When reading all of the advice posts to our editor Debbie about life with two kids last week, I started thinking about what I’d said to her the last time we saw each other. My son was 4 months old, my daughter was 3 years and 3 months. Debbie was about 8 months pregnant with #2. And she asked me how it was to adjust to two.
Without even thinking about it, I lied.
I blithely said, “Oh, it’s not so bad!” instead of telling her about how this baby would get so hysterical around 11 p.m. that he wouldn’t soothe for anything so I would spend hours upon hours walking and rocking him… which still didn’t work. Almost nightly, I felt so desperate that I’d put him down, walk away, and cry because I was so exhausted I couldn’t see straight.
I might have told her something about how it was important to have people to help in those early days, but I didn’t tell her how soul-crushing it is to have both of your children crying for you and to only be able to soothe one of them. To regret that you only have two arms, and seriously start to wish you were an octopus. I think I made a list of the top five reasons why being an octopus would be better than a human.
Anyway, at the time, all I said to Debbie was to try to have help. Which isn’t anywhere near the truth–which is that even with help, you can’t necessarily shower or sleep without feeling guilty that you’re taking time for yourself.
So why did I lie?
I don’t think I’m the only one who, when faced with a pregnant woman, automatically lies. Or at least doesn’t tell the full truth. I figure they’re clearly committed to this new baby, so why tell them how hard it is? They’ll find out soon enough! No need to scare them.
But it’s time to change what I do. It’s time to start telling the truth. Of course there’s nothing you can really do to prepare for the huge changes that come with a new baby, but if you’ve been told that it could be a total and complete sh*tshow, at least you might be less surprised.
Sh*tshow or not, though, having two kids is the most amazing and wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me. So maybe that’s really why we lie–because even though the lows can be so low that you need to walk away from the kids and scream to get out your frustration–the highs are so high that it makes it all worth it.
Well, almost all of it.