|Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty|
|Just days after finding out we were pregnant - AGAIN!|
Around the time Evie turned one, we put our tiny, two-bedroom bungalow in Waldo on the market, thankfully selling it within two weeks. Two weeks after we moved in to our new home, Nora was born.
I'm not going to lie - it was really, really hard at first. Our marriage was tested more than ever before, and Evie reacted to sharing her parents by acting out in a variety of ways. What I remember most was how she started hitting (other little kids at mother's day out and her baby sister too). But there were sweet moments as well, which somehow got us through.
And Nora was the sweetest baby ...
Now that the girls are four and three, life is much easier, and I'm able to reflect on our time in the trenches. I even have some advice ...
1. Set reasonable expectations for yourself. Your house will not always be clean. You will not always look good, thin, clean. You will be tired. Don't beat yourself up about any of these things. Just try and love on your babies (and husband - see tip 2) as much as you can.
2. Don't let your marriage suffer. As hard as it is, you have to set aside time for your spouse. Babies aren't the only ones who need attention and affection. Sometimes I think our men need it most of all. Mark and I finally take time for our relationship with date nights and even weekends away when we can manage it. We learned the hard way - you don't have to.
3. Get help if you need it. Help may come in the form of a babysitter or mother's day out once a week, a house cleaner if you can afford it ... or even medication. Yep, many new mothers (and experienced ones too) need help with depression and anxiety, and instead of judging one another, we need to show our support!
4. Don't take it personally. My girls have both gone through some pretty terrible stages (mostly with hitting, biting, etc.), and I've had some awful run-ins with other moms. Friends and family: Remember the mom who chewed me out at Oak Park Mall when 18-month-old Evie hit her daughter or the mom at the Jewish Community Center who freaked out (calling me out of a packed workout class) when 1-year-old Nora scratched her child? I still cringe when I think of those moments. At the time, I cried, I raged, and I took it all very personally. I wondered what was wrong with me, the girls ... Now I know it's all relatively normal, and while none of us are perfect, I try my best and so do my girls. Fortunately, they stopped beating up on other kids; they only injure each other these days!
5. Surround yourself with positive people. We have been very blessed to have an incredibly supportive family and circle of friends. We've also made new friends, who continue to lift us up and add love and joy to our lives. Forget those who judge, take without giving back and make you feel bad about your choices, your messy home/hair/life.
6. Last one - laugh! Our kids, the chaos, our husbands, the fact that we sometimes wear pajamas to gymnastics class and forget to brush our hair ... or how many times you go through a drive-through for a meal when you swore you never would ... it's all pretty funny, right? Lighten up, laugh and try to enjoy your life with two little ones. They won't be wearing underwear, rain boots and bunny ears forever (or at least we hope not!)