I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a while. It’s been on my mind, but I just never quite found the inspiration or time to sit down and write it. It has also been a very difficult time in my life internally lately. My brain has also been in an awful place, which at some point I plan to share and hope that my story can be a comfort to others. But for today, I really wanted to focus on this thought that has been with me for a quite a while. I wanted to share with you my thoughts on how life has changed since the arrival of child #2.I think the thing that I struggled with the most since our daughter joined us is how to allocate my time fairly to both children. I had three full years to develop an awesome relationship with my son. Most of the time he was like a little mini-me, and before or after work we would spend as much time as possible together playing all sorts of games. Just after my daughter was born this was still the case for quite a while as she needed more from Mom and we were so blessed to Grammy with us to help care for the baby and give us the chance to sleep. My main job was to keep my son from yelling and screaming when he woke up so that the other three, who had been awake during the night, had the chance to sleep a little longer. I still had plenty of opportunities to hold my new little girl and participate in her growing up, but the majority of my time was still spent making sure my son got the attention that he was craving.
As she got older and out of the tiny infant stage her sleep habits changed and I began to get more one-on-one time with my little girl. Now waking up at 4 or 5am every morning is not necessarily my cup of tea, but as I wrote in this post, it was exactly the type of bonding I needed for my relationship to deepen with my little girl. Unfortunately, when one relationship gets more time it often means that another has to lose some of that time. When my son would come out a little bit later to play my daughter would wake back up and it was time to be multitasking daddy. Multitasking daddy is a pretty good dad, but he can’t quite give a 3-4 four year old the full undivided attention he is craving. Our typically uninterrupted games of Legos, pretend play and running were now shared times. And, as I think many parents do, I often gave more attention to the baby since they tend to be a little more fussy and demanding. I could feel the change in my son and I’s relationship. Now don’t get me wrong, we still had lots of fun and plenty of great times, but I could definitely feel a little bit of slippage in my bond with him as my bond with my daughter began to grow.
I’ve come to realize that some of this is just a natural season. There have been plenty of great moments where I renewed that bond that I originally felt with my son. However, it is fairly easy to tell that we have more of a “momma’s boy” and “daddy’s girl” on our hands at the moment. I know that this is Ok and that perhaps in time this will flip, but I can’t help but be a little sad when I think about some of the amazing times my son and I have had.
There are plenty of other difficult changes or experiences with the addition of a second child. Bedtimes are extremely difficult and often frustrating right now. The amount of food and laundry we go through is pretty crazy. There is nothing worse than a double meltdown! (Unless of course you have more than two kids and all of them are melting down…in that instance…I am sorry for you fellow parent!) But I would definitely say that the change in relationships has been one of the hardest parts for me.
Thankfully, as with most things in life, there is a silver lining. Father-son dates and times when my daughter takes a nap give my son and me a great chance to reconnect and focus on each other without other needs or distractions. I wouldn’t trade the bond I have for my daughter for anything. It is so incredible to watch her grow and learn. In addition, having our daughter has given us the chance to see how amazing of a brother our son can be and how much the two of them really do love each other. There are moments more precious than a sibling hug or kiss, or simply holding hands in their car seats when we go for a drive. So even though there are new challenges and less sleep with two children…I feel very blessed that I get to be daddy to two incredible kids.
This is fatherhood…