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Zoo Boo with Two

I think it’s safe to say that getting out of the house with any amount of children is a challenge. It was difficult with only one. And it’s about twice as difficult with two. The easiest thing to do would be to become a recluse and avoid public parenting appearances at all cost, but I promised myself that I’d conquer my crowd anxiety and take my kids out even after this baby arrived. I don’t want my three year old to miss out on all of the fun events that he’s used to attending, like play dates and parties, even though dragging an infant along can make things a little complicated. So today, I faced one of my fears, packed up the kids, and went to Zoo Boo – an annual trick or treating event at our local zoo.

I have to say, I’ve done a kick ass job of getting myself to events with our weekly playgroup. A newborn is actually relatively portable in the beginning, since they sleep the majority of time you are out and about. But today, I knew this whole Zoo Boo business would be a little bit more difficult than the average play date. It was chilly outside, the event would last at least a few hours, and I knew my three year old would be missing his nap time. Any event that spans several hours requires a massive amount of packing, plus the weather was a little iffy, so we’d need to plan for chilly conditions. Every ounce of my wanted to bail, sending my husband with my three year old so that I could spend some quiet time at home with my cozy baby, but I really didn’t want to miss out.

Here’s the thing about braving cold weather with kids. I not only have to find the warm coats, hats and gloves, but I also have to battle my three year old to actually put it on. Then there are the costumes to consider. I spent at least a half hour trying to convince Grey that Superman definitely wears a winter hat AND he pees before he puts on his costume, belt, and coat. Once all that was taken care of, I attempted to put the baby in his dinosaur suit, but then realized that strapping a kid in a costume into a tiny car seat is pretty much a sweaty shit show.

Not to mention, wrestling an infant out of his chintzy, one piece dinosaur get up in order to change his diaper in a dirty public bathroom sounded pretty intense. And so, I said screw the costume for the baby. This is what happens with baby number two. Convenience over cuteness.

My attempt at the infant dino costume. We didn't get passed the head piece.

My attempt at the infant dino costume. We didn’t get passed the head piece.

Overall, the afternoon was pretty awesome. The highlights included seeing an official group of adults dressed in “authentic, professional-grade” Star Wars costumes (which I thought was absolutely hilarious and my son thought was terrifying), witnessing a scandalous mother dressed as “sexy witch” complete with a short skirt and fishnet stockings, and watching my husband and his guy friend get mistaken as a couple when a Zoo employee offered to take a “family” photo for them by the scarecrow display (which turned out rather cute, if you ask me).

As I made my way out of the zoo through crowds of overtired, sugared up, screaming children – including at least six different crying kids in Elsa costumes – I felt proud of myself for both braving the crowd and even having some fun. Despite the stress and the chaos, I just might bring the kids back next year.

Happy Halloween!

My little Superman (in his hat and coat).

My little Superman (in his hat, coat, and cape).

My First Post-Baby Post

Four years ago, my husband and I were getting ready to welcome our first child into our family. We were still enjoying long nights of uninterrupted sleep and hours of free time spent preparing for our tiny addition. We were 26 and 27 – what many would probably consider young for having a child nowadays – but we were excited. With a few months to go, we couldn’t wait to meet our little bundle of joy.

Reality set in when we brought Greyson home from the hospital in February of 2012. We had no idea what we were doing. We were both overwhelmed and in over our heads. We missed free time, happy hours, and daily trips to the gym. And after eight months of feeling like an absolute mess of a mother, The Honest Mommy began.

My blog became a way for me to vent about my insecurities as a new mother. As it turned out, lots of friends and strangers began following my stories and I felt less alone – I realized that what I was going through, the feelings of being inadequate and frazzled, were more the norm than the exception.

Fast forward three years, I am back to working full time during the day, and recently welcomed our second baby, Gannon (which explains my absence from regular blogging). It’s not that I ran out of things to say, I’ve just run out of time to say them.  But last night, as I looked around my room at the explosion of baby gear, teething toys, breast pumps, overflowing garbages filled with dirty diapers, I started feeling the need to share my experiences of life with two. I can’t promise I will find the time to post every week, considering the majority of my free time now goes to shoving a quick meal in my mouth and catching up on as much shut eye as possible – but I’ll do my best to fill you in on the craziness of working full time while caring for two active baby boys.

So far, I’ve realized that caring for two kids is very similar to caring for one. However, life has become a game of carefully calculated choices. Let me explain.

After Grey was born, I definitely felt like my life was a shit show the majority of the time. Nonetheless, I did find the time to shower regularly, get dressed most days, and even got my hair cut and colored every so often. With only one child, you can utilize nap time – two hours of blissful child-free time and space each day. Additionally, it’s easy (and less expensive) to find a sitter to watch one child, so my husband and I even got out once in a while. I remember seeing a mother out in public whose children looked well rested and dressed adorably only to find that the poor woman looked as though she hadn’t slept in a decade even though she was wearing pajamas that look as though she’d been wearing them for days. It wasn’t until I had a second child that I realized the cause for such confusion. Life with two (or more) – it’s all about the choices. You dress the kids or you dress yourself. Clearly, that mom I witnessed – she chose the kids.

My days have become very similar. In the mornings, I have time to put on makeup or to blow dry my hair. I can shave my legs or brush my teeth. I can stop for coffee after dropping the kids at daycare or I can be on time to work. I can make them dinner or I can make myself dinner (because god forbid we all eat the same thing for once). I can grab a snack or I can pour myself a glass of wine. You get the idea. At this very moment, I’m deciding between finishing this blog or picking up the baby who is beginning to fuss in the swing. And in this game of choices, most of the time, the children win.

The work is similar – bath times, bed times, bottles, diapers – but the amount of time per day that I have to get anything done seems to have been cut in half. It may be a while before I leave the house in which myself and both my children are fed, dressed, and well-rested. I probably won’t have an evening when both the laundry and the dishes are done at the same time. And I may never again have the time to paint my nails and pluck my eye brows in the same week. But when it comes down to it, and I look at my boys playing together on the floor, I have to say that so far, it’s totally worth it.