When I had my second child, a series of epiphanies followed: The baby doesn’t have to be held all day long. Her nappies don’t need changing the second she does a wee. I don’t need to keep a breastfeeding diary of every single feed, which boob it was from and how long it lasted. In fact, if she — wait for it — feeds from the same boob for two feeds in a row, nothing bad will happen. I now know this, thanks to the benefit of hindsight. Hindsight is an awesome parenting tool. If someone could bottle up hindsight and sell it to first-time mums, they would make millions. Until that happens, I’m going to use my own formula and will try to be less of an over-the-top parent the second time around.
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I won’t sterilise everything under the sun
While the old me would have been mortified to see a mother feeding her baby with unsterilised utensils, the new me will happily give a spoon that’s fallen on the floor a quick wipe and then jam it back in my baby’s mouth. Sterilising takes 4 minutes. Who has time, even?
I won’t obsess over how long it takes to lose my baby weight
When I had my first baby, The Fear tried to convince me that I would never regain my pre-pregnancy body. Well, I did. So I know full well that I can get it back again. I’m going to spend less time counting how many grams I need to lose and more time enjoying what remains of my beautiful post-pregnancy body before it disappears for good.
I won’t wash clothes when they get the tiniest bit of food on them
You know who’s my new bestie? The sponge. With a quick dab here and there, clothes that the old me would have chucked in the wash in a heartbeat are as good as new. You see, unlike her big sis, baby number two won’t be dressed in pristine, gorgeous white baby clothes 24/7 — largely because her wardrobe consists of hand-me-downs from her older sister. But also because I now know that she won’t keel over and die if her clothes aren’t spotless and in perfect condition.
I won’t spend extensive amounts of time preparing baby food
Who has time to ever so carefully wash, peel and slice when there’s laundry festering in the dirty clothes basket, last night’s dishes to clean, this morning’s breakfast to prepare and yet another toilet training accident to clean up? My new baby-food-cooking mantra: Fling a handful of coarsely-chopped vegies into a pot of boiling water and take to it with a blender, iron-chef-style. Also, the occasional store-bought mush will do just fine, thank you very much.
I won’t freak out if my baby watches TV
While her older sister was deprived of television until recently, number two will grow up in front of it. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Television time in my household is limited to around an hour a day, but I’m not going to feel like a terrible parent if my bub happens to glance up and make eye contact with Peppa Pig before she turns 2 years old.
I won’t compare her progress to all the other babies in my circles
One of the most important lessons hindsight has taught me is that all healthy babies eventually walk, grow teeth, get hair, talk, sing, dance and ride scooters. Instead of obsessing over where my baby is at in relation to her baby mates, I’m going to enjoy the fact that her not crawling gives me more time to lie on the floor and blow raspberries in her face.
I won’t obsess over her sleeping patterns
My firstborn adhered to a home sleep routine so rigid it would have made the wardens at Alcatraz proud. But when my second little girl came along, I soon realised that there was no way I could stick to any kind of sleep routine with a toddler constantly yanking at my arm. So, number two will sleep whenever and wherever: in the pram in the park, in the library at playgroup, in the baby carrier while I’m sipping my large latte, etc. Oh, that reminds me: I won’t obsess over my caffeine intake, either. And if bubba misses a sleep or, worse yet, doesn’t sleep at all? Big deal. The world won’t end.
I won’t lug around a nappy bag with enough items to survive an apocalyptic event
When I actually looked inside my nappy bag for the first time in months, it was pretty much bare. Also, the few items it did contain belonged to my toddler, save for a nappy here and there. Gone are the days when I used to drag around a bag bursting at the seams with nappies, 20 changes of clothes, a variety of brightly-coloured toys and all those non-essential toiletries you get given in baby hospital bags. Turns out, I cope just fine with the bare essentials.
I won’t post a million baby pics on Facebook
I used to ask my parents why there are albums full of photos of my older brother and virtually none of me as a baby. I now get it. When you have two rugrats to take care of, there’s simply no time to sit and snap away at a newborn for hours on end — nor is there time to upload album upon album to Facebook. Also, I am less inclined to share every single smile with the world this time, because, you know, been there, done that.
I won’t forget how fast this time goes
Instead of trying to control every little thing my baby does, I’m going to roll with the punches and, most importantly, I’m going to enjoy doing so. I’m not going to hurry my girls along to finish dinner so I can clean up and get them into bed when the clock strikes 7 p.m. I’m not going to worry about dirty sleeves, missed naps or the occasional unsterilised bottle. I’m going to enjoy cuddling my baby girl when she falls asleep in my arms instead of trying to plonk her in the cot as quickly as possible, because hindsight has also taught me this: These precious moments go too darn fast.