Some people say that the transition from 0 to 1 kids is hard…
Some say going from 1 to 2 kids is the toughest…
And still some say 2 to 3 is rough… but honestly I think it all depends on your situation.
For me 2 to 3 has been the hardest. Not necessarily because of the number of kids, (although Joe says we’ve transitioned from a man-to-man defense to a zone defense… which is funny coming from him since he’s the least sporty guy I know) but because of the age differences.
When Noah was born Jude was almost 3 years old and could do some things for himself. While it wasn’t always easy it was nice that he could entertain himself for a little while without getting into too much trouble.
When Simon came along Jude was 4 years old and perfectly content to play with Legos all afternoon, however Noah was only 15 months old and still needed me for everything and for me that has been the hardest part of this transition.
I can’t leave Simon and Noah alone in the same room for fear that Noah will sit on and crush Simon (a very real issue we are dealing with). And I can’t leave Noah alone in a room too long because he will inevitably get hurt or break something. In general I think the almost-2-year-old stage is tough because they are big enough to get into everything but not aware enough to know what is a bad idea.
So I give Jude some Legos, stick Noah in the high chair with a snack and attempt to console a crying Simon.
How Do You Gracefully Manage Your Growing Family?
But don’t worry you don’t have to. When I start to get stressed out I remember these 5 simple truths.
Other mom’s have endured this same road and come out (mostly) fine. We each have our own separate struggles, the transition from 0 to 1 is difficult for some while for others it’s the transition from 4 to 5. Everyone has hard times and it’s different for everyone so don’t feel bad if you’re overwhelmed, it’s normal.
Ask for help. You’re not admitting defeat when you ask for help, you are acknowledging your limitations. This is particularly hard for me and I’m still learning to ask for help, and most importantly letting go after I receive help. I have a tendency to micro-manage my house even after accepting help, which is completely pointless if I’m trying to reduce my stress level.
This is only a season. We will all have difficult seasons in our lives but they too shall pass. In the midst of a particularly tough season I try to focus on the good things that will also pass with the seasons.
A little goes a long way. A little one-on-one time with the oldest helps him feel he has my attention and respect. A little alone time to take a shower can be so refreshing. A little longer of a cuddle for Noah before his nap melts away stress. Some days I may not have a lot to give but a little can go a long way.
I don’t have to be perfect. I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis. My house doesn’t have to be spotless clean, my kids don’t need to be spotless clean, my hair doesn’t have to be styled and dinner doesn’t have to be gourmet. My kids won’t remember most of those things anyway. So I push aside the pile of laundry that needs to be folded and sit on the floor with my kiddos cause it’s totally worth wrinkled laundry.
I asked some other moms what was the toughest transition for them and why. Their answers vary widely and are very conditional on circumstances.
Jill from Musing from Me says: “2 to 3 kids — My older kids were in PreK and 1st when #3 was born and had a host of after-school activities. I missed having the freedom to stay home and let the baby nap. I was constantly waking #3 up to go places, which meant naps ended by 2 years of age. But on the flip side he was a very agreeable baby who loved going places and was a willing spectator at soccer or t-ball. He was also not apprehensive about preschool or attending classes as he was desperate to be a ‘big kid’.”
Elizabeth from Praying for Pink says: “0-1! By the time my 2nd came around I had already come to terms with these 3 facts. I had to learn to share my time and my body, I am not a perfect mother and will never be and in parenthood anything can happen and most likely will.”
Roo from Nice Girl Notes says: “1 to 2. My two older girls are just 17 months apart, so I was still essentially taking care of two babies. It took me longer to adjust. I don’t think that 2 to 3 is necessarily easier, but I was more confident as a mom. Even if things were chaotic, I wasn’t second guessing myself.”
Hillary from My Scraps says: “I have only gone from none to one and from 1 to 2 . . .but adding that second child was and has been a huge adjustment. Just juggling another schedule is tough enough, but mine are 6 years apart, so their activities are different and in different locations. Not to mention being able to give even more of yourself to one more person. Don’t get me wrong, I love having two boys – but in all honestly, it’s challenging in many ways, and more challenging than when I only had 1 boy.”
Lolli from Better in Bulk says: “My hardest transition by far was going from 2 to 3 kids. Becoming a first time parent was challenging, of course, but I was 100% dedicated to her. If she didn’t sleep through the night, which often happened, I could nap with her during the day. When baby #2 came along, I knew better what I was doing, and she was a dream baby. She LIKED to sleep (in her crib, too!) and my older daughter, who was 2 1/2 at the time, was suddenly entertained by the baby–I didn’t have to put on a show all day long for her. When I had my 3rd, though, several things were against me – my 2nd was only 19 months old, my body practically shut down, I had postpartum depression, and I had three kids 4 and under. It was a very tough year. Going from 3 to 4 and 4 to 5 was a breeze. I hardly felt a change at all.”
Kadi from Our Seven Seeds says: “Zero to one. I call the first child era the “Shock and awe” period. No amount of preparation will be able to ready you for the life altering experience that is becoming a mother for the first time. It is the most terrifying, amazing, helpless feeling in the work to be left alone with your newborn for the first time. The realization YOU alone are responsible for a fragile human life is…there are no words.”