My sister and I are just over 13 months apart, and I love that I always had a buddy to play with. To this day she is my best friend, and I knew (if possible) I wanted that for my kids.
When my youngest was 6.5 months, I found out I was pregnant. As reality set in and I realized that my hands were literally going to be so full, I felt overwhelmed. How was I going to love this new baby as much as my first? How was I going to give them both enough attention? How was I going to get anything done? 1 year olds are dependent on their caregivers, but newborns are even more dependent!
My boys are 1.5 and 2.5 now, so looking back, here are my best tips for surviving 2 under 2.
1 Sleep when they’re asleep.
You might feel like you need to cook or clean, but if your babies are sleeping and you’re tired, SLEEP!! If your body is telling you to sleep, please, put the dishes down and climb into that bed of yours that has your name written all over it! I think extra sleep is especially important the first few months! If your little ones aren’t napping at the same time yet, try to work that direction to get them on the same napping schedule.
2. Find your village, and ask for help.
If someone asks you what you need, be honest and tell them. If you need groceries, send them to the store. If you need laundry folded, give them the laundry basket! If they’re offering, utilize them. Even if someone doesn’t offer and you need help, ask. Talk to your partner and let him know what you need. Make a list of people that you can call if you’re in a bind. Your future self will thank you!
3. Allow time to adjust.
Don’t try to do everything all at once. Take it day by day. Eventually, things will become easier. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
4. Learn to let go
You’re feeling like a hot mess? You are not alone. It’s okay! The laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking, and household chores will always be there waiting for you, but your young, beautiful babies won’t be. You won’t get this precious time back, so enjoy it if you can. Snuggle them. Hold them. Play with them. You will make it even if you’re surviving with frozen pizzas and dry shampoo.
5. Involve your toddler.
Whatever you’re doing, try to involve your toddler and make it fun! You need to make dinner? Get a bowl and spoon out for them. If you need to feed your baby, let your toddler help hold the bottle, or if you’re nursing, have them come sit next to you.
6. Meal prep.
Meal prep doesn’t have to be fancy, but knowing what you’re making for meals throughout the week can be the difference between eating out and eating at home. Even if it’s a store bought lasagna or chicken nuggets. Freezer meals are also great for those extra tough days!
7. Put your baby and toddler in a safe place and walk away if you need to.
I remember the nurse telling me that in the hospital discharge instructions, and I thought ‘I won’t do that. I’ll just want to hold and love them.’ Once I was on my own with my 1 year old and baby, there were moments that they were both crying. I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and needed to do something. Both had been fed and had clean diapers, so I laid them in their cribs and walked away for a minute or two. I needed a moment to regain my composure, and that is ok!
8. Give your toddler attention first.
I’m not telling you that your baby doesn’t need your attention, but I am telling you that it’s okay if you put your baby down to do something for your toddler (i.e. making your toddler lunch). After your toddler has what he/she needs, pick up your baby and give him/her attention. Chances are that attending to your toddler first will take less time than it would if you fed/took care of your baby first.
9. Invest in a baby carrier.
I bought a carrier off of Facebook marketplace, and it changed my life. My baby wanted me to hold him all the time, so instead of holding him, I could wear him and still have my hands free. I bought one that could fit either my baby or toddler in, and I used it every day!
10. Go on dates.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘I’m just trying to survive. The last thing on my mind is going on a date!’ I’m not necessarily talking about a regular date. I’m talking about taking time for you and your partner to connect. Talk. Interact. Even if it’s only 10 minutes while eating dinner. Don’t stop nurturing your relationship with your significant other. And don’t stop nurturing your relationship with yourself. Go on dates with yourself. Take a bath, paint your nails, exercise, go to the grocery store. Whatever kind of self care is your jam, do it! Continue to take care of yourself.
Remember, this is only a season. ‘This too shall pass’ and it will get easier. When they start playing together and making each other laugh, you’ll forget about the hard times and sleepless nights. You are doing great. You got this mama!
You are strong.
You are brave.
You are beautiful!
LaChelle is an Idaho mom of two boys, ages 1 and 2. She has taught Zumba for 8 years and has a degree in Exercise and Wellness. She is passionate about motherhood, loves traveling, being thrifty, camping (before kids because camping with babies has been rough), and going on adventures with her family! You can find her @lovinlikeamom on Instagram.
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