FROM ONE KID TO TWO: IS IT REALLY THAT DIFFERENT THE SECOND TIME AROUND?

IMG_5966.JPG

Here we are, a few weeks into life as a family of four.

I think there’s a lot of reasons people typically say it’s easier the second time around and honestly, I have to agree with them. This first weeks of having two kids has been easier than I imagined.

In my mind, I thought I’d be out of commission for months. I prepped mentally, said no to any commitments I had for at least the first three months of new baby, and bought a freezer full of microwave meals so I could still feed my family while struggling to stay awake at all times.

But now, almost a months in, my home is clean(ish), I’ve been cooking all of our meals, and my blog is full of posts I’m ready to share. I even managed to some how DIY some family photos of all four of us. 

I think it’s true that having experience with having a newborn really helps to make those first days bearable. 

  • While the oldest is definitely a little more moody, it’s no where near the tantrums I was expecting. His transition has seemed so much smoother than I ever imagined.
    Though, I may have to give some of that credit to season 5 of Daniel Tiger where he gets a baby sister.

  • We aren’t as exhausted this time. Something about knowing what to expect and preparing for the exhaustion actually helps to make it a little easier. I think having a toddler’s schedule to keep up with also helps us to maintain a daytime/nighttime routine much better than before.

  • Time doesn’t disappear as much as you’d think. I forgot how much newborns sleep in the beginning. I actually have time to make simple meals and take baths. Especially if your first kid is on a decent sleep schedule, it’s not as hard to find “me time” as I thought.

  • I have a better understanding that it’s OKAY when a baby cries. I don’t feel stressed, rushed, or panicked. I just simply give him what he needs as quickly, but calmly, as I can.

Still, I have wondered what it is that has made this transition so much easier than I thought it would be. There’s something about your first child, at least for me, that made it seem SO exhausting SO time consuming and SO overwhelming.

I’ve spent most of my time questioning why I was remembering the newborn days in a negative light. Why it seemed so impossible. What was so different that first time, when I only had one, that made me prepare for months of chaos?

That’s when I realized:

The major difference between the two boys was me.

***

The first week my second child was born I felt like I was living in two different realities. One where I was experiencing this new baby in front of me and another where I was reliving the first week after my first child was born. The two experiences were very different even though both my boys have been very similar newborns. They both slept well, ate well, and generally didn’t have much to complain about.

My first child was born into a very different house with a very different mother. We didn’t make as much money. Our house was a run down rental that stressed me out every time I pulled into the driveway. We didn’t have anyone over if we could help it because we really just felt shame and embarrassment in our home which means my first child was brought home to a place that left a layer of stress in the air at all times.

Besides the environment, I was much different two years ago than I am now. I didn’t have a schedule, I didn’t have good habits. I didn’t cook, I sort of cleaned, and though I had my nesting kick in, I still wasn’t in the habit of maintaining a space. Especially one I hated.

Most importantly, My first child had to teach me how to be a mother.

We all go into parenthood with some idea of the values we want to pass on, but how we’re going to do that is something we have to learn along the way. My first is the one who taught me all of that.

***

Being a first child myself, I know it can sometimes feel like you get the short end of the stick. Your parents are stricter, they test out new discipline tactics and strategies that may or may not actually work.

Most importantly, the first child is the one who has to push all the selfish tendencies from their parents.

Before having kids, your time is yours. There’s not much telling you what you need to do and when you need to do it. You get days off and then on those days off you get to decide exactly how to spend that time. You can leave when you want, binge watch TV all day with no distractions, be creative, put your things where you want them without worrying about someone getting into it or breaking it. Even if you’re the most selfless person in the world, life before parenthood has room for selfishness. There’s room to give to yourself the most.

As a very independent, introverted person who feels stress when people rely on her, this was a very hard thing for me to get used to. The idea that I haven’t really “had a day off” in the two years my first son has been alive would have, at one point, put me into a spiral of stress that would have left me bed ridden for a day.

That meant my first born had to endure the painful process of me learning how to be there for him, whole-heartedly.

He’s the kid who had to teach me how to keep my cool, even when I was getting interrupted every few minutes. Or to stay present when what I really wanted, what I really needed, was to hide away from everyone. He had to deal with frustration being projected onto him for simply having basic needs in the times that I just wanted to indulge in my own selfish desires. 

***

You’ll hear a lot of moms say that they lose a part of themselves when they have a baby. They feel a transformation happen.

For me, I didn’t realize it right in the moment what exactly was happening to me. I did feel that loss of self and when I found my sense of self again it was definitely different than before. But it wasn’t until I had my second that I realized what had happened to me. What I went through that made me more ready for this next step in life than I even realized.

I had let go of the idea that I need everything I want right away. The things I wanted changed. I learned to manage my time in a way that works for me AND my kids. My heart opened up to deeply care for more than just my personal reality.

I learned to see things, not just from my point of view, but from theirs.

Essentially, the biggest difference between my first and second is:

With my first,  I wasn’t a mom yet.

Technically, I became a mom the minute I got pregnant. Even more so the moment he was born. I had instincts, assumptions, tips, advice, and all the google answers in the world. But I’d honestly say I didn’t truly become a mother until I learned to be okay with sharing my time and priorities with someone else. And I didn’t even begin to understand what that meant until I took my baby home and realized that I had no idea what being a mother truly meant.

Now, with my second, I have close to two years of experience in my motherhood career. He was born with a true mother while my first was born with a mother in training.

This second baby has a patient, kind-hearted caretaker who understand the importance of balancing love and boundaries. Who knows that she can’t feed him unless she feeds herself and understand how to do so in a way that makes everyone happy.

I have healthy habits now. A home I love. I’ve dedicated myself to motherhood and I actually understand, as much as I can, what that really means and what it really looks like.

I’m not learning how to be a mother now. And really, that process can be harder than any sleepless night you endure.

DIY BANGS TUTORIAL

DIY BANGS TUTORIAL - This Wild Home

So, I’ll start by saying I’ve watched a ton of tutorials read a bunch of tips, and while I’m not a hair expert of any kind, I think I’ve mastered bangs!

I say this to give a little encouragement to anyone out there who may not have confidence in DIY haircuts.

I’ve cut my hair myself (or with the help of my mom) basically since I started caring about haircuts. I’ve gone to salons here and there but I mostly just try to do it myself. ~for better or for worse~

So, if you’re looking to change things up, take a look at my tutorial video OR read the guide below!

DIY BANGS

THE VIDEO

THE GUIDE

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

SUPPLIES

Haircutting Scissors

A Thin Comb

Hairclips

HOW TO

  1. To start, you want to part your hair down the middle and make sure it’s styled the way you will typically style it. (wash it, dry shampoo it, straighten it, curl it, etc.)

  2. After styling, make sure your hair is dry and you have straight center part right down the middle. Then, create a triangle in the front of your hair (the bigger the triangle, the thicker and wider the bangs).

  3. Pin back the rest of your hair and cut your bangs hair about nose length.

  4. Aiming scissors upwards (facing the ceiling to ensure a more textured look), cut hair to desired length making sure to check in with how the bangs look against your face as you cut.

  5. Once you’ve reached your desired length, style bangs and grab the very center of bangs. Cut (aiming upwards) a few times to make the center VERY slightly shorter than the sides.

  6. Then, grab a chuck of hair on either side of your bangs to use for face framing (if desired). Aiming scissors at an angle, slowly cut the edges of each chuck while moving your hand downward to create the layered face framing.

  7. Repeat these steps until your bangs and face framers are to your liking.

Again, I’m not a professional, but these are my steps to getting some pretty neat bangs!

MONEY TALK: FEBRUARY DEBT DIARY

IMG_6001.JPG

I’d say February was our last month of really settling in and getting caught up after the move. That, and getting a handle on our finances. We had a hiccup in my two checking accounts strategy, but that simply made me even more in-tune with our money, what we owe, and when everything is due.

I wound up adding amounts owed into our calendar so I can see an overview of what we owe and when. With that, whenever I add money to our secondary checking (which is dedicated to bills, loans, debt, and rent), I can go ahead and pay everything that is due in that pay period so I don’t have to worry about bills until the next pay period. It’s helped a lot in not having to worry or stress about what is due when and it also helps prevent unexpected withdrawals (which is what we had to deal with in February).

So for February, we wound up having about $600 in one time expenses and here’s the overview:

  1. CRIB MATTRESS | We had a fun thing happen in February. Oliver started taking his diaper off pretty much every time we put him down for a nap or bed. Since he’s not potty trained, he peed quite a bit in his crib. So, even though we stayed on top of clean up, we had to replace his mattress. We spent close $100 between the mattress and a new waterproof mattress cover. Super fun.

  2. RENT ISSUE | So here’s what I was talking about before. We paid our rent for February at the end of January. Then, it took about 7 days to process out of our account. But, on the day our money was going to finally process over to our landlord, our auto insurance (which is an automatic payment I totally forgot about) made us about $10 short which created a whole thing where we had to get a cashier’s check for rent and another for bounced check fees plus we had a bounced check fee for our bank and our bank is online so we had to order cashier’s checks and do expedited shipping. You guys, it was a mess and extremely embarrassing.
    Long story short, that added over $100 in extra fees to get everything taken care of and taken care of quickly.

    Again though, it taught me that I need to keep better track of our bills and when they’re due (especially with our automatic payments, like auto insurance).

  3. GUESTS | Part of our baby prep was getting a space ready for relatives to stay with us over the span of about 3 weeks. Bedding, towels, stuff like that. Nothing too exciting.

  4. KID’S CLOTHES | We have a bunch of big kid clothes that we saved from our toddler, but we’ve shared a lot of our baby clothes so we got a few little baby clothes for Charlie. We also got our toddler some more pants and a sweatshirt since he was starting to grow out of some things.

  5. SICKNESS | At the end of the month, my husband got the flu and I went overboard on getting whatever I could to get him better especially since we were on baby watch and I really wanted him at the hospital when Charlie was born. Plus I needed stuff to disinfect the house since we were expecting guests very soon. And then of course I needed some things to help keep Ollie and I healthy.

Otherwise, I feel like we did pretty good this month. We got caught up on all of the money we spent on moving and with our tax refund we decided to pay off a few small thing (move-out fees from our last place and Ian’s laptop) as well as put some money away for some traveling that we’ll be doing to visit family this year.

FEBRUARY FINANCIAL OVERVIEW

Made - 4573.17

Spent - 5059.23

one time expenses - 595.72

rent - 2015.64

groceries - 531.63

restaurants/coffee/fast food - 318.70

gas - 57.95

loans - 912.44

debt - 155

bills -  471.95

Last month I made a goal to keep a good eye on our food spending. We did a little better. I’d say we saved about $100 compared to last month.

I did have one more meal plan subscription to pay for and then we went to cooking at home more and making our own meal plans. I shopped as budget as possible and did my best to not eat fast-food too much.

We also technically paid rent twice this month, once at the beginning of the month for February and once at the end of the month for March so our final amount spent had about $1000 extra that carried over from January to pay for rent.

All in all, besides the whole rent situation, I was pretty happy with how our finances looked in February.

GOING INTO MARCH

My biggest goal for March is to start putting more money into our debt to try and expedite that process. I’m hoping to put about $300 per pay period into the credit card to start. By April, I’d love to almost double that!