The Hardest Transition

Let me first assure you that last week’s poll had NOTHING to do with me contemplating a fourth child. Promise! 🙂 I included three to four because I thought there was a slight chance someone might think that, but seriously doubted that anyone would answer that way. But, I wanted some very scientific research to see if others supported my theory. Here’s the survey (and you can still vote!).

My theory is that one-to-two is most life-changing for the majority of parents (please note: I am NOT saying that parenting one child is easy or makes you any less of a parent, etc…It’s just that my perspective is as a mother of three, so I’m looking back over three specific life changes). I knew it was for us, and just wondered what others who have two or more thought, too. I know that many consider two-to-three the hardest, since you and your husband have to shift to zone defense, but that wasn’t the case for us.

see?  even luke was stressed out!

see? even luke was stressed out!

For us, there were several reasons that adding Bennett (bless his heart) to the family made the transition difficult. Looking back, it was definitely a combination of things. His contribution to the situation was that he spit up all the time – and I do mean ALL. THE. TIME. – so it was just so much more work than I was anticipating, combined with worry that he wasn’t getting enough to eat and that he might be in pain. Turns out he was what our doc called a “happy spitter” meaning that he didn’t really have any acid reflux problems, he just made a mess all the time. And he really was a happy baby!

But I think that the biggest reason it was more difficult was that I was so much busier when I had him than when I had Luke. When Luke was a newborn I was starting a new job as a consultant for a federal grant, and while it was stressful in that it was new and my group was in uncharted territory, I wasn’t working all that much. By the time Bennett came along, I was not only in the thick of parenting a toddler for the first time, but my job was much busier. I was back to work just a couple of weeks after he was born, and presenting at a conference when he was about 9 weeks old. Plus, I stressed about Luke getting enough attention. Maybe it’s because I am a first-born, too, and just realized (subconsciously, as I was only 2 when my little brother was born) how your world is turned upside down when an only becomes an oldest.

I also made the mistake of not managing my time as well as I do now. Not that I’ve perfected it by any means, but I certainly have some tried-and-true tricks that make life easier and keep my sanity intact, like meal-planning, for instance. And insisting on early bedtimes. And a glass of wine in the evening sometimes.

What about your parenting transitions (be it with one, two, three or more!) made it difficult?

12 responses to “The Hardest Transition

  1. 1 to 2 was definitely harder than 0-1 for me.
    just trying to figure out how to split my time was a chore and took some strategy.

  2. 1-to-2 was my nightmare. I think the thing that put it way over the edge was that #2 was a c-section whereas #1 was not. Recovering from a c-section while you care for a toddler and newborn is incredibly painful. And it turned out that Rebecca was a very fussy baby (although she has more than made up for that by being a sweet-tempered toddler/child/teen).

  3. 0 -1 was tough – but kind of fun – new exciting, etc
    1-2 well that was just tough. Katie started crying the minute she was born and didn’t stop the first 1 hour… seriously – I should have known that was a sign for what was to come. THe child has yet to really have a “good streak” that lasts more then a couple days in a row – but I wouldn’t trade her for the world – I think she is going to be my little character with a lot of attitude. We plan to have more children – so waiting to see how the rest of the transistions are – i have always heard that 2 -3 is the worse and once you hit 4 – 5, 5 – 6 etc it is no big deal anymore! 🙂

  4. I didn’t think the first kid was hard at all… I think I went into it with pretty realistic expectations (with three little sisters, 10 years in professional childcare and two years of nannying a newborn under my belt).
    Going to two… I think I kind of thought I was an old pro. I knew it would be a challenge… but it was way harder than I thought it would be. It was the having a toddler thing for sure. Having a two and a half year old, even the laid-back, well behaved two and a half year old I had, was hard to juggle with a newborn.
    We were in a tiny tiny house, naps were hard, Sawyer had allergies and severe eczema, it was just hard. I remember sitting on the couch crying at some point after Ryan went back to work thinking, I knew this would be hard… but why didn’t anyone ever tell me HOW HARD?!!!

    Plus, my SIL had a baby at the same time -her first- and my MIL was over there helping her ALL THE TIME. No one ever offered me help or the meals I got like the first time around. I think people assume that by the time the second comes along you’ve got your act together. That’s what I’ve learned… offer MORE help to friends with their subsequent children!!

    I’d imagine adding another one at this point would be better. I think I’ve mostly heard 1-2 is the hardest, after that adding more is just adding another. Plus Sawyer is older at this point than Savannah was. I’ve had a two-month-old with us now for two weeks full time during the day and it’s been pretty smooth going. Now take away my nighttime sleep and that may be a different story!!

  5. oh…talk about perfect timing! we, ok I, have struggled with the transition with adding #2. the baby has been a gem..the 3 year old has been the issue. i’m not totally convinced that our issues have been due to a new baby in the family as much as it is to her being a 3 year old & having a very STRONG personality. many of the problems have been around for months. BUT if you pair that with my lack of sleep it isn’t pretty.

  6. I want to know more of your time-managing tips! I am a terrible manager of my time at this point in my life. I don’t know where that came from- I used to be so on top of things! Oh wait, that was before kids…. Anyway, it’s gotten so bad I can carely take 10 minutes to read other peoples’ blogs, let alone blog myself!

    Also interested to hear about the sensory issues you are dealing with (this is in relation to the post before this, and the post you linked to)– I’ve suspected that in Moses but haven’t gotten any really good information online. Any good websites you found? Moses will sream (and I mean SCREAM) if his bath water is “hot”- even though it might be borderline cold. He also has a real food issue- won’t even touch certain things no matter how much I promise/bribe him, and I think it is based on texture. He also seems to have really sensitve ears and eyes. I don’t know. Maybe I am being paranoid?

  7. I’m in the 0-1 category. Although I had read every book imaginable, had already been married almost 4 yrs., and was a sahm at that time, I was BLOWN AWAY by motherhood! Matt wasn’t a very contented baby, & Ron was gone a lot of evenings. I had no family close by, and I was still grieving my parents’ deaths. I think I’d have lost my mind if it hadn’t been for my best friend Sharon.

    My 2nd choice was going from 1-2. Definitely a big transition even though Matt was a pretty good toddler, and Heidi was a happier baby than Matt was. But it was still a HUGE change having our world revolving around TWO!

    2-3 was the easiest!

  8. Going from 1-2 was so easy for us because Tia was literally the easiest baby on planet earth. She rarely cried, she ate great and she slept all the time. I remember when she was about 3 months old calling the doctor and asking her if I should be worried that Tia was still sleeping 18-19 hours per day. She was a freakishly easy infant. She’s making up for it as a preschooler though 🙂

    2-3 was rough, though because Landon was not an easy baby. He wasn’t a difficult baby either – he was just normal! Plus, trying to figure out how to sleep everyone stressed me out for many months. It felt like it took forever for Landon to sleep through the night and in that time, Tia, who wasn’t yet two, decided to transition from crib to big bed.

    In addition it was winter time so we were cooped up, which also meant someone was constantly coming down with a cold or ear infection. It was just nuts.

    It was just all so stressful that I remember thinking life would never be normal again. I was exhausted for months…

  9. 1-2 was by far the hardest transition. Lyndsey was such an easy, happy baby all of the time. She was sleeping though the night by the time I went to work and that helped. It was a lot harder adding Sean. I didn’t not expect the two to be soooooo different!! Sean was so much bigger, wanted to eat every 2 hours around the clock, diaper changes with a boy really threw me off and he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 6 months old.
    Plus when Lyndsey was born, Darren worked patrol and was home every night and spent 2 days with her during the week. When Sean was born, Darren was in vice and not home very often at night but home on weekends. We had to adjust to having days off together and during the week, I felt like a single mom.
    Also Sean was born in the middle of deer season. So two weeks after he was born, Darren was gone for 5 days. I remember your dad telling me I should have planned better.

  10. Hands down 2-3 was the worst for me!! 0-1 was rough – Lucas was boarderline colic & I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. 1-2 was a piece of cake – Morgan slept all the time, only cried when hungry, & Lucas was a great two year old. Then came Blake – colic 24/7 for 6 months. I was staying home full time (finally) & expected things to be much different. Instead in was maddening. (When Blake was 3 mo old, Alex took permanent measures to not have anymore kids!)

  11. I would have to say that God was testing Ryan and I when he “blessed” us and we went from 1 straight to 3. Keep in mind that was 3 under the age of 20 months. I wouldn’t change it for the world BUT we definitly learned our lesson. They are now 6 and 4 1/2 and we are just now saying we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  12. I’m here. RIGHT. NOW.

    And I’m crying again. I’m not going to read anyore of your posts today, okay?

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