Being a parent in and of itself is a tough gig, and transitioning to two kids takes a lot of work. SO often with my son I thought to myself “man this is hard! How do people do this with multiple kids?” My grandmother had ten kids… TEN! Sure, after a while you’ll have older kids that can help out with the younger kids but those first few years can be rough with little ones when you’re a new mom. Depending on how close your children are in age it can get really rough dealing with different stages.
I am by no means an expert, but I have learned a few things in my experience having two children 22 months apart. I’d like to share them with you!
1. Routine, Routine, Routine
I know, everyone says this. This is probably the HARDEST thing to accomplish when switching to more than one child but it’d the best way to keep your sanity those first few months. Unfortunately, newborns have their own schedules, but they’re also easy to move around or strap to you if you need to get things done. The schedule is really going to benefit your older child, kids LOVE structure and they love KNOWING. Even if you think they have no idea what you are saying tell them “okay buddy, we are going to get dressed, we’re going to eat some toast, and then you’re going to color while mommy feeds baby.” Eventually this routine will stick and your older child will thrive with it.
2. Choose Super Easy Meals
I don’t know anyone that wants to cook dinner after spending their whole day trying to entertain a toddler and be at a newborns beck and call. If you’re ambitious, before baby comes prep freezer meals that you can throw in a crock-pot. Otherwise stick to meals that you can whip together in 20 minutes and throw in the crock-pot to cook all day. Chicken fajitas are super easy to just throw some chicken, seasoning, peppers and onions in the pot while the baby naps and just let cook for 5 hours on low. My all-time favorite new thing are crock-pot liners. These babies are seriously heaven sent for busy moms because you don’t have to clean afterwards. Just pull the liner out and throw it away. The environmentalist in me feels sad over it but I needed efficiency when I was navigating this new stage.
3. Take Some Time for You at Least Once a Day
I found it was so easy to become burnt out from being with two babies all day, especially because I was nursing. At the end of the day I would just want to be not touched by anyone or anything and I just wanted to be somewhere quiet where I could recollect myself. Breastfeeding took A LOT out of me mentally and physically. My space was always being invaded and I needed some time to myself to unwind. My shower time was usually that time. I shut the door, take my time in there and just breathe and relax. Find a space that you can go for even just 30 minutes a day where you can hear the noise of the kids and refocus.
4. Embrace the Chaos
Your house will get super cluttered and messy. Your toddler will probably eat nothing but junk for a while. You will have heaps and heaps of laundry. It is okay to let things slide while you are adjusting to this new normal. Don’t think that you have to have a perfect house and 3 course meals, and folded laundry. Focus on your babies, and focus on you. When you get a moment throw some clothes in fast or run a load of dishes. If you have a crazy, if the baby is being clingy and cluster feeding and you haven’t made it off the couch, DON’T WORRY. It is so okay if you just spent you day trying to survive and keep you kids happy.
5. Utilize Screen Time
I am definitely a mom who likes to get my kids outside playing and using their imaginations. I was raised that if it was nice out kids were to be outside, and those memories are some of my favorites. I am also a mom who views TV time and tablet time an a necessary resource to save my sanity when I need to get things done. In those first newborn months, my toddler was allowed a lot of time on his tablet in the morning because that was the time I struggled the most with the baby. I knew that he would sit quietly on his tablet for at least two hours and that would allow my time to get the baby and myself fed and dressed. I will never feel guilty about that because it helped me, he loved it, he learned a TON, and the baby’s needs were met. Ethan knows his letters, numbers, animals, shapes, and even dinosaurs because of his tablet (mostly.) Plus, we still spend plenty of time playing on the floor together and outside when it’s nice out!
There we have it! Just a couple simple things that I learned after having my second baby. It was definitely a hard adjustment, my daughter was a totally different baby than my son so I had to learn how to do everything all over again with her. She ate differently, slept differently, and was comforted differently. The most important thing to note is that no one knows your children better than you. Trust your gut and go with the flow. You do not have to be perfect, your babies will never remember that you didn’t wash their clothes and their wearing the same shirt three days in a row lol. They will remember the time you build the best blanket fort under the kitchen table though.