I knew I would have my hands full with a recently turned two year old and a newborn so it wasn’t that this new normal was totally unexpected. But at the same time I was completely unprepared. IYKWIM?!
We’re a few weeks in now and most of the time I’m just grateful to make it to the end of the day with as few tears as possible – and that’s just from me! While I’m definitely no expert on the subject, here are a few things I’ve learnt so far about being a mum to more than one.
A – awesome. Let’s start on a high. I am a mum of two. I have two beautiful, healthy children and for that I am super grateful. That’s what I try to remind myself of in the low moments.
B – breastfeeding. I breastfed my first and it was really hard, much harder than I thought it would be. But I also totally loved it once we got going so I knew I wanted to try again this time. My son is a great feeder – latches well, eats well, is putting on weight by the day – but breastfeeding in many ways is much harder this time round. I still haven’t worked out a way to feed the baby one handed while being able to do stuff with the toddler. And my lap suddenly feels very small when they’re both fighting for space on it. I mostly feel sorry for the baby for how many times his feeds get interrupted by his sister. It’s just as well he’s pretty chill for now.
C – coffee. That’s it.
D – doubts. I doubt myself all the time, every single day. I remember having so many doubts with my daughter too but in a way it’s worse this time because you’re questioning the way your decisions affect both children, and it always feels like a compromise. I just hope they somehow know that I’m doing my best.
E – enough. Whenever I have doubts I try to remind myself that I am enough. When the baby is crying for a feed and the toddler needs a nappy change and you haven’t yet managed to eat properly today despite the fact that it’s 3 in the afternoon, this is all you need to know.
F – Frozen. (Feel free to substitute this for any film of your toddler’s choice.) It will drive you mad and the songs will be permanently stuck in your head (I caught myself singing Love is an Open Door in the shower today) but it will also be your best friend when you need a bit of quiet time.
H – hugs. The demand on you for cuddles from the baby and the toddler will be non-stop. And who’s complaining about that? Newborn snuggles are awesome and an affectionate toddler is pretty nice too. But anyone else who tries to get close enough for some affection be warned! When you’ve spent all your children’s waking hours in physical contact with another small human being you’re a bit touched out by the time any one else comes along. My other half has learned this the hard way!
K – kindness. My partner and I are trying to remember this when we’re both exhausted and frazzled trying to manage everything. It’s easy to speak sharply to each other or not to really speak at all but it feels much better to be kind. I’m also learning to be kind to myself, especially in terms of my expectations. It doesn’t matter that the washing is piling up or that I wash my hair less often at the moment because I’m busy learning to be a mum of two so the other stuff can wait.
L – laugh. Laugh a lot, even when you really don’t feel like it. Laugh when the baby wees all over you…again. Laugh when the toddler does something that makes you want to lose your shit. Laugh when you realise you’ve been walking around with sick all down your back for most of the day.
N – nappies. Both of mine are in nappies so I spend large parts of my day cleaning other people’s bums. I have also come worrying close to running out of both of their nappies in the last few weeks. This would not be good. Buy all the nappies!
P – piles. If you were unlucky enough to get them first time round like me, they’re even worse second time round, and you have even less time to yourself to have a poo. Which brings me to my second P: prune juice. Stock up on it.
S – sleep. We all know what newborn sleep is like but who knew the fresh hell that is newborn sleep plus middle of the night toddler cry fests?! I feared what her brother’s arrival would do to my toddler’s sleep because she’s never been the best of sleepers and to be honest it could be a lot worse. Although that’s not how it felt a few nights ago when the other half was out and the toddler had a two hour long screaming session. Thankfully, I think, the baby didn’t wake up until it was over but then he kept me awake for another couple of hours with some cluster feeding action. Refer to C for help with this.
T – there are too many Ts. Tantrums, tears, time out. None of them really need explaining further to those who have/have had a toddler. Even without the added bonus of a brand new sibling to rock their world they’re pretty emotional beings. I’m only just realising how much…
U – ups and downs. There will be many of both. The worst downs normally come along just when you think you’re finally getting the hang of things. It’s ok though because up will be just around the corner too, or at least that’s what I tell myself.
W – we’ve got this. Not all the time, definitely not all the time but our little team of 4 is managing just fine. The other morning my partner asked our daughter how she was when he went into her room to get her up for the day and she just said, happy Daddy. That’s how I know we’ve got this. That and the fact that they are both so loved by us and so many others.
Even though parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and being a mum of two is a whole new challenge, it’s also the best thing we’ve ever done. Seeing our babies together and the bond they already have definitely makes it all worthwhile.
I wonder what it’s like to go from two to three?