8 Things All Parents Panic About With Their First Kid But Not Their Second

Ad failed to load

Most first-time moms, even if they are not unbearably Type A like I am, are inclined to go into full Girl Scout mode when it comes to preparing for a baby. One of many stages of pre-baby preparation involves running through every worst-case scenario we can dream up. For many new moms, this tendency carries over well into their baby's life. For some, it can be an all-out extreme paranoia or gnawing anxiety associated with postpartum depression/anxiety. For others of us, who are lucky enough to be spared such afflictions, we're merely left to feel a little... obnoxious and mildly insane as we run ourselves in circles trying to keep our fresh babes from any pain or even unpleasantness.

I was definitely prone to both over-planning for my daughter's arrival, and over-protecting her once she got here. I used to sidle up to the far side of our dining room, clutching my infant daughter, so as to not accidentally trip and fall out our living room window, which was 43 feet across the apartment. We wrapped every table and wall corner with foam. I never let her wear open-toed sandals, for fear of splinters, even though we live in the concrete jungle of Queens. It was all precaution, all the time, and this, I've come to understand, is the path many first-time parents walk (in close-toed shoes, of course).

But by the time our son was born, two-and-a-half years later, it was like, who has time to evaluate the efficacy of crib bumpers? I'd had a few years to realize that while some safety measures with kids are just good common sense, a lot of the lengths I'd been going to were unnecessary. And beyond safety, a lot of the stuff I'd thought was so important, and had stressed out about so much, in all aspects of parenting... well, it honestly just didn't end up mattering that much. The thing is, you can't really learn what is worth stressing about with your kids and what isn't until you've needlessly stressed about all of it, and gotten enough distance to see what didn't matter. There's kinda no getting around it (especially since the alternative — over-thinking nothing and getting distance and realizing how much you should've been more concerned — doesn't seem like a particularly advisable course). Either way, my mom-of-two self would like to go back and smack some sense into my mom-of-one self (and then hug her and buy her a beer). Here’s what I found myself panicking about with my first kid, but not my second.

Ad failed to load


Our first child had us literally wheeling her around the apartment, as her stroller was the only place she’d fall asleep during the day. I swore with the second one we would not be played like that. Plus, with two kids, we didn’t have an extra 20 minutes to chauffeur a toddler to sleep. Kid #2 was unceremoniously ushered into his crib every afternoon after lunch for some rest. He didn’t always sleep but at least our hands were free.


Kid #1 was born at the beginning of winter and if I could have put a sneeze guard on her head, I would have. There was a hand sanitizer station every three feet in our apartment. We bathed her regularly and batted away any food she picked up from places other than her plate. Guess what? She got colds anyway.

Our second child was tossed into the germ stew of daycare when he was 11 weeks old, when my maternity leave ended. I’m sure he snacked daily on dropped Cheerios. He had no more colds than his sister and — I think because of his years in group care — is hyper-vigilant about hand-washing at age five.

Having All The "Must-Have" Baby Gear

Our second child inherited all the stuff our first one used — crib, pack-n-play, bouncy seat, stroller, carseat — so there was no thought given to what he might specifically need. He even wore the same newborn outfits, since we hadn’t found out the sex of either of our kids beforehand. Easy peasy. Whatever meticulous curation went into outfitting out our first kid was forgotten by the time her younger brother arrived. If it wasn’t broken, it was good enough (and we try very hard not to think about to endless hours doing comparative research, and all the money we would've saved had we realized this before the birth of our first kid, and subsequently accepted hand-me-down gear for her too).

Ad failed to load

All The Fancy Toys They ~Need~ To Have, Lest Their Brains Not Develop Properly

So many ergonomically designed teething rings! Soothing, cooing lamb blankets! Bright, multi-textured soft blocks! My daughter’s joy of playing with any of that stuff lasted a hot minute. So by the time my son was born, we wised up. We handed him an empty toilet paper tube and the cardboard box from the bulk diaper delivery and he was set.

All The School Stress

When it was time to register our first kid for pre-k, I found myself standing in lines at 7:30 a.m. to secure a spot in a free two-and-a-half-hour program, which we ended up not even being able to take because it fell smack in the middle of the work day. And it was worse for kindergarten: public, charter, private options, testing for academic placement (yes, they test four-year-olds to evaluate their academic stamina for programs they will be in through middle school). I had to take huge chunks of time off from work to attend info sessions, school tours, registrations, and to run medical forms around. 

Their Tiny Social Lives

Admittedly, the playdates when my first child was an infant were more for me than her. I just wanted some adult human contact! I joined list-serves and baby groups;  We did "mommy & me" classes. It was fine, but it’s not like my daughter cared about where we were. She probably just enjoyed that we were hanging out together. I didn’t do any of that with my second child. Playdates took the form of impromptu meet-ups at the playground with whomever else was there with a toddler about the same age. And his older sister became his first frenemy, so I guess that's kinda like having a built-in social life.

Ad failed to load

Obsessively Only Feeding Them Organic Food

Of course it’s organic! Of course it’s all natural! Of course I chopped everything by hand! Cut to our second child’s introduction to solids, most of which he sampled from the floor. Fun fact: The 5-second rule grows exponentially with each subsequent child. 

Doors, Windows, And Other Things That Potentially Pinch Tiny Fingeres

God help you if you took my first baby even into the same room as anything that could theoretically open and shut and potentially trap a tiny body part. The first time around, we baby-proofed the hell out of our apartment. You needed an engineering degree to get something out of our fridge. 

When our second child started crawling and getting into things, we had lost the patience required for navigating the safety hinges on the cutlery drawer. We policed him with a firm “No!” and shoved chairs in front of cabinets for quick fixes. He survived. And became an excellent climber.

Images: Bradley Gordon/Flickr; Giphy(8)

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

9 Easy Kid Foods To Turn Green, Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day

The best part about having kids is that you get your own personal crew to celebrate the holidays with, in all your color coordinating and matching glory. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you are obviously working on turning everyth…
By Mishal Ali Zafar

Here Are Some Conditions That Might Require You To Be On Bed Rest During Pregnancy

When I worked in an office, I worked with quite a few pregnant ladies all at the same time. Something must have been in the water, because while I was there for three years, two of my coworkers got pregnant twice, and another girl was pregnant with h…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

I Didn't Follow The Pregnancy Diet Rules & My Daughter Turned Out Just Fine

My diet is an ever-changing and wholly personal thing, which is precisely why I refused to follow any pregnancy diet rules when I was expecting my daughter. For years, I've essentially practiced intuitive eating, in that I listen to my body and eat w…
By Marie Southard Ospina

5 Foods You & Your Partner Should Eat If You're Trying To Get Pregnant

When you're trying to conceive (TTC) and it's just not happening, it's easy to feel like you're doing something wrong. It can be soul-crushing to keep seeing negatives when all you really want to do is wave a positive pregnancy test in the air. So wh…
By Kate Miller