Parenting Two Under Two? Here are 5 Tips for Not Only Surviving But Thriving
Parenting small children is not easy. Parenting two under two? Having not one, but two very young children takes you even deeper into Babyland.
I have been there, done that, and come out on the other side. When my oldest was only 6 months old, we found out our second little love would be arriving right around the time my oldest turned 15 months old.
Fast forward 9 months and I had officially joined the 2 under 2 club with my newborn and 15 month old. For a few months, it felt like I had two babies. My oldest was 15 months old, but was not walking, barely talking, and not great at using utensils to feed herself. Busy was an understatement to describe my life!
Fast forward some more and (at the time of this writing), I now have a 1.5 year old and a 2.75 year old. I've been out of the 2 under 2 club for almost a year now and we are not only surviving, but thriving!
The two under two stage of life has its fair share of challenges, but also has moments of beauty. In this post, I'll share my top 5 tips for not only surviving the two under two stage, but even thriving.
Two Under Two Tip One: Expect It To Be Different
With your first baby, you were able to give him or her every ounce of your mothering focus and energy. When Baby 2 comes along, you are juggling the equally valid needs of two very small humans.
It will feel different, and that is okay. It is okay that you won’t be able to quietly sit and hold your new baby for as many naps as you did your older child. It is okay that your oldest child will no longer get your undivided attention. It will be different, but different does not mean bad.
Your family has gained a new member to love and you will find your new normal. One of the best feelings in the world is watching your older child smile at and love on your younger child. Cue my heart melting!
Two Under Two Tip Two: Communicate
If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help! Often, it can feel like the things you need help with are quite obvious. In reality, they may not be so obvious. Or, your spouse may assume that you don’t need help unless you ask for help.
Talk to your spouse and create a rough plan. I say a rough plan because life with two under two is anything but predictable. Maybe you order the groceries online and he picks them up on his way home. Perhaps you agree to hire a house cleaner once a month to take something off of your plate.
Your spouse isn't a mind reader and won't know how you feel, what you think, or what you need unless you tell him.
Two Under Two Tip Three: Don't Try To Do It All
Unless you are a real life superhero, you can’t have a perfectly clean house, perfectly happy children, perfectly cooked-from-scratch meals, and a perfectly energized marriage all day every day. If you are that person, please email me! I need you to teach me your ways.
There is such freedom in no longer trying to achieve perfection! Think about A) what you must do, B) what you can do, and C) what you don’t need to do (at least right now).
Feeding your children? A definite must do. But, fed is fed.
A frozen chicken nuggets mom doesn’t get any more or less mom points than a everything-from-scratch mom. Laundry? Also a must! But, you don’t get penalized if you wash darks and lights together or don’t fold it the same day.
The name of the game is survival in the beginning. Most of us have the same “must do” list, but your “can do” and “don’t need to do” list will be uniquely yours. Don't compare yourself to your friends in real life or to moms you see on social media. You are doing what works best for your unique family!
Two Under Two Tip Four: Evaluate Needs
There will be many times when both children need you at the same time. This, at least for me, was the hardest part of two under two.
Who do you help first? This depends on the needs of each child and how long they take to address. For example, if your baby is hungry but spending 5 minutes meeting a need for your toddler will buy you 20 minutes to feed your baby, then you may wish to help your toddler first. But there will be other times that your toddler will need to wait while you help baby.
Two Under Two Tip Five: Fill The Love Tank
Toddlers need regular doses of all 5 love languages (time, touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and service). Service is an easy one. You do that without thinking - diaper changes, making meals, and bathing them just to name a few things.
The others take a bit more effort but the payoff can be huge. Toddlers crave attention. Often, negative behaviors are a cry for attention. Of course, keeping their love tank topped off won’t stop all meltdowns. But, keeping that love tank filled up can go a long way towards reducing tears.
How do you keep a toddler’s love tank filled up? Good news! Toddlers don’t need anything fancy. Here are some suggestions:
- Time: 10-15 minutes of 1-on-1 time once or twice a day sitting in the floor and letting your toddler direct your time
- Words of affirmation: praising positive behavior (I love how you put that book away when you were done. That was so kind of you to bring mommy a paci for Sister.)
- Gifts: Rotating toys and bringing out a new toy as a surprise, a fun snack, a sheet of stickers.
- Touch: tousle their hair when they walk by, a hug when you get them out of bed, a high five when they accomplish a task
Parenting two children often feels like a juggling act. In many ways, it is. You are constantly evaluating and prioritizing needs, planning for the next 5 minutes or hour or day, interpreting a cry and what it means, and wondering why the “old” moms always say that these baby days go by so fast.
Be patient with yourself, your spouse, and your children. This is an adjustment for everyone. In time, you will hit your stride and find the rhythm that works best for your and your family. You’ll also get a front row seat to the joys that come with two children so close in age. Having two children under two is a challenge for sure, but it is far from an impossible challenge.
Are you ready to make sleep a thing at your house, but feel stuck or unsure how? Working with parents 1-1 to take the stress out of baby and toddler sleep is my joy.
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