Do you have a new baby, and one that seemed so small just a few months ago? We understand your struggle.
“Wow!” “Congrats!” “We are so happy for you!” These were probably the statements you heard over and over again when you announced your first pregnancy. When announcing your second pregnancy (especially if your first child is under 1), the reaction would be different- most people would not say those things to your face though. Some brave ones might ask, “was it an accident?” “Isn’t it too early?”
Here are our thoughts on adjusting to life with two little ones:
1. It is not easy for everyone. (Except for mums who have one nanny per child- If you can get multiple nannies, you should probably just do that) It is SO hard and so exhausting. So don’t be deceived by people on Instagram/Facebook who have two little ones and are constantly posting about how great life is.
2. It will get better–so much better–and the first time you see both children playing together, it will make all of the fatigue and tears and frustration so worth it (especially when they start entertaining each other). Just keep reminding yourself of that.
3. Lower your expectations (for the entire family!) and don’t worry about getting everything right. Seriously. Let the house get messy. Don’t expect to be able to accomplish half of what you were able to do when you just had one. Assume that everything will take twice as long because of your older child’s tantrums or whatever.
4. Find the pattern- It’s always a good idea to pay attention to what sets off your kid, how does he/she react when all attention has been shifted from him/her to the little brother/sister? Maybe there’s something about the time of day or the way you relate to your infant that sparks jealousy in your toddler; pay attention to the contributing factors and you may be able to know how to deal with it.
5. Get help whenever you can. If you can afford a babysitter/nanny, or get your mum/mother-in-law to come stay with you during this period–just do it. If you have friends with kids the same age as your toddler for playdates, (because the older kids could play together), do it. You will also find that having another adult around made all the difference in terms of keeping me sane.
6. Take care of yourself. Sleep when you can; eat when you can; go for walks if you can. Motherhood should not deprive you of your social life- go out, have fun!
7. Give your older child a little special Mommy time when you can. It will help. Also, let him/her help with the little one whenever you can. During baby’s bath time, you can let him/her her help with getting the towel, picking the diaper, oil, cream etc. All these will make your older child feel involved/carried along.
8. Encourage toddler to play with his/her little sibling- Let your older one start learning to protect his/her little sibling. Let them play with the little one. Yes, we know sometimes they want to drag the baby, pull the baby’s chin etc… It’s fine! Don’t be too harsh on them, because you know they mean no harm- they just want to play.
9. Take it easy. You’re not going to be the parent you want to be. We are all Work In Progress. Sometimes you might get frustrated and find yourself snapping on your children. It’s OK. We all do it, and your children will be fine. Have a little compassion for yourself, and remind yourself of all the ways you are getting it right, and we are sure there are a million little ways every day. If nothing else, you’re still hanging in there, eve ry day and every night, through all of it. Don’t ever underestimate that.
10. Just keep reminding yourself–this phase will pass. You will get used to being a family of four. You will figure new routines. Your older child will adjust; the younger one will be less dependent, and you’ll get some sleep. It will get better. We promise.
We hope this helped. Or at least distracted you for a few moments.