My experience with two under two was short, compared to some, but it was still challenging! My girls are 20 months apart. Currently WeeBee is just over 1 and Bee is just under 3. Although, having two under two was a blur, I can still remember how difficult things could be. But, to be honest I enjoyed it (most of it), I wanted it this way, and I have nothing else to compare it to. I think these 10 things really helped, take a look…
10 Tips on Surviving Two Under Two
- Don’t be perfect. What I mean by this is – let go of trying to stay on top of EVERYTHING. This cannot happen when you have two little people to take care of. Especially in the beginning when your youngest is new born, you cannot expect to keep the house clean, complete the laundry, cook meals AND make sure both, or all, of your children are alive and well. If you can do this, you are one of the few that can. For the rest of us, it can’t be done, not without burning out or getting frustrated and fatigued. So, let it go. Sing the song if you have to!
- Take time for yourself. If you can…when you can…take time for yourself. Even a 5 min shower can be extremely rejuvenating. I took time for myself when both girls were in bed. In the beginning it meant that WeeBee was sleeping for about 2 hours. Yes, that was time I could have done laundry or cleaning, but I chose to take these few hours for myself. I watched t.v., read a book and caught up on social media. And don’t get sleeping when baby/kids sleep mixed up with taking time for yourself. You really need time to do things the ‘pre-baby you’ enjoyed doing.
- Make a child friendly zone. This one is very important. Your older child has to be at least 9 months old which means they will be crawling soon, if not already. If they are walking (in my case running) you really need to have an area that is safe. This is important for a number of reasons, first of all – your sanity. Secondly, there will be times when you aren’t paying attention to your oldest, and when that time comes (frequently I might add) they need to be in a place that is safe.
- Spend time alone with each child. This one might be difficult, but you should try to have some alone time with each child. I found this to be very effective, it was especially important to Bee. It really seemed to lessen the effects of jealousy, in fact I don’t know if I was lucky or this tip really helped, but I didn’t notice a lot jealousy from Bee. For the youngest, it gives you time to enjoy the precious moments, one on one.
- Treat them the same. In my opinion, this may be one of the best tips. Treating them the same can help eliminate sibling rivalry and resentment to each other. This doesn’t apply to all aspects of life of course, a lot of the time one needs to be rewarded or acknowledged differently than the other. But, the general rules should remain the same. For example, sometimes you have to tell a 4 month old not to pull hair, and maybe even put them in a “time out”. Sure, it can be odd to telling an infant not to pull hair, but it makes perfect sense to the oldest. Consistency is key.
- Don’t be afraid of help. This one was hard for me. I guess you can call me stubborn, but I was (and still can be) a little opposed to help. However, when you have two young children, you really have to accept it. Have a family member do laundry, have a friend cook dinner and make sure your significant other pitches in too. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask…even if it’s hard to do.
- Keep outings short and simple. Try not to do long, strenuous outings especially in the beginning. It took me a couple of months before I tackled going grocery shopping alone with the kids. Start with a nice walk, go to the library or do a short errand in the car. As my littles got older things got a little easier and more predictable, I knew the right times to go out and when to stay in. Outings will get easier, but in the meantime, keep them short and simple.
- Get on a schedule. This was a little harder the second time around I have to admit. We had Bee on a fairly steady schedule, but we never quite got into the same rhythm with WeeBee. We did however, maintain our night routine. We have dinner, bath, brush hair, night feeding, brush teeth, books and then bed. We still use this routine, when we are able. This really helps with bedtime and sleeping. Having a schedule during the day can be very helpful also. As much as I’d like to say it works for the kids, I think it really helped me to stay on track.
- Have your oldest help. If your oldest is old enough, have them help! Get them involved with diaper changes by asking them to get the cream or wipes. Have them pass their younger sibling a bottle (if they are using one) or pacifier. This goes a long way to boost your older child’s comfort and makes the transition of having a sibling easier.
- Try not to feel guilty. We all know you will, but try not to. You will feel guilty about spending time with one and not the other, about wanting to have time to yourself, about wanting them to be independent while so desperately trying to enjoy these younger years. If you’re anything like me, you will feel guilty more than once a day. But I’d like to think that’s because I care. We are parents now, we are in for a whole bunch of feelings.
Having two under two feels like a challenge, but try to enjoy it because it WILL go by FAST. It will be hard, there will be tears, but you can do this. You will soon see your children working together, sharing and playing and when that happens, even if it’s for 5 seconds, it makes everything worth it. My girls will always have each other and for that I am very grateful, and yes, I would do it the exact same way all over again in a second!
One more thing…if you haven’t announced your pregnancy yet, take a look at this really neat idea – Pregnancy Announcement T-shirt for Kids. It’s another way to get your little one involved with their sibling from the very start!
One thing you can do to make you life easier is make some freezer meals ahead of time, so that when the chaos sets in you don’t have to think about meals.