2 under 2 is no joke. The adjustment period pushed me to a point of exhaustion I didn’t know was possible, and every day felt like chaos. I was scared to be left alone with the 2 kids for more than a couple of hours. How would I handle naps? What if the baby is crying and my toddler needs me at the same time? How do I go to the bathroom?
But the day came where it was just me and the kiddos, and it was manageable. It was hard and came with stress and tears, but it was manageable nonetheless. Then slowly it got easier and easier, until one day, after exactly 8 weeks, I experienced my first day without a feeling of extreme overwhelm at any point during the day. The overwhelming chaos of 2 under 2 had turned into manageable everyday mayhem. It was then that I knew I could not only go through the motions, but actually thrive in this crazy journey of two under two.
Just one week ago my eldest turned two and I have officially graduated from the 2 under 2 club. Their 18 month age gap came with some challenges, especially with my mama’s boy toddler, but we made it through and I know you can too. Now that we’re out of the really hard stuff I’ve been able to enjoy the magic of having two so close in age. The bond that they immediately shared is beautiful to watch and it’s incredible to see that they already have so much fun playing together.
These 6 tips really helped me reclaim my life and not get tossed around going through the waves of this new two under two season of life. Start small and recognize your needs. You can do this and you will get through this ❤️️ But, before we jump right into the tips I’m going to answer a few quick questions.
Is it hard having 2 babies under 2?
Short answer absolutely, but there is so much goodness that goes along with it. Your patience will be tested. There will be crying from them and you. You will be utterly exhausted. BUT It doesn’t stay that way forever. The early days are incredibly challenging, but as you go through the fourth trimester you start to find your rhythm. As your babies grow their bond grows. Before you know it you’ll have two toddlers running around playing with each other and your heart will explode at their cuteness and love. Yes, it’s hard having 2 babies under 2, but in my opinion it is so worth it for them to have companions close in age to grow up with.
How do I cope with a 2 year old and a newborn?
These tips will help you answer that exact question. Having 2 under 2 is a challenge. You’re constantly juggling the needs of two different kids, but by taking care of yourself and being intentional with your habits and your time you can most definitely handle having a 2 year old and a newborn.
Another thing to keep in mind that I don’t mention below, is that each of them can wait. You’re going to be constantly assessing situations and it’s easy to immediately jump to one over the other based on your own skill set and connection, but it’s ok to have one of them wait a moment. If you’re feeding or putting your newborn down to sleep your toddler can wait. You can supply activities, and in certain circumstances, you’re going to have to leave them to be upset for a bit. It’s just the way it is. You can’t be in two places at once and that’s ok.
Likewise, if you’re helping your toddler in an intense moment, maybe it’s learning something, or calming them down, and you start to hear your newborn fuss. You do not need to immediately run to them. They can wait a little bit as long as you know they’re safe. You’ll be able to get to them quickly and you can minimize behavioral issues of your toddler feeling like they don’t matter anymore because they’re constantly left behind or put second.
2 Under 2 Requires You to Lower Your Expectations and Be Easy On Yourself
Give Yourself Grace
Life, although similar to before, is also drastically different when you become a mom of 2 under 2. Your to-do list will take that much longer to do, and it will be that much harder to have a shower or drink warm coffee. Lower your expectations and give yourself grace. There are seasons in your life where you will kick ass, and there are seasons where you need to just be and get through it. Each has a time and a place, and for now, your time is best spent soaking in the cuddles, keeping the kids clothed and fed, and focusing on love and sleep rather than any to-do list and cleaning.
Don’t Stress About Screen Time
I get it, I was a strict no screen time mama with my first, but you know what, screen time will make your life a hell of a lot easier with 2 under 2. It’s not going to damage your kid, and it will go a long way in helping your state of mind. Get Disney + and keep it on all day long if you have to. It won’t be like this forever, but for now, you need to use the tools that you have.
Be Thoughtful With Your Habits When Transitioning to 2 Under 2
Develop Good Sleep Habits Early On
The first six weeks of two under two became unbearable because of all of the bad sleep habits in our house. It took forever to get the kids to sleep, and with constant wakings from both of them, my husband and I were barely functioning. Thankfully we turned everything around with the help of Sweet Sleep Sierra (read about our Toddler experience and Tips for Newborn Sleep).
I want to be clear, I am not saying you need to CIO with your newborn baby, but the sooner you can teach them to fall asleep on their own (which can be a very gentle and loving process), the less you’ll be needed throughout the night. When everyone in the house is sleeping well it’s a better experience for the whole family.
Prioritize One on One Time With Each Child
There will always be an adjustment period with 2 under 2, but things will go much smoother if you prioritize one on one time with each child every single day. As I mentioned, my son is a complete mamas boy, and I always see behavior changes in clinginess and acting out when he spends long periods of time away from me or gets little individual attention. I was so worried about him, but, because I took the time to have special one on one time throughout the day, we were able to have a fairly smooth transition with little to no animosity between him and his little sister.
You Need to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Juggling 2 Under 2
Know When to Ask for Help
This can be so hard for so many of us, but we can’t do it all, and this 2 under 2 time in life is crazy. Recognize when you’re struggling and ask for help. Your partner and your family love you and want to help you, but they may not know how to without you telling them. So whether it’s needing a moment to poop alone, or the laundry is backing up, take the time to ask for help.
Get Out of the House
As a new mom it’s easy to stay couped up in the house, and that resistance to going into the outside world only gets stronger with two under two. The thought of being alone in the real world with 2 wild kids without the comforts of your home can overload you with anxiety, but it’s so important to push yourself, baby step by baby step, so you can get out of the house, move your body, and breathe fresh air.
I’m not saying pack the kids up and head for a shopping trip to the mall, because that sounds utterly terrifying at first. But, it can start with something as simple as a walk around the block and build from there. Also, double strollers are your friend. I attempted not to get one but immediately regretted it. It’s the only way to get out of the house with the kids strapped in place and not attached to you.
There’s my 6 tips for surviving life with two under two. I’d love to hear if you have any other tips in the comments below.