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"Your needs are last": 6 things Zoe Marshall has learnt going from one to two kids.

Transitioning from one to two children is hard enough in regular circumstances.

But for Zoe Marshall, who welcomed daughter Ever in June, the months since could best be described as... chaotic.

Shortly after giving birth to Ever, Zoe and her husband, NRL star Benji Marshall, entered Sydney's lockdown. They then spent two weeks quarantining in a hotel with their newborn and three-year-old son, Fox, in order to relocate to Queensland as part of the NRL coronavirus bubble. 

Speaking to Mamamia, the mum and podcast host shared six important things she's learnt going from one to two kids. From mum guilt to the effects on her marriage, here's what she had to say.

Watch: Horoscopes as new mums. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

1. Your needs come last.

If you follow Zoe on Instagram, you'll know how candid she's always been about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood.

Sharing a series of intimate images after the birth of Ever, she explained the sense of overwhelm that comes with a new child, with all new needs to cater for.

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While things might be 'easier' the second time round with a new baby, it's a massive adjustment, she told Mamamia.

"I feel like everything's easier now. The birth was definitely easier, bringing her home was easier, [but] I think having one to two was way harder.

"One child, especially a new baby, takes up 24 hours of your day and 110 per cent of your energy. But two children take up a week's worth of time when you've got no time," she said.

"They take up all your energy and you're literally just bouncing from one person's needs to the other's. You forget to drink water. You're constipated because you never get to drink water. You don't do wees, you hold your poos, nothing gets done because you're at the bottom of the barrel. Your needs are last. 

"That's been the hardest part."

2. Stop putting unrealistic expectations on yourself.

After the birth of Fox, Zoe went back to work at seven weeks postpartum, causing her to struggle with postnatal depletion. It affected her health for five months.

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This time around, she told the listeners of her podcast, The Deep, that for the first time in her life, she's taking some time off for both herself and her family.

"It feels quite strange but also liberating to give myself a gift of time as a new mum," she said. 

"I don't think many women allow themselves that because we try to do absolutely everything. We want to fit into our jeans and want to be fun and want to go out for a great lunch and not be tired when we got home and still breastfeed and do all the things and work, work, work. 

"We've got this really bizarre, unrealistic way to survive. And I'm just not about that life anymore."

3. The mum guilt is real.

After welcoming a second baby, many mums feel guilty about not giving their eldest as much attention. While Zoe can relate to that, she's found ways to lessen that feeling.

"I'm working with this beautiful woman that does workshops on integrating family members with a new baby. Because I was so nervous about even loving this little girl in front of him (Fox)," she said.

"She uses this great analogy: it's like living with your husband for years and then he brings home another woman and you all just have to get along without any kind of conversation."

Zoe's found through getting some strategies and tools in place to support Fox, that not only has he learned to adjust to his life with his baby sister but it's helped with her own feelings of guilt.

"I've seen a huge shift in him," she said.

"But I try not to be guilty because I also think: you've got this beautiful little sister now, you just need to integrate and this will build your resilience."

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4. Intimate moments are rare, but they mean more.

Right now, Zoe and Benji have completely different schedules because of their kids - Benji is on Fox's sleep schedule, while Zoe is on Ever's. So connecting and spending quality time together is rare. 

But as Zoe shared, it makes the time they spend together more meaningful when it actually happens.

"I think it was only two days ago, we sat on a couch together for the first time in about six weeks. And I was like, 'It's so nice to hang out with you. How are you doing?' Rather than like schedule, schedule, schedule.

"There's so much logistical sh*t that goes on in marriage, that it's just nice to see each other, look at each other, be touched on the back or touched on the leg," she said.

"It seems so simple but I think when you're in this season of motherhood, those things really mean a lot."

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5. Your partnership dynamic changes. And that's ok.

Zoe's also learned that because she and Benji have less time together and more focus is on their children, it's important to lower their expectations of one another.

"I think it's about having no expectation that you should be the way that you were, or you should be super sexy, or you should be super in love," she shared.

"It's trusting that your partnership has a strong enough bond, that anything goes right now. It's a free for all and we're all just surviving. We're all just trying to get a meal in and eat and do you need to go to the toilet? I need a shower. Like what's happening today? 

"It's all just a massive juggle."

6. Whatever self-care looks like, do it.

When Zoe occasionally has time for self-care, she has a few things she loves. 

"Massage is such a big one," she said. "When you have little kids taking from you all the time and touching you, to have someone touch you without wanting anything from you is such a healing thing."

"I'm probably in the shower two minutes too long these days because I just love the serenity and the heat on my body. They're quite simple things... When I'm well, they're well."

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The mum of two is also currently abstaining from alcohol, a decision she made while trying to conceive which continued during her pregnancy and into breastfeeding.

"Not drinking is a big one for me," the ambassador for DrinkWise Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder awareness shares. 

"Generally I I don't drink a lot because I see that return in my self-care, but with having the kids I'm not drinking now because I'm learning about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and sharing the message (as an ambassador.) It's kind of like the best thing to do for [my daughter] is actually the best thing for me," she said.

"Everything else that I do in my life for my babies is just to keep them healthy and well. So, this one is the number one basic for me to keep her on the healthy path to life."

Feature image: Supplied and Mamamia.

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