the ratio.

Lee Brown Photography -26

“So, what was the hardest part of going from one kid to two kids?”

A bunch of us were lounging in Christina’s living room, drinking champagne and eating popcorn while Mean Girls played in the background. Lee was sitting on the birthing ball, rolling her pregnant body back and forth.

My friend Caelin thought for a minute before delivering a well-earned nugget of wisdom. She said the hardest transition from one kid to two kids was figuring out how to balance the time that her and her husband spent with each child. She said they quickly fell into a routine—her husband took care of the toddler and she took care of the baby.

“Sometimes I wanted him to take the screaming baby so I could play with Keller, you know? I missed him,” she explained.

We all nodded in agreement. I could totally see that happening to us, I remember thinking to myself. I wasn’t even pregnant yet, but went straight home that night and relayed the entire conversation to Brett.

“Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen when we have another baby, okay?”

***

Those two days in the birthing center after Carson was born felt like a mini vacation of sorts. It was just so…..quiet. I’m pretty sure I never even knew the meaning of quiet until I had a child. Quiet is the absence of sound. It’s something I never truly appreciated until my life was full of sounds.

Everett came to meet Carson late in the afternoon on the day he was born. I had labored that whole night before, pushed all morning, and delivered him at 6:51am. The lights were dim in our room and Brett and I had been napping on and off as best we could. Carson was in a deep sleep, basically sleeping away his first day on earth.

Around 4:30pm, in true 2.5 year-old fashion, Everett arrived full of sounds. And while I was so happy to see him and loved watching him hold his baby brother for the first time, I was also secretly relieved when it was time for him to go home.

I just wanted it to be quiet again.

***

When we came home on Monday afternoon, our life snapped back together. We fell into a non-routine routine: breakfast, outings, chores, spontaneous naps, visitors. It all felt very whirlwind-ish, especially considering the fact that Carson was born an entire month early. There were several moments where Brett and I looked at our two kids and looked at each other, exchanging a knowing glance. Did that just happen? 

I was recovering—mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, everything. I spent a lot of time in bed and a lot of time on the couch. I was breastfeeding, sleeping, doing skin-to-skin, tending to my broken lady parts. I was marveling at Carson, kissing him, smelling him, holding him, loving him.

Meanwhile, Everett was running around the house like a maniac. A well-behaved maniac, because Everett is very well-behaved, but he’s still 2.5 years old and has an insane amount of energy. Brett took him to the park, took him to Jamba Juice, changed every diaper, made every snack. He completely took over Everett duty while I stayed in bed with Carson, snuggled under the duvet cover with the door closed in complete isolation.

And I was happy.

It shocked me, how happy I was. I didn’t mind one bit that Brett was caring for Everett while I cared for Carson. My body was perfectly content to lounge in bed and breastfeed rather than chase a nap-protesting toddler down the hallway every afternoon.

I didn’t feel guilty in the slightest, until I started to feel guilty for not feeling guilty. (Hi, motherhood).

A week later, I confided in my friend Lesley that I was starting to feel guilty about the lack of guilt I felt for not spending as much time with Everett. She reassured me that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing: I was bonding with my newborn baby and keeping him alive. Everett was enjoying special one-on-one time with his dad—something he never gets for whole days at a time. It was okay.

Brett was 95% on Everett; I was 95% on Carson. Our ratio was skewed because we were in survival mode. It was okay. 

Eight weeks later, we are still figuring out the ratio of balancing time with both children. When Brett is home, I’d say we’re still at a 70/30, inching slowly towards 60/40. I guess 50/50 is the ultimate goal, although that seems like something that will only happen once in a blue moon when all the stars align. Most likely, we will shift back and forth depending on the day, the week, who has more energy, who has more patience, who can handle which kid the best in any given circumstance. I’ll tell you one thing for sure: this two kid business is no joke. 

And if we ever have a third? Lord, bless that baby. Let’s hope we never accidentally leave them at the grocery store.

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11 Responses to the ratio.

  1. Bekah says:

    Love this, Ashlee. Thanks for being honest, as usual. I worry about that with our second (that probably won’t arrive for a year or two; just being a proactive worrier!).

    Also, this baaaasically sums up motherhood, I’m pretty positive:
    “I didn’t feel guilty in the slightest, until I started to feel guilty for not feeling guilty. (Hi, motherhood).”
    Bekah´s last blog post ..Dear Baby: Month Nine

  2. Helen says:

    this is so sweet… I can imagine that sort of newborn baby bliss being able to just hang out with your littlest one, all attention on him. i have two boys 18 months apart… they are now 3 and a bit more and almost 2…. and yeah, two kids is definitely no joke…!!!

  3. Bri says:

    Oh, we had the same problem. Especially while breastfeeding it was me and the baby and Brad with the toddler. The baby is almost a year and we’re finally about 50/50. It took a while but that’s how it had to be. Sorry, mama’s got the milk! It gets easier 🙂

  4. Lesley says:

    I think the hardest thing for me, which I still feel DAILY, is that whenever I’m tending to one child the other is being neglected and I feel bad about that. I noticed it more when Owen was a baby and needed to be constantly held, nursed and rocked but even now, 1.5 years into this two parent thing, I still feel a lot of guilt over splitting my time. Someone told me that the greatest gift you can give your child is a sibling, and I tell myself that on repeat when I feel all these feelings.
    Lesley´s last blog post ..What I’m Into: November 2014

  5. B W says:

    Love this. Those first hours/days in the hospital with nothing but the brand new baby are magical. Then we got home, real life hit. My daughter (who was 22 months at the time) was completely thrown for a loop. Love baby, absolutely, beg for mommy’s attention without a doubt. All of my friends said she would back away – she would be content with daddy. HA, they didn’t know my daughter. I literally had to take care of BOTH of them (with the husband home) b.c he couldnt breastfeed and the older one wanted nothing to do with him. It was exhausting and thrilling all at the same time. Everyone finally settled into a routine and now 8.5 months later – I cannot imagine my life without my two precious babies (girls). The sweetest sisters ever and total mommy girls. When we have a third – Lord help me navigate those first few sleepless weeks and pray that my older two will play with daddy adn sleep at night!

  6. Alex says:

    Sometimes I wish I knew what one was like, since I have 2.5 year old twin boys. On the very rare occasion I might get 5 mins one on one if one of them wakes up earlier than their brother, but it’s very rare. It’s a pretty special time though, and then of course I feel guilty for thinking it’s special that there’s only one at that exact moment!

  7. sk bell says:

    I’ve been wondering so much sbout how all of this will work!! Thank you!
    sk bell´s last blog post ..Birth Plans

  8. Ashley says:

    “And if we ever have a third? Lord, bless that baby. Let’s hope we never accidentally leave them at the grocery store.”

    Your honesty is priceless haha. I love your thoughts and your stories!
    Ashley´s last blog post ..“christmas cards for the homeless” project and contest ($25 target gift card!)

  9. A second baby is in the distant future for us, but the fear that I might not be able to divide my life, my love, my time with a second baby is a huge knot in my chest already. How can I love another one as much as I love Reagan? Everyone tells me that of course I will, that I will love Reagan MORE, as if that is possible.

    Everything about a second baby scares me, I guess.
    Carrie Sunday´s last blog post ..little joys.

  10. Anne says:

    oh my gosh i have so much anxiety about this right now with baby number two on the way. it’s comforting to read this though just to know every mom goes through it, and it will all work out. Love watching you and your sweet family!
    Anne´s last blog post ..18 Weeks

  11. Karena says:

    That is exactly what I did when Baby #3 came along. I secluded myself in our bedroom with baby while I was on maternity leave and my husband was on duty with the older girls. It was marvelous! I got to bond with and enjoy my sweet new baby girl and didn’t have to worry about the older two. Sure, I had some guilt about not paying enough attention to the other kids but the older two didn’t seem to mind and I loved every minute with the baby. Going back to work was a pretty rude awakening but I still try to get as much one-on-one time with the baby as I can, knowing her babyhood will end soon. I love baby snuggles!

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