Note from Naomi: Today's post is a guest post from the lovely Hannah from The Simple Things. This lovely mummy blogger has written about her experience of how her parenting style has changed and adapted with each addition to her family. You can visit and read her awesome blog here.
Before I had children I didn’t really know what to expect at all. When my firstborn James arrived I had no idea of even how to change his nappy! I was so nervous I would do something wrong. I had this idealistic view of how I wanted to parent, that didn’t include dummies, TV or chocolate... How things have changed.
The First Child
When James arrived it was a complete life upheaval. I couldn’t leave the house without four bags of so called, ‘essentials’. It took me at least an hour to prepare said four bags.
In the newborn days when he wouldn’t sleep, we decided the only way to settle him was driving in the car. It worked flawlessly - until the car parked up and we turned the engine off. We soon found out the magical properties of dummies; but I couldn’t help but feel guilty for swaying away from our original plan.
I was completely obsessed with James, from watching his every move to reading books in order to read about his next developmental milestone. I don’t think he was put down other than to sleep for the first year.
The Second Child
Just 16 months later Lily arrived - and I thought I knew what to expect this time around - but I was wrong. It was like being a new mother all over again!
It’s amazing how each and every baby is so different. It’s almost like you have to learn parenting all over again, with the one massive bonus that you know to trust your instincts this time around.
The one amazing difference about having a second child is that Lily always had someone to watch and entertain her - she never took her eyes off James. This made parenting two children easier than parenting one in some ways. I could happily let them play on the floor while I prepared dinner, or loaded the dishwasher.
The Third Child
Two years on, our third child - Amy - arrived. When you’re a parent to new-born with a two and three year old, the hardest thing I found was letting my standards drop.
When you add a third child into the mix, you have to prioritise. Often that means that someone has to wait, and after years of not having to wait, that was hard for both them and me.
Having three children means that there is a lot more to share. A lot more cold and germs I mean! We seem to pass the same cold around from September to March and there is constantly a nose to wipe somewhere.
The Forth (and most definitely last) Child
Adding a fourth child - Ava - two years later, can only be described as entering survival mode!
You have to use the TV babysitter more regularly than you want; and you find methods to survive. You have to survive because otherwise you will disappear under the endless piles of laundry, never to be seen again.
I baby-wear my forth child a lot, because she likes to be close. Also, I find that with three young children, having free hands is essential; especially on the school run. One positive is that those four bags of so called, ‘essentials’ from James' newborn days are no longer needed. All I need is a pack of baby wipes and a spare nappy and I’m ready for anything!
I absolutely love being a parent, and I am a much more relaxed parent than I was seven years ago, when James was born - and that’s definitely come with experience.
Lots of people say that the hardest transition as a parent is going from one to two children. I found the transition from three to four children was the hardest. I found I always seemed to need an extra pair of hands, although it is easier now they are all getting a bit older.
I take my hat off to families who have more than four children, I honestly don’t know how they do it!