Babies Abound

16 Aug

It seems it is a baby birthing time of year for many of our friends. It has been fun to check Facebook and Twitter to see if anyone has gone into labor or supporting those who wish they already have (I am looking at you Kelly).  It has made me reflect on those last fretful days before our two girls were born. They are now seven and two, but it seems just like moments ago when Kevin and I were headed to the hospital ourselves.

Parenting is a difficult thing. I have my fleeting gold medal moments when I realize in that instant that I just did something right for my child. But more often than not it is a disorienting swim through chaos that leaves me breathless, raw, but hopeful.

As first time parents Kevin and I were so focused on our precious baby girl. I made charts and keep lists. I made a schedule and we stuck to it! Each decision seemed so big and I worried that I was going to screw up this perfectly good baby. I read books and packed way too much stuff in the diaper bag and car. It was a strange, painful, yet lovely time as our/my life was completely dedicated to the life of another. That is what first time parents do.

Yet, we had another daughter and our heart filled to bursting again with love for our second precious baby girl. However, her first days,months, and years look very different from those of her sister. It is not because we love her any less that we have made different choices it is simply because we are a different family now.  There are more than her needs that must be met. We have learned what being parents looks like for us, at this time, for the children we have.


It is like Parenting 101. If you have a college degree you had to take an introductory level class, a 101 if you will, in your degree area. Here you got the basics, the overview, of what would lay ahead in that program of study. I remember, faintly as it was sooo long ago, taking copious notes as I struggled to make connections and learn facts in my intro English courses.  All this came so much easier as I got into my upper level courses. By that time I had a good foundation of understanding to build on so even though I was continuing to learn new things I was able to connect them to the things I already knew.  I think it is this way for parents as well. That amazing and frightening time with the first child is like a 101 class where you have to sort through the TONS of information and make sense of it. The second child is like an upper level course. You know what you know. You know what works for you and your family so now you only have to figure out what works for that child.  Maybe families with four or five kids have a master degree in parenting! I know I don’t!  I am still trying to figure it all out and that is OK.

I struggle with those parents who think that their way is the only way or the right way to raise a child. Why do we run to the trenches and get so defensive over our parenting choices as if someone making a different choice invalidates our own? As parents, why don’t we support each other instead judging each other?

How has your parenting style changed with the birth of another child(ren)?


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