Next week, my stint as a mum of two under two ends. I’ll be the proud owner of a two year-old and a five month-old by the weekend. Frankie’s pregnancy was a
bit of a shock lovely surprise, but I admit I spent much of the ensuing seven and a half months panicking about how I would cope.
I was beyond excited about our new arrival, but I remembered how hard it had been to adjust to parenthood in the early days with Lottie and I couldn’t imagine doing it again but this time with an energetic toddler in tow.
Bit too late by that point though.
How we have coped and how our new normal has been is a whole other post in itself, but to surmise, it’s been nothing like as tough as I thought it would be. There have, of course, been days when I thought I’d never make it to bedtime. Days of pure, unadulterated exhaustion. Days where I seemed to get it all wrong.
But more often than not, it has worked. We have got the timings and the plans somewhere near right. The girls have been happy and content, with limited crying and tantrums and I have been counting my lucky stars at having two beautiful, happy, healthy girls.
The first few times this happened I was a bit shocked , but fully expecting those days to be one-offs. But since the newborn mayhem calmed down and routine started to set in again, we’ve been finding ways and means to make this two under two scenario work.
My top tips for parenting two under two are:
- Prepare as much as you can. If you wake up and there are no clean clothes, you don’t know what the toddler is having for breakfast, or there are no spare clothes in the change bag, things can quickly go onto a downward spiral. In the early days, for example, I laid outfits out the night before, I had snacks everywhere to avoid hangry Lottie, and loads of easy meals for to avoid hangry mummy.
- Lower your standards if you need to. I don’t think Lottie ever left the house in a sleepsuit. Frankie lived in them in the early days and often still wears them out now. Pre-Frankie, I wouldn’t have dreamt of leaving the house without hair and make up done, now it’s more wash and go with a slick of mascara. As long as everyone is clean, fed and happy, the rest is all about prioritising.
- Embrace the freezer and batch cook. Defrosting a cottage pie or bolognaise for Lottie some evenings when it all gets a bit manic, has saved the day and I then don’t worry about her not having had a decent meal. I do the same for Mr M and I too, to avoid too many take aways or ready meals.
- Use nap time wisely. If you manage to get both children asleep at once, you need to prioritise. You need to eat, to sleep if you’ve had a bad night, to talk to someone if you’re feeling lonely or low, or just need to have a chat with an adult. Only once all that is done should you even consider the housework.
I’m not pretending for a moment to have it nailed. I still feel like I’m winging it most days. A fair few of my blogging friends have also lived to tell the two under two tale and probably did it far better than I did, so they’ve kindly shared their top tips for you too.
- Take each day as it comes, try and get out for a little bit each day, it might seem like a hassle but you’ll all feel better for it (and get a sense of achievement too!) says Lauren (Scrapbook Blog).
- I found a routine to be key! Keeping the eldest in theirs and then slotting Baby in around them, says Emily (Emily and Indiana).
- Get a sling for the baby so you can still chase the toddler around, says Becky (The Mummy Adventure).
- Accept any offers of help (meals, childcare, coming out and about with you etc), and don’t be scared to ask for help either. It’s great having two close together, but also very tiring as they’re so dependent on you, says Hannah (Budding Smiles).
- Take help when offered, have a change and snack bag always packed (I had a two on rotation!)! Always have bottled water and fresh fruit to grab in the fridge and do a packed lunch! That way when it all gets crazy through the day you’ll still have something to eat! And it’s OK to not feel OK, talk to someone you trust if you need to let your feelings out, says Chelle (Daily Life Edit).
- Accept that there will be lazy days. Days where you just don’t have the energy – and that’s OK. Two under two is hard.
Try and get the older one involved so that when you have to feed or change the baby, the older one feels included, and when there are things they can’t help with, use the tools you have, TV, iPads crayons etc.
Naps are perfect for one to one time while the other sleeps.
Also.. It doesn’t last long. So don’t worry too much. Be kind to yourself, says Leslie (Messy Blog).
But my best advice of all? Enjoy it. You’ll remember from your first how quickly it all goes by and they really aren’t little for long, so even on the utterly rubbish days, try to stop and realise just how gorgeous they are and how worth it all the hard work is.