20 Truths About First Year Parenting vs. Second Year Parenting

When I look back on the first 365 days of my time with Fern as a first year parent, I can’t help but laugh a little at my naivety. I was well-meaning, but sometimes I didn’t have a clue. Enter Year 2 of Parenthood. I have definitely learned a thing or two and a lot of my views have changed. This is something that I know has been true for so many other parents who are entering their second year of parenting as well, so I thought I’d share a few ways that first year parenting differs from second year parenting. Click through to see them all and then let me know what things changed for you during your second year of parenting!

  • 20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting 1 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    Having a year of parenting under your belt definitely changes some things. Here are just a few examples of how first year parents and second year parents can differ.

  • Figuring it out 2 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    In the early days of parenting I was totally intimidated and overwhelmed without a clue of what I was doing. I questioned and second-guessed myself at every turn. Now in my second year of parenting, I know that even though some days will be tough, "I've got this."

  • Five-second rule 3 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    When my daughter was a baby, I never would've dreamed of letting her put anything into her mouth that might have come in contact with the floor (or a counter, or pretty much any other questionable source). One year later? Even though it's not my first choice and I try to stop her when I'm quick enough, I've realized that toddlers are pretty resilient and a little dirt on that Cheerio probably isn't going to kill her.

  • Diaper duty 4 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    During those early days, I recall being hyper attentive to any and all inklings of the need for a diaper change. These days, after a year of rising diaper costs, I'm a bit more apt to "wait it out."

  • Germs, what? 5 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    It is a common expectation that parents of tiny babies will skip out on many an activity to avoid the possibility of getting their baby sick, which is probably smart. But over time you start to realize just how hardy your little ones are and no longer live with a fear of any and all virus. Play dates with your friend and her snot-nosed kid? Chalk it up to an immunity boosting experience.

  • Supplies 6 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    When my daughter was a newborn, I seriously never left the house without every possible item I might possibly need in the event of an end-of-days apocalyptic emergency. In the second year though, I ditched the diaper bag and only carry the bare necessities and leave a stash of extras in the trunk. My shoulder thanks me for giving it a break from that heavy diaper bag.

  • Singing a different tune 7 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    If there is one thing I've learned during year one of parenting, it's "never say never"... or you may end up eating your words and feeling like a fool down the road.

  • Style shift 8 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    My daughter has a ridiculous amount of clothes, so we still get dressed up sometimes when we're just hanging out at home since I like to get good use out of her wardrobe before she outgrows it. That said, most of the time the cute outfits are reserved for when we leave the house. Hanging out at home is mostly for comfy leggings, simple t-shirts and bare feet.

  • Organic Schmorganic 9 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    During Fern's first year I was hyper vigilant that the majority of the items that were around her be organic. Now? I'm all about balance. While I try to feed her organic food and surround her with other organic items at home, it's just not practical all the time and I've let go of it a little bit. It's not going to be the end of the world if she has an non-organic banana while she's at her Grandma's house.

  • Reality check 10 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    Confession: I kind of thought I had a corner on parenting truth during my first year of parenthood. During my second year, I've realized that the more you know, the less you know. There is always so much to learn!

  • Social life 11 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    I swore that having a child wouldn't change my activities and to a degree I've maintained that, but in year two I've realized that sometimes it's just easier to stay home and honestly so much more enjoyable. I still venture out and about quite often, but I've come to accept that having a child does change your social life and activities in some ways and that's OK.

  • Idealistic 12 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    I wouldn't say that I've given up on all my parenting ideals, but some of them really did just get thrown out the window once I realized what parenting was really like. We're all good at different things and I've gotten pretty good at accepting the things that just aren't for me. Doing what works is the name of the game.

  • The cutest 13 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    Yep. It's still all cute.

  • Just can’t understand 14 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    During my second year of parenting I've had so many "aha!" moments where I realized that some of my past judgement of other parents was totally misplaced. Now that I'm in it, I finally get it.

  • Procreation 15 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    I'm not quite there yet myself, but this seems to be the theme for all of my second-year parenting friends.

  • Function over style 16 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    I was once the poster child for banishing all toys that were made of plastic or that would light up and/or sing songs. And while I would still choose beautiful toys that are well-made from quality materials over cheap, plastic crap any day, I get secretly excited when someone buys Fern an obnoxious light-up toy, because I know it will make her happy and give me a few moments of free time.

  • Get a sitter 17 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    I've come to realize that going to dinner with friends and your kids isn't really much of a hang out. During the first year I was more than happy to bring Fern along to every outing and didn't really understand why our friends always wanted to go out sans kids. Now that I have a busy toddler I totally get it.

  • Babies! Babies! Babies! 18 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parents V.S. Second Year Parents

    During the first year any and all conversations pretty much lead back to babies. During the second year, you start to figure out how to balance your own interests with parenthood a little bit more and thus have more conversation topics at your disposal. While you'll still probably talk about your kids a lot, the conversations tend to be a bit more balanced.

  • Epiphany 19 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    First year parents seem to have this idea that they have to do everything on their own and that it has to be perfect. Second year parents tend to wise up and realize that it takes a village and it's OK to ask for help and that when you do life gets so much simpler.

  • By the book 20 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    I was an avid reader of any and all parenting methods and ideas during Fern's first year of life. During the second year, I've realized that no one knows my child like I do and I've gained the confidence to trust my instincts and make the choices that will be best for her and our family.

  • Parenting is the best 21 of 21
    20 Truths About First Year Parenting V.S. Second Year Parenting

    This will never change. Parenting is amazing and hard and awesome all at once and is a choice you will always be glad you made. Those sweet little ones are so worth it.

 

Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on TwitterFacebookPinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble. More from Lauren:

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