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The Hardest Year

Written 2-18-13

I’m sitting at the ski resort bar writing on the back of a napkin. Lucie is here taking her first ski lesson, so I’m staying close in case it doesn’t go well. Meanwhile, I’m praying that baby Alice is okay back at our rental cabin with a local-babysitter-I’ve-never-met-before.

I should be skiing right now, but I’m not*. I mean, that was the whole point of coming up here, right?

You see, I was up the ENTIRE night last night. I haven’t pulled an all-nighter since… I dunno, college?

The four of us are packed into one room in a cabin full of friends. Blame the insomnia on a mixture of travel anxiety, too much caffeine, altitude (eh?), and OH YEAH — because one of the kids was up just about every hour last night *crying*, waking up the other one. It put me into my neurotic why-even-bother-to-sleep mode. I was just praying for the sun to rise — that way, I wouldn’t have to pretend to try to sleep anymore.

I feel so defeated right now. Like… what exactly were we thinking trying to take a ski trip with a bunch of friends with a baby and a 3-year-old? I’m a serial try-to-do-too-much’er. It’s an illness.


About a month after Alice (babe #2) was born, I met a friend at a park for a picnic. She could tell right away I was struggling. She said, “Meg, give yourself a break. Last year (i.e., the year her 2nd was born) was the hardest year of my life.

As though someone had confirmed my worst fear, those words caused a visceral reaction. As my eyes welled with tears, I said, “But it can’t be this hard, can it? I think I’m doing something wrong.”

Seven months later, I will tell you: oh yes, it CAN be this hard**.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that most people on the planet Earth have more than one child; this isn’t some strange anomaly or uncharted territory for mankind. But, I REALLY didn’t know how challenging it would be to add babe number two to our lives.

There’s a point to this [I promise]: having young kids is hard, y’all. People don’t talk about this stuff, but my girls bring me to my knees… more often than I care to admit. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and I don’t even know when I’ll be able to come up for air. Like everything is really blurry and I’m just wading through it.

My friends-who-also-had-baby-number-2-around-the-same-time and I keep reminding each other “it will get better”– in about a year, I’m guessing. Between now and then, it’s just gonna be kinda shitty***. And that’s okay.

girls

Doing the things you normally do with one kid was totally doable; throw a second kid into the mix and you JUST have to scale it all back. Do less. Lower your expectations. Don’t make big plans. And for the love of God, get two rooms when you travel.

A childless friend called last week and said, “Hey, let’s hit Tahoe this weekend! Just bring the kids.” My Response: “Fuckkkk no.”

Maybe in a year. Or two.


* I realize this is a 1st world problem (poor me, I can’t ski today – wah wah).

** I have a nasty little “anxiety problem” and apparently I lack some “coping skills” (whateverrrr), so take what I say with a grain of salt. I’m sure all of you a-holes who have a properly functioning amygdala will be just fine. 😉

*** I’m very grateful to have Baby Alice in my life. I have lots of friends with secondary infertility, so please don’t think I take it for granted.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Hi Meg,
    I’ve been reading your blog and receiving your emails since I became pregnant in 2012. I have found them invaluable, and for that… I thank you. My son will be turning 2yrs old in June and me/hubby have been throwing around the thought of baby 2. I am PETRIFIED!!! As we get closer to “let’s start trying” time I get more and more anxious. Admittedly I have an anxiety disorder so that doesn’t help, but whatever… I’m a spaz and this is breaking my brain. I cannot fathom how anyone has a full-time job and raises not only 1 but 2 or more kids?!?!? How is any of that accomplished and you still have a thread of sanity remaining? I’m most freaking out about “How will I get it all done?”, I’ve just got into a good beat with baby 1 and trained my husband to be useful… I cannot see how it will be possible with 2. This article has made me feel MUCH better about it all. Yet again, you came through for me. Thanks so much for keeping things practical and having a sense of humor about life.

    Stacey 🙂

    • Thank you Stacey! I don’t know how we do it, but it IS getting easier! I think the first couple of years of your 2nd kid’s life is the hardest. And some days? They happily entertain each other and I think, “oh, this is so easy!”. And some days, not so much (LOL). The bottom line is this raising kids thing is tough, but we’re better people for it. Good luck to you with your family, you’ll do great 😉

  2. I actually JUST had a breakdown last night…I had been up since 2:30am with my baby (she normally doesn’t squirm until 4am), worked a 9 hour day, got a call from school that my toddler was running a fever so I had to coordinate my momma getting him to the doctor. Later that night my almost 2-year-old was in bed coughing and I was trying to clip my 2-month-old’s nails since she scratched her face that morning (that ended up being the culprit of the 2am wake up call). The baby was squirming and fussing and I just got frustrated and I just handed her to my husband and told her I could be a momma anymore. I went and laid on my bed and felt like I was too overwhelmed; I just couldn’t do it. I had just spent the weekend alone with them while he worked and I felt like I was failing at this whole momma, wife, employee thing.
    THEN, I got your potty training email and at the bottom was a link to this blog. You have no idea how much you have soothed my soul and made me feel so much less alone. I know it’s a myth that every other momma has it together but you still believe it until you read…the struggle is real. God bless you for sharing!

  3. Hi Meg,
    I know you hear this often, but Thank You!!!!
    My daughter is almost 2 and I’ve been getting your emails since I was pregnant. They have been invaluable! For a while there I thought I was on my own to figure out this potty training thing, then your email and the follow up ones on potty gear arrived and I finally feel I can do this! So thanks for not forgetting me.
    Your very real life words on raising two small children really put things into perspective for me. We have one and really were not planning on another. I always knew it was difficult but there are enough people out there who make you feel guilty for only having one child. The thought crossed my mind that maybe I should do it. Your email opened my eyes to reality so that I can move forward with an enlightened decision. So I am grateful for you sharing a real Mothers perspective.

  4. Hi! I’ve been getting emails and been reading various articles since I was pregnant in 2015. Our first was a surprise, but welcome. Our second was a bigger surprise, especially since we found out he was conceived when our first was about 8 months old. Both babies are wanted, but they came years earlier than planned. And it’s been hell. I thought it was hard the first time around, keeping the place picked up, everyone fed, etc. but having a little one that is running around and getting into every little thing, and the only thing I can do about it is yell from the couch because I’m pinned under a nursing baby. Or the need for attention. I’ve had to forcibly stop my daughter from pushing the baby out of my arms. And then there’s the screaming matches they do, one starts it and gets the other going, be it that he’s put down for tummy time or she can’t find her favorite toy/tripped while running through the apartment like a madman. I’m at my wits end, and the only break I get is sending my daughter to daycare once or twice a week and grandma taking them both for a couple hours every other Saturday. Any additional advice for babies less than 2 years apart?

  5. […] it’s a short-term problem. The truth is: the first year of your second child’s life is the hardest year for […]

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