10 Must-Do’s to Survive 2 Under 2

How I Settled in to Life with my Two Littles

2under2Previously, I wrote about why I love having children who are close in age. They’re best friends, built-in playmates, and we only have to go through developmental phases once.

In hindsight, it is easy to gush about how great it is now, because we are past the early difficult stages (i.e. they are both sleeping through the night and potty trained). The truth is, those first few months with two itty bitties were demanding and challenging. There were many times when I wondered, “How on earth am I going to do this?”

So how DID I do it? The simplest explanation is that I gave myself time to figure it out. There really is no rulebook, but a lot of trial and error. As with most things in life, there were highs, lows, and everything between. But with perseverance and a little creativity, I can officially say I’m a survivor!  And don’t worry, you will be too. 😉

Here are 10 things that helped me get settled in to life with my two littles:

  1. Develop your own routine.

    The key word in this one is “YOUR” own. Seeking advice and trying things others have done can be helpful, but please don’t compare yourself to other moms or judge yourself as a parent if those tips and tricks from others don’t go as well for you. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but give yourself the time and space to figure out the best rhythm for you and your little ones. Basically what I am saying is: trust yourself, and be kind to yourself in the process.

  1. Don’t be shy about accepting and asking for help.

    I admit that I struggled with this at first. I call it my Superwoman complex: Wanting to be all things to all people (in this case, my family) at all times. The truth is, we’re human and need help from time to time. Ask your partner for 20-30 minutes of “recharge” time to yourself on a stressful day. Take a friend up on the offer of spending time with the baby while you take a shower, or taking the older one to the park while you get a nap. There is no shame in accepting help from someone who cares about you and that you trust. Isn’t that part of what friends are for?

  1. Diapers – Save money by getting the bigger size.

One of the benefits of having children close in age is that they are approximately the same size. Diapers can get (very) expensive for one baby, let alone two. During times when I wanted to save money, I would buy the largest box I could in the size my older child wore. When putting them on my younger child, I would fold the top down and then close it up. If my older child grew out of that size, I could let my younger child finish off that box of diapers and buy the next size up for my older child to start. This way, I was rarely left with a partial case of diapers that were too small for both children.

diapers

  1. Get out of the house!

This one can be scary at first with two littles. Don’t let that keep you inside though. Sunlight and fresh air will do wonders for your mental health. You can be adventurous and plan a trip to the zoo, or just keep it simple by taking a stroll around the neighborhood or having lunch picnic style on your yard. Doing this a few times per week will help you build your confidence in going out and about with two little ones.

  1. Invest in a double stroller.

This makes getting out of the house much easier. There are a ton of stroller options out there. I won’t bore you with the story of how many stroller models I researched and tried out (way too many!). But I will say that it is important to find one that fits your lifestyle.

I went with the Baby Jogger City Select. It’s versatile, not too heavy, and can be adjusted to 16 different positions. There are lots of cute little accessories and attachments you can get to really personalize it for your family. I love it!

  1. Keep nap time sacred!

I am generally a flexible and easy-going person. But there is one thing that is absolutely non-negotiable in our house: Nap time.

This tip actually comes in two parts:

FIRST, do everything in your power to get the babies on a coinciding nap schedule. This is a little tricky at first, but if you can pull it off, I promise your life will be much easier. You might even get a few minutes all to yourself every day! {See #4 in my previous post.}

SECOND, Let nothing and I mean NOTHING get in the way of naptime.

  • Story time at the library starts at noon? No thanks. I’ll read to my children after their nap.
  • Play date starts right smack in the middle of when the littles are usually napping? I’m sorry but I must respectfully decline.
  • The weather is great, should we stay an extra half hour at the park and push back their nap? Read my lips: N.O. – its not worth the overtired tantrum later.
  • Boyz II Men is in town and wants to give me a private concert in my living room? Okay, maybe. But wait until the kids are all the way asleep. And if you wake ‘em, you take ‘em!

Keeping my children on a strict sleep schedule is essential for them and for me. I found that they are less cranky, eat better, and have an overall happier disposition in the afternoon if they regularly get their nap on time. It also makes bedtime a little easier, because they are naturally ready to go back to sleep (usually).

nap

Try this:

  • Call it “family nap time.” Explain that everyone is going to take a rest – even you. Grab their favorite stuffed animal and tuck them in too. This eases a child with the Fear Of Missing Out on something that they think could be happening while they are napping.
  • Turn off everything. Every light and electronic device. Invest in dark curtains or hang a dark blanket over the window. The goal is to create a calm, quiet, and cool environment to promote resting. If your child likes to have music playing, then go for it, but try to choose soft music that doesn’t have words. That way they are less likely to stay up to sing along.
  • If you have a child who claims they are not tired, allow them to pick two books to look at while they rest in their bed. Nine times out of ten, you’ll come back to find them asleep with the book over their face.

 

  1. Sleep – I’m talking about YOU this time.

If you are successful in getting your babies on a coinciding nap schedule, this is when listening to others’ advice comes in: SLEEP WHEN THE BABIES SLEEP! Laundry, vacuuming, and yes even your shower can wait. Program your DVR to record your favorite daytime shows and watch them later. Throw something in the crockpot for dinner and walk away.

You may not need to do it every day, but when you’re tired and the babies are asleep, please, please, PLEASE, get some sleep too. It is also helpful to get as much rest as you can during naptime so you have a fighting chance of surviving if one or both babies end up waking during the night. Remember what I said about being less cranky, eating better, and have an overall happier disposition? I was actually referring to myself too!

The interesting thing about this concept is that although everyone will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, no one ever mentions when you should stop doing that. In fact, I will take this opportunity to confess that my children are now 4 and 2 ½, and I STILL participate in family naptime from time to time.

  1. Connect with other moms and stay in touch with friends.

Staying at home with two littles can get pretty tedious if you don’t have any adult interaction during the day. Meet a friend at the museum or the park. Have a playdate at someone’s house before naptime. Check out a local mom’s group.  Even if you and a friend are just texting eachother pictures of your kids surfing down the laundry pile, or making predictions about the next episode of the Bachelor. It is a great benefit to your sanity if you have other people to connect with from time to time.

  1. Be intentional about one-on-one time with your older child.

I’m going to be honest here: this one is easier said than done, but will mean a lot to your oldest. Transitioning to not being the only child or the baby anymore can be tough for some toddlers. You might even see a change in their behavior as a result. Try to schedule a “mommy and me moment” with your former youngest each day. Read a story while the baby is napping. Let them help you make a snack and then eat it together. Remind them of how important they are to you and how great they are at being a big brother/sister. It will strengthen the bond you have with them and remind them that they are still very special to you.

olderchild.jpg

  1. Be kind to yourself.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to treat yourself with the same compassion as you would anyone who is just learning something new. No matter how many children you have, none of them came with an instruction manual (but if they did, please email me a copy!). Not every day will look like something straight out of Pinterest or a magazine. Give yourself the space to find lessons in your triumphs and failures. A friend of mine once told me this: “We never stop learning and growing, even as adults. Accept that, be wiling to grow and learn as a parent, and try your best to be the best parent you can be.” That’s really all we can do.

 

Do you have two under two, or children close in age? What are some “must do’s” for survival with your children?

Please share in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Pin me! 🙂

2under2

 

This article was submitted to:

Over the Moon Link Party
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19 thoughts on “10 Must-Do’s to Survive 2 Under 2

  1. Yes! Great tips! I have twins with an older brother. Luckily, he was out of diapers before the twins came along because two in diapers is quite enough. Nap time is definitely sacred! I also nap a lot too 🙂

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  2. Great tips. I only have one who is 1… If Hubby had it his way, we would have had two under 2! I have a hard enough time with one kid… Props to you for mommying two of them!

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  3. These are absolutely great to hear!! #3 is so smart!! I think we moms tend to over stretch ourselves on the regular, and we need to remind each other to take a deep breath, and keep going! Thanks for sharing these!

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    1. Being kind to yourself is so important whether you have two under two, only one child, or a house full of little ones! We’re learning as we go and doing our best along the way.

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  4. My children are all adults now, but this brings me back. I had two under two and six years later I did it again; another set of two under two. 🙂 People would comment that I had my hands full. To encourage myself I would reply that I had my heart full. That season has passed and my heart is still full. Enjoy every moment.

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    1. You are amazing, Barbara. Two under two – twice! I say the same thing when people comment that I have my hands full: “I have full hands and a full heart!” I wouldn’t change it for the world. Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂

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  5. Great tips, great post. I had two under two, and then three who were three and under. Good times. I thrive on a non-routine and found cloth diapers to be extremely cost effective. But getting out of the house is a must! Protecting nap time and sleeping when they sleep, yup…been there done that! Loved this!

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  6. My kids are grown and I now have grandchildren, but I agree with everything you say. Nap time is sacred. It is a sin to wake up a sleeping baby. Take a nap when your kids do! Great post! Thanks for sharing with #overthemoon

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