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Mama Squared

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I knew having one child would change my entire life. I never thought adding a second to the equation would bring so many additional changes -- and challenges -- to my life.

Those who followed my pregnancy diary on MyMamaSaid.com know my daughter was born almost four months ago. It has taken me these four months to settle into my new child and new role of dual mommy.

Many mothers warned me that having a second child would be a big jump (almost as big a jump as having your first). And, boy, were they right.

It all started easily enough. The Baby Blues came along right after I came home from the hospital. But this time, I was more aware of my needs and asked for -- and received -- help when I needed it. And as expected, there were some jealous moments my 2-year-old son experienced in those first few weeks. At one point, I literally could not leave the room with him and the baby alone together because he would hit her every chance he got. So I eliminated those chances (even if I had to bring him to the bathroom with me!).

Folks would ask me "How are you?" My reply? "I'm a tennis ball in a tennis match between my son and daughter." Back and forth, from one to the other, every minute, every hour, every day.

Some days I wanted to rip my hair out. The back and forth was making me crazy. Those were the times when my husband or my mother took my son for outings so I could get a break. Of course, this was also when the Baby Blues were in full force, so my husband or my mother taking my son for the day felt to me like I was failing him. I often felt the extreme closeness my son and I had shared was slipping away from me and it was breaking my heart. My son leaving for the day with my mother and not giving me a kiss goodbye made me cry for hours. I was certain he hated me for bringing home a new baby.

I can't say when those feelings ended exactly, but I do know that they started to faid away as my son's jealousy did. I tried as hard as I could to maintain our daily rituals -- yes, even the homemade blueberry pancakes. And slowly, it helped him see that I still loved him just as much -- and helped me to see that he still loved me, too.

And just before Christmas, my son told me, for the first time, "Mommy, I wuv woo!" It was the best Christmas gift I could have ever received.

Having gone through some terrible Baby Blues with a hint of postpartum depression when my son was born, I knew I needed to devote some time to myself, too. I started reading for enjoyment, relaxed and did NOTHING if I felt like it, and took up yoga again. I am now a firm believer in the power of yoga -- and am certain it has saved my son's Terrible Two back end on several occassions.

I still feel like a beaten up tennis ball these days, but I try to recite my new mantra every chance I get: "BALANCE." Balance between my children. Balance between my mommy role and myself. Balance between my family and my career. I can't keep both children happy at all times, keep the house clean, cook three meals a day and get all of my work done everyday. I'm not perfect and pretending I can be is too exhausting.

What I want to know is how my parents did it. They had two kids, both worked full time outside the home, and our house was always immaculately clean. I never remember a time when there was disorder. I guess it helps having a father who's cleanliness is borderline obsessive compulsive (we're talking about a man who cleans up after the housecleaner has come by).

Oh well, I am counting on the notion that once the children are older (as in they have chores of their own to do), that's when my house and life will be a little more organized.

Was that a chuckle I heard out there?
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