Having a child is the best and hardest thing in the world. When you double down (literally) on your parenting skills with a second child, you quickly realize that having two children is the best and hardest thing in the world…times two. Adding another little to your brood means not only having a whole new human to get to know, it also means lots of lessons coming your way. Here are 11 things every mom is sure to learn the second time around the mama-hood.

photo: Christy Blevins

1. No two babies are alike.
When you’re a mom of one, it’s easy to assume every baby is pretty much the same. And, in a sense, it's true. They eat. They sleep. They smile. They cry. But any mom who has experienced a second baby knows that while what they do is the same, how they do it can be wildly different. One baby loves to be swaddled; another prefers arms out. One baby likes a pacifier; another is team thumb. These kinds of nuances in preferences and personalities are what make each baby a totally new adventure. (Note: They may be different on the inside, but on the outside, matching outfits for the win!)

2. Your sanity is worth every penny it will cost to buy double.
Sure, sharing is important—and as a mom of two, you want to instill those life skills…eventually. But for the first few years, it’s better to buy two of every toy, bowl or cup in the exact same color to avoid ending up with a ROY G. BIV-induced toddler meltdown every. single. day.

photo: Haley Ross

3. Energy-saving mode is a thing.
When you’re a mom of one, you have a whole bunch of extra energy to devote to things like battling a toddler over dressing themselves and wearing a ballerina outfit to the grocery store. When you are toting two, your now-more-relaxed self says, “Go ‘head! Rock that, tutu, girl!”

4. The eyes have it.
When you have two little ones heading in a different direction, you quickly realize that popping out a second kid should automatically mean you’re gifted with pigeon-like vision, because, girl, you are going to need eyes in the back of your head to catch all the shenanigans. You won’t be able to stop every fall or prevent every mess, but as a mom of two, you know that staying alert is your first defense against total chaos.

photo: Maddy Riddell

5. Babywearing isn’t just a cool party trick (Look, Ma, no hands!).
Once you’re outnumbered two to one, carrying baby hands-free isn’t a bonus convenience that frees you up to double-fist your coffee, er, be more productive. It’s a basic necessity that allows you to hold baby close while making lunch for a hungry toddler, wiping a bum, or hiking up a mountain. Check out the latest and greatest baby carriers.

6. Life with one kid was easier than you realized.
When you had just one baby, you swore you had no downtime and meant it! But now you realize those precious naptime hours with one were the stuff (sleepy mom) dreams were made of. For solidarity's sake, this one is meant to be experienced, not shared. So, please, mums the word to mums with one baby!

7. Being a baby-stuff snob is a must.
With two kids in tow, having the right gear is essential. For example, when you have one baby and go grocery shopping, plopping the car seat into the cart or even schlepping baby through the store on one arm works fine, but with double the fun, you’ve gotta up your gear game. (Like with the nifty Binxy Baby grocery cart hammock!) At the same time, some gear is non-essential (wipes warmer, we’re looking at you!), so you've got to draw the line before you run out of room.

8. Two kids are twice as nice loud.
Remember those sweet moments during the day when baby #1 was peacefully napping? Welp, unless you’re one of the .001% of parents to have children who nap in tandem, you can say so long to mid-day silence. But that doesn’t mean peace and quiet are gone forever; you may just have a little extra company and cuddles during your afternoon cup of coffee.

photo: Dianne Booker

9. Mom of two=superwoman.
Being a mama to two little humans has tough moments—juggling schedules and emotions (theirs and yours), for starters—not to mention when you're actually juggling both kids, one under each arm or balancing them both on your lap. You’re basically a champion multitasker and queen of productivity now, or a fun circus act. But it’s precisely those moments that show you just how strong you are. 

photo: S. Palmer

10. There's no sweeter sight in the world than watching your children love each other. 
Seeing your kiddos interact in a loving way (whether it's a game of giggles or a sincere hug) is the fuel that feeds a mama's heart. Suddenly, having to referee the occasional squabble doesn't seem so bad. There's no better reward to being a mom of two than watching your children's sibling bond blossom into friendship.

11. You’re an old-pro, and a newbie, too.
Sure, you were already in a routine of feeding, changing diapers and doing bedtime, but a new baby—with his/her own needs and wants—entering the scene means starting over. Siblings need the same things: their basic needs met and love tanks filled. But they don’t always need them done at the same time or in the same way. It's the oldest, most important job in the world that teaches you something new every day.

Suzanna Logan

featured photo: iStock