Reflecting on 2 Months with 2 Kids

2 months with 2 kids

As of this past Sunday, I’ve been a parent of two kids now for two months. Count me an expert!

It’s amazing both how long and how short that time has felt. So much has happened since Nolan was born that it’s hard to believe it’s only been two months. But on the other hand, it still kind of feels like yesterday that we were in the hospital with Aiden (our oldest), and that was almost 2 years ago! So it feels kind of crazy that he’s already a “seasoned” big brother.

I wanted to take this chance to reflect a little bit on what it’s been like adapting to having two kids. A lot of it has been pretty awesome, but some of it has been hard and I thought it might be helpful to share a little bit of both sides.

For me, it’s always helpful to hear about the experiences of other parents, so I hope we can use this as an opportunity to all learn from each other.

Awesome: Watching Aiden and Nolan interact

My parents always said that the one thing they wanted above all else was to make sure that me and my brothers had a strong relationship. They wanted us to love and support each other and create friendships that would last a lifetime.

Now that I’m a parent myself, and especially now that I’ve got two little guys, this is something I’ve really taken to heart. Which is why it’s so incredibly heartwarming to watch the genuine and loving way in which Aiden and Nolan interact.

I have to say, I kind of burst with pride when I think about the way Aiden has handled this whole thing. From Day 1 there has only been love. Never a hint of resentment or a trace of meanness. He constantly interrupts what he’s doing, unprompted, to come and give Nolan hugs and kisses. He watches Nolan wriggle around and make baby noises with joyful curiosity and constant laughing. He helps change Nolan’s diaper. When Nolan’s upset, Aiden genuinely cares. Not in a “make this baby stop crying!” way, but in a “Nolan’s in pain, how can I help?” way. He gets the pacifier. He tries to snuggle him and stroke his head. All the things he knows we do for him and he watches us do for Nolan, he tries to do for Nolan as well. It’s unbelievably sweet.

And on the other end, Nolan is just getting to the point where he’s more aware of the things happening around him. He’s also started laughing and smiling when he likes something, which is AWESOME!!! And of course the person who makes him laugh the most is Aiden.

One of my favorite parts of the day is a little ritual we have in the morning after I get Aiden up and take him into our bedroom to see Casey and Nolan. We might watch a couple of cartoons, but the best part is when we get to look out the window and watch all the school buses passing by our house (Boston has a lot of schools!). This is pretty much Aiden’s favorite thing in the world, and he shouts “baa goo!! (his version of “school bus”) every time we see one. Not only is this endlessly entertaining to do with Aiden, but Nolan has started joining in the routine by lying on the bed watching Aiden and just cracking up the entire time. Watching the two of them do their thing is just awesome.

This is one of the things I was most excited for when I thought about having multiple kids, and I just feel lucky that it’s been so positive and fun so far. It’s going to be a thrill to see how their relationship grows as Nolan starts interacting more and more.

Hard: Not feeling comfortable enough to truly enjoy the time with them

The thing I struggle with the most is getting past the feeling of stress from having to care for two kids so that I can truly enjoy the time I have with them. This is particularly the case when it’s just me, which happens every Saturday when Casey works, as well as short bursts at night while Casey is making dinner. (I’m spoiled that way. I think I would starve if she wasn’t around.)

The trouble I have is that my mind is constantly thinking ahead and trying to anticipate the things that they’re each soon going to need. This isn’t entirely unreasonable, as there are constantly diapers to change, milk to get, crying to solace, toys to play with, naps to consider, places to go, things to pack, etc., etc., etc. It’s just the reality of having kids.

But with my mind always trying to think ahead, I’m finding it hard to actually enjoy the time I have with them. I don’t yet feel comfortable enough with what I’m doing to just relax and fully appreciate the moments we have together, and that really bothers me. I know these moments are fleeting and I hate feeling like I’m wasting them by stressing myself out.

The way I look at it, this is something that should get better with experience. I remember feeling this way when Aiden was a newborn as well, and I think it’s just part of the process of adapting to a new situation. I just hope I can get better at it sooner rather than later.

Awesome: Any time I get to hold both of them at the same time

This is another one of the things I was really looking forward to, and it hasn’t disappointed.

It isn’t all that frequent, but some of my favorite moments are those where I get to read a book with both of them in my arms. Nolan’s cradled in one arm, Aiden in the other, and somehow I magically grow a third hand to turn the pages at the same time. It’s amazing what you can do in times of need!

holding aiden and nolanMuch more frequent are the moments where I’m actually carrying both of them at the same time. Some of these moments are just happy snuggling and some are the result of both kids being upset at the same time. Regardless, there’s only a short period of time I’ll be able to do this before they get too big and I really try to cherish it. My absolute favorite part of this is how Aiden throws his arm around Nolan’s shoulders. I’m not sure if it’s a loving embrace or just the only position that’s comfortable, but either way it’s fun to see.

These are my boys, and it’s a great feeling when I get to show them both my love at the same time.

Hard: The feeling that I’m ignoring one in favor of the other

Once you have two kids, the simple fact is that there are times where one needs attention and that means the other one isn’t getting it. Sometimes that’s totally fine, but sometimes I feel like I’m letting them down. The last thing in the world I want to do is communicate to one of them that their needs aren’t important to me, but there are times I feel like that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Objectively, I realize that this is just part of the deal and everyone will be fine in the end. But in the moment it can be hard and I do want to make a better effort to make sure my attention is going to the right places.

Awesome: We’re doing it together

When my wife and I picked out our wedding bands, we had them inscribed with the phrase “We’ll do it together”. We wanted that mantra to be the foundation of our marriage and our family. No matter what came our way, we’d handle it together. Always.

And that’s really what’s been so fun about these past couple of months. No matter what’s come our way, we’ve handled it together, as a family. All four of us pitching in, supporting each other, forming bonds, working to make our family a happy place to be. And that’s how we’ll continue to do it. Together.

So that’s that! It’s been a wild two months with lots of change, and I’m sure that will only continue from here on out. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

What about you? How did your family change as it grew? What were some of your favorite parts or some of the challenges?

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32 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies February 13, 2014

    Awww, too cute. We don’t have kids, but we’ve watched friends’ families grow and it’s been fun to see the kids grow and change. I still can’t believe how big they are getting when they were once so tiny!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 13, 2014

      It’s crazy how fast they grow! I think it’s even more shocking when you don’t see them every day. Even just a month at this age can bring about so much change.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer February 13, 2014

    Matt, LOVE, love, love this, as you probably suspected I would. 🙂 Those boys are so adorable.!! And you’re right on every account: the fun, the fears of not being able to do it well, watching them play together – it just goes that way and stays that way, although the fears do subside a tiny bit when they’re old enough to start making wise decisions, understanding dangers, etc. Even at their older ages (14, 11, 9, 8) I just love watching our kids play together and laugh together. Your boys do well together in large part because you present a unified and loving family, and work hard at loving on them together and individually. We do that to this day, and yes, they do fight, but mostly they fun. 🙂

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 13, 2014

      Thanks Laurie! I remember very vividly when we were first pregnant with Aiden and Casey and I went to the beach for her birthday. We were walking around and kind of stopped at a group of 3 siblings, probably between 5 and 10, all splashing in the water together. They were having so much fun together and I just turned to Casey and said “That’s what we need! We need a tribe!”

      It’s just awesome that they’ve bonded so quickly, especially from Aiden’s end. And I love hearing about families like yours where the kids are older and still really enjoy each other. Of course there will be fights, but if they can mostly have fun together the fights are well worth it.

  • Michelle February 13, 2014

    Love the pictures. Too cute. Sounds like you guys are doing well 🙂

  • J. Money February 13, 2014

    This is everything I’m worried about (and looking forward to)!!! I turn into Daddy x 2 in May also – so loved to read this 🙂 Keep being an awesome dad over there man – everyone says to soak it up because “they grow up fast!” (Now we actually know what they’re talking about!)

  • Michael Solari February 13, 2014

    That is a great post. Your kids are really cute. I don’t know how parents do it but you find a way somehow

  • Emily @ evolvingPF February 13, 2014

    I love your family mantra and that you had it engraved! During premarital counseling it was recommended that my husband and I write a family mission statement but we’ve never gotten around to it.

    Your kids sound so sweet! I was NOT such a great older sibling. I missed my parents’ undivided attention and resented my younger sister for a long time (2.5 years between us).

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 13, 2014

      Thanks Emily! I honestly can’t really remember where that saying came from, but it’s been a really nice thing to be able to fall back on.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules February 13, 2014

    Very cool sir! I can relate to a lot of this myself and it only gets better as they get older. Watching little ones interact and care for each other is priceless and only gets better as they start to form those friendships. I’ve really been impacted recently by the need to soak in everything they’re doing and enjoying it with them as they simply grow too fast and want those memories fresh in my mind. That said, our biggest challenge right now is managing the zone defense with three of them. Our youngest just turned two so we’re pretty well outmatched most days. 😉 Great post Matt!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 13, 2014

      Haha, always love hearing about the zone defense. Is the two year old in the “no” phase yet? Ours started saying no out of the blue about a week and a half ago and it was torture. Then I don’t know if it’s a short break or if we’re really that lucky, but he’s kind of stopped the last couple of days. Fingers crossed that that was really it!

  • BrokeMillennial February 13, 2014

    Well hello warm & fuzzies! This was incredibly sweet to read, and thanks for giving us such an intimate view into your life. I love that you do bed time stories. I have such fond memories of my father reading to bedtime stories to us. He also just to make up stories called “Andy the Bunny” and when he traveled he recorded some on VHS so we could watch them going to sleep. Those traditions stick with you! I’m sure your sons are going to have such fond memories to look back on.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 13, 2014

      Your dad is awesome! That video camera thing is so cool. My wife’s dad used to tell them stories about the feared pirate “Stinky la Feet”. As far as I can gather, he was essentially a time-traveling pirate doing battle with the likes of Hitler and Attila the Hun. Like you say, it’s those little things that really end up sticking with you and meaning the most.

  • Shannon Ryan February 13, 2014

    “We’ll Do It Together” what a beautiful and loving inscription and mentality. My two girls are two years apart like Aiden and Nolan. I remember how enthralled Lauren was with Taylor too. It made me feel so good because you worry about how they will get along. Of course, they are sisters, so one minute they are best friends and the next they are fighting. I had two younger sisters, so I get it. 🙂 You and I are both planners and always looking ahead, so it does take time to adjust it to the … I can’t believe I’m saying this … YOLO moments with your kids. Every moment is precious and when I’m home, I really want my focus to be on my family. It took some time to figure it out and I had to be able to ask for help and delegate too, but I think I have a pretty good balance now. You will find it too. And I LOVE the sweet picture with you holding your boys. So precious! You’re a great dad, Matt!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 13, 2014

      Thanks so much for all the kind words Shannon! I totally agree with you on adopting more of a YOLO attitude when it comes to time with the kids and I think that change in mindset is a big part of my struggle. I constantly want to be prepared but sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy the moment. Asking for help is a huge part of that too! Lots of great advice here. Thanks a lot!

  • DC @ Young Adult Money February 13, 2014

    Great post Matt! I don’t have kids so reading stuff like this is always interesting. Two of our friends also recently had their second child so it’s fun to see how it’s working out for them. I think the hardest thing would be to make sure you are giving both the same amount of attention.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 13, 2014

      Yeah that’s definitely difficult. It’s never going to be the same but the big thing I want to avoid is either of them feeling like they’re being put second. They both need to know that they’re important.

  • Lindsey@ Sense & Sensibility February 13, 2014

    Congrats on the cutes kids every, buddy! I can’t say enough about that need to be in the moment instead of always anticipating the future and what will be needed. I am forever living forward or backward and it’s hard work for me to be where I am. It takes practice, you’ll get there with feeling relaxed and being in the moment with them!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 14, 2014

      Thanks Lindsey! I’m definitely hoping it starts happening sooner rather than later.

  • Shannon February 13, 2014

    This is a wonderful post Matt. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! For me and my husband, we were both so completely overwhelmed by our one child that he is all we have and I am happy with that decision, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering about others. My friends with multiple kids struggle with favoring and time management as well. I think at the end of the day, as long as they know you love them, everything works itself out.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 14, 2014

      I agree. And there’s a lot of value in knowing when to stop. It’s much better to give one kid a ton of love than to have trouble managing more. Gotta know your limits.

  • Brent Applegate February 14, 2014

    Nice, Matt. I have two young kids, almost the exact same ages as Nolan and Alden, and I can relate to the emotions you describe. Love to see future posts about how you are preparing for your kids financial future (school, activities, etc.) I’m amazed you find time for everything!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 14, 2014

      Cool to hear that we’re in the same boat! I’m sure there will be plenty more posts about how we’re handling the kids’ expenses as we go along. For now we’re mostly taking it one thing at a time.

  • Andrew February 14, 2014

    Adorable kids and wonderful family mantra! I think 1 baby is tough…not sure how we’ll be able to handle two times the fun =) You are no doubt a pro now and I will seek your wisdom in the future. I stayed home with the baby a few times due to the snow and it was pretty awesome. He also loves seeing the cars go by out in the window. It sucks that we don’t get to spend as much time with him, except on the weekends.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 14, 2014

      Haha, I don’t know about a pro! I’m glad to hear you got to spend some extra time together. Those unexpected moments are some of the best.

  • Ree Klein February 14, 2014

    Matt, this was such a wonderful and intimate view into your world…thank you for sharing it with us. Your boys are absolutely adorable and i love that picture of you holding them! The thing that struck me the most is the inscription on your wedding rings.

    The last few years have been filled with “getting through some stuff” and I was so looking forward to 2014. I was certain it would be a year of moving forward and joy. But so far it has been filled with stress around dealing with aging parents. It now looks like 2014 will have it’s share of stress that could overshadow moments of joy.

    I mention this because just last night my Mr. reminded me that life is what you make of it and you can’t expect a whole year to be nothing but sunshine…you have to cherish the moments of joy that come your way. Very wise, I must say.

    The inscription on your rings mirror what he told me because he used those words exactly and it made me feel so rich. Your blog may be about money, but you’re sharing riches of all types in the words you write.

    Thanks for that!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney February 14, 2014

      Life never seems to go exactly as we planned, does it? I’m so glad to hear that you’ve got a partner who’s in it with you though. I know I wouldn’t be doing even half the things I’m doing now if it wasn’t for my wife’s support and encouragement. She gives me a lot of strength and bravery that I wouldn’t have otherwise and I’m incredibly thankful for it. It sounds like we’re both pretty lucky that way!

  • Tonya February 15, 2014

    I don’t have a lot to add as I don’t have kids (and I never even felt comfortable around young kids to babysit them) but I especially liked how you talked about picking them up and holding them at the same time. I’m sure that’s a wonderful feeling. On a side note, there is a funny commercial I like where a little girl asks a new mom to hold her baby. The woman makes the girl use hand sanitizer head to to. I think the graphic says “First kid.” The next time you see her she is at an auto mechanic’s place and just shoves the new baby into the mechanic’s hand while she looks for her keys and the graphic says “Second kid.” Something like that. It’s cute…and probably guess that’s somewhat true?

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