If you’re desperate for the survival tips, go ahead and scroll down about halfway. You’ll see all the practical tips for surviving life with 2 kiddos under 2. But, if you need a little love and encouragement, read the intro and first paragraphs before the survival tips! Also, since first writing this post, we’ve added another babe to the mix! We had 3 kids under 4 for a while, and eventually I wrote a free 5-day e course to help moms learn to embrace rhythms & grace in their everyday mom lives with little ones. The things I share in this course have dramatically changed my mom life for the better, and the moms who are taking it are loving it too. Sign up here!
The encouraging stuff
Our first 2 kids are 17 months apart, and the first few months with our second baby were SO hard. I basically felt like, “WHAT DO YOU TINY PEOPLE NEED FROM ME AND WHY DO YOU NEED IT ALL THE TIME?” While our 17 month old could communicate decently with 2 word phrases and hand gestures, she still lacked a lot of ability to express herself. And she still needed everything done for her. It was like having a giant baby and a tiny baby.
Honestly, I have almost no recollection of those first few months after our second daughter was born, except for the pictures I took.
My house and children were a hot mess all the time.
A year later, it got so much easier.
They often play together. There are wrestling matches and pillow fights. They play in the back yard and push each other on swings. They run races up and down the hallway and watch shows together. They know how to push each others buttons, make each other laugh (and cry). It’s not always rainbows and sunshine, but compared to that first summer, it is a freaking picnic. It’s all relative.
Can I just say something to you, you amazing heroes of parenting who have a baby and a toddler at home? (aka: two babies…)
It’s going to get a little bit easier in a lot of ways, really really soon.
- There will be more sleep, less exhaustion.
- You will stop worrying about your older baby accidentally feeding the younger baby a giant grape.
- You will shower. (Dry shampoo it for now.)
- You will be able to successfully leave your house in less than 45 minutes.
- You will be able to get both of your children to and from a grocery store without tears.
You can do it. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Find your strength in the joy of the Lord. Spend your quiet moments resting or with Jesus.
Do nothing else. There is no pressure. If your kids nap at the same time, praise Jesus, then do something refreshing. For me, it was painting furniture. Maybe for you it’s binge watching Netflix or reading a book or a manicure.
Ask someone to take your older kid for a morning or a day.
Give yourself grace. You do not need to feel guilt right now. Accept as much help as you can. (What, you want to take my kids for a couple hours?
I’ll miss them. How about a whole day or a week?)
The practical stuff: Surviving The First Few Months of life with 2 under 2:
IT WILL BE SLOW
You thought life was slow with one? It was. But, it is exponentially slower with 2. Accept it for the season that it is. I wish I had spent less energy being frustrated with the slowness of it all. This is something I specifically talk about in the Free Rhythms & Grace course.
THEY’LL LEARN TO TALK
Pretty soon your older baby will learn to form sentences to communicate what he wants.
What worked for me was to shower during the newborn’s first nap of the day and put a show on for the toddler. I think Addie tried to go into Emma’s room to see her once or twice, and I just explained that was a ‘no no.’ You could always let the toddler watch the show or play a game on your phone in the bathroom and lock the door to keep them in if they’re too young or you don’t trust them on their own.
- Double & Freeze – Any time you make something that can be doubled and frozen, do it. Just put the second one in your freezer. It’s usually NO extra work.
- If it’s affordable, budget for extra nights of eating out.
- Ask a close friend for help – one meal a week or something.
- Buy stuff that’s pre made – Frozen veggies, pre cut fruit, pre sliced deli meat and cheese, frozen chicken breasts trimmed and ready, Stauffer’s lasagna.
- Ask your husband to help if his work schedule allows.
If your family eats frozen pizza, mac and cheese, and spaghetti for a few months, they’ll be fine. Do not pressure yourself when it comes to meals.
By the time Emma was born, Addie was down to one nap around 12 or 1. After the first month or so, when some of the newborn sleepiness wears off, I worked pretty hard to get them to nap at the same time, or at least overlap for an hour or so.
THE PATIENT SONG
People talk about how it’s hard for the toddler to wait on you to take care of baby. It’s an adjustment for them, and between the nursing and changing and napping and rocking and spitting and cleaning, there’s a lot of waiting. Addie loves to sing so I made up a song called “the patient song” to sing to Addie (the older one) while she had to wait on me to take care of Emma. It helped her pass the time while she was waiting and reminded her I hadn’t forgotten about her, nor was I ignoring her. It’s super dorky but it really did seem to help.
The patient song at our house is sung to the tune of “are you sleeping, are you sleeping brother john?” (the old folk/ kids song):
we are patient, we are patient
while we wait for what we want
with a good attitude with a good attitude
we are patient, we are patient.
WINE + COFFEE
DON’T GIVE UP BOUNDARIES AND DISCIPLINE
IT WON’T ALWAYS LOOK LIKE THIS
Survival mode will end soon. Then you can learn how to thrive in your new normal and feel like a boss. Hang in there, momma! This too shall pass.
Rhythms & Grace & Seasons
Understanding how those 3 words affect motherhood has changed my mom life for the better. Times 100. I’d love to share more with you in my free 5-day e course.