even as i booked my plane ticket to my hometown for christmas, i was thinking about featuring kylie on the mom camp. although these things aren’t exactly what this site is about… i knew her stylish home would yield beautiful photographs, i knew little charlie would be dressed in the cutest outfit and that her new little annabel would have a precious pink nursery. while all the previous theories did prove to be true (plus some), what i saw upon arriving was not expected…. yogurt. yogurt in kylie’s hair and splattered on her clothes. yogurt on the living room floor. the source of all this, sweet charlie, was flailing in his high chair while tying to grasp a yogurt-covered cup. with little annie on her hip, kylie asked, “oh, did you not get my message?”
fast forward a couple of days. when i arrive to her house this time, charlie is upstairs taking a nap and annie is keeping herself busy on a play mat. kylie welcomes me in; the yogurt-episode is only a faint memory. she paints an honest picture here, which i love her for. adding a second child, dealing with the terrible two’s… she tells me that the most vital piece of advice she could give is to “start embracing new flexible expectations…”
you’re running out the door, what do you grab?
always chapstick, that’s a necessity. and my “bag of tricks.” which includes diapers, wipes & some kind of entertainment.
what’s your must-have baby item?
a baby sling. we’ve use the serena & lily sling the most. it’s really simple; you pop them in and out. you don’t have to do a lot of hooking, etc. especially at the grocery store, with two, you can’t have both babies in the cart. you have to wear one.
what’s on your list to do that you never complete?
everything. definitely house-cleaning. instead of being productive, some days i just have to realize that i’m just managing chaos. you pick up when you can but their needs surpass the house being clean or the meal being ready when austin gets home…
what do you indulge in?
austin and i have learned that we have to find times for ourselves. we try to do a date night once a week. to have adult conversation, reconnect… a simple meal out of the house, where we’re not trying to wrangle two little ones.
what have you found to be the hardest thing about being a mom?
managing your expectations. you have to shift your perspective to what your life looks like now. if you go into a situation thinking it’s going to be exactly how it used to be… or how you want it to be… you’re usually going to be disappointed. you have to start embracing new flexible
expectations about what things are going to look like… travel, going out to dinner, checking things off your to do list.
what has surprised you about having a boy?
well charlie has just surprised me in general, because i’ve never met a more active child [laughs]. people who meet him give me this half-amazed/half-pity look… and say, “wow, he really doesn’t stop moving!” he’s always been this active… as an infant, he always had to have one arm moving. even in the womb, he never stopped moving. i was concerned from the get-go. at least he’s a “happy wild.”
how did you prepare charlie for the arrival of his new little sister, annie?
they are so close together, the fact that mommy “had a baby in her tummy” wasn’t really something charlie could comprehend. we just tried to introduce the idea of babies to him… ‘we like babies, they are good, babies are delicate!’ towards the end, we talked about the idea of being a big brother. we got a book. we were worried because charlie was really possessive of us. but we’ve been very pleasantly surprised… he’s been very sweet to her. he kind of knew that she was “his” baby… that she wasn’t going anywhere. it’s funny the things they understand.
you have three months under your belt as a “mother of two”… has everything changed?
(laughs) yes, everything. with one baby, you can take a break.. pass off the baby to each other. it’s now man-on-man. there’s less individual time with each of them. you have less time for yourself. you’re stretched.
what’s been one of your proudest moments?
when there is a lull in the chaos… you look around and see your family operating well together. seeing charlie be sweet to annie, even though she can’t contribute much to their relationship yet. those things make me proud.
describe a lazy saturday.
we’ll wake up and go to breakfast (breakfast is charlie’s favorite meal of the day… he’s an egg man). then we’ll try to get outside… go for a walk… let him get out some energy. at this age, we have to keep it pretty simple. you’re trying to work around feeding schedules and naps… so usually mornings are the best time to get out of the house… when everyone’s happy… without any public meltdowns.
you helped start a mom’s group…
we just wanted an intentional time to get together and support each other. it’s been incredibly encouraging to hear from moms with kids a little older than mine, “that’s totally normal! you’ll get through it! you’re not a terrible mom!” it’s been a fun group to be a part of.
how is the balance between motherhood and marriage?
we’ve had to kind of relearn everything again, adding another child to the mix. you have to be really intentional about your time. after a full hectic day, it’s easy to just sit, watch tv for thirty mins and then go to sleep. we try to have time to discuss what’s going on in each other’s lives, how we’re feeling… and to have those date nights. we’ve had to talk a lot about managing expectations… as i mentioned before. when things are chaotic as they can be with two kids, it’s easy to get discouraged and say, “oh let’s not go out” or “no, let’s not go to that out-of-town wedding… it won’t be worth it.” just keep living your life. they’re little and they need a lot now, but they won’t always be little.
do you have any family traditions?
this year austin and i started talking about, “how are we going to set up christmas for our family so that it’s a meaningful experience?” the material aspect of all the presents, i already see it! a lot of our friends do the “four gifts:” something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. they know that they’re going to get four gifts… so it’s not going to be a free-for-all. and some people add, and i love this, “something to give.” the idea that it’s a time to share. i think that’s something we’ll start doing next year… when the asking begins.
how have you approached the idea of screen time?
i try to limit it as much as possible. once he turned one, charlie started noticing tvs more. and we quickly figured out that he has the personality that he can watch it all day! we’re trying to find a balance… we try to make it clear that it’s a treat. if you have a good day… you can watch some of your shows. we tape the shows so that we know exactly what he’s seeing. i think screen time is something that can produce a lot of guilt among mothers… “omg i let my kid watch thirty mins of tv today and wasn’t doing some educational exercise!” that said, since i’ve been breastfeeding annie, these days charlie has been watching the most tv he’s ever watched… if he’s fussy and i can’t play him that minute, yes… he might watch his fourth yo gabba gabba of the day. have you seen that, by the way? i swear those people are on drugs or it’s meant to watch while you’re on drugs.
what’s your favorite part of your day?
i think bedtime [laughs]. and not because they’re going to sleep! it’s sweet to get individual time with each of them…. to go through the ritual of bath, reading, prayer-time. they know it’s coming. charlie slows down for the first time all day. the chaos of the day is winding down… getting those sweet moments before they go to bed.