Becoming a parent for the second time is very different to the first time.
Like all second-timers, we wondered how we could possibly love baby two as much as we loved baby number one. In the first fifteen months of her life, Little Lindop One had been a lot of hard work – how were we going to find double the time and energy? I wasn’t too worried because I knew that we’d muddle through somehow, because we always do! What was bothering me was this : was I crazy thinking I could run a business and care for a baby and tiny toddler?
Little Lindop Two is now four weeks old and although life is very busy indeed, it isn’t as hard as I expected. The fact that I’m sitting here writing this is proof that I can get a little time away from the little ones, and that feels like quite an achievement! Two babies aren’t twice as much work as one for a couple of good reasons, firstly we actually know how to care for a baby and aren’t on the white-knuckle learning curve we were last time. (Should she be making that noise? Is that a rash? Is she still hungry? Have we packed everything we need for a trip to the shops? How does the pushchair fold up?). Secondly, and this is the big one, we don’t have the massive culture shock of becoming parents. Until baby two arrived, I hadn’t realised just what an impact this shock had on me last time. But I do remember looking at my 24-hour-old first child wondering how my life was ever going to feel normal again. I didn’t even know what normal was going to be, oh god, I’d need to work out a whole new normal.
Looking at my 24-hour-old second child, I just knew he’d fit into our family and our rough-and-ready plans for the future. This time I could change a nappy in the dark or on the back seat of a car, I knew what baby eczema looked like and what to do about it, my changing bag was already packed and I could fold most brands of pushchair. I’d only been a parent fifteen months, but what a change those fifteen months had made to me.
At work, I’d handed in my notice, been offered a temporary contract, put my eight-month-old daughter in a nursery, taken her out of the nursery four months later and then gone on my second maternity leave. I’d researched many options for running my own business and started my own website. All of which has given me a huge amount of confidence in coping with babies and work. As a Mum I know I’m still wearing my ‘L’ plates, but have a feeling that I can cope with whatever the world of work throws at me.
Most days, that is. I still have regular tired days when I’ve done three nappy changes in a half-hour, both babies are crying at the same time and I haven’t been out of the house in days (I had a c-section so couldn’t drive or push a double buggy. Nightmare). But everyone has a bad day now and then, tomorrow is always better.
So can I run a business around two very small children? The simple answer is that I still don’t know until I try, but the future is looking bright from where I’m standing. Keep reading to see how I get on.
Oh, and we needn’t have worried, we can love baby number two as much as we do baby number one.