My children are 18 months apart. Though they were not both under two for long, they were both still very much in need of full time assistance for long enough. I’d like to say that I was never “merely surviving” and instead “always thriving” as a mother, but I would be lying. Ha! The struggle is real at times. However, things did get easier & I was able to find my rhythm & a balance to keep my sanity most of the time.
Here are the top 5 struggles I faced as a mother with two so close in age, along with some helpful suggestions as a gift from me to you! Happy parenting!
- Diapers! Double diapers full time. It always seemed like they took turns going poo, just to make sure you don’t get too comfortable.
—>Suggestions: Well, there really aren’t any! Besides repeating to yourself “This is just a season. I’ve got this.” It is what it is.
- Potty training. Teaching the oldest to use the potty while you have an infant who cannot sit up is a challenge to say the least–especially while on-the-go. There were many times I would be at a store alone with both children and my oldest would need to use the potty. This required me to put the infant down to help the other get on the potty, wipe, flush & then wash hands. The problem is, there is nowhere clean to place the infant in order to do this.
–>Suggestions: Wear your baby! Baby wearing frees up your hands to assist the other child. Also, some stores have large enough restrooms and you are able to bring the cart in. I was never the mom to carry my baby around in their carseat. That thing is heavy!
- Double crying. I think its pretty impossible to not feel somewhat anxious when both of your children are having a meltdown and you aren’t able to meet both of their needs at once. Over time, you do somewhat get used to it and are able to stay calm for the most part.
–>Suggestions: Go to another place in your mind when they are both screaming at the top of their lungs. A happy place. Then just kind of hum to yourself, regain peace, and get busy. Start with the child in most need and work your way to the end of the issues until there is peace again.
- Lack of sleep. In the early days of two under two, you will be limited on sleep. If you’re are super blessed and your older child sleeps through the night, that is a plus. You still, however, have an infant who wakes every two hours at the beginning. By the time they are one, most sleep issues are resolved, and you can see the light again. But, lets talk about that first year. Lack of sleep makes the following day a challenge. I don’t know about you guys, but I MUST HAVE SLEEP. I am a cranky bear and lack motivation to ‘adult’ without it. Entertaining the children for what seems like eternity the following day is a struggle when functioning on minimal sleep.
–>Suggestions: If possible, give your husband/significant other the task of putting the kids to bed so that you can go to bed super early. Or, if you’re super lucky and your husband has a flexible work schedule, have him do the morning duties, allowing you to get at least an extra hour of sleep in the morning. (If breastfeeding, make sure you have milk in the freezer!) Then of course if all else fails, try to nap when or if your babies ever miraculously nap at the same time. You can usually time it out to eventually have the infant taking their second nap at the same time as the older child’s once a day nap.
- Breast feeding/pumping. I decided to be an overachiever and pump in between feedings to up my supply and to have extra for times away. This added to my stress level. I wouldn’t suggest it. Breast feeding or pumping is a challenge when you have to sit still while the older child gets into who knows what, or is wanting your attention.
–>Suggestions: Buy a hands free pump. Also, while pumping or feeding try to distract the older child by giving them something they really enjoy. In my case, it was the iPad, a sweet snack, favorite tv show, or a hands on activity that was sure to take time to complete. Once again, this is most challenging mainly in the first 6 months, as the baby eventually isn’t feeding as often. (Can you say FREEDOM?!!)
It really is worth it in the end. My children are now 2 and 3 1/2. Just as I had hoped for, my kids play together well (for the most part), like the same things, and nap and go to bed at the same times. It may be hard in the beginning, but the LOVE, CUTENESS & SWEETNESS factor of having two little people is out of this world.