Dear Mama {of a Toddler and a Newborn}

Dear Mama of a Toddler and a Newborn,

My goodness, you have accomplished something very impressive: You have survived pregnancy while also caring for a toddler. Maybe you have two under two, or maybe your oldest is closer to three. Either way, it ain’t easy chasing after a small person while also growing a whole human. So kudos (and I mean it!!) to you for that.

I rewarded myself after my weekly OB appointments at the end of my second pregnancy with hot fudge sundaes. #noregrets

Darling, you have successfully brought another human into the world, and now into your home with your other tiny best friend there waiting for you. It’s going to feel like you left to go to the hospital with a little baby, and then when you come home your oldest is going to look so grown up! They will look huge! What in the world happened?

I see you, Mama.
I see you cry tears of joy because you never imagined you’d be this happy. How precious this world is that you have created!
I see you cry tears of exhaustion and frustration, over-touched at the height of sensory overload. Amidst perpetually breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or both, there is a little one who suddenly seems so big, still waiting there right next to you waiting for their cuddles and snuggles and love. But you, you are so tired. And some days you just love those precious snuggles so much, and other days it feels like you’ve become a porcupine, a touch-me-not, and you just want to scream if another person touches you. But you don’t. You nurse the baby and cuddle the toddler, in one of many times you’ll put their feelings before your own.
 
I see you, trying to dress two little ones so cute and trendy, and man are they PRESH! It was probably like getting little blind kittens in diapers ready to leave the house. And, I know you probably had to do your makeup in the car — I feel you! You might feel a mess – you don’t look it, I promise. But you’re really doing great with those babes. They are clean and fed and dressed just darling!!
I see you trying to keep up with your house, dishes, and laundry as high as Mount Never-rest (as my kids so affectionately call it). You try to make progress in any direction but it’s usually interrupted by your newborn screaming through a poopy blowout, or your all-too-helpful toddler trying to unload the dirty forks back into the drawer. Sometimes you nap when the stars align and both of your babies nap, but then try to shake the guilt from sleeping instead of doing housework. I promise, it’s okay. You’ll get caught up one day. Or never, like me!
I see you staring at yourself in the mirror. I see you, you hardly recognize your own body. Two babies worth of stretch marks and soft hips, engorged boobs, and swollen belly. You don’t see it now, but you will one day- when you see pictures of yourself and realize that you were literally recovering. And you don’t see how that hubby of yours looks at you. You’re still his whole world, he still thinks you’re absolutely gorgeous. You are.
Can I tell you something? I need to be honest. The next few years will be really hard. But then the clouds will part for a minute and you’ll see the sunshine so bright you might feel like your heart will just explode. I won’t feed you the line of “you’re gonna miss this” nonsense. Sometimes wrangling a toddler and a baby is so hard you might not ever miss it.
Those two little ones will grow up together. They won’t remember life before each other. They will look to each other for comfort when you are gone. They will sneak into each other’s beds and cuddle and snuggle under a heap of stuffed animals and loveys. They will become the very best of friends. What an incredible gift you’ve given them!
They will get into trouble together. Probably a lot of trouble. Mischief all the live long day. You will fuss and punish but then giggle a little to yourself. You might even be shocked by how fast two toddlers can polish off a sleeve of Oreos. Or empty an entire bottle of shampoo onto the bathroom floor. Or cut their own hair. #GodspeedMama
Having your babes close together is an investment. It is tough in the beginning, but the payoff? So, so worth it.
I’ve done it. A few times actually. Two girls 17 months apart, and two more 20 months apart. (Plus two more kids spaced a little in between — yes 6 total!)
Photo credit: Brittany Preble Photography

I teeter on the edge of insanity most days. I live in a world of laundry and ungodly messes.

I walk the line in parenting every day. Am I fussing too much? I need to love on them more. I’m spoiling them. Dang it, they are brats! God, I love them more than life itself.  They are amazing. This is amazing. I’m tired.
There is no parenting book to get you through every step, but I just want you to know that you’ll survive this. You will do more than survive it. You will thrive. It might hurt. Some days might be a blur of cleaning up messes and filthy children and changing diapers and begging for them to just lay down and nap. You might lose your temper. You probably will have to carry them both out of a play place, or church, or a restaurant, one under each arm like a pair of wild piglets. But the memories you will make with those piglets? The giggles and cuddles and core memories?? Priceless.
Take a breath, make some coffee, and settle in. It’s perfectly OK and very normal for you to not enjoy every moment of this ride. Rollercoasters are scary and at some of the twists and drops you think you might die, but at the end, you realize that you’ve actually had the time of your life. Well, the same goes for parenting.
I see you, Mama. You’re beautiful, and you’re doing amazing. I see you.
Katy has been married to her college (Geaux Tigers!) sweetheart Chris for 12 years. They live on the Northshore with their 5 daughters and two dogs, who keep their lives exciting and exhausting, and their house messy. After being relocated to the Midwest for several years due to her husband’s job, she and her family realized they missed Louisiana and its glorious heat and humidity more than they could handle and moved back home, this time for good. She loves trying new local restaurants, the four minutes a week her house is actually clean, and watching whichever activity her girls are involved in at the moment. You can usually find her dancing to classic country in her kitchen with a glass of wine, while attempting to come up with something to make for dinner.

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