Two under two 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 none the less. 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 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 two under two 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 season of life. Start small and recognize your needs. You can do this and you will get through this ❤️️
Give Yourself Grace
Life, although similar to before, is also drastically different. 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 to soak in the cuddles, keep the kids clothed and fed, and focus 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 right now. It’s not going to damage your kid, and it will go a long way for 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.
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, 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.
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 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 the second time around. The thought of being alone in the real world with 2 crazy 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 and please stay tuned for a Two Under Two Must Have’s post that I’ll post next week with all of the essentials that helped make life a little easier during this crazy season.