Raising a child these days can be quite complex. Somehow we never feel like we’re doing the right thing when it comes to parenting styles or ways of parenting.
When I had my first baby, I was learning so much new information for the first time. I was learning ways to calm a crying baby, change diapers, how much a baby should eat, natural products for baby’s skin, etc.
We’re learning these new concepts, all while also understanding our new role as mom. I always questioned my abilities and decisions and wondered if I was raising my child ‘correctly.’
Fast forward to baby number 2 and I feel like I have grown so much as a mom and even as a person. It’s not that I was doing anything wrong before, but I was just a lot more worried about the parenting decisions I would make.
Sometimes the rigidity and anxiety of parenting can cause unnecessary stress in our lives. The sooner that you start thinking like a second-time mom, the sooner you will notice that parenthood doesn’t have to be as stressful as you make it.
The best account came from my mother-in-law who raised 8 smart and successful children. She told me that having 1 child was the toughest phase of parenting for her. As she went on to have more, they got easier and easier.
Sure, life got more complicated, but she just worried a lot less. She worried less about them learning the ABC’s before 2 or that they maintained a healthy diet of protein and vegetables. She was able to prioritize the important things and discovered what was necessary as a parent.
Decreasing these stressors makes parenthood a lot easier!
Parenting lessons that only a second child could teach me
Below are some parenthood lessons that I learned firsthand after my first child. If you’re still on your first, these are probably things that you’re currently stressing about. If you’re onto your second, I’m sure you have already gotten all of these figured out already!
1. Crying is a normal part of childhood
Although it can seriously pull at our heartstrings, crying is a totally normal emotion that all kids experience. Beyond the newborn phase, it’s not detrimental to let your older infant or toddler cry for a little when you know theres not a serious issue.
As a first-time parent, our instincts are to jump when our child starts crying. However, as long as you know that their basic needs are met and they’re not hurt, don’t feel guilty about letting them figure out how to deal with the situation on their own.
Your child will cry and whine over a lot of things throughout their early childhood. It’s their way of communicating before they really know how to understand and verbalize their feelings and emotions. Allowing your child to cry over a toy that they want, refusing to eat their dinner, or the color of their pajamas that they want to wear, is actually a good way for your child to learn how to soothe themselves.
You can still show them love and affection at these moments. However, don’t think that you are doing something wrong as a parent because your child is crying.
Related Post: The Simplest Way to Decrease Toddler Temper Tantrums
2. It’s ok to stray from the schedule
For my first baby, I was on such a rigid schedule starting as young as 3 weeks old. I made sure that her naps and feedings were all synced up and perfectly coordinated every single day.
I tried my hardest not to stray from this schedule because it’s what worked for our family. I didn’t want to risk having (what I thought would be) weeks of sleepless nights just because my toddler missed a nap.
Although this did work for us and we were happy to have a predictable routine day after day, it just couldn’t be maintained with a second child. If one kid wants to go to the park or a playdate when the baby is supposed to be napping, I just had to change the schedule that day.
I soon realized that it doesn’t throw them off too much when their routine is out of whack. Actually, it even teaches them to be more go-with-the-flow! So instead of maintaining a rigid schedule the second time around, I didn’t hesitate to make plans during naptime or be home during a feeding.
3. Kids are resilient
Can you remember how terrified you were the first time you saw your child fall off the couch or tumble down the stairs? Gosh, it’s an awful feeling as a parent, but they’ve always been ok right?
Kids will take a lot of spills and falls. They’ll bump their heads more times than you can count. However, they are so quick to bounce back! Kids are built to handle some of the tough experiences that childhood brings their way.
Therefore, this time around, I am much less frantic and worried when my toddler gets a bruise or skinned knee. Just a little TLC makes it all better!
4. They all grow at their own pace
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I know a lot about infant and child development. This made me a little more worried about hitting milestones and wanting my child to do everything early.
Every child will hit their milestones at different times. Some may be early and some may be late, but it will always happen when they are ready. It really has a very little prediction on their future.
My second child hit most of his milestones a little later than my first and I don’t stress about it anymore! He will get there when he gets there.
5. Children need space and independence
As first-time parents, we wish that we could keep our child in a bubble, guaranteeing that they would be safe and healthy at all times. However, hovering over your child will not help them to grow into a strong, independent adolescent.
We used to prevent my daughter from doing so many things for fear of getting hurt or making a mess. Our house was completely baby-proofed and locked up at every door, staircase, and cabinet.
Of course, some of these things are important for true safety, but some were just coming from an over paranoid mom. After having my second, I let go of that need to stop my child from exploring and figuring things out on her own.
They need the space and independence to grow and develop. It will help teach them lessons that only they can learn themselves.
6. It’s always ‘just a phase’
Kids easily transition through many different phases of childhood in short periods of time. From what foods they want to eat and behavior patterns to favorite television shows and abilities.
I once would worry that she wasn’t healthy because she would only eat macaroni and cheese or drink 10oz of milk instead of the recommended 20, or that she was going to be the mean girl in school because she was always hitting and pulling hair. We tend to think that these things will go on forever, but they do change so quickly.
Now, she eats a pretty well-balanced diet (for a toddler) and has stopped hitting! With my second child, I just keep telling myself, “it won’t be like this for long” and that they will soon be out of the phase that may be worrying us- and onto the next.
Related Post: 14 Lessons I learned ABout Life Since Becoming a Mom
. . . . .
The way you parent is your own choice. Everyone has their own style and priorities. Forget what all the parenting books and mom blogs say; you have the right to make any parenting decisions that you wish.
However, if parenthood has been a little stressful on you now, just know that the sooner you let go of the constant worrying, the easier it will be. Kids will be kids and
So baby number 2 taught me how to be a less stressed-out parent. Practice makes perfect, right?