Now that I am into month two of being a mama of two, I am finally starting to feel a sense of being settled. Our home life and daily rhythms are finally starting to feel right and we all seem to be comfortable with our new roles. Noah is now a big brother, Winslow is now a stay at home dad and dad of two, and I am a mama of two.
One thing I should explain (to those reading from other counties), is that here in Canada we have parental leave that lasts a year for the mother or 9 months for the father. Either parent can take parental leave or it can be split to have both parents have some time off. If you have worked enough hours leading up till your child's birth, you can collect employment insurance (which you pay into if you are working * except for those self employed). A parental leave EI payment is 50% of what you make on a paycheque and if you are lucky, some work places will then top you up a bit. Winslow works for the federal government (fed. gov. employees get toped up to 93%) and is taking a 9 month parental leave. Because we are a one income family to begin with, we can handle this slight pay decrease and we are happily enjoying Winslow being home.
I had a good blogger friend ask me how it was going now that I am a mama to two kids. She asked how I was handling the change and if I found it to be hard. It got me thinking that I should write a bit about it.
I must say that I had my fears of how it would go with the addition of a second little one to our family. For some reason, I thought the boat would be rocked and that it would take forever to get back to a nice balance. Thankfully this hasn't been the case. A few things have contributed to this fairly easy transition, the biggest one being that Winslow is home to help, but I also think that fact that I have let go of many of my expectations has helped out a great deal too. Before Katia was born, I read this awesome blog post about welcoming a second child into the family and I think it helped me prepare mentally for it.
Having a second child, for me, has been so much easier than it was the first time. Being a mama for the first time was terrifying to me. As much as I had had a ton of experience from looking after children, it was completely different when it was my own child. With Noah, I was exhausted all the time. I felt it was pure torture every time he would wake in the middle of the night to feed. I didn't get any sleep and I found that to be a very hard transition from the world of sleep to no sleep. It also didn't help that Noah would wake every hour to 2 hrs to feed from the day he was born until the age of one. Katia is different. She does longer stretches in the night (3-4 hrs) and I am used to waking up now, so it's not so bad.
Another thing that makes this time around so much easier is that I have way less stress about parenting decisions. With Noah I second guessed all my decisions and instincts. For example, we fought for months with the idea of letting Noah sleep with us. Would it set bad sleep patterns? Would we ever get him out of our bed? Was is dangerous to co-sleep? What would others think? Finally after months of fighting our own good judgement, we allowed Noah to co-sleep and discovered that not only did it work for us, but that we all loved it. So now, I'm sure you can guess whose been sleeping in our bed since day one. Yup, Katia co-sleeps with us and again, we love it. Plus it makes night feedings so much easier.
Another thing which just purely comes down to the fact that Noah and Katia are different people, is that with Katia, breastfeeding has been so much easier and successful than it was with Noah, and therefore more enjoyable. I'm so thankful that it's been more easy.
Having Katia join the family has been a wonderful thing. She makes our family feel complete (for now), and brings so much joy to our lives. Of course, there were a few adjustments that we all had to make and we have our days where life feels more hectic than it used to but we get through those crazy days by being forgiving to ourselves and each other.
I've heard people say when they have their second child that they can't imagine what life would be like without that child, and now I can understand that sentiment. Life just feels so full now that she is here and I can't imagine it being any other way.