As I type this, I briefly look up to see my ten-month-old crawling on the floor on the other side of the room. She finds a dust bunny in the corner. (She doesn’t have to look very hard, mind you, there are dust bunnies everywhere in my house!) I watch her study it, feeling the soft fluff between her fingers. We make eye contact just before she puts the entire ball of fluff into her mouth, as if it was a delicious morsel of light tan cotton candy you’d get at the county fair. She smiles, obviously very proud of her choice. I shrug and go back to my work. It really is too late now, isn’t it?
I’m reminded of a conversation I had with another mom the day before. “Have you started her on any solid food yet?” And the follow up question, “What did you start with?”
“Oh yes! We started with a mixture of avocado and breast milk, and quickly progressed to a mixture of dog hair and sand.”
This isn’t my first baby.
Many of the things that would have sent me into a complete panic with my first daughter are not only less catastrophic with this one, they barely cause me to raise my eyebrows.
It’s not that I love this baby any less than my first, of course. It’s that I’m just the tiniest bit wiser, more confident in my own abilities as a mom, and … just kidding! I still have no idea what I’m doing. But I am a little more forgiving of myself because now I know a secret that I wish people would share with first-time moms more freely: NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING. And you know what else? That’s OK. It’s how it’s supposed to be..
Besides, when you have more than one kid, you just have to let some things go. In my case, I could let go of the insignificant stuff listed below, or my sanity.
So, while I still have plenty of mom guilt and feelings of not doing enough about the big things–career decisions, spending enough quality time with both girls, setting a good example in my relationships, etc.–I just can’t even manage to worry about it.
6 Things I’m Not Stressing About The Second Time Around
I gave up on sanitizing every little thing the 1,000th time I looked down to see my first daughter chewing on my disgusting, dirty flip flop. I. Can’t. Even. I give mad props to the moms who manage to keep everything neat, tidy, and sterilized. I’ve accepted long ago that I will never be a member of your club. We can still be friends, but you’re going to have to meet me at the park or the coffee shop.
Outfits for every season, holiday, and occasion
My second baby wears her pajamas sometimes for several days in a row. As far as I can tell, being able to wear your pajamas night and day on end is one of the best perks of being a baby. It would be wrong to deprive her of that joy, right?
Following all the rules
I want to keep my kids safe. I follow car seat guidelines and try to make sure sleeping arrangements are as safe as possible. But I don’t follow all the rules. Waiting four days to introduce a new baby food? Not unless it’s a common allergen. (Does dirt count?) Age recommendations playground equipment and/or toys? I watch VERY carefully. Dentist at the first sight of a tooth? Ha!
Buying all the things
You know what makes a great baby toy? Stuff that I already have around the house. Whisks, lids, and bowls are favorites (and they’re fresh out of the dishwasher, so they have way less germs than the baby toys scattered all over my house–bonus!). I admit that some baby toys, gadgets, and gizmos are nice to have. But the more you have, the more you have to get rid of, sell, or haul off to Goodwill and that’s a lot of work. Babies grow so fast that there’s barely even time to use most of the stuff, anyway. As I think I’ve already mentioned, there is enough clutter in my house already, thank you very much.
Keeping up with milestones and comparing her timeline with other babies
With my first baby, I really wanted her to roll, crawl, cruise, and walk early for her age. But being a precocious baby doesn’t mean that as an adult she’ll be any more capable of putting me up in a nice retirement home some day. It just means that my life today gets a whole heck of a lot harder. I love watching my babies grow. It’s one of my greatest joys, but I already miss the teeny, tiny newborn days. There’s no need to rush. I took the BabyCenter app off my phone.
With my first baby, I’d spend hours reading, playing, and interacting with her all. the. time. I’d feel guilty about taking a few minutes to look at my phone, or typing out an article on my computer. I’m a work-from-home mama, so that made for a lot of turmoil and stress as I tried to cram 20 + hours of work into two 45-minute naps daily. Don’t get me wrong. My second baby still gets TONS of my attention. It’s just that when I’ve got stuff to do, she gets to explore and discover the world (AKA my living room) on her own. And she’s perfectly happy playing with the dirt on my floor.