“How do you do it?!” “How do you manage two kids under two by yourself?!” “I have no idea how you do this all the time!”
If I had a nickel… But for real I do get questions and comments like that all the time especially when my son, O was just born and my daughter, A was 22 months. When I first became a mom of two kids I’ll be honest I did a lot of whatever was easiest for me. At the time their dad worked a lot so I was parenting alone most of the time. It took me awhile to get into the groove with two kids but once I did it made life a lot easier.
Here’s some tips to help you manage two kids under two by yourself.
– I babywear (babywore??) everywhere…all the time! It was so much easier to keep up with my active toddler when I was wearing my son all the time. It was essential to have two hands to prepare food, change my daughter’s diaper, read to her, play with her, etc. (Check out the other amazing reasons to babywear!) Plus he slept all the time anyway so it was pretty easy. Sometimes I would tandem babywear, which I know isn’t for everyone. I didn’t do this often, but my daughter had a hard time sharing me when her brother was born. Sometimes the easiest way to get her to calm down or for her to feel close to me, was to wear both of them at the same time. So I would wear my son on the front and my daughter on my back. Now I could definitely not do that for a long period of time but it helped short term.
– O was the type of baby who would stay asleep when I put him down in his crib so I was lucky in that respect (because that was nothing like my daughter!) I used the time that he was asleep in the crib to spend one-on-one time with A. I really wanted her to know that she was still so special to me and I enjoyed spending time with her. This was an easy way to fill her love cup.
– I got A involved in activities outside the house. Some of the things we did were:
o Free story time at the library
o Playdates at people’s houses
o Playdates at free places like the library, playgrounds, play areas in the mall (can you tell I really like free activities??)
o Art class
o Dance class
Obviously you can do whatever classes or activities interest your child but the key is to get out of the house! It can feel very suffocating and overwhelming sometimes to be home all the time with two very small children. Getting out of the house allowed me some time to appreciate new scenery and talk with other adults. It gave her time to hang out with other kids her age and learn new skills.
– Similar to getting out of the house, I either had friends and family come over or I would go to their house as much as I could. This let me lighten the load because there were other adults around who could entertain the kids and watch them.
– I got used to nursing on the go. I could do it one handed, while walking, and out in public. I did not care about what anyone else thought. When my kid needed to eat, I was going to feed him. Gone were the leisurely days when I could sit in bed all day and just nurse. Regardless of how you feed your baby, you will get really good at feeding them on the go!
– I seriously lowered my expectations for housework. I knew there was no way I was going to have a magazine worthy house. I did the absolute essentials like dishes, laundry, and cleaning bathrooms. You will have to focus on what’s most important to you and leave the rest for when you have help, time, or energy. Any friends or family that come to your house won’t judge you. Two kids under two is a job by itself. Plus, those friends and family should be helping you out! (just sayin!)
– I also made easy meals. I don’t like to cook elaborate meals for myself as it is but to make elaborate meals for a 22 month old who was super picky?? Nope…not happening!
– One of the hardest things I had to deal with was the toddler tantrums at the same time as having a newborn and all the adjustment that came with that. There were many reasons why my daughter had lots of tantrums at that time, (she was almost two so she was on the verge of independence but still wanted to be close, she was super close to me and had to share me with a new baby, and we packed and moved into a new house). So to avoid going crazy with the sheer amount of meltdowns I was dealing with a day, I got good at diffusing tantrums!
– When I needed a break from my velcro child I used TV. (I know, cue the horrified gasps). But sometimes the only way I got a half hour to really clean the house, cook, or even shower was to let her watch baby TV shows.
So to anyone who has ever asked me how I parented both kids myself in the beginning, the short answer is I did what I could to make life easy like babywearing, making easy meals, and not doing a lot of housework. I used the time my baby was sleeping to connect with my daughter and got her involved in activities outside of the house. Because my daughter was still dependent on me for everything, I got used to doing most things on the go.
Two kids under two will definitely present challenges but hopefully these tips helped eliminate some of the overwhelm.
What tips do you have for how to manage two under two??
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