January 26, 2015

Surviving Life with a Newborn and Toddler, Part 2

When you're a mom raising two kids, you suddenly become outnumbered when you're alone with them. No more is it a one-on-one face off, if you slip up you've got two screaming, angry, crying, kids to point it out. Here are some tips to help see you through.

Don't miss parts 1, 3, and 4 of this series.

1. Sneak in cleaning and housework. One of the two kids is going to need you most of the time. Sneaking in daily chores helps keep the house liveable. Folding clothes during toddler nap time while singing to the baby, stuffing a few dishes in the dishwasher while making breakfast or a bottle, putting away toys just before bedtime each night, picking up toys in the bedrooms each time you go in and throwing laundry in the washer or dryer while the kids are distracted for a moment are all good tricks. Big sister feels special when she's helping Mommy vacuum--even though she's really just following around yanking on the cord while the baby naps. It takes extra patience and a few, "please leave the cord alone" reminders. The floor ends up free of cat fur, Kix, crayon wrapers, crumbs and that odd stuff you can't identify, though. At least for a few minutes. A few hours if you squint and ignore the pretzel crumbs she dropped in the corner during snack time after you asked her to please eat at the table and she refused.

2. Make peace with what you can't do. Despite sneaking in housework, some days things just aren't going to get done. The wonderful dinner that was planned out just might not work as the baby is crying and toddler is pitching a fit because she must have fruit snacks, now, though she's already had too many today. Keeping the house presentable --enough-- and keeping the kids fed and safe is what's most important. Mommy may need to skip her shower one day to make it happen. A kid bath time may even have to be skipped. As long as no flies are hanging around Mommy, the kids don't stink and their clothes are clean (mommy's may not be, what with the puke and poo hazards of the job) it's good enough. At least until tomorrow, when you really must shower because you do attract flies and the kids are a bit ripe, or pooped/puked themselves too much.

3. Juggle, balance and teeter. 
 There are days when things don't go smoothly. At all. The baby pooped on Mommy. The toddler covered her hair with food and is pitching a fit if you so much as breathe in the same room. The baby must be held. Constantly. Putting him down equals horrible, gut wrenching, oh-my-God-is-someone-ripping-his-head-off screams. The toddler wants another drink while the baby needs to eat again. Never mind both just had some two minutes ago. Meanwhile, Mommy has to pee as holding it for the past half hour means the clock on holding it is about up and another mess is imminent. Phone calls have to be made to solve problems with insurance/cars/take your pick. On these days, Mommy has to just do her best. Employing certain tactic while others get  pitched out the window faster than the toddler can run down the hall naked while you're begging her to please get in the tub, she is poop covered.

4. Forgive. Yourself, your kids, your husband, that idiot who cut in front of you and your screaming kids at the grocery store. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. Even Super Mom. Learn from the past and strive to make the future better. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Forgive and forget. (insert additional cliché inspirational "moving on and being ok with things" phrases here.) If you don't, you'll never be able to live long and prosper and the force won't be with you. (See what I did there?)

5. Realization. Mommy needs to realize all this won't last. This one is a double edged sword. Life is hard right now. Mommy sometimes wants to cry and scream along with the wee ones. She can probably throw that dinner farther across the room than the toddler and some days has to combat that desire to try. Mommy would also like to be able to shower without screaming kids and pee without an audience that's trying to open and empty all the cabinets while mom's stuck on the toilet, unable to stop the wreckage. Yet at the same time, these baby and toddler days go by so fast never to be lived again. Wanting to be held and needing Mommy's help with diapers, eating and playtime give way to wanting the car keys and then with a phone call every now and then, possibly from the other side of the country. Stories and cuddles turn into wanting space and locking doors. Take it one day at a time and remember that the most important thing is building memories to hold onto and everyone feeling loved, cared for and wanted. Because, after all, love is what started this and love is what keeps you going no matter how hard or irritating things get.



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14 comments:

  1. Very nice tips... you have laid these out very well!

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  2. I bet you have a lot of fun with two small ones. My kids were all 4 years apart (not planned but I could only get pregnant every 4 years, weird I know).

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    1. Yes, they are lots of fun. Both are quite the characters!

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  3. These are great things to remember as a parent to children. It gets easier--though sometimes the lessens do not. Enjoy these moments, celebrate your children, they grow so fast (my oldest is 25) and the housework and all that other 'stuff'-it will still be there.

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    1. You're right. I try to follow that and work at having the house liveable as perefct won't happen! lol

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  4. The first time I had a newborn and a toddler, I was in for such a shock. It definitely did get easier but man, it was rough at first.

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    1. I am hoping for that. I figure maybe after a year it will calm down.

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  5. I agree with number three. It's a constant jungle act.

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    1. I feel like a circus juggler some days, that's for sure!

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  6. No question toddlers keep you on your toes, all the same it looks like you are doing a great job.

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  7. Moving from one to two was intensely difficult for me. I had a lot of ideas and thoughts that needed to be drastically altered! The good news is that going from two to three was much easier!

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    1. We're planning to stick with two...I don't think I could keep up with more! A is dead set on two anyway. :)

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. As a busy mom, I'm not always able to respond to each one, though I read and appreciate them all.