As I begin to wrap my mind around the arrival of baby #2, I have been reflecting on what I could have done better the first time around—knowing what I know now. And not in a self-deprecating way, but in the I now know better way. The I-am-an-experienced-mom-now way.
Here’s what I can imagine.
Going from managing one child to two is going to be...well, an adjustment for everyone in my family—me, my husband and my three-year-old son. I know now, because I’ve been through having a child before, that I am going to need help.
What’s different this time? I’m not afraid to ask for that help.
So...I’m calling on my mama tribe! I need you. I appreciate you. Please help me. 🙏
Visitors—I need you to bring me coffee and let me shower.
Calling all siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, great-grandparents! Yes, I would love you to come over and see the baby.
But no, I’m not going to have freshly brewed iced tea ready, or some kind of hummus and dip platter I just happened to whip up. In fact, you will be the ones bringing me something. Anything, really. Lunch, flowers, coffee. And, I want to thank you in advance for letting me run upstairs and take a hot shower while you’re here. Or perhaps a 20 minute power nap? (Because let’s be real, with a newborn around, there is no real sleep. It’s just a perpetual state of napping.)
And, I also need you to let me find my moments of peace.
The way I relax and find peace is through acupuncture. It helps ground me, makes me feel great and takes care of my aches and pains. Plus, I feel like I time travel because I’m so relaxed during the treatment.
Find your peace. For some it’s yoga or going for a run or getting a manicure. Whatever centers you, don’t forget about it—and in fact, make sure you make time for it. Perhaps that’s when you leverage those aforementioned visitors. “Thanks for coming over! Great to see you! Be back in an hour!”
Girlfriends—I need you to remind me that I am not ‘just’ Mom.
Yes, that around-the-clock-text-whenever group of women who lift you up, make you laugh and help you identify that weird rash you’ve never seen before—you know who you are. I need you ladies and I always will!
But maybe now I’ll need you differently—for a coffee break or someone to go for a walk with on a nice day. Or better yet, a night out—with husbands—where we can all relax, have a drink and not talk about the babies we miss so much at home. Now, we just need to find a babysitter!
Grandma and Grandpa—I need you guys to babysit. So I don’t have to feel guilty.
...Enter the babysitters!
If you’re lucky enough to have your parents and in-laws less than 10 miles away like I am, you know the value of this. It really does take a village, and they are a huge and valued part of our village. But this time around, I won’t feel guilty about asking them to come over to watch the kids while I go out with my husband or friends or to get a pedicure.
Because here’s what I’ve learned. While I’m so badly drowning in guilt about a night out—so much so that I can hardly enjoy it—they are actually more than happy to be a part of the “mundane routine”—dinner, snuggles, bath time, books, Twinkle Twinkle and being on monitor-watch.
Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe they really enjoy helping, or maybe being a grandparent is the coolest job—either which way, embrace it, ask for it and enjoy a guilt-free night out.
My wonderful husband—I need you to continue to be in this with me.
You are amazing. My partner-in-crime.
But, while I’m awake for an all-night binge session at the “24 hour milk café,” I won’t feel guilty about asking you to take our son to Home Depot on a Saturday to go look at leaf blowers and lawn mowers for an hour while I take a snooze with the baby.
I have to remember—especially in those first few weeks—that I am recovering, too. I am still attached to this little human as if I were still pregnant. And that is taxing on a new mama. Especially when there is also an energetic toddler running around who now wants more of your attention than ever.
Becoming a mom of two feels overwhelming in a lot of ways.
But when I stop and remind myself that it’s not all on me and that I have people around me to support me, lift me up and answer my calls for help—I feel calmer.
These people actually want to be there for my family and me, and knowing that makes becoming a mama to two seem a bit lighter and easier—more manageable.
I feel like with this newfound mentality, I can actually enjoy the transition to becoming a family of four and all the beauty that will come with that.
Repeat this with me: Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart.
Ashley is a wife, mother to a sweet boy named Leo and the social growth editor at Motherly. She is also an avid cook, Sephora shopper and lover of peonies.