By the time the 2nd kid comes around, you often feel like, “Oh yeah, I remember this. I’ve done this before.”. It doesn’t make everything a cakewalk, especially if your kids are quite different or have different issues, but in general there’s a feeling of been there, done that. Which is why I sort of brushed aside the idea of doing a “mom group” this time around at first. But then I remembered this post about how I thought I was SO not the “mom group type” and then it turned out to be one of the best things I ever did for myself (and Owen).
So far I think one of the hardest things about having 2 kids is giving them both undivided attention. Because if you’re the only parent home, it’s nearly impossible to do so. I am incredibly thankful to have a schedule right now, during my maternity leave, that allows me to be home with just Emmett Tuesday through Friday while Owen is at daycare. And when we’re all home together, Emmett is still sleeping enough during the day that I can find little pockets to spend entirely with Owen. So we’re doing ok so far.
But one of the things I found most valuable about my “mom group” time with Owen when he was tiny was spending some time focusing entirely on him without the distractions of being at home (laundry to fold, emails to return, etc.). We spent 90 minutes talking about our babies, gazing at our babies, massaging our babies, nursing our babies. And, as a bonus, I made some lifelong friends, learned a TON about the newborn phase and got some much-needed adult interaction at a time when I felt I was losing myself into the newborn abyss.
But this time around, on my 2nd baby, I already know the newborn stuff (mostly). What I am missing is a place to vent about the new issues at hand — balancing the needs of two kids at once, figuring out how to get dinner on the table while entertaining a 3 year old and holding a newborn, remembering when some of those newborn milestones happen and what I’m supposed to be doing at what stage in order to support my new baby’s development (because I don’t have the time to read countless website and books like I did the first time around).
I know I have sung the praises of Isis Parenting in the past, but I’m going to do it again. Back when I had Owen they were purely a Boston-area resource, but now they have expanded into the Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth areas as well! And for those who aren’t in any of these three places, they have TONS of online resources about parenting, babies, breastfeeding, sleep and much more.
The class has a facilitator and 9 other second-time moms, all of whom are dealing with the same issues I am. One mom is on her 3rd child, and another one has newborn twins and a 15 month old at home — listening to them vent makes me feel like my situation is a cinch! Each week we have a discussion topic, but often veer off to discuss our individual issues and get support and suggestions from each other. While this class has a lot less crying and soul-baring (the first-time moms class was much more emotional as we were all kind of a mess in those early weeks with a newborn for the very first time), it has been incredibly helpful to hear that others’ 3 year olds are acting out a little (one woman had to call poison control the day she brought her new baby home because her son ate most of a jar of vaseline for no apparent reason), or they can’t seem to be gentle with the new baby (another has already had to take her newborn to the ER for injuries from big sis). We share what we’re making for dinner that night, or how we load our kids in and out of the car so that no one gets hit by a car or runs away. We swap experiences with which bath seats are best for double bathtime or how to entertain our older kids while we nurse.
In short, it’s awesome.
It’s like having coffee with your best friend who you can share the ups and downs of this roller coaster with… times 9. And we get the benefit of having a child development expert facilitate the discussion to chime in with information about the babies’ development or what is “normal” at this stage (makes me feel better to have someone objective in the room to make sure we’re not swapping bad info).
And the icing on the cake is that Emmett seems to eat like a champ every single time we go. He nurses beautifully; with little to none of the fussiness I sometimes see at home. When he’s finished, he lays calmly on his pillow and stares around the room at all of the faces. Then he nurses some more. We practice infant massage and tummy time and each class I remember something new that I could be doing with him at home. And by the time the class ends, Emmett is usually chilled out in his carseat ready for a nap. Last week I even went out to lunch with a few of the other ladies and we chatted over Indian food while our babies slept nearby. New mom bliss, right?
If you’re in Boston, Atlanta or Dallas, I highly recommend an Isis class at some point during your pregnancy or once your baby is born. If you’re like me, you’ll be totally hooked and will want to take EVERY class they offer. And everyone, no matter where you are, can take a look at the pregnancy, PPD, breastfeeding and sleep resources, as well as the webinars and chats that happen every week online.
It’s good to have support, even if it’s not your first time around the block.