11 Truths I Want to Share With Mamas Expecting Their Second Child

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

Baby Riders

1. Time goes faster.

I was warned that time sped up when you have children, but I genuinely savored every single moment for the 23 months that Big Brother was my only child. Although I still appreciate every moment and try to fully experience it, I can’t believe how much the pace of life – and time in general – seems to have sped up.

2. Seeing your two little ones together is a new level of incredible life moment that you could never have anticipated.

Seeing the automatic adoration that your baby has for her older sibling is intensely amazing. I had no idea how beautifully and automatically this happened. Also, watching your older child fill the role of big brother or sister is awesome, too. My son takes so much pleasure in making my baby girl laugh, and when he has a tender moment with her – in a way that only a two year old can – it fills us with pure joy.

3. Part of your brain will be in a constant state of coordinating and scheduling.

When you are learning to get out of the house with two little ones, always leave yourself an extra half hour. Once you get it down, always leave yourself an extra 15 minutes.

4. You will feel guilty.

In the very beginning, my heart downright ached because I could not spend as much completely dedicated time with my son as I did before my daughter’s birth (even as I was truly loving every minute with my baby girl). After the post-birth hormones subsided, I began to naturally accept the new state of things, but after seven months of being a mama to two children, I still feel guilty at least a couple of times a day because I don’t have enough one on one time with each child. Even planning one on one activities with each child doesn’t feel like enough because I will always remember how it felt to give my son undivided attention 24 hours a day for 23 months. That said, there is a new beauty to spending time with two babies that absolutely fills you up with joy.

5. Everything seems easier the second time around.

It’s easier because you’ve probably already figured out your parenting philosophy and made decisions on big issues and found support groups and friends in the same situation. It’s also easier because you’ve done it before and you have an idea of what’s coming next and you have less time to overanalyze everything.

6. Everything will seem just as magical to you the second time around, but it may not to everyone else in your life.

I promise you that although you’ve seen all the “firsts” before, it is still downright incredible the second time, but no matter how much your family and friends love you and your little ones, everything your second child does will not receive as much attention as the first. This can be good and bad – less questions, less debate, less scrutiny, but you might also have an awareness that it’s just not the same for your second baby.

7. All of the cliches about growing a second heart for your second child are true.

I will tell you the honest truth: I wondered from the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test until the last moments of labor how I could possibly love another person as much as I love my son. For almost two years, the sun rose and set for him alone. My love for him was beyond definition, and I truly believed it would be impossible to love another child as much. I can’t tell you how wrong I was, and I think it is one of life’s most phenomenal surprises. You really do love your second baby with the same exact intensity AND you love them in an additional, very special way. Love really is a downright magical thing.

8. You can’t help but compare and contrast.

I hate measuring children according to any set standard – whether it be the growth chart at the pediatrician or the baby milestones that everyone looks for. I see my children as individuals and cherish every aspect of them. Still, you have many moments of deja vu with your second child, and you can’t help but remember how things were the same or different with the first. The wonderful thing is that these thoughts seem to naturally occur without judgment. Regardless of the path your child takes, you still think they are both the most miraculous children in the world.

9. Your older child will probably require a lot more of your energy than your baby.

This is particularly true if your first child is in the age range of two to three. I spent a lot of time wondering how I would be able to care for a baby again. The truth is that your new baby simply adjusts to your lifestyle and all that comes with it. It’s your older child who will have way more needs and emotions that will require your constant love, support, and attention.

10. Don’t be surprised if your firstborn becomes more attached to your partner.

If you are the primary caregiver, this one may be the hardest of all of the truths, but the reality is, your partner is most likely the one that can continue to give him more of the undivided attention that he experienced pre-new baby. Whether this is a brief phase of a lingering one, it’s okay. I had 23 months of my son being in a mama phase, so I’m happy to see my husband experience that very extra special obsession now.

11. Wear your baby, and learn how to nurse in it.

I literally cannot imagine parenting two little ones and doing all we do without wearing my baby. We use this carrier, and I love it for all of these reasons.

Overall, being a mama to two little ones is easier and more amazing and more intense than I ever could have imagined. It’s a beautiful road, and I feel blessed to be on this journey.

What truth can you share about having more than one child?

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Krystyna @ Spring Mountain Living January 3, 2013 at 8:39 am

SO TRUE!!! Oh my gosh, with my second time flew so much faster!! And I am ALWAYS thinking “man has it really been XXX amount of time already?” I so wish I was able to remember and catalog the boys’ lives better.

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2 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 3, 2013 at 11:44 am

I wish I could remember everything better too! I’m trying to take quick videos as much as possible these days.

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3 Shai Smith January 3, 2013 at 11:00 am

These are all so true – even for kids with a bigger age gap! Mine are 6.5 years apart, and I still found myself nodding as I read each one. ♥
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4 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

Thanks!

My brother is six years younger than me. I always wonder how different it will be for my kids to grow up so much closer in age.

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5 Angela January 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

These are so wonderful! I was so nervous about bringing a second baby. Your heart does double and when you have a third it triples :)
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6 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Thanks, Angela! I love what you said about having a third!

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7 Amy January 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm

My 20-month-old Daughter is sleeping peacefully as I glanced over your list. It is coming close to the time we intend to grow our family – more for her sake than our own. But every single one of those points have been in the back of my mind, and when I got to number 7 the tears started falling. This is my biggest concern.
Thank you so much for this post, so glad I found it :)
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8 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Aww… Thanks for sharing, Amy! Wishing you the best of luck with growing your family. It will be incredible. I promise.

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9 Brenna @ Almost All The Truth January 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm

These are great truths! Having two seems so far away now, but one thing I will always remember is just how some things are doubly hard other things are doubly wonderful. It can be hard to step out of the moment and see experiences (good and bad) for what they are and what lessons will be gleaned from them, but there is no doubt you will see it all in hindsight!
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10 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Thanks, Brenna! :-)

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11 OneMommy January 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I think I have to agree with just about all of them. Time did start to go faster! And, guilt — yes! Until just recently I battled guilty- wondering if I made my oldest grow up faster just because I had her brother when she was just 19 months old. Now I’m thinking she would be just as independent anyway — it is just who she is.

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12 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Thanks, OneMommy! Hindsight can be such a blessing :-)

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13 Jeannette January 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm

I wish I had seen this post when I was expecting my second baby! My girls are 14 months apart and you hit the needle right on the head with all the fears. I’m glad I figured out the babywearing thing, too.
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14 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Thank you, Jeannette! Glad to hear babywearing has worked for you, too!

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15 shauna reisewitz January 4, 2013 at 6:15 am

love this post- all true!. Mine are 7 and almost 5, and time does fly! Regarding guilt- I have found that the benefits of having a sibling for each other far outweighs the benefits of having all of my attention! I stopped feeling guilty when someone pointed out to me early on that instead of having ALL of me, baby number 2 had baby number 1!– and as it turns out it’s visa versa as well.

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16 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

That is so wise and so true! Thanks for sharing!

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17 Kylie January 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm

These are all so true!! Loved this post. Read it out loud to my husband and he laughed a lot.. esp. wearing your baby. I wear the second so much more than I did the first.
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18 Charise Rohm Nulsen January 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Thanks, Kylie! I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed it!

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19 Shannon @ GrowingSlower January 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Nursing in a carrier is something I never quite mastered the first time around. I will definitely have to work on it more whenever #2 comes along. Thanks for being involved in the Tuesday Baby Link Up!
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20 Kimberly @ Red Shutters January 16, 2013 at 11:23 am

Such a great post! Your advice is spot-on. My biggest challenge about having a second was the sadness I felt about having to split my attention between both kids – I missed the one-on-one with my firstborn. But, perhaps that made me realize, even more, how precious each moment is. Thanks for sharing these important tips!

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21 Nikki | Days With Us January 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

Yes, yes, and yes! All true. The time piece has been the most difficult for me. I look at my 2nd child, my little one and think: “can it be 2 years already?”. Great post.
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22 natalie nichols January 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Thanks for a great read! These are things I often think of when wondering when our second child will be.

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23 Jennifer Johansen January 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Sooo true about the guilt. And everything else. But mostly the guilt. :P

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24 Kelly Tanner January 21, 2013 at 8:39 am

I agree with everything you have listed in this article. I have a 7 year old and a 20 month old and was so glad I got to spend so much one on one time with my 7 year old before having a second child. However, I am now pregnant with #3 and I am very worried that my 20 month old will not get enough one on one time with mommy once the new baby comes. On the other hand, I am glad I am having them close together because my 7 year old gets bored a lot not having a sibling close to his age.

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25 Andrew L. January 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm

My wife said the exact same thing about wondering if she could love anyone as much as she loves our 1st born, our 2nd born is only a few weeks old right now and I think those worries are gone by now. Everything in this article is very true!

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26 Bianca February 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Just what I needed to read today.. We are starting to think about timing for Baby #2, now that Penelope is going to be *gasp* ONE YEAR OLD in a few weeks…
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27 Betsy (Eco-novice) March 13, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Love these thoughts. I also could not have lived without my carrier and nursing. I especially relate to 4, but I must say that 5 is not always true. Generally true, but sometimes #2 is a tougher baby/ worse sleeper or nurser than #1. This wasn’t true for me, but I’ve seen it with friends. Although it’s hard to divide time b/t kids, in the end I think it’s good for kids to have to share parents with siblings and learn that they are not the center of the universe. Sibling relationships last longer than ANY other relationship you will have in life — giving your child a sibling (if you can) is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child, IMO.
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28 whencrazymeetsexhaustion March 26, 2013 at 8:38 am

This is a GREAT list! Although I would have to say #5 was not the case for me. My second was very, VERY difficult and pretty much an unhappy baby. BUT by the time she was 6 months old, I was totally feeling the new incredible as my kids interacted with one another and laughed together. I want a third because, I’m hoping, that the saying “it’s just more laundry” is the case!

GREAT list!
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29 Charise Rohm Nulsen March 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Thanks!

Ha! Just more laundry? That’s a great way to look at it. :-)

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30 Meredith March 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

Mine are 19 months apart. LOTS of truth to your list! Time FLIES, toddlers need the attention, babies seem…easier. I completely second wearing. I didn’t wear my first. I hated the bjorn and so did she. I got a moby AND an ergo for my second. Best decision EVER.
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31 Charise Rohm Nulsen March 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Thanks! I’m so glad you found carriers that work for you. It just seems so essential to me. Mine are 23 months apart, so we’ve probably experienced a pretty similar mamahood so far :-)

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32 Amy March 26, 2013 at 9:45 am

That second child is a gift you give your first. As an only child of two only children, I truly believe that having more than one child was one of the best things I did for any of my children. It’s good to know you aren’t the complete center of the world, and it’s good to always have someone there who knows your unique experience better than anyone else. Found you through Honest Voices. :)
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33 Charise Rohm Nulsen March 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Thanks for visiting, Amy! I know what you mean. I do have a sibling, but he’s six years younger than me, so I felt mostly like an only child growing up. I’m so glad my little ones are close in age. It really does seem like a gift.

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34 Mackenzie @ raisingwildthings.com March 26, 2013 at 10:42 am

#8 or sure. It’s so hard. And even when you recognize that you’re doing it, it’s still hard to stop. We always have to step back when we expect our 3 yo to act like our 5 yo and say, “Wait, he’s 3, she’s 5, they are very different!” Thanks for this list. I could add tons more about adding #3. :)
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35 Charise Rohm Nulsen March 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm

It sure is! I’d love to hear about what it’s like to add #3!

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36 Jean Heff March 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I cannot tell you how perfect this list is! Last year, we welcomed our second child. I remembered googling like mad about sleep schedules, crying over guilt about not being able to share enough attention, and wondering how it would all work before she was born. Just like you I found all those things to be true. I loved your list and I’m happy I found your blog!
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37 Charise Rohm Nulsen March 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Thank you so much, Jean!!

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38 Melissa March 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm

All of this is totally dead on accurate, only more so for a third child. Everything is intensified just that much more.
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39 Charise Rohm Nulsen March 26, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Thanks, Melissa! I’m glad to hear it applies to the third too!

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40 Melissa @ Home on Deranged March 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Perfect post, especially #s 2 and 9 for me. The new baby has just adapted and adjusted to our lifestyle, but first baby still has issues. Plus she’s a new 2 year old and all those confusing life changes are overwhelming her. But I haven’t found she’s more attached to dad yet. If anything, she clings to me even more and only wants me to do stuff for her. Which hurts his feelings. Found you on Honest Voices linkup and I’m so glad!
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41 Charise Rohm Nulsen March 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Thank you! I’m so glad you found me too! I love the Honest Voices linkup :-)

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42 Andrea June 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

OMG – I can’t believe how dead-on all of these are! I have a 5 year old and a 10 month old…both boys. The one thing I’ve noticed is that I treasure more of the “baby stage” this time around than I did with my first one. I guess this is because with the first baby I was always waiting for the next milestone to happen and time really is going by faster this time around, so I’m enjoying every day I have with my little “baby.” I just want to slow the clock and keep him little forever!

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43 Beverley July 18, 2013 at 3:07 am

So true! I spend a large part of my time feeling guilty that Connor (22 months) no longer gets my undivided attention since baby Oli came along 2 months ago. My heart aches when I see him get frustrated, angry or confused when Mummy is breastfeeding baby brother and can’t attend to his every need. Then I feel guilty ‘cos Oli doesn’t have the undivided attention that Connor enjoyed as a newborn.
I worried that I’d be incapable of loving my second son as much as my first (I mean I REALLY worried) but you do, you just do fall overwhelmingly in love with your second :)
Time is disappearing before my eyes, in a way that never seemed to happen in those first few months with my first…I find myself touching and smelling those first size onesies that no longer fit baby Oli (doesn’t that sound sad!).
Connor kissed Oli for the first time a couple of days ago (until now we’ve had jealousy issues) and my heart felt ready to burst with happiness! The joy DOES double when you have two, you just have to learn how to juggle your time, lap, arms and attention.

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44 Charise Rohm Nulsen July 18, 2013 at 6:27 am

It sounds like we had/are having very much the same experience! My kids are now 13 months and 36 months, and it is AMAZING to watch them play together. They have so much fun, and it is the most rewarding thing ever to see them be true playmates. :-)

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45 Emily d. August 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Thank you for posting this! I am looking forward to having another baby, but I am nervous about how it will affect my relationship with my daughter. I have two step sons, but we only have them every other weekend. I only experience having three children for very short periods of time. I think it will be very different having two children living under my roof full time. After reading this, I think I will wait a little longer to think about baby number two, even though I have mastered nursing in my carrier and wrap!

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46 Charise Rohm Nulsen August 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm

You’re welcome! It is an amazing experience, and as my two little ones get closer in age (now 14 months and 37 months), their friendship grows more and more making me a very happy mama. :-)

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47 Jenni March 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm

This is me, every day. It so clearly defines how I feel about the highs and the lows. Thank you for making me smile.
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48 Tarana March 9, 2014 at 8:48 am

I don’t have a second child, but have often wondered what that would entail. Thanks for this fantastic list!
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49 Hilary Robertson March 24, 2014 at 8:25 pm

So good to know for the future!

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