Man, it's tough.
Being a parent of two - one 18-month old toddler and one 1-month old infant - that is.
When we first had Max, I remember thinking a few times, "Wow, this whole baby thing is easier than I thought." Now, PLEASE know that I am NOT trying to say that things were always sunshine and rainbows... having baby #1 was not by any means a cakewalk.
But it truly was easier than I had anticipated, for a couple reasons.
First, Mr. D is an incredibly hands-on father. We took turns passing Max back and forth, feeding him bottles, burping, bouncing, dealing with his crying episodes, etc., etc. I didn't deal with Max 100% of the time... we shared the responsibilities. And it worked for us.
Second, I truly think I prepared for the worst before Max joined us. Although I envisioned the perfect bouncing baby joining us, I also assumed that we would be pulling all-nighters every night with a fussy baby, dealing with colic, and that it was going to be incredibly hard to shift my life to fit a newborn. None of this really happened... Max was a good baby, slept through the night by 6 weeks (I know, I know - maybe that's not typical), and overall just "fit in" to our lifestyle.
Fast forward 17 months.
Mason has joined us, and comparatively speaking, is a fantastic baby. He's a good sleeper, eater (for the most part, although nursing isn't exactly going along without its challenges), etc. He seems to fit in, and we are full-blown back into the mode of having a newborn... feedings, constant diaper changes, and all.
The shift from one to two children has been more of a change for Mr. D and me. It's tough - one of our children - if not both of them at once - is constantly in need of SOMETHING... attention, food, diaper change, consoling, etc. Yesterday, we had full intention of leaving the house to go to a little coffee shop for dessert... just to get out of the house.
We must have said to each other, "So, should we try to leave?" about 15 times yesterday, and we never ended up making it there. The kids required too much too frequently. I kept reminding myself throughout the day, "Remember, we have a 1-month old newborn... it is normal for him to need a lot right now." We ended up going to Bab.ies R Us - about 10 minutes away - and were at the store for 10 minutes before we frantically left... Max was throwing a tantrum and Mason woke up from a nap, starving.
So - there is a new motto we are trying out in this house: Divide and try to conquer.
Pick a son and do whatever is necessary while the other parent focuses on the other.
It has seemed to work so far, but it kind of makes me sad. I always envisioned our 4-person family doing everything together - Target runs, trips to the mall, etc. But right now, that's not working so well. Maybe in a couple years.
We tried this new approach last night. We desperately needed to get to Target for grocery shopping and a long list of items we knew we needed. Being the Type-A person that I am, it KILLED me to hand over my over-the-top-organized Target list to Mr. D, but it needed to be done. Mr. D took Max to Target, and I stayed home with Mason. It worked. The Target list was purchased, Max got to get out of the house with his Daddy, and our newborn got some skin-on-skin nursing time.
It's another lesson to me that although I sometimes think I might have it all figured out, adjustments will likely need to be made. Parenting is no different, and now that there are two kids to care for, even more adjustments may need to happen.
For now, the Divide and Try to Conquer approach will be our new normal.