I’m used to the judgement.
I know what I look like buckling up my barely three year old and not even 18 month old. I know how I look reaching and stretching over my clearly third trimester belly. I know what eyes rolling sounds like.
We were post grocery store and getting ready to head home. I was answering 47 toddler questions about snacks, could we watch yet another episode of Paw Patrol (probably), and did we have to wear shoes in the car (I guess not?) when I noticed another Mom watching us intently.
Finally, she started to walk over.
I bristled slightly, knowing what would most likely come next.
But which condescending comment would it be?
“Boy you’ve got your hands full.”
“Was this planned?”
“Having that baby is going to be so much more work. It’s so hard to have 3.”
“Three kids is the worst!”
“Those first few years were a nightmare for us. Good luck, I guess.”
I’ve heard them all and then some, and I usually just smile and nod and get the heck out of there.
What she said stopped me in my tracks.
Instead of spewing judgement or littering me with warnings of bad days to come, this Mom said something I’ve waited 26 weeks to hear.
I wish I would have hugged her.
I wish I would have told her how much what she said meant.
I wish I would have had something eloquent to say back to her but really, I was stunned silent.
She gently touched my shoulder, grinned ear to ear, and had such kindness in her eyes.
And that’s when she said it.
“We had three kids in under four years and it was the best thing ever. You’re going to have so much fun.”
If I wasn’t mid buckle, wedged into the car, belly half smashed, I would have jumped out and hugged her.
Thank you for not judging me.
Thank you for not feeling like I needed a lecture.
Thank you for spreading kind words that are encouraging not terrifying.
Photo: My “two under two” at 4 days old and 20 months old.
I want to pay this good deed forward.
Clearly, I loved having two under two so much, we went for it again. I can’t wait to introduce this baby (our grand finale baby) to his siblings. Our first two are 20 months apart, this new baby and his big sister will also be 20 months apart.
The whole previous pregnancy (when I was embarking on two under two) was full of the same poorly timed, negative comments from others about what a struggle we were about to encounter.
But two under two wasn’t some crazy, insurmountable struggle.
And I loved it.
I loved having two under two.
I love that my kids are so close in age.
This works for me.
An open letter to other Moms on a similar journey.
So, here’s my brief open letter to the pregnant Momma about to enter the world of “two under two”, or the Mom freshly home with a newborn and a toddler in tow, or the Mom wondering if having kids so close together will be ok.
Photo: Our little family with a then three month old and 23 month old.
Two under two was a joy.
It was a fun party and a quick ride and I loved it. Loved it enough to get on the ride again.
There will be hard days. But that’s what life is like no matter if your kids are 10 months apart or 10 years apart. This isn’t some exclusive problem for the #twoundertwo hashtag.
There will be magical days when you can’t imagine life without or before these beautiful babies.
There will be hectic, trying, amazing, wonderful, crazy, insane, and lovely days, but again – that’s not a two under two thing. That’s a “having kids” thing.
And then there will be a moment when it will become normal again, the routine will return, and you’ll be the Mom effortlessly juggling two kids in the Target parking lot without breaking a sweat.
And maybe you’ll see a pregnant Mom holding a toddler’s hand, staring at you in awe.
I hope that you’ll lift her up and set her in a good place. Tell her she’s going to be fine. That it’s going to be great. That it’s going to be the best ride of her life.