11.29.2012

What Jessica Simpson and I have in common

When I heard the news yesterday that Jessica Simpson is pregnant just seven months after having her daughter Maxwell, memories of my own "surprise second" came flooding back ...



Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty
Evie was just seven months old when we found out she was going to be a big sister. I wish I could say our tears were those of joy, but it was a pretty tough time for us. We were just learning how to be parents to one little girl; having another on the way was just too much to handle. Still, we tried our best to enjoy every moment with Miss Evie ...



Just days after finding out we were pregnant - AGAIN!
At Evie's first birthday, I was seven months pregnant. See her resting on my belly ... so not fair!


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!)



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- Kara

7 comments:

  1. Good advice! You have a beautiful family and you a great (and stylish!) Mom!

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  2. I have goosebumps. This post really touched me. Wonderful advice! I feel honored to have been a part of your journey through motherhood so far, both the fun times and the hard times. I cherish your friendship and am so glad to be on this path with you- learning from you and with you. XOXO Becky

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    1. Wow, thanks Becky! You are truly a wonderful friend, and I couldn't have done it (or continue to do it) without you! Love you! Kara

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  3. Our daughter Aniston had colic and screamed 20 hours a day for 3 months. Imagine my surprise when just 7 months later I realized I was pregnant again with our third child. All excellent advice! I find that laughter gets me through even the craziest of days!

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    1. Oh my, 3! Yes, you have me beat! We have to chat about this soon! Thanks for commenting and sharing in on the motherhood journey!

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  4. Kara, I love your advice. It was very comforting to me, as I am going through some very hard stages with my kids right now. We are at the very end of going through an adoption of a 10 year old girl and a 5 year old boy. They have lived with us for two years and the changes they have gone through blow my mind. Being a couple in a house one day and the next day having two kids living with you is a crazy experience. Especially when you have NO parenting experience what so ever! I applaud your openness and honesty about your own life and thank you for putting a smile on my face!

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    1. Thanks Tammy! Good luck in your situation! Very inspiring! Kara

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