If at some point in your parenting journey you’ve adjusted to life past one child, you’ve seen how that adjustment continues. Once you think you’ve nailed the infant/toddler combo, your infant is crawling and your toddler needs to be potty trained. Then your infant switches out of one nap and your preschooler is having night terrors. It’s an endless, exciting cycle of adjustments and I’m sure moms of older teens would tell me it doesn’t end!
Looking back when Beau came into our lives, we had made the necessary adjustments and found a good groove at about month two. But looking back, it was so much easier than life now with two very mobile and demanding (but oh so lovable!) toddlers. Today’s post is all about those latest adjustments.
Most of all – life with two really is amazing. Watching my boys interact with one another, hug one another and laugh together has been heart-warming and truly is the light of my life. But it’s really, really hard. With one, you get breaks from time to time. With two, you’re constantly going. You’re constantly answering to someone and the house is loud – A LOT! There are so many messes and laundry and sleepless nights, at times it can be overwhelming.
So many of the posts I read about life with two helped you adjust during the infant time, but today I thought I’d write about the adjustment once your second is moving and crawling/walking, because that’s been an entirely new adjustment for us that at times feels even harder.
Life Lately with Shep & Beau
These days, Shep is almost 3 and Beau is 14 months. We’ve gotten through some major milestones and I know there are some ahead that will continue to throw what I consider a smooth schedule now for a loop. For example, Beau is still on two naps. When Shep is home with me on those days, I absolutely love our one-on-one time together. We do arts and crafts or read books or play outside (I just keep my monitor with me). The boys have the same time afternoon naps so it works out really well if I need to get some housework or work done while they are both down. That’s my sanity time! But I know one day that won’t always be possible.
What I do know is that lately I hit the bed every night absolutely physically exhausted from taking care of them. Beau has become so much more demanding than he ever was before, constantly getting into things, climbing to places he shouldn’t be, reaching into the pantry, the dishwasher, you name it. I’m sure your 14 month old is the same way. I love how his world is becoming bigger and he’s talking more and showing affection, but it’s a challenging age, that’s for sure.
Here are more tips for managing what are essentially two toddlers these days, and how to maintain some balance, a little sanity, connect in your marriage and keep your house from becoming a complete disaster (because, let’s be honest, it will.)
- Talk things through. They now realize their sibling can take toys, knock down towers and show preferences. By explaining that the baby doesn’t always understand what they are doing and that he is still a baby, it can help. We also try setting up the playroom so that Beau’s toys and Shep’s toys are on separate sides.
- One-on-one time. It’s not always possible to do this on a weekly basis, but carving out an hour for dinner and ice cream, with the older child, or time at the park with the younger (depending on abilities) is good for everyone.
- Maintain schedules. Try to keep their worlds predictable. When they know what’s happening, even a chaotic little brother won’t break their stride.
- Keep laundry going. I have read so many things about laundry strategies and for us, it’s doing one or two loads a day and folding it at night when we are watching TV together. Otherwise, it piles up and I get overwhelmed.
- Designate daily water cups. Instead of washing 15 sippys a day (both of my boys are on sippy cups now), designate one each as their water glasses and label them. I love these Name Bubble labels to make it fun.
- Assign chores to your older child. It’s amazing what they are capable of doing, and how much satisfaction and pride they take in doing it themselves. Once they are ready, start implementing chores that are age appropriate. Here’s a good list by age from Focus on the Family.
- Do double dates. Yes, date nights are really fun and those are good too, but we also enjoy double dates with other couples. We always end up laughing throughout the night about the tales from parenting little kids, and definitely find comfort knowing we’re going through similar things.
- Find a no phone time. Even if you are sitting down together after a really long day, it’s helpful to know you are watching the same show and can comment on the same thing. Put phones in a basket for an hour a night so you know you have the time of your spouse.
- Share the mundane. On really hectic days it can feel like all you have time to do is give one another highlights of your day. But the small stuff matters. Share the funny thing your baby did at library time, or the naptime struggles you had. Ask them where they ate lunch, or how a co-worker is doing. It helps living smaller details together.
- Find alone time everyday. Depending on your own style, it could be waking up early in the morning, or staying up late. Whatever it is, that time alone can help you recharge for the day ahead.
- Use the gym childcare. If I could pick one piece of advice, it’s find a gym with childcare. Whether you want to walk for 10 minutes and then sit and stretch for 50, or feel the burn with a 6-mile run, you’ll enjoy that time to yourself that you don’t usually have to schedule in advance. I’ve also been known to read a book, do work or make a few phone calls to schedule doctor’s appointments, talk to our bank, etc. during that guaranteed quiet time.
- Treat yourself with your favorite subscription box. I still absolutely love Birchbox – you get several high quality skincare or makeup items to try every month and it’s always a big surprise. I look forward to my box every month, and since I can customize it to my own preferences, for less than $10 a month I know I’ll get some great products to try.
What are your best tips for adjusting to life with two toddlers? Has it been what you expected?
On to the linkup!