toddler has to climb up on the counter and hold the bottle in the baby’s mouth so that you can do the dishes. There are times when you have to give your toddler extra screen time so that you can cuddle your newborn. And there are times when you yell at your toddler to stop yelling for fear of the baby waking up.
There are times when the mom guilt weighs heavy on your soul.
But, y’all when the baby starts crying and my toddler instantly runs over to comfort him by saying “I know buddy it’s okay!” I am reminded to enjoy this time while they’re little because it will be gone before I know it.
When it’s time for bed and my toddler climbs up in my lap while I’m rocking the baby to sleep, I am reminded that soon my lap will be empty and I’ll be wishing for this moment.
And when I’m sitting in the living room watching my 2 month old do tummy time and my toddler independently playing with her dollhouse, I am reminded that having a newborn + a toddler is wonderful, even in the chaos.