What would you do differently if you are given a second chance at motherhood? Jassmin Peter-Berntzen has it figured out!

A little while back, I came across a hilarious mum meme on social media that went, “At some point, a mum must decide whether to have a second child or to keep sleeping through the night.”

The “likes” it received when I shared it on my feed told me that there were many mothers who felt the same way I did.

Indeed, deciding to have more kids is not as straightforward as it seems. We have important decisions to make at every stage before conception, during babymaking, and of course, while waiting for baby to arrive and thereafter.

Now that I’m about to deliver #2, I have been constantly thinking about how to tackle this precious second chance at motherhood. After all, nothing like learning from your own mistakes, right?

Besides making sure I don’t literally “eat for two” like I did the first time round, so that I won’t need to struggle with postbaby weight, here are few other things I plan to ditch once baby arrives. Plus, two tried-and-tested ones I will be repeating.

DITCH #1: Living up to other people’s expectations

Breastfeeding didn’t come naturally to me as I was told it would. I rode the emotional roller-coaster of “do more of this” and “stop doing that” advice from well-meaning friends, family, Facebook forums even a random stranger at the bus-stop ― before I figured out that I should just do what works best for me and my baby.

So, this time, I will put bubba and me first in every decision I make. This goes for other things as well such as how long to stay home with my child and my parenting philosophy. On this note, I will also not be accepting any diet tips from anyone, thank you very much. I will drop the baby weight when I’m good and ready!

This time round, I will hold my baby a little tighter, inhale that intoxicating baby smell a little longer and drink all that deliciousness up, every chance I get, because in the blink of an eye it will all be over, forever.”

DITCH #2: Wanting baby to grow out of the newborn phase quickly

As much as I’m looking forward to baby’s arrival, I know perfectly well what’s in store for me. The fourth trimester is not for the faint-hearted I know there will be (many) days when I’d wish for bubba to just grow up, so not everything feels like a challenge. But now I also know there’s a tradeoff. My #1 is 6 years old and while I’ve loved watching him grow to be the wonderful and independent little man he is today, I also look back to the days (often, with tears in my eyes) when he was just a cherubic baby who wanted me all time.

So, this time round, I will hold my baby a little tighter, inhale that intoxicating baby smell a little longer and drink all that deliciousness up, every chance I get, because in the blink of an eye it will all be over, forever.

DITCH #3: Buying pretty, but impractical baby gear

Question: What is gorgeous to look at, but difficult to tote around when you’re trying to placate a screaming newborn? Answer: That high-end diaper bag I bought during my first pregnancy. While it’ll always hold a special place in my heart (and my “bag-drobe”), this time, I’m investing in more practical gear.

When I bought a second-hand diaper bag from a friend a few months back, my initial questions included, “How many compartments does it have?”, “Does it include a longer bag strap, so I can carry it crossbody and stay hands-free?” and, “Are you throwing in a travel-size changing mat?”. In other words, everything I had failed to check the first time round, only to realise soon after I delivered how important these practical features were. Speaking of second-hand, I’ haven’t just been scouring the Internet for pre-loved baby gear, I even ask friends for hand-me-downs. It’s financially savvy and sustainable, what’s not to love?

DITCH #4: Asking for help from the wrong sources

Social media was a lifesaver during my initial months of motherhood. I found it a great way to reach out to other mums who were going through the same baby stages as me, traded tips and trick, and used it as a sounding board. However, I soon learned that these forums had a dark side. People whom you’ve never met before were essentially giving you their two cents’ worth on how to raise your child and live your life.

Many had conflicting advice, some were even adamant that I take their suggestions seriously, otherwise, things got nasty! The moment I realised some online forums were no longer a support system, but a platform to bully and ridicule parenting notions that didn’t align with theirs, I said “goodbye” to every single one. This time round, I will reach out to people I know and trust my family and my ride-or-die mummy tribe.

 

That said, I plan to continue using these tactics with my number #2:

KEEP #1: Never giving up on a picky eater

What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned after six years of motherhood three of which were spent grovelling in front of a massively picky eater? There’s no such thing as a kid who doesn’t eat, only parents who give up too quickly. But I’m not here to judge, I hear you when you say the last thing you want to do after a long hard day is to fight with your little fella to finish his broccoli. But food is not just fuel, it’s also nutrition and behaviour.

If we don’t teach our little ones to make good food choices from the get-go, they will grow up to be adults who can’t do the same. So, what’s the solution? For me, I don’t declare that my kid doesn’t eat something until I’ve offered the same dish to him at least 15 to 20 times and made sure he’s actually tried it.

"If we don’t teach our little ones to make good food choices from the get-go, they will grow up to be adults who can’t do the same... I don’t declare that my kid doesn’t eat something until I’ve offered the same dish to him at least 15 to 20 times and made sure he’s actually tried it."

Secondly, food refusal often boils down to a power struggle, so giving two options such as broccoli or carrots will let the little ones know that while they can’t dodge their veggies, they at least get a say in which to eat. For us, we’re also hoping big brother will be a good role model to his little sibling when it comes to eating well.

KEEP #2: Maintaining a good sleep routine

I expect it to be much more of challenge this time round with two kids, but sticking to a strict sleep routine really paid off for us with our #1. Routinely putting him to bed early and breaking bad sleep habits helped him sleep through the night at 7 months. Six years later, he still snoozes like a champ, which affects him positively in many ways. He’s able to go through the day without succumbing to fatigue-fuelled tantrums, his immune system is strong, and he’s able to focus well in school. We’re hoping his sister enjoys the same benefits as well.

So, here I go, my second stab at motherhood is just around the corner. I’m well equipped with the know-how, now I just to have make sure everything pans out well in reality. Wish me luck!

Jassmin Peter-Berntzen, 39, a digital content editor, is 7 months pregnant and mum to Andreas Dhiraj, 6.

Photos: iStock

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