Being Mum to 2 under 2
As my son is approaching his second birthday, I am starting to realise that I will no longer have 2 under 2. That is until September this year when I will have 3 under 3!
Being a mum to 2 under 2, I have encountered all sort of comments and remarks, but the most frequently asked question is ‘How on earth do you do it?‘. In all honestly I don’t know, I guess most days I just go with the flow and try and stick to our routines. My goal is to make sure they have had a happy day full of play, love and laughter. Some days this goes well, others not so much!
I am also often asked what my biggest challenge is having 2 under 2. I think this has to be the feeling that my time was no longer my own for a long time, and fearing that I never would be. Balancing my time between my babies, my job and myself has been the biggest challenge. But here are my top 10 tips for life with 2 under 2 so far.
1. Support systems
I made the mistake, when my son was born, of thinking I could do it all myself, and yes with one baby I could manage. However, when my daughter was born 10 months later, I had to accept that I did need some help. Whether that be, my other half getting more involved with feeds etc… or whether that meant having family over to entertain the babies, while I either took a shower or did the housework.
There is only so much a stay at home parent can do with 2 under 2. So asking for help, or taking full advantage of it when its offered is not a failure and should not leave you with that mum guilt feeling. Hey we are still human (although we may feel more like a zombie) and we need a breather now and then.
2. Crying is totally ok
I am mostly talking about my babies crying here. But if you need to cry some days that’s totally OK too!
When my son was born I was literally picking him up every time he cried even if it was for nothing in particular. I soon learnt, when my daughter was born, that it is OK to let them cry, especially when you have done everything for them. Sometimes babies just cry, lets face it, it is their only form of communication.
More often than not when my babies cried and I had tried everything it was due to one of two things. These are over tiredness or over stimulation, and this is still true now my son is nearly 2 and my daughter nearly 1. Over stimulation is easy to solve, just take some toys away and sit and give them a cuddle. Over tiredness however, is a little harder to combat. Since they were 6 months if they got over tired I would put them in their cot, fed and changed and let them cry for 10 minutes, most of the time they would settle themselves, I found this method worked well for me, and there are lots of other methods you can try.
3. Tantrums – let them happen
The whinging, constant nagging you for something and then the full blown meltdowns. These are all things that are going to happen, no matter how much you try and avoid them. Having 2 under 2 has meant that my ears have become immune to much of the whining, and since I have accepted that these tantrums are just normal development, I have learnt to deal with them better. Oh did I mention that when one starts the other one starts… so much fun!!!!!
Check out my post on Toddler Defiance and Power Struggles for more information.
4. Get your sleep
A rested mum is a better mum right? There is only so much autopilot our body and mind can manage. This comes back to your support networks. If someone is telling you (usually my mum) to go have a nap while she watches the babies, go take that nap.
Sleep for me got a lot better when my babies started sleeping through the night. I have also got better at dealing with sleepless nights, so I am hoping that when baby number three arrives in September, I will be more prepared.
Wondering how you can learn to cope with sleepless nights? Check out this post: How I coped with Sleepless Nights
5. Keeping the Peace
Siblings fight sometimes. I remember fighting with my two sisters, and now my to are starting to squabble over toys and even food! I leave them too it most of the time. As long as one isn’t hurting the other I leave them to it. Why? because otherwise I would spend my day trying to separate them, or they would end up in different rooms all day! They do love each other, honest!
6. Embrace the chaos
My house is never 100% Instagram or Pinterest worthy. That’s life with kids, especially with 2 under 2. Toys, food, baby wipes and much more strewn all over the house. Not to mention the pile of washing, that I was sure I got though yesterday! My housework gets done, when it gets done. I have 4 humans and 2 cats to keep alive first!
7. Celebrate those milestones
Why? Well, I know a lot of parents who want their babies to stay little for as long as possible. In some ways I do too, but I really do love it when they reach those milestones. As I know we are one little step closer to them gaining just a little bit more independence.
I know that I was so relieved that my son was walking before his little sister was born. It made bedtime a whole lot easier as he would walk up the stairs to bed while I carried his sister up. I was also glad when he took to baby lead weaning, as that meant I could feed a new born baby while he happily ate his lunch.
8. Encourage Independent Play
Babies and toddlers are more capable than we think. Encouraging independent play will help them develop their imaginations and their creativity. I started off using the 20/20 rule, where I would spend 20 minutes playing and then encourage them to play for 20 minutes on their own. Now after about 8 weeks of doing this they play on their own for around 40-60 minutes at a time. My daughter is better at independent play. My son gets bored quickly, so I am always looking for little activities for him to do, that also hopefully keep his attention for a bit longer.
9. You’ll need a sense of humour
Either that or you will spend your whole time crying! Sure shit days are going to happen, but I am sure there is something your little one did in the day that made you giggle!
One day in particular sticks in my mind. My son was 10 months and we had just arrived home with our daughter. My daughter decided to do an explosive shit all over me, and then my son decided it would be fun to stick his hands in it while I’m trying to clean it up. All I could do was laugh. I was exhausted and relieved to be home and I could have so easily have cried but instead me and my other half laughed so much I thought I was going to pee my pants.
Just keep in mind the good times, and that the difficult phases will pass.
Yes, life with 2 under 2 hasn’t always been easy and it sure as hell isn’t about to get any easier with baby number three on the way. But I try my best to enjoy them, the little moments that make me laugh, watching them play and squabble!
I also try to enjoy those moments I get to myself. We create memories through pictures, days out and my journal. Some one told me that the days may seem long but the years are short and this is oh so true!
Do you have 2 under 2? How do you cope?