When I was pregnant with my second child I really worried about how life would be once he arrived, and how I would cope with having two children. I felt that two children was a massive step up from having one child, the one child who has been the centre of my attention for nearly three years, and the one child who makes me run around the house to their endless demands. So how on earth would I adapt to life with two?
I knew that some days would be a total s**tshow and written off as a bad day, and that some days would be easier. In reality it’s actually been easier than I thought it would be, and I’ve found that my son has (kind of) slotted in quite easily into our lives. But I won’t lie it was so incredibly tough at first. However as the weeks have ploughed on and as he reaches 11 weeks old I think that I have finally cracked life with two children.
One of the hardest parts of having more than one child is dealing with the mum guilt. There will always be one child who needs you when you are doing something with the other. Often in my case this is when my toddler is demanding a wee or another biscuit and I’m feeding my baby, and this happens on repeat throughout the day.
But I’ve learned that the best way to deal with this is remaining calm. I explain calmly to my toddler why I can’t do something and offer her some sort of distraction which often works. Usually this is the promise of Peppa Pig on Netflix or my iPad. I tell myself it’s fine for a while and it allows me to feed the baby in peace without my toddler trying to wrestle him off me.
The other thing I thought would be really hard would be the sheer exhaustion of it all. I’ve had days when I’m knackered and all I want to do is stay put on the sofa just like I did during my maternity leave with my daughter. However with a toddler on the scene it’s simply not possible to stay in the house all day binge watching Netflix. I have to get out and about, and this is what I found tough in the first few weeks whilst recovering from a c-section. In fact I probably didn’t leave the house with them both on my own until my son was about 8 weeks old.
This leads me onto the fact that getting out and about is vital, and having had many trips out and a car journey with them both, I finally feel like I’m adapting to having two. Getting out of the house is also vital to stop that feeling of total exhaustion and the fog taking over. Staying in the house makes me feel worse, but some fresh air and a latte seems to do the job.
Sticking with sleep concerns here I was really worried about the lack of sleep. We had nearly two blissful years of a full night’s sleep and I was about to break it. In the last 77 days I’ve not slept for more than 4 hours and I am jealous of my husband having a full nights sleep, although I’m sure he must be disturbed. However, although I am tired the broken sleep hasn’t been as bad as I was expecting. Yes there are days when I feel like I can barely prize my eye lids open and all I want to do is curl up in a bed. But right now I can just about cope with being woken up two, three or four times a night. Fingers crossed we are not heading head first into the four month sleep regression
The main reason why I feel like I’ve finally adapted to life with two is that I feel like we are establishing some sort of routine. Both children are bathed at the same time (in seperate baths) and both children go to bed at the same time as well. This has given us our evenings back and has made me feel more confident in parenting two, plus it means that I can get on and do stuff, and feeling like less I’m continuousy chasing my tail.
It’s not all happy happy all the time. Believe me I still feel like I have more worse days than good days on the days that I look after them both. The only way to successfully get through the day is to get out of the house, to have a plan, to know exactly what I’m making for lunch and dinner, and for me to not have the foggy feeling when I wake up.
For anyone reading this who is just about to have their second baby or for anyone who is struggling through the newborn days with a toddler believe me it does get easier. Be kind to yourself. If don’t want to go out, don’t go out. If you have to leave one to cry whilst you attend to the other one, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you need to eat that cake, then eat it. If you need to go and cry in the bathroom for 5 minutes, do it you will feel better. Lastly remember that you are being the best parent you can be to both of your children and always keep in the back of your mind ‘you got this’.
I would really love to hear how you adapted to life with two children.