Issa Party, Issa Party… Until It’s Not?

HEY, y’all!

As middle aged mamas, how are we handling birthdays for ourselves these days?

Asking for myself, y’all, because there’s no way I can pretend that I’m not firmly in the ‘middle aged’ category, staring down 40 like it’s a fine-print book and I have misplaced my readers.

In all reality, birthday celebrations when you have an infant and a preschooler and your birthday falls in the middle of the week are pretty lackluster. We might have a slice of cake, but we definitely goin’ to bed by 8, y’all.

Chalk this one up to ‘things I thought would be fun to share with children, but aren’t.

Right on up there with eating at a restaurant, baking, and traveling.

It’s not a lack of babysitters – I have an amazing support system and zero doubts that my children would be safe and loved if I wanted to go out and celebrate with grown ups.

Honestly, I just don’t have that desire. Stressful restaurant experiences notwithstanding, I want my family with me. I want my loud, needy, snotty baby in my arms when I celebrate life’s moments. I want to shoot the eye at my sassy, needy girl to get her to scoot closer to me so I can snuggle her into my side.

But I fully respect that there are grown ups who do NOT, in fact, feel that way about my babies, which limits the places that I can reasonably plan to go. No fancy black-tie dinners for this mama, nope, no way. We hit up Chickfila for chicken nugs and time in the playplace.

This year, we’re organizing a family trip to a water park to celebrate my birthday. I will sweat, I will stress, I will eat peanut butter sandwiches, and I will mostly likely fry to a crisp. But I’ll be surrounded by my family. I’ll see joy on my kids’ faces and hear them squeal as they shoot out of a slide into a pool of water.

That’s the gift I want most this year, and if that makes me boring and middle aged, so be it. I’m gonna be out here making memories and watching memories be made.

Just, you know, ignore me as I shuffle around to find my readers.

What about you? How do you celebrate special occasions as a middle aged mama?

Transitioning From One Child to Two.

Hey friends! Happy Monday!

I hope you’re starting this week out filled with joy and hope and a to-do list that isn’t too overwhelming.

Because, you know, it’s the little things in life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about transition in our babies’ lives and worlds lately. We went through a big transition with the arrival of baby G last fall, and preparing our EV girl for big sisterhood after 4 years of only-hood was pretty smooth…

…Until baby G was actually here and required more of her mommy than she had anticipated.

She’s a rock star big sister, but that doesn’t mean the transition has been without challenges. It was challenging for her, and it was challenging for me. I’m the primary parent due to J’s work schedule, which means I operate much like a single mom. If something needs doing for our babies, it falls to me because he’s on the road 95% of the time.

It’s a beautiful, rewarding, exhausting challenge and I wouldn’t trade it, but I have been wondering if there are others who could benefit from the resources I used when we were anticipating baby G’s arrival and I was trying to prepare EV for sharing me.

This article from Loving Mummy Life about preparing your child for a new baby entering their world has a lot of the things that we did – we used the Ovia Pregnancy app and EV loved checking it weekly to see her baby’s handprint and footprint. We decorated the nursery together; EV painted a giant ‘G’ for his gallery wall and we even used that for our pregnancy announcement to friends and family. I transitioned her to a ‘big girl room’ and she got to pick new décor and help decide where her toys would be arranged. And we talked a lot about her role as a big sister and how lucky G is to have her.

All super stuff, but honestly, I don’t think you can truly fully prepare your preschooler. She was great until she realized that my attention was divided, and then it really started hitting home.

I know it sounds crazy, but some of the simplest things were the most reassuring to EV during our transitional time. One of the things I did was vocalize with baby G the same things I was telling her. ‘Baby G, you’ll need to be patient with mama while I help sissy with XYZ’. It was a huge piece of the puzzle for her because she understood that mommy’s attention wasn’t being transferred completely away from her and that I value them equally.

Obviously, this doesn’t negate the fact that prioritization is important. If EV wants me to color with her while I’m elbow deep in a diaper change, she’s the one that will need to have patience. But hearing me reassure her brother that I would get to him as soon as I could was HUGE for her.

Bounce Back Parenting has an article with a few tips like this here.

I love this post from The Empowered Mama because it mirrors my experiences. I worried a LOT about how I would share my love for my babies, how I would split attention equally and still give EV everything she needs from me – how I would do all of it, honestly.

The author also talks about the fact that a delay in bonding with your baby is normal and natural. I experienced extreme PPA and PPD with EV. I went through the motions of taking care of my sweet girl and doing and being everything she needed, but inside I was disassociated at times, like ‘is this really my life?’ and ‘am I really up to the challenge?’

It’s tough to feel those feels when you’re vulnerable, filled with a million extra hormones, and running on zero sleep. Usually sporting a giant wound and painful spasms from time to time, because hey, postpartum recovery!

I learned that the most important thing I could do was let go of my preconceived ideas of what I needed to be doing immediately after birth and just spend the time that my babe and I desperately needed.

Let me tell you – my bond with my sweet girl couldn’t be stronger. There is nothing I treasure in this world more than my babies, and that was something that developed. There was no ‘aha’ moment for me, it just grew and grew into the most powerful, all-encompassing love imaginable.

When it came time to spend that time with baby G, I was more prepared. You couldn’t tear me away from my sweet boy, y’all. And the love that I felt for EV absolutely grew to include my son, without ever dimming for my daughter.

It’s a beautiful, complicated thing. And it takes grace and time.  

Anyone else have any great tips for transitioning from one child to two or more?

Have a great week, friends!