Keeping your cool while parenting can be challenging. Having two under two can make that even harder.
My husband and I knew we wanted our kids to be close in age, if possible. We knew the challenges that came with an age gap our eldest is 7 years older. Two under two brings about new challenges and sometimes it can be hard to keep your cool. Here are a few tips we’ve picked up along the way.
Have Your Family Routines Set, But Flexible
Possibly the best piece of advice I was given as a new mother was that baby needs to learn how the family runs not the other way around. Possibly the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to have a routine. Routine is great for even just one child and when introducing another you will have some peace of mind because you focus on filling in the gaps. Knowing your toddler’s schedule will make it easy to focus on nailing down your newborn’s.
Establish Clear Boundaries
Establish clear boundaries for both your toddler and newborn. Put rules in place to make discipline simple and to keep you from getting flustered and losing your cool. No matter what style of discipline you choose, be consistent and practice implementing your discipline before baby is born.
Children thrive when they know what to expect, so preparing your toddler to know the consequences of certain actions will make the transition to two that much smoother. Children who have consistent discipline are less likely to push the boundaries and if they do they know what comes next.
Schedule Quality Time with Each Child
Whether you have two children or 10 children, quality time is important for child and parent bonding. Find ways to give undivided attention to each child daily.
For our family this looked like reading with my 8 year old, after the little ones were put to bed. Quality time with a toddler can be simply playing or reading together when the newborn is having a nap. For newborns a great time to bond is during feedings, if possible see if you can nurse or feed your child in a quiet room. Sometimes a quiet room is just not going to happen so finding ways to keep your toddler entertained even for 5 minutes can allow some quality time with baby.
Allow Yourself to Ask For & Receive Help
You will not get any extra brownie points for doing it all alone. Get some help mama! Are your parents or in-laws wanting to help? Let them, even the small things make a huge difference. When Dad is around clue him in on what needs to be done. Chances are he has no idea that clearly the toddler needs a nap and the baby needs a feed.
Braving Costco? Phone a friend, or at least a sister or something! Don’t be afraid to ask for help because chances are, your friend or family member would love to help and may feel more inclined to ask you for help when they need it. Having mom friends you can drop your kids off to and vise-versa is a huge blessing and relief, even if it only happens on occasion.
Hangout with Other Mothers
Do yourself a favor and make time to spend with mothers who encourage and inspire you. The truth is no mom knows everything and most of us know nothing. Surround yourself with moms who you can ask for advice, share your struggles with, and who want you to succeed.
But what if I don’t have other mom friends? Go make some! A great place to meet moms is the local park, chances are you will live in the same area if you go to one close to home. Another way to make mom friends is to reach out to people who you haven’t seen in a while. The girl you went to high school with that is now living in the same town and had a baby right after you is the perfect person to invite over for coffee and a playdate. It may be awkward the first couple times, but chances are that you and your new mommy friend will benefit greatly.
I do not know about you , but I am on my best “mom game” when others are around. So surround yourself with others who will help you parent better.
Make Time For Yourself
Give yourself a little time during the day to relax, besides sleeping. My favorite time to make time for myself is in the morning. Waking up an hour or even a half hour before your children will do wonders for how you start your day.
When I can, I try to wake up at 5:30am (and pray my children don’t get up until at least 6).During this time I make myself a latte and grab my Bible, daily planner, notebook, and pen. I don’t plan to read a certain amount or have any agenda. I just do what I can until my children wake up and sometimes will continue my quiet time while they are awake.
Starting my day peacefully and not waking up to my children asking for something or crying really helps to frame my day. I feel more patient and rested when I can wake up before my children do.
Listen to Books on Motherhood
There is not a lot of time in the day when parenting two under two, to sit down and read a book. However, there is usually a monotonous chore to do that you can listen to an audiobook while doing. In fact there are tons of books, motherhood related or otherwise on Youtube.
If you can, I do recommend listening to a book on motherhood. Sometimes you just need another perspective to encourage you in your situation. A couple of my favorites are Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic and Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson. There is a whole world of motherhood literature out there. So find something that resonates with the type of parenting you want to do.
Keeping Your Cool
It’s easy to get frustrated when you have two little ones, we’ve all done it. Sometimes the best thing you can do is apologize and try better tomorrow. The best thing about having two under two is they probably won’t remember most of the mistakes you made. What they do know is the bond they have with you. You got this mama.
What are your best tips for keeping your cool with two under two? Leave a comment so we can learn from you.