I’m not going to sugarcoat it, transitioning from one child to two was HARD. They both have their own unique individual needs, and sometimes it can be a battle to figure out whose needs are more dire in that exact moment.
Where does that leave mom’s needs exactly? I’ll tell you where. Your needs become the bare minimum. You’ll be so busy, especially if you don’t have help, that your non essential needs will be pushed to the very bottom of the pile of things that need to be done. I can’t even tell you the last time my eyebrows were plucked and I’ll tell you it’s almost becoming an essential need at this point.
When I first had my son, he didn’t do a whole lot. He spent the majority of his time sleeping and he took to his bassinet right away. Luckily I was gifted a bassinet that I could cart around the house so he was wherever I was at all times. I was able to give my toddler daughter almost the same amount of attention as before, minus the allotted time my son requires for feeding and changes.
Fast forward to where we are now. My son is nearly six months old, and my daughter will be three in less than a month. She wants to play. She wants to talk. She wants to have conversations and enjoy spending time with my company. My son is in that in between phase where he’s outgrowing his “babyisms” and wants to start moving and sitting up. Everything is going into his mouth. We’re starting food soon. He’s frustrated all the time because there’s so much he wants to do. His needs are now magnified and he’s constantly demanding attention in addition to my daughter.
The best way I’ve been keeping sane is by utilizing my community network. I’m fortunate enough to live in the same town as both my parents and my in laws, so I frequently visit either of them to give my children some time to bond with them. I also try to take advantage of my local free programming which gives my daughter socialization time with other children her age, and gives me socialization time with other moms in my area. The biggest downfall of that right now is that it’s cold and flu season, so I need to be extra vigilant when it comes to protecting them. We visit the library often for story time, play in our local play group and utilize errands as educational outings (grocery store anyone?).
But mama let me tell you, it’s so hard. There are days where both are crying at the same time and both refuse to nap. There are days where I would be up with the baby for half the night and my daughter wakes up rearing to go. Do I complain? Absolutely. It’s essential to let our some steam. I usually vent to my husband or my mom, whatever helps me cope with some of the more difficult days.
The good days are what makes it worth it. Even the worst days end up being good days. I get extra snuggles from a tired teething baby. I receive a colorful play dough donut from my toddler, who giggles in delight as she watches me pretend to eat it. I love seeing the smiles on both their faces, and the joy that I experience watching them grow is absolutely worth all of the work and patience it requires to raise them. The key is finding the balance. It may not come right away, it may not come in the most expected form but it will come. Once you figure out your new normal, it will get easier. Until then, I can offer several pieces of advice.
1. Utilize your community network.
2. Do frequent outings if possible to engage your children. This can be errands, library visits, the park or walks. Simple things.
3. Establish a basic routine. Figure out napping schedules, feeding schedules and implement them. Children thrive on routine and this will give them a sense of calm in knowing what comes next.
4. Vent your frustrations. It’s healthy.
5. Enjoy the little things. Try not to worry about the crumbs in the carpet from the play dough. Try to enjoy these little moments because one day this will all be a distant memory.
Follow my Instagram to see my day to day battles with a baby and a toddler.