Do you have two under two? Are you going to have two under two? I did! My son just turned two, so we’re officially out of that stage…and we survived. I’m not going to lie, it was crazy at times. However, it wasn’t awful, and I don’t think it was as hard as I thought it would be. Either that or I’ve blocked out certain memories. Just kidding…kind of.
Let’s get on to what you’re here for, though. Let’s talk about my tips for surviving with two under two.
1. Meal Plan
It’s not difficult. It really isn’t. If you don’t meal plan, then chances are you’re going to end up eating rubbish, or nothing at all. Your day may begin really well…but you may very well find that by the time 4 pm comes around, everything is crazy, and you either totally forget about starting dinner, or you just don’t have the mental energy to figure out what to make.
Meal planning saved my life.
I plan for a month at a time and get whatever I need to defrost out in the morning. It just simplifies things.
I would also recommend using the slow cooker whenever possible. As I said, mornings were usually fairly productive, so if I could get a meal on the go early, it meant that the afternoons weren’t quite so hectic.
2. Ask For Help
I think people tend to forget how hard it is to add a member to your family. Many stretch out their hands to help when your first child comes along, but once the second one arrives, you’re kinda expected to just know what to do.
If you’re anything like me, that’s not the case. Ask for help, and don’t ever feel ashamed. Set up a support network so that you can give the best of yourself to your family.
Never let not asking for help be a reason for you burning out.
From my experience, most people are very willing to help when asked. Life is just busy for everyone, and so sometimes they don’t see the need unless it’s pointed out to them.
3. Get The Newborn Up First
THIS! I’ve tried it both ways, and getting the baby up first in the mornings is definitely my favourite. I know you don’t always have the choice, but thankfully for us it has generally worked out.
I didn’t always do this in the first couple of weeks because let’s face it, the nights can be all over the place. But, once we were in a little more of a pattern, I started to get the baby up consistently at the same time every morning. For us, that was 6:45 am. I didn’t get my toddler up until 7:15.
I loved having that quiet time in the morning. It was a wonderful time of bonding for the two of us. There was no toddler jumping around, overstimulating the newborn while simultaneously vying for my attention.
Because newborns don’t usually stay awake very long, I was often able to feed her, change her, and put her down for a nap before I even got my son up.
There have been times when I’ve gotten my son up first, and while it isn’t the end of the world, it is a lot more full on. Let’s be honest here…once the toddler is awake, everything is all go, and at full throttle. 🙂
4. Divvy Up the Duties
It is impossible to give both kids all the attention they need 24/7. That is just a fact of life. I know it pulls on your heart strings to not be able to be there for both children (trust me, I know), but it isn’t your fault, it is just a reality. If you try and care for them on your own all the time, you’ll likely end up burnt out.
My husband took over most of the toddler care for the first couple of months. Of course, when he was at work I had care of both the children, but when he got home, he would help out with whatever my son needed.
This was really important in keeping the home running smoothly.
I would recommend you have a conversation with your significant other before your second child arrives so that you are both on the same page. Also, if your toddler is used to you carrying out most of the care, I would suggest you start letting your spouse do some things before the newborn arrives so that it’s not completely foreign.
The change of having a new sibling is big enough on its own.
5. Establish A Routine
Some may laugh at this, but I know from experience that it is achievable. When and where possible, establish a routine. This will be helpful for both you and your children.
They come to know what to expect and so do you.
It is exhausting having two little ones so close together, and your mind gets a bit scrambled along the way. Having a similar routine every day will help you to keep on top of things.
While we’re talking about routine, I HIGHLY suggest syncing your kid’s naps A.S.A.P. The break that it will give you is sooooooo helpful! In those early days, your newborn will obviously still be up at night, so you will want a nap break during the day for yourself. At least, I did anyway. I also used that time to watch TV episodes, because I wasn’t staying up very late at night.
We have used the Baby Wise method with both our children. Both kiddos were sleeping through the night by 3 months and had established routines. If you’re sceptical or have heard negative things about the method, read this post.
I also used some of the Moms on Call method for my second child and found it really helpful. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer are also books that I’ve taken some gems from.
There’s no one routine that fits everyone, and it is a constant work in progress.
Take what information you want from the resources you read, and make it work for your family.
6. Independent Play
Oh my gosh! I am SO glad that I introduced Independent Playtime to Jack when he was a baby. I actually filmed a video about it some time ago. You can check it out here.
Not only is it allowing him to build a numerous amount of skills, but it has been a godsend now that I have two little ones to care for.
Jack happily plays on his own in his playroom for just over an hour every morning. I synced his playtime up with his little sister’s nap. That means I get to shower, get dressed, do some chores, reply to comments/emails…all while he is playing happily. It is WONDERFUL.
If you’ve never implemented Independent Play with your toddler, then have no fear! It is never too late to start! 🙂
You can read all about Independent Playtime, and how to implement it in any one of these books:
7. Get Out Or Take A Break
Being a mother to two under two is a wonderful blessing, but there is no getting around the fact that it is difficult and intense. You feel like you are on duty 24/7 (because you mostly are). It’s overwhelming, and you can get to a point where you don’t feel like this phase will ever end. It does, and it will, but in the mean time, whenever you can, take a break.
My husband has always been really good about letting me get out of the house for a bit while he watches the kids.
If your significant other doesn’t offer the same opportunities, then I would suggest asking. Of course be sure to do it in the right way, but it is really important for you to have a break.
We’re also very blessed in that our children have very supportive grandparents. I’ve sent Jack to stay with my parents for a couple of days when I really needed a bit of a break. It was beneficial to everyone, in that we parents got some much-needed rest time, and my son got to spend quality time with his grandparents.
You’re not a failure for needing a break…you’re just human.
By taking the time you need to recharge, you will ultimately be able to parent your children much better than if you’re running on empty.
There is no one way to do things (as I’m sure you well know), but I hope that some of these tips make your motherhood journey just that bit easier. Above all else, give yourself and your family plenty of grace. You’re doing an awesome job, and you’re an amazing mama.
Until next time!
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