1. I am a different parent. I think this makes the biggest difference. With Belle I was very structured. Like very, very, very structured. And I don't think that was a bad thing. Being that structured helped me learn. We never left the house during a set nap time, and believe me there were set nap times. We didn't go somewhere if it meant not being home by bedtime and you could set your watch to Isabelle's sleep-eat-play schedule. I was a firm Babywise mom and nothing was going to get in my way. I read a lot of books and the ones that I agreed with I pretty much did exactly what they said and made no exceptions or adjustments.
Now comes Lawson. He is an easy baby, yes. But he also has no choice. I am not as structured, and don't think I have to be. I realize flexibility comes in handy. Sure, I still try to stick to the babywise philosophy of sleep-eat-play, but I don't stress if his nap times aren't at exactly the same time everyday and I am beyond okay with letting the swing get him to sleep.
3. I gave up on the idea of a clean house. I guess this could fall under #1, but a clean house really has little to do with parenting. Again, this was a progression with each child I had, but now at number three I am at a point where a little mess isn't the end of the world. Our house most days isn't necessarily dirty, but almost always is cluttered. I try to pick up only a few times each day. At nap time, before Dad gets home, and before bed. The whole play with one toy then pick it up business didn't work at our house. There are usually toys of all kinds everywhere and I have learned to be okay with that.
4. I do a lot of the things I would have NEVER done with Isabelle. I let Lawson fall asleep in the swing. I have also been known to nurse him to sleep at night. I let the girls watch more tv than I should. My kids sometimes stay in pjs until lunch time (or later). Sometimes the girls never get dressed and run around with only diaper/underwear on. I don't keep them to an exact schedule from day to day. I bribe them with suckers and other sugary treats. You know, regular mom stuff. Except that when I was a mom of one, I swore I would never, never, never do most of those things.
5. I figured out that I can take care of more than one child without having a nervous breakdown. Seriously. I remember days that I would call Jason (both when I was a mom of one and when I was a mom of two) and beg and plead and cry for him to, "PLEASE COME HOME NOW." I am slightly embarrassed to admit it, but I remember feeling like I just could not take it one more minute. Of course, he couldn't just leave work every time I was having a rough day and after surviving enough of those days I now realize that a bad day isn't the end of the world. I will survive. Not only that, but I have figured out how to cope and even how to turn a horrible day or a horrible moment into something better. Girls having serious meltdowns? Turn on music and have a dance party. I don't know why it works, but a dance party cures a lot around here. Everyone needs their butt wiped at the same time? Deal with the youngest first, then work my way up. Isabelle is old enough to wait. Everyone cranky? Feed them. Giving food to my kids almost always cheers them up. Not having someone to rush to my rescue all the time forced me to figure it out on my own. It wasn't fun at the time, but I am glad that I now know what to do on the days where I feel like I might explode!
What about you? Do you feel like things got easier after two? (E, you don't count...you have twins!!!) Pretty sure that the fact that it was easier this time around is what is contributing to the strong desire to have one more! (if you listen closely you can hear my in-laws gasping in horror right now!!!)