Wow- if I could have had my second baby first, life would have been so much easier. I wouldn't have been nearly as neurotic, and crazy, and sleep-deprived, and obsessive. I would have just slept when I could, eaten what I wanted, fed the babe whenever he wanted it, and allowed stroller naps. I would have had a life of sorts, even if it did revolve around spit-up and poopy diapers.
Having a second baby has completely changed the way I mother. With Z, my first, I just left every semblance of a life behind and devoted day and night to my sleepless baby. I literally kept spreadsheets on what he ate, when he ate, when he went to the bathroom (and what number), when he slept, when he woke up...get the picture? I was obsessed. I don't think I was truly able to enjoy anything about mothering.
Now, with W, I can take a few moments to sit back and really enjoy being a mom to what is very likely my final baby. I can laugh about the gobs of spit-up that landed in my hair the exact moment I was walking out the door, or give W an extra cuddle at 2 a.m. just because I want to. I can let a bit of whining or crying go on while I tidy up legos with Z. I don't feel my entire body tense at the slightest baby noise. I feed when W wants to feed and change when he seems to need it. I don't have a schedule or spreadsheet.
It's amazing how freeing it is to parent without all the contraventions and rules that come with being a first time parent. I don't feel that I have to follow any advice or book or old wives tale. I can just be a mom, and love every minute of the gift that is getting to hang out with my two beautiful boys every single day!
You see, second babies come with an amazing tool- perspective. Perspective you could have never had with your first, even though you so desperately needed it. Perspective allows you to get a handle on your life, on your worries and concerns, on what you believe is really important. As a parent to two, perspective has helped me realize that my kids won't care that I changed their diaper every 2 hours, fed on a schedule and ran on ZERO sleep for months on end. They'll care that I loved them. That's it. They won't care that I did exactly the right amount of tummy time or read them books that would enhance and expand their non-existent vocabulary. They'll care that I loved them. That's it. And isn't that freeing?