I was in your shoes just 11 months ago. I read all the articles and research I could find to help make the transition as smooth as possible. I was anxious and nervous about how Connor would feel and I was especially sad that I would be loosing that one-on-one time with him.
My biggest concern wasn't that Connor would feel replaced or neglected. It was that I wouldn't get to hang out with him, just us, anymore. I love my big and I love hanging out with him. I know it might sound odd that I love hanging with a 2 (3 on Monday) year old, but he's so freaking adorable and clever that I can't get enough of him. His mind works in such unique ways; I just love watching him think.
I knew I would be able to make him feel loved and know that he wouldn't be replaced, and I knew that he was young enough that within a matter of weeks, he would have forgotten what it was like to be the only child and therefore be incapable of missing it. I was worried that I would miss out on stuff with Connor while focusing my attention on Kylar.
It turns out that all of my fears (and most likely your's too) were completely misguided and unnecessary. In the first few months, and again in the last couple of weeks, Kylar slept all the time and I would still have hours and hours of one-on-one time with Connor. It's true that we don't go places, just the two of us, very often but it does still happen. In fact, Connor and I went grocery shopping alone this morning while Kylar and Hubs were still sleeping!
The most important thing you can do is prioritize your relationships with each child, and your spouse, separately. Make sure you set aside time (even if it's just 20 minutes a week) of one-on-one time with each person. Connor and I hang out, just the two of us, for at least an hour every night after Kylar goes to bed. With hubby's new schedule, he really only gets to see the boys in the morning because they're in bed by the time he gets home. While that sucks for his alone-time needs with them, it guarantees that I get that hour every night with Connor to bond and cuddle and relax before bedtime. Kylar is usually the first one down and the first one up at bedtime and nap time, so I get some one-on-one time with him while Connor is still asleep.
The hardest thing I've found is finding quality alone time with both my husband and myself and a kid. Connor was our whole world for 2 years. He hasn't had much quality time with just his parents since Kylar was born. Now, I know Connor doesn't really remember what life was like before Kylar, I do think it's important to bring back that one kid-two parents bonding time.
Since Connor will be celebrating his third birthday on Monday, we are thinking it might be time to try taking him to the movies! We have a cheap theater ($2) just a few minutes away that plays new-ish movies that are out of the main theaters, but not available to own yet. We're going to take Connor there. That way, if he doesn't like it or can't sit through the whole movie, we've only spent $6 rather than $20+. Plus, you can bring in all kinds of snacks and they don't really care. If this goes well, we will most likely make a regular thing of it. We'll find a similar date idea for some one kid-two parents time with Kylar too.
Adding a new family member is always going to require a new adjustment and time to find a new rhythm, but it's really not as stressful as you might think. The most crucial thing is to make sure everyone feels loved, valued, and important. Time is the one thing that we never have enough of and it's the one thing that really matters. Prioritize your family's needs and ensure that everyone feels needed and wanted. That's all you can really do, so try to let the rest fall away. Love your kids and never let them forget how much you adore them.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community