When I was pregnant with Calvin, I was constantly picking the brains of friends who had more than one child.
“What was life like day-to-day? What was the hardest part of having more than one? What do you do when both children need your attention?” were a few questions I would ask.
I have a handful of friends pregnant with their second, and they are now asking me how I handle two kiddos, and while I am only in month two of having CHILDREN, I thought I’d share some of the things I find helpful in juggling the both of them.
I just want to state beforehand that by no means do I have things “down” and that each day brings on a new adventure. And a lot of the time I am “winging it.”
The biggest thing I have learned is to prepare as much as I can beforehand. ESPECIALLY if I have to be somewhere by a certain time.
For example, if I have to be somewhere in the morning, then the night before I will do the following:
-Set out my children’s clothing for the next day.
-Set out my OWN clothing for the next day, IN the bathroom so that I won’t wake Calvin up by going in and out of the bathroom. This includes everything… pants, shirt, bra, undies, socks and nursing pads.
-The diaper bag will be freshly stocked and put in the car, as will anything else I need to bring with me for the day.
-Oatmeal, my daily breakfast (as I hear it helps milk production) is portioned out and dried fruit is added. Then I just need to add water in the morning and microwave. My hubby usually gets up when Gwyneth does and he prepares her breakfast, and for that I am so thankful. This allows me to either sleep a little longer or sneak in an uninterrupted shower.
-I have a tupperware filled with a variety of Gwyn’s favorite snacks in the pantry that just need to be poured into a bowl upon request.
– Gwyneth’s lunch is prepared the night before and put in a tupper ware so that all I have to do when lunch time rolls around the next day is open and serve. Sandwich, green beans and orange, already peeled. Boom.
When I am home alone and need to shower with both kiddos, I will wait until Calvin is sleeping and then take Gwyn in the shower with me. Double whammy. I shower myself first, and Gwyn plays with bath toys on the opposite end. Then, I get out and bathe her and she continues to play while I get myself ready…usually a hair-scrunch kind of day. No blow drying in fear of waking Cal, and I don’t want a wrinkled Gwyn, either, so I move pretty quickly. If Calvin is awake and I need to shower, then I put him in the bouncy chair in the bathroom, and Gwyn toodles around the bathroom “oooing” and “ahhhing” at Calvin while pulling various items out of the bathroom closet. Or, I will also put her in the shower with me in this scenario too. I just have to move even faster here, because Cal won’t last as long (as I’d like) and I need to get the both of us ready before he needs me.
The next biggest thing I have learned is to accept help. If you have parents, in-laws, or other family members living close to you, then you have the greatest gift of all. If you don’t, then when someone offers a helping hand… take it. They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t mean it.
For Gwyneth’s birthday party last weekend, I did just that. People kept asking how they could help, and while my initial instinct told me that I could do it all myself, I told that instinct to shut up. Finally.
So a friend picked up the balloons for me, another helped finish a recipe I didn’t have time for, someone else made the coffee, filled the lemonade containers and made the Kir Royals, others helped make our backyard look pretty and planted flowers, another picked up the baby ducks at the last minute without hesitation, and the list goes on. And when the party was over? Our whole family helped clean up and it was done incredibly fast… and it felt so good. And I was, and still am, so incredibly thankful. YOU GUYS ALL ROCK!
Another thing that REALLY helps?
Make mommy friends. Because play dates are incredibly wonderful.
First, your older kiddos get to play with each other, therefore staying occupied and happy. And second, you get some adult interaction and conversation, and that is super important!
Also, join a Mommy Group! HEAVEN! You will get to interact with women in the exact same position as you are in, and before you know it, they will be showering you with love. Meals, baby items, support, words of wisdom, knowledge, etc.
A random tidbit.. I try to do one full load of laundry every day. From start to finish. Then it doesn’t pile up, and before you know it, you are never behind and will go some days where you have no laundry at all. And that, is sweet. There are, of course, days where this doesn’t happen. But so what. It all evens out.
I always run a load of dishes before we go to bed so that when the fam is eating breakfast in the morning, I can unload and start the day fresh.
The rest of the house chores? Those get done at random and in no particular order. Just whenever I can.
I have a friend who preps all of her meals for the week on Sundays. She will do her grocery shopping on Saturday and then prep everything for the week Sunday so that the ingredients just need to be thrown together when the time comes. My Hubby and I have attempted this a couple of times. We went shopping two weeks in a row on Sundays, bought everything we needed for the week and chopped, chopped, chopped later that afternoon. It sure was nice having everything ready to go for the week. Our schedule has been all over the place lately, so this has tapered off, but it’s something I’d like to pick back up when things calm down.
If both kids happen to be napping at the same time…. sit down. And don’t move. Rest. Blog. Facebook. Read. Watch your favorite show. Whatever it may be. Take some time to yourself if you can.
This was incredibly unorganized and a little slapped together, but I wanted to get this info out to a couple of friends who requested it as soon as I could.
I am also asking that if you have anything that you do that makes life with children easier, PLEASE SHARE!!!!! SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! I’m sure we all welcome any and all knowledge, tidbits and advice.
P.S.- Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last week. We took a mini vacay to Portland. Super fun, but also feels good to be home. But now it’s go, go, go in getting ready to leave for Reno!