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From One to Two: Becoming Second String?

I can’t stop drinking water. My maternity pants are too tight. No matter how much coconut oil I put on, I continuously itch. You’d think that between my swollen ankles and drooping belly (that just so happens to be resting on my thighs while I sit down to write this), I’d be longing for some alone time. Don’t get me wrong: a pedicure or prenatal massage would truly be amazing right now . . .

But, even more than that, when I come home from that hour or two of relaxation, I really just want to be my 2.5-year-old’s go-to, bestie, and “chosen” parent again. It seems I have become the “less desired one” lately, and I’d be lying if I said I am not totally freaking out about it.

“Aww, she’s gonna love her daddy,” many would say when I first shared I was pregnant with a girl, which made complete sense to me. After all, as close as I was and still am with my mom, there was and is always something special about my dad. Up until recently, my daughter has always preferred “Mama” though, even receiving (very early-on) the nickname, “Mommy’s Shadow.” She loves her daddy, but I have always been her “top choice” to sit next to in the back seat, her “favorite” singer, and her “number one” bedtime reader.

But now, out of nowhere, everything is suddenly about him. “Hmmm, where Dada is?” she asks literally every day when I wake her up. Really? Good morning to you, too! “No want Mama! Want Dada come home soon!” she wails when I ask her to remove her wet shoes at the front door. Ha! Don’t even get me started on what I want, Little One. “Mama, Dada make my big girl bed,” she proudly reminds me every night before she sleeps. Oh, yeah? He made your bed? Well, I made you!

OK, OK. I realize I sound completely ridiculous. I blame pregnancy hormones. Her dad really is an amazing guy; I mean, I did, after all, marry the man. But, as exhausting as the role is, being her “first pick” has admittedly, upon a lot of self-reflection, been solidifying (well, in my mind anyway) my life purpose these last couple years.

I’m not a SAHM, but after having my daughter, I found a much more flexible, part-time career, so the majority of our days are spent together, just us. Although I work hard to ensure our time together is packed with quality mommy/daughter moments, it’s difficult to always be solely focused on playing with and teaching her when there is always so much (work-related tasks, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.) that needs to be done. Even when I’m not accomplishing anything on my to-do list, I am unfortunately thinking about it, and I know my daughter, especially the older she gets, recognizes this. My husband, on the other hand, works crazy long hours, yet he is seemingly able to block everything out the moment he pulls into the driveway. And, again, I’m getting the feeling she acknowledges this, too. 

I really can’t blame her though. Who wouldn’t prefer the parent who gives her the most attention? At almost 30, I’m still like that!

As of today, my daughter and I have +/- 3.5 weeks together as the “dynamic duo.” I cannot wait for our little guy to become a part of our family, but, in addition to having major anxiety about experiencing labor again (ugh!), the relationship I have (and will continue to have) with my firstborn seems unable to escape my thoughts lately. And I can’t help but worry that bringing a second child into the mix will only yield more strain.

How did dynamics change between you and your firstborn when the second came along? Share any tips you have to better this transition for both the firstborn and the mama!

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