My Mom Life Revisited: Jess Updyke on Life with Two

mombodhiphoto by Holly Therrien

Jess recently went from mom of one to mom of two with the birth of her second child, son Bodhi, so I asked her to revisit the My Mom Life questions to see what changes she noticed and how things are different this time around. Read her first My Mom Life here to see how the two compare...

I have heard from countless people that the hardest transition was going to from one child to two.  At first I was feeling a bit anxious about adding a second child to our “works pretty smoothly” clan of 3.  I listened to friends, family, and even strangers tell me all the reasons it’s going to be “harder.”  As they told me their stories and theories, I was convinced I would find a way to do it better (for lack of a better word) so I did not have the same issues they had.

So by the time we welcomed our new little bundle of love, Bodhi Robert, my mind was made up, “I got this!” Rob and I talked about how we are going to share and take on new and different duties to make this having two kids a breeze.  But no matter how much we thought we could do this so easily, the fact of the matter was, it’s still a big transition to go from just having a toddler at home to having a toddler and a newborn.

As a working mom, I already felt strapped for time when we only had one child.  Now, the hours when we are home as a family after work race by in a blur as we divide the little time we have left between two children.  Finding an hour to spend quality time with Rob has been nearly impossible, unless it’s in the middle of the night and we are trying to figure out how to get the Bodhi back to sleep.  There is also the issue of trying to make Rowan (3.5 years) feel included and loved, when I have to nurse or change Bodhi at that very moment Rowan wants to play or cuddle, etc.

I was unprepared for the change in behavior with Rowan, not so much with Bodhi but with me.  He seemed to be more demanding, would outright refuse to listen to me, and basically dismiss me.  That was/is hard for me to handle.  We try to talk about what is bothering him and sometimes he can clearly articulate what it is, other times we still struggle to pinpoint it.  It’s a work in progress.

hithere brothersOverall it is difficult, but it is manageable and I know in time we will figure out our new normal.  I’ll find my best way of parenting, which may not look like anyone else’s way, but it will work for our family.

What is your typical schedule like during the week?

During the school year the mornings are quite hectic—getting both kids dressed, fed and out the door is like herding cats.  I hate being late, so I have to take that into consideration, and have extra time planned so by the time we make it out the door, we make it on time. School vacations throw everything off.

In between Bodhi’s feedings and naps, I try to cram as much as I can into that block of time.  It varies from trying to work a little, clean, respond to emails or catch up with a friend, etc. There is a lot of juggling everyday so for us it really comes down to scheduling and communication.  We try to set aside time each night to talk about the next day and week ahead.

What do you find tricky about your current set-up/schedule? What would you change if you could?

The one thing I find very tricky and would change is to be more spontaneous. I miss being able to do something at a moment’s notice.

What do you like best about your current set-up/schedule?

Right now I am very fortunate to have a pretty flexible schedule, which I value. Also my husband Rob, does A LOT! He does all the cooking for the family and generally handles bath and bedtime.

mymenwhatupwiththatDo you have time for yourself? What do you do during that time?

There is very little time where you can do what you want to do without being interrupted or a minor crisis erupting.  I really savor any time I have when nobody needs anything from me.  It feels like I have a chance to just breathe.  And if it is quiet on top of that, it’s a little slice of heaven.  But I do try to carve out some time for me with the help of Rob.  I spend it by doing various things, it could be sleeping, to showering (uninterrupted), getting a pedicure, catching up on a favorite show, calling a friend to catch up to sometimes literally doing nothing and enjoy the silence and solitude.

Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it?

Yes, I am always curious how other people manage.  Instead of trying to figure it out, I find myself asking…especially if it is something I am struggling with, I am always looking for good tips.  It helps tremendously to have someone to talk to, who can relate to some of the struggles and experiences.  I do feel like I am more relaxed overall this time around. I don’t feel there is enough open discussion about it, mostly because it is hard to admit to ourselves and others when things are really hard.  We can learn so much from one another.

What are some of your top must have products for the parenting part of your life? What are some non-mom must haves?

For the parenting part: Arbonne’s ABC Baby Care line My Boba wrap from The Bundle Store Anything monogramed/personalized The baby/boy clothing from Spotted Goose Schoola, an online shop dedicated to recycling brand-name children’s clothes, with the money going to support school programs

Non-mom: Arbonne’s RE9 Intense Hydration Overnight Mask Jewelry from Tallulah Boutique (you can even have your kid write their name in their barely legible kid scrawl, take a photo, and they’ll immortalize it for you on a necklace) Netflix Moleskine Journal

picksIf you had an extra hour in the day you would spend it…?

The list is a mile long of what I could do with an extra hour. As of right now, it’s a toss-up between sleep or sit and enjoy the silence.

jam sessionrowanbodhi2photo by Holly Therrien

Do you find it hard or difficult at all to stay connected to friends/people in your life now that you have kids? Do you find there is any gap or gulf in between you and the friends/people in your life that don’t have kids? Any tips on how to stay connected to those people?

I definitely find this a little more challenging with 2 kids. It’s rare to find quite time to call a friend and catch up. It hard to find that sweet spot in schedules between feedings and naptime for us to get together with friends, but we manage every now and again to make it happen. Yes, I do think there is a bit of a gap with friends who don’t have kids. Our conversations have changed. Our lives have changed so it’s hard to find that balance of talking about the kids and being able to talk about everything else.

What is one thing you’ve realized/learned about motherhood that no one ever told you before you had kids?

You have no idea how much time you have to yourself to waste (for lack of a better word) until you have kids.

What advice would you give to other moms?

It’s hard and completely worth it. If you are in a challenging situation, it will not be forever. And be gentle and kind to yourself. Don’t put so many expectations and pressure on yourself. Embrace these moments; they are gone before you know it.

Is there anything you find yourself doing as a parent that you swore you would never do before you had kids?

Yes, there are a few…give in at the grocery store, watch a little extra TV so I can finish up something, go to McDonalds occasionally, bore people with kid talk.

bodhi madewithloveMany thanks to Jess for sharing her Mom Life with us this second time around. To read more in the series, click right here.