Photo Credit: Justin Coit
In her first exclusive blog for the iVillage blog series CelebVillage, actress Jessica Alba writes about what life is like since her 8-month-old daughter Haven (with husband Cash Warren) joined the family and how daughter Honor, 3, is adjusting to being a big sister.
After Honor was born, our very tidy, sparsely decorated house became all things kid overnight! Adding another little one to the brood was just a matter of time. However, we wanted to wait until Honor was potty-trained and out of her "baby" stage before expanding our family. We wanted around a three-year age gap between our children for two main reasons: First, we wanted Honor to get as much love and attention as humanly possible as a baby. Second, we couldn't imagine hauling twice the amount of baby gear everywhere we went. We like to live on-the-go and having two kids in diapers would make any decision (going to the park, dinner at a restaurant, family travel, playdates, etc.) significantly more challenging because of the amount of baby swag you would need to bring.
As fate would have it, as soon as we were mentally prepared for adding a second child, we were blessed with the most cuddly, smiley, sweet-natured baby girl in the world -- Haven. I'm not going to pretend like I wasn't concerned about bringing another little one into the world. I mean, Honor was our everything! How would it be possible for us to love anyone, in a million years, as much as we love her?!? Frankly, I didn't think I had the capacity. But literally, overnight, everything changed as little Miss Haven shed her bright light on us and all of our hearts burst open even further.
I was also not quite sure how Honor would transition to being a big sister. She was used to being the center of attention and having Cash and me all to herself. But she has adjusted wonderfully. She is proud of her new “big sister” role, super-helpful with small tasks, and she really can't stop herself from constantly loving on her little sis.
As with most parents, we were careful and thoughtful about how we approached the idea of what being a big sister meant for Honor. From early on in my pregnancy, we read Honor books and often talked about all the “cool” stuff she can do that babies can't. For example, going potty like a big girl, turning on the faucet all by herself, sleeping in a big girl bed, picking out her own swing at the park, feeding herself, getting to eat dessert, etc. We constantly reminded her that those are privileges for big kids. We did our best to highlight what had become mundane, everyday milestones so that Honor would be proud of the differences between her and Haven as opposed to jealous of the attention the new arrival would get.
From a parenting point of view, I feel like most of my irrational, overprotective and weary new mom behavior evolved into a more easygoing, laid-back approach with my second child. I've never been a true "helicopter mom," but I've definitely stayed awake for endless hours doing research on everything I could do wrong as a parent -- from accidentally exposing them to toxic chemicals to buying products that had been recalled by the manufacturers. I really wanted to create the perfect environment for my daughters to excel and grow but with Honor I found that I often made more mistakes trying not to make any mistakes.
So with Haven, in a nutshell, I’m more relaxed. I try not to let every cough or bump on the head freak me out because Honor made it through infancy in one piece and I trust Haven will too. This calm attitude has definitely made adjusting to life with two kids easier and more fun. It may feel impossible trying to juggle it all, so don’t hold yourself to the unrealistic standards of being a supermom. No matter how prepared you are, you're always going to make mistakes -- it’s human. I try not to stress about it anymore. I let it go and move on to more important things, like savoring every moment I have with my precious little girls.
If I've learned anything from this whole experience of being a mom, it's that time flies, and you have to make the most out of every single second you have with your children.
Follow Jessica Alba on Twitter at @jessicaalba. Learn more about The Honest Company, her new eco-friendly product line for families, here. And click here to read more exclusive posts in the CelebVillage series.