6 Things Second-Time Dads Need To Know

tlc-for-mom-second-babyImage via Shutterstock

All right, Second-Time Dads (or third-time, or fourth-, or…), here’s the deal: unless your name is William and your address is Kensington Palace, the mother of your newest little prince or princess doesn’t have a crew of staffers paid to provide her with the royal postpartum TLC that she deserves. Who does she have? You.

When you had your first baby, you probably spent a lot of time at the hospital. Whether you realized it or not, you noticed each nurse, doctor, lactation specialist, and dietician who came in and asked your wife, “Is there anything you need? What can I get for you? Would you like a pillow under your arm? Pads? Stool softener? Some ibuprofen for your pain? How about a banana? A ginger ale? Can I refill your water for you?”

When you went home, still reeling from the shock of witnessing what happened to her body during delivery, and maybe seeing her try to breastfeed or pump and feeling eternally grateful that you didn’t have to do that, you dutifully filled in for the hospital staff by bringing your wife food and water and cozying up with the baby on the couch so she could take a shower or a nap.

But with your second baby, you had #1 at home sucking up most of your caretaking stores, and you had wised up on how uncomfortable those hospital barcaloungers are. Chances are you weren’t at the hospital as much. You didn’t spend all that time watching people take care of your wife, and even when you were there, you weren’t paying much attention because you were hovering over your toddler to make sure she didn’t drop the baby.

You both have been parents long enough to put your kids’ needs before your own, and Mom’s a pro by now, but remember that she could still use some TLC. Sure, she looks like Super Mom in yoga pants when she reads a story to #1 while nursing the baby, but she’s not really a superhero. She’s a regular human being, who probably needs to pee, and having human needs doesn’t make her needy. So, for her sake, let’s review some things to keep in mind in the weeks following the arrival of your newest addition.

1. You’re not allowed to complain to her about being tired. I know. I know you are tired. Nobody is well-rested when a second kid arrives. But keep in mind which one of you was just pregnant for nine months, delivered a baby, and is now mom to a newborn and an older child. You can be tired, but don’t mention it to her. Find someone else to complain to: your dog, your toddler, your local barista. Just. Not. Her.

2. If she walks into the kitchen and you’re eating a sandwich, there should be another one on the table for her. Taking care of a newborn means your hands are usually full and you lack the physical mechanics necessary to make lunch. If you weren’t there, she would survive, probably by grabbing a piece of cold chicken breast from the fridge and eating it caveman-style. But just because she can do that doesn’t mean she should. If you make yourself something to eat, make something for her, too. And always check that she has something to drink.

3. She will be jealous of every shower you take and every opportunity you have to go anywhere without a child attached to your body. She’ll even be jealous of you going to work sometimes. She might not complain, but mark my words: she’ll be jealous. Of course she loves her children (and you), but her body is smeared with all sorts of bodily fluids (not just her own), her muscles are sore from taking care of multiple children and, oh yeah, giving birth, and she could use a break from being needed constantly. See to it that she gets at least a shower a day, and maybe a little extra time, too.

4. Keep a tally of how many naps you each get. You know who should get more. You know, right? Mom. Mom should get more.

5. By definition, paternity leave is for being paternal. It is not for building that chicken coop you’ve been thinking of, redoing your LinkedIn profile, or organizing a Beer-B-Q with your neighborhood buds. If you have to do some work from home, fine, but keep it to a minimum.

6. Do not come home with a Starbucks cup if you don’t have one for her, too. That’s just mean.

It’s true that Mom is very busy these days, but she notices what you do. You are welcome to ignore this advice, but be forewarned that she’ll mentally file away each shower, hardware store run, and hot meal that you enjoy in isolation until she uses them as ammunition in the next sleep-deprived, hormone-fueled blowout the two of you are guaranteed to have if you do ignore this advice. But keep these things in mind and I guarantee she’ll be able to better appreciate all the wonderful ways that you, too, are taking care of your family.

Related post: 20 Things I Learned From My Second Baby

The post 6 Things Second-Time Dads Need To Know appeared first on Scary Mommy.

3 Reasons Why You Can Totally Handle a Third Baby

third-babyImage via Shutterstock

Does the prospect of managing a newborn with two other kids scare you? I spent about nine months wondering how I’d do it, but now that #3 is here, let me share three reasons why I don’t think you should fret (too much) if you’re about to add a third baby to your family of four.

1. By the time you have three kids, you actually believe that “this too shall pass.” 

People love to say, “this too shall pass,” about everything parenting-related. This cliché has been uttered to me countless times over my mothering years, usually by wistful older women who follow it quickly with, “Enjoy it! It goes by fast.” When I was in the trenches with Newborn #1, I simply could not believe that the physical and mental exhaustion would ever end. And I didn’t believe it with Newborn #2, either, because I figured my survival the first go-around must have been a fluke, and it didn’t even matter because managing a newborn with a toddler was a whole different ballgame. But now I’m the one constantly telling myself that “this” won’t last forever, whatever “this” means at that moment: waking up each night in hormone-sweat-soaked sheets; staring at my perpetually messy house; the feeling that my husband and I will never again have a real conversation, much less go on an actual date, and even if we did, I wouldn’t feel sexy at all because all of my clothes are milk-stained, too tight, or too baggy.

But by the time you have #3, you’ve survived all of those things—twice! You got through it twice and you’ll get through it again. One night you will sleep well, one morning your pajamas will still be dry, and one day you’ll keep up with your laundry. OK, maybe not that last one, but most things do pass without you even realizing it, and it is oh so much easier to take a deep breath and deal with the challenges of having a newborn when you truly believe, from your own experiences, that things really will be different one day. And then you can better appreciate all those precious moments because you know that those, too, are fleeting. Inside you’ll become a wistful old lady who wants to speak words of encouragement to every harried mom at the grocery store who’s desperately trying to shush a screaming baby. But, don’t worry: you won’t be an old lady on the outside. Someday you WILL go on a date with your hubby in a sexy outfit—I promise!

2. If you accomplish ANYTHING, you feel like Mother of the Year. And I mean ANYTHING.

Both kids’ teeth are brushed and the baby is fed? Mother of the Year. Children’s craft project completed (and by “craft” I mean something like threading a pipe cleaner through some cheerios)? Mother of the Year. As I walked out of my first solo trip to the pharmacy with all of them, I envisioned what I would wear to my Mother of the Year banquet. Never mind the fact that in one arm I carried the toddler that I had snatched away from a shelf full of cold medicine, and I had my other arm hooked on the handle of the infant car seat bucket, and I was whipping my head left and right calling, “Are you with me?! Are you with me?!” to the oldest one who followed behind carrying our precious package of baby Zantac. None of that matters. I took three little kids to the pharmacy and we left without the help of store clerks. If that doesn’t qualify me for Mother of the Year, I don’t know what does.

3. [Newborn + 2 older kids] is easier than [Newborn + 1 older kid]. 

OK, this sounds crazy to me, too, but it’s true. Note that I am not saying that it is easy to have three kids, especially if you have a toddler, because I think that having a toddler and a newborn is one of the super-most-hardest things in the world. BUT, it has been soooo much easier for me to deal because I now have an older child in the house. When it was just him and #2, I was the only one in the house that could truly entertain him, and that was HARD because they both needed ME so much. But now the older two entertain each other, and the oldest one is actually helpful. And I don’t mean helpful in a “Honey can you please get me a wipe—wait, I don’t mean pull every single wipe out of the package!” way. He’s helpful in a “please for the love of God would you find a way to get your brother down from the train table while I finish breastfeeding your other brother” way. And it’s nice just to have another person in the house who consistently speaks in full sentences, takes a poop without my even knowing it, and can find humor in the goofy things the littler ones do. Yeah, they fight, but, whatever. “This too shall pass,” right? I know that they will all grow and mature and I’ll be lucky enough to watch their little relationships develop, just as I’ve watched the first two grow to be best buds.

So, take heart, future mother of three. Some people make it sound scary, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Related post: Reasons It’s Awesome To Have Three Kids

The post 3 Reasons Why You Can Totally Handle a Third Baby appeared first on Scary Mommy.