Why I Don’t Have a List of Things I’m Doing Differently with Baby No. 2

Image Source: Heather Neal
Image Source: Heather Neal

I’m seven months pregnant with my second child, and I’m a little over six-weeks shy of the timeframe when I delivered my first baby.

I have a crib set up and I bought another car seat, though I’ve yet to see if it actually fits in my tiny sedan. That’s about where the list of preparedness ends.

We haven’t landed on definite name choices, I haven’t decorated the nursery, and I haven’t pulled out all of big brother’s old baby clothes to wash and hang in the closet.

I haven’t broken out all the newborn supplies or read any childbirth books to refresh my memory or stocked the freezer with meal staples for that potentially hectic postpartum period.

These are all things I’ll get to in the next coming weeks — and hey, if I don’t, the world won’t end.

But there’s one big thing that many moms of second (or third or fourth) children do that I haven’t gotten around to, and what’s more, I don’t plan on getting to it.

It’s making a huge “How I’m Going to Parent Differently with Baby No. 2″ list.

Yes, I made plenty of mistakes the first time around. Yes, I learned a lot that will likely prove useful the second time around. But making mistakes and learning lessons doesn’t necessarily mean I can plan on not making mistakes again or that I’ll be able to use every lesson I learned.

That’s because the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my short four years of parenthood is that so many of your parenting decisions and methods depend on your specific child. What works for one child may have no impact on another, or may work like a charm again.

I’m going to trust my parenting gut and know that we got through the newborn stage once, and we’ll manage again.
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Before I can decide what methods I’m going to follow, I need to meet my child. I need to learn his or her tendencies, personality, and likes and dislikes before I can decide what to change or do the same.

While I have some things in the back of my mind that I’d like to go about differently, I’m entering this second-baby stage with an open mind and a goal to stay flexible and adaptable. I don’t have a list of all the things I did wrong or things I learned about after-the-fact that I wish I would have known. Just because I want something to go smoother or have a different outcome than with my firstborn, it doesn’t mean changing what we did or not repeating the same actions will have any impact on a different outcome.

Maybe this baby will have a completely different demeanor than our first and require completely different strategies and routines. Maybe all the things we think we did right the first time was simply because of my son’s persona and nothing to do with us as parents at all.

The only plan I’m having and the only knowledge I’m steadfastly going into this with is that we can do it; we’ll see how it goes and adjust our sails along the way according to what this baby — and not any other baby — needs.

I’m not going to get hung up on if I’m doing things right or if I’m doing what someone in a book or on a blog told me to. I’m going to trust my parenting gut and know that we got through the newborn stage once, and we’ll manage again. Whether that means it looks exactly the same or completely different, I’ll have to wait and see.

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