What I’ve Learned Having Two Kids Under Two

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There is nothing more humbling for a first time mom of a ten-month-old than a very faint blue line. The blank stare as I saw the second line slowing starting to form lasted what felt like a lifetime. “This isn’t possible,” I said to my husband. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was terrified.

I had a traumatic birth experience with Jax (my firstborn) and I felt like I was still recovering. A third-degree tear left me with a long and unexpected healing process and a fussy newborn with shoulder dystocia. Add that with PPD (Postpartum Depression) and me adjusting to life as a stay-at-home mom in a new state and you have the perfect not-having-any-more-kids-for-a-long-time cocktail. We wanted to wait at least two full years before even trying again. 

Our second was born exactly 20 months after our first. It wasn’t planned, but we felt so thankful for a sweet healthy baby boy for the second time. We were so excited (after the acceptance stage) to have our little family of four. My expectations weren’t reality and I’m thankful for that. 

The overwhelm of doing it all

Even though I felt much more on top of the overall newborn care process, the overwhelm of doing it all was starting to build. Two months after Ryder (baby number two) was born, I was begging my husband to let me get a part-time job. I felt like I needed to get out to find myself. Mind you, I was breastfeeding full time. The answer was “not right now” for obvious reasons as I sunk into a second round of PPD. 

These past two years have been hard. And amazing. And rewarding. And frustrating. And isolating. And tiring. More than anything they have been eye-opening. I was able to see myself in a new light and know who I was and what I really desired out of this life. My purpose doesn’t have to be defined in black and white because it’s truly something that is constantly developing. 

Things I’ve learned

My personal development is something I never saw coming with having two babies in such a short amount of time. I met a new me and in my opinion, she’s pretty rad. Yes, I’ve had to go through struggles emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically, but it’s through all those hardships that I feel so much stronger than I ever felt possible. 

I’m more in touch with checking in with myself and letting people know when I need some help with the kids for me to escape for a little while. Taking time to focus on my physical health is a big priority knowing that when I look good I feel good. When my cup is full I’m able to be there for my family in a way I never thought I could. 

My house isn’t always going to be put together. Dry shampoo can be one of my BFFs. My kids won’t remember the hand me downs. The love and the little happy moments are the ones they are going to be drawn back to. I know I still think about certain times in my life as a child that were insignificant as an adult but as a child exciting.

Making memories is something that I’m striving to be better about. Time instead of material items. My kids could have all the useless plastic toys in the world, but they only have one Mama. They deserve to have the best version of me. I deserve that too.

Not every day is easy with two little ones two and under, but the priority of being present instead of perfect is a constant. Being there for myself as well as my family will always be important. I know this crazy (to say the least) time won’t last forever and one day I’ll miss those squishy faces. So for now, I’ll soak up the mom fails and spilled milk because my time is still right now.     

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Ashley is originally from the Boston area and has lived here in the Lowcountry for four years. She and her husband have two little boys (ages 2 and 7 months) who keep things fun and exciting. She’s a preschool teacher turned stay-at-home mom since 2017. Most days, you can find her at a park, Chick-fil-A, the children’s museum, or at one of the many indoor play centers here in CHS. She enjoys writing on her blog All the Mom Things, co-hosting group play dates and trying to keep up with the latest fashion trends. She has a positive outlook on life and believes that that best things in life can’t be bought.