Dear newly-minted, know-it-all, second-time mom,
You got a little cocky there at the start, didn’t you?
Go ahead and admit it, this is a safe space.
I was once like you — holder of all motherly knowledge. My swaddles were tight, I knew how to pack a perfect diaper bag, and I could burp the baby in my sleep. Anything I couldn’t figure out, I attributed to my son’s premature birth.
Before the pee is dry on the pregnancy test, we already think we know so much this time around — dishing out seasoned advice like the hot dinner we never get to eat. We say “in my experience,” “if I were you,” and “you know how I would do it,” as we shake our heads and teehee at our first-time-mom friends when they make amateur mistakes. Bless their hearts. Then we teehee right in our stretch-waist pants.
Let me save you from yourself – by doing exactly what I’m warning against – and tell you now that it won’t be long before that smug smile will be colored over by the same hidden crayons the kids found and used to draw on the wall.
For me, it was the day I forgot to pack diapers that fit — or wipes. An overabundance of wipes is a basic necessity, even rookie mothers know that, and yet here I was with two wipes that were drier than a British sitcom.
Of course there was poop; so much poop.
Am I new here?
I searched around my dumpster on wheels for anything that might help.
Baby sock? Has potential.
Juice pouch and a half-eaten granola bar? Sustenance incase I’m stuck here forever.
Fast food cups and artwork? I could maybe work with that, but then what if my daughter sees her one-of-a-kind family portrait covered in poop and balled into a soda cup? I pictured the shocked look on her future therapist’s face.
I tried to use his outfit, and ended up smearing the diaper contents onto his head.
Unable to fully fix what my smugness had wrought, I held my head high and carried my mostly-naked baby into the school to pick up my daughter.
I am not telling you this fail whale cautionary tale to humblebrag about my nonchalance, or my devil-may-care attitude towards basic preparedness. Trial by fire is where all moms shine, as we quickly learn that sometimes crap happens, and you have to stand tall and roll with the punches.
I’ve been at this two kids thing for more than a year now, so I’m totally an expert — on how much I still don’t know. Sure, through experience I may have learned that yes, they can reach the shelf where you hid the cookies, and that sometimes you have to give into the tantrum to save your sanity. But I’ve also learned that no matter how many kids you have, they are always, always one step ahead of you.
The moment you think you have it figured out is the exact moment they change the game. They zig when you zag. They decide they hate the very food they begged for yesterday. They poop out of their diaper the day you didn’t have any extra.
Before you feel like you have failed at having a second kid, hear this: it’s not you, it’s them. The only thing you need to know is that you’ll never know everything.
I do have one important piece of advice: Pack extra wipes.
About the Author
Rhiannon Giles is an overwhelmed mother who only occasionally considers giving her children to the circus. She has a sarcasm problem and writes regularly at rhiyaya.com. To keep up with new posts and see some of her favorites, join her on Facebook and Twitter.