It never ceases to amaze me how much more relaxed you are as a mom the more kids you have. There are so many things I don't worry about now that I worried about with my first. It makes mothering a much more enjoyable experience because you know how fast it goes.
I tell all moms of 1 that can't seem to be able to see how they would handle another to just do it. Have one more. You will be so amazed at the difference in YOU with your second child.
Obviously there are some things that changed between 1 and 2 that didn't change all that much after that like:
Sleep: What's that? If I don't feel like a walking zombie, I don't feel normal anymore. Just kidding. You know that feeling though with your first child where you did feel like a walking zombie all. the. time. Well, it has either literally become "normal" or your body just gets used to being awakened numerous times a night and functioning off of a lack of sleep. It doesn't bother me as much. Sure, I still get those moments where an afternoon nap sounds so good I would pay for it but for the most part, I function well.
Worry: As a mother, I always worry about everything. All the time. Just last night I was analyzing Owen's head and asking Jarrod if he saw a bump. To which I got an eye roll and his "I'm annoyed at you" look. Haha. But I don't worry nearly as much as I did with my first. Especially over the little things. I don't worry about germs as much, people holding him as much, if he has to cry for a minute if I don't get to him right away or if he isn't on a rigid nap schedule.
And then there are the things that have changed DRASTICALLY like:
The fact that #4 has done me in. People, every one told me, "Oh, #2 will be such a change." Or "#3 was the big challenge when my hands were outnumbered." But NO ONE told me how much #4 would change me. As a matter of fact everyone said, "When you get past 3 what's 1 more?" For me, 1 more is a LOT. Obviously, it's different for every mom. I guess 4 was just my magic number. :-)
Mealtime: Have you ever tried to feed 3 kids while nursing 1? And let me tell you, the 3 year old does not understand why she has to be hungry for the 20 minutes it takes to feed the baby. Then just the making of food in general. I rarely ever eat lunch anymore. Haha. By the time I fix 3 plates of food, feed the baby and then get everything cleaned up, its just not worth the work to make myself something. And dinner time is just like a feeding trough. Line up the plates and slap it on. I feel like a school lunch lady some nights.
House Cleaning: I am a very OCD person. I can't function in un-organization and a dirty house just makes me crazy. Well, my functioning has been little to none lately because we don't get anything done around here. There are toys all over the place. Dishes sit in the sink and the floor hasn't been swept in 3 days. But the amazing thing is, I'm surviving... thriving even. Realizing that a perfectly clean floor every night doesn't change the way I sleep at night or wake up in the morning.
Laundry: How can 1 little person add so much laundry?! We were already at a minimum of 2 loads a day. Now? We're pushing 4. And if sheets or towels need to be done? It's closer to 6. I feel like all I do is put clothes into the washer or dryer. Good thing my new front loaders hold a lot!
Love: Although our little Owen has been a handful to me, it never ceases to amaze me how much your heart grows. When I was pregnant with my second, I wondered constantly if I could love him as much as I loved my first. This doubt never crossed my mind again with the 3rd or 4th but the amazement that it happens is still a thought that runs through my head. The overwhelming love for your children just grows. It grows from the moment of conception and peaks at the moment of birth. I can't imagine not having my little #4 in my life. He's such an amazing joy.
And I know that in 10 years I won't for a moment look back at the dirty laundry, messy house, or the fact that I didn't sleep. All I will remember are the cuddles, book reading, sweet smiles, and precious moments. And that makes it all worth it.