It was Sunday night at the close of a long weekend. My toddler son had been put to bed, so I was indulging in one of my guilty pleasures—watching “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”—when matriarch Kris Jenner said something that made we want to dump my bowl of ice cream all over my head.
Pulling aside her daughter’s long-term boyfriend, shortly before his second child was born, Kris warned him: “Having one kid feels like having one; having two feels like twenty.”
Seeing as this came from a mother of six, I took her words to heart. Being pregnant with my second, it freaked me out.
I like my life now. My son is two-and-a-half, and our days together are fun and manageable. He goes to bed and wakes up at a reasonable hour, can communicate with me and my husband, and is much more independent than he used to be. Most of all, he makes me smile and laugh with the amazing things he says and does. It’s a utopia-like existence I never could have imagined during his first year, when my world consisted of breastfeeding, battling nap times, and obsessing over dirty diapers. Those were the days when I wanted to fast forward time until the day he would turn 18.
With the imminent arrival of number two, I feel like the precious balance we’ve finally achieved is going to be knocked off kilter. Don’t get me wrong; I’m undeniably excited for our new addition. I just think it’s going to be a tough adjustment. It’s not so much my son I’m worried about; I think he’ll love having a playmate despite the fact that it’ll take some of the attention away from him. It’s me I’m anxious for.
I can’t tell you how many times during that first year I broke down crying because my son wouldn’t sleep. Or how many middle-of-the-night arguments I got into with my husband over swaddling techniques and the appropriate use of pacifiers. Or how lonely I was pushing a stroller through the fluorescent-lit aisles of CVS for the umpteenth time.
I’m scared of being that desperate, panicky, sleep-deprived mom of a newborn again. All the coveted “me time” that keeps me sane will surely disappear once there are two kids—feels like twenty—in the picture.
Still, I know that being a mom the second time around has got to be easier in some ways. I’ll be more confident and prepared. And while I may not have the time to devote to my second child’s every waking (and sleeping) moment like I did with the first one, I’ll be less crazed. If my baby doesn’t take a nap, I won’t have an emotional breakdown. If she’s teething, I’ll accept that she’s fussy rather than spend countless hours searching for remedies online. Sure, going from one to two will be overwhelming, but at least I won’t sweat the small stuff so much.
The second pregnancy has shown me how things have changed already. With my first, I loved staring at my belly in the mirror and reading everything I could about the developing fetus. Now, I sometimes forget I’m pregnant until I bump into something. I’ve barely brainstormed baby names, have no plans for the nursery, and have forsaken all the healthy food I ate during my first pregnancy for my son’s leftover goldfish crackers. Basically, I’m crappy at being pregnant.
I don’t think this means I’m going to be a bad parent with child number two. I think I’ll just have more perspective. I’ll try to focus on what’s so special and rewarding about having a newborn—not all the exhausting stuff.
The good news is that now that I know how quickly time goes by, I won’t be wishing for my infant to be an adolescent. If anything, I’ll want to slow time down. Especially if those Kardashian girls are any indication of what it’s like parenting teens these days.
Leah Black is the former Executive Editor of New York Family. She and her husband are the proud parents of two-year-old Avi. They are expecting their second child in February.