“What was the hardest thing about going from one kid to two,” my sister-in-law asked while rubbing her six-month pregnant stomach.
I glanced at her firstborn, just 13 months old, and thought back to when my second child was born. My oldest children are two years and six weeks apart. Parts of that time are a complete blur, but many things are clear as day.
“The hardest thing about going from one kid to two was that I also had to work while juggling them.”
Many of us are working moms, for one reason or another. But truly, that was the hardest part. My husband was a doctoral student at UofSC and received a very small stipend. Not enough to live on. Between that and my part-time work-from-home radio jobs, we were able to make ends meet.
At the time, work was a necessity.
I fit it in during nap times and after the kids went to bed for the night. Or in the newborn years, I worked in between feeds. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there. Because money was so tight, a babysitter was out of the question.
I vividly remember standing in Target, crunching the numbers and realizing I had to decide between grocery bags and diapers because we were out of both but could only afford one replacement. (Diapers won out.)
Juggling two children ages two and under, their care, keeping the house relatively clean, making dinners from scratch, and working 30-hour workweeks was my life. And it was exhausting.
But you know what? It got better.
And it was worth it.
But I also look back at those years, grateful for the lessons they taught me.
I learned to ask friends if they were struggling and if I could help.
I learned to just jump in with help and not wait to be asked.
I learned not to judge anyone’s circumstances without knowing all the facts.
I learned to have more grace toward parents with babies and toddlers. Those are hard years, no matter what your days look like.
The pressures I faced in those early years are gone. But not forgotten. I am all the more grateful to be where I am now; able to care for and homeschool my children, run them to lessons, and tend to their needs without trying to squeeze in a stressful work-from-home situation as well.
Whatever you’re juggling, I want to remind you that you’re strong. You can do it. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.