Adjusting to life with 2 kids
“ It's a constant struggle of finding that sweet spot between being in the moment vs multi-tasking, as well as coping with mum guilt.”
A realtor, a content creator and a mother of 2.
Meet Ying Tian, a multi-tasking working mum of 2 boys, who are now 7 years old and 6 months old. She is also a sports and fashion enthusiast who constantly craves for endorphins.
Today, we talk about her experience with motherhood and how her life has changed after having her second son, Syrus. Ying Tian tells all and also has a bit of advice for our fellow mummies who are about to have their second child.
From a mom of 1 to a mom of 2 boys
Having her first child at 29 years old, Ying Tian told us that it was a steep learning curve for her first. “I remembered staying at home for the first three months previously as I was so afraid of bringing my baby out. I had mild postpartum depression too, especially with nursing being tough.”
People often say that having a second child doesn't add much to the workload of parenting. There's no steep learning curve: You already know how to make a bottle, install a car seat and when to call the pediatrician. And you're already
doing laundry, making lunches and supervising bath time—so throwing a second kid in the tub isn't a big deal.
Except that it is. Having a second child doesn't just mean attaching a second seat to your stroller. Adding a whole new person to your family is more complicated than that, and it's okay to say that it is hard.
With the arrival of her second boy, Syrus, Ying Tian went through another round of adjustment.
Managing time parenting 2 boys
“My husband and I will send both boys to school, then head to work. After work is a rush everyday, picking them up, settling them for meals and bedtimes before doing our house-chores. On weekends, we bring them out for enrichment lessons, outdoor play and spend quality time together.”
“Teamwork makes the dream work! We (Ying Tian and her husband) take turns to handle each kid separately, so we get to devote our time fully to each boy. It helps that my baby sleeps well at night after three months, so we could have more time for my elder boy. As my boy is in primary school now, weekday nights are devoted to focus on his homework and studies.”
Ying Tian told us that although her schedule is hectic parenting two kids, it is fulfilling waking up daily with a purpose. We asked her if having a second child has changed her family dynamics, she said “Going out now takes at least 1-2 hours of preparation. Initially yes, but after 6 months we have slowly found a routine. Communication is extra important now to minimize conflicts. We have less time on hand for our hobbies and social life now, however with a tag team system we get to work out separately. Our village is ever supportive. Our parents dote on them so once in a while, we have time for our dates.”
Advice for mothers who are just about to have their second child?
“We will never be ready for more than one, two or three children. Our love will multiply naturally, and that will give us the fuel especially for the first two years. Days and nights are long, and it’s okay not to be okay. Seek help and love ourselves are equally important too, then we can give our kids our best.”
How has having a second child changed your life?
“My time doesn't expand, but my heart sure does. Having a second child stretched my limits further and gave my life more meaning.”
What’s your best life hack for juggling two 2 boys during your 4th trimester?
“Rest if you need to. We cannot function on an empty tank.”
Breaking the news to her first child
We asked Ying Tian how she broke the news to her elder son, Stryder, who was then five years old, that he was going to get a sibling. She said “I can’t really remember - but I recalled Stryder being suspicious as I wasn’t my usual self. My morning sickness since the first trimester was severe, and wasn't feeling in the mood or physically fit to exercise. He found it weird that I wasn’t doing my runs and was bed-ridden on the weekend. I shared the secret with him and made him promise not to tell his friends. He kept his promise but told his pre-school teachers. Haha!”
Ying Tian told us that her elder son was more excited than shocked when he knew that he was going to have a baby brother. “He was old enough to understand. We involved him for our gynae visits and he also helped in clearing his room.” Ying Tian told us. “Stryder wasn’t jealous as our focus on him didn't change much. He was sweet and took on an elder brother role to feed him at times. It was actually harder for me having mum guilt constantly, and having to multitask all the time.”
Going through 4th trimester
Ying Tian also shared with us how it was for her to go through the 4th trimester again after 7 years. “One thing that I’ve learnt from my first 4th trimester is to breathe and rest when the going gets tough. Tomorrow will be a better day! Pregnancy was definitely tougher this time round and has taken a toll on my body, however seeing Syrus(her younger son) made everything worth it! On the other hand, nursing and all are definitely easier with experience.”
“I am time-starved and having to split myself with two boys while recovering. But nothing is impossible with teamwork. I’m much more chill now definitely. I remembered staying at home for the first three months previously as I was so afraid of bringing my baby out. I had mild postpartum depression too, especially with nursing being tough. This time, I brought him out on my own to get some fresh air after confinement. That definitely helps in giving me more confidence.”
“It doesn’t get easier second time round as it’s challenging managing two kids at a go without a helper especially after returning to work. But each day gives us confidence on how far we have come.”
They don't lie when they tell you that becoming a mother changes you. A woman's body undergoes numerous physical changes after giving birth. For Ying Tian, she has experienced weight gain, her hips have grown wider after second childbirth. Her weak pelvic floor muscles and abdominal separation has hindered her ability to restart her fitness level. Ying Tian also told us that as she’s no longer in her twenties, her energy level is significantly less this time round.
“Focus this time will be to nurse my body wellness, due to my weak pelvic floor muscles and Diastasis Recti. Instead of bouncing back to working out, I had to listen to my body and do exercises that will not aggravate my current condition. Shedding weight off is harder too with a drop in metabolism rate.”
Ying Tian has come to M&G with a concern of a weaker core strength. It is a common issue that occurs amongst postpartum mummies. “I realised my weak core strength as postpartum runs and gym workouts hit differently. This was something new. It takes more effort even for short distance runs that I had to stop. Each time my heel hits the ground, my pelvic floor muscles contract to absorb the force and get aggravated.”
Through the Diastasis Recti check during M&G’s complimentary assessment. It has been found that Ying Tian is in fact, experiencing Diastasis Recti - a gap in between your 6-pac muscles. This is due to the stretching of abdominal muscles when your belly expands to accommodate the growing baby. It can cause discomfort such as lower back and pelvic ache, and in severe cases, urinary incontinence. Click here to learn how to self-check for Diastasis Recti at home.
Thank god for modern technology! M&G has a customized program to target and help mothers strengthen weakened pelvic floor and resolve Diastasis Recti. TeslaFormer and TeslaCare are the latest technology that uses functional magnetic stimulation to target and strengthen deep muscles. A 30 minutes treatment can induce up to 50,000 muscle contractions. M&G also provides complimentary consultation where a complete body analysis and DR check will be performed prior to treatment to properly diagnose your symptoms, and a treatment plan will be created according to your body condition.
Motherhood definitely brings a lot of changes and presents you with challenges you’ve never encountered in your life, but it also makes you stronger and gives you a true sense of worth and purpose. M&G will be here caring for you through every stage of motherhood.