So today I thought I’d do a little ‘mummy’ post, or ‘mommy’ as Hazelle has started calling me. If that’s not a sign she is watching too much TV then I don’t know what is ;). I’ve always aimed to be as honest as possible about my motherhood journey. Not just on the blog but in real life as well. I know that a lot of people don’t want to hear about the struggles of parenthood, especially if they don’t have children but I think honesty and ‘realness’ is so powerful in this worldwide ‘mum community’. Often, to hear another mum confess a struggle or a mistake or just general overwhelm, can be the most precious gift to our self esteem and help make us feel as though we are not alone in our struggles. Of course not everything is about struggling and I aim to share my successes and lessons that I’ve learnt just as openly as I share the harder times.
For me personally, I have found the jump from 1 baby to 2 much harder than from 0 to 1. This is not the case for everyone but for me it definitely is. Maybe it’s because my kids are so close together, or because of their nature or maybe just because it is. Whatever the reason, becoming a family of 4 was definitely a bigger adjustment (for me) than a family of 3. We didn’t necessarily ‘plan’ to have kids so close together. I needed some support to get pregnant with Hazelle (Clomid and regular accupuncture) and I just assumed it would be the same with our second. Little did I know that 7 months after Hazelle was born, I would unexpectedly find myself pregnant again. Although not planned I wouldn’t change the 15month age gap for anything (just an FYI for anyone doing the maths, Alexander was 6 weeks prem, so the age gap is even smaller than expected).
So although I am BY NO MEANS an expert, today I thought I’d go through some of my tips for dealing with 2 young kids, especially 2 so close in age.
- Break ‘The Rules’. The most important way to cope, especially when they are so young is to find what works for you. I know that most of us mums love to read books and follow the same routine that our Sister in Laws’ Cousin swears by, but the truth is, you need to find what works for you and stick to that instead. Maybe following ‘Save our Sleep’ to a T works perfectly for you but in my experience most families need to tweak and trial and practice a few things before they find the combination that works best for them. For example, we usually give the kids a bath around 3-4pm. I know this is super early and most families wouldn’t be able to find the time that early in the afternoon, but it works for us. Our day is usually front loaded with all of our activities, main meal and outings in the morning and lunchtime, and once we are home it is much easier to bath both kids when they are happy and settled then to try and do it as they are losing their shit at 6pm.
- Dont Compare. Don’t compare siblings, your friends children, the way you parented your first, nothing. This can be especially hard when your two are so close in age like ours. Everything with your first is still so fresh but when you compare your kids you rob yourself the experience of learning about your new baby and you rob them of their chance to develop independently of their sibling. This is something that I’ve had to learn along the way. My two couldn’t be more different. From the pregnancies, birth, gender, personality, preferences, everything. It’s meant that my husband and I have had to evolve and learn how to parent differently too, and although we often reminisce and share memories of Hazelle as a baby we have definitely stopped expecting Alexander to be anything like that and we really cherish seeing his individuality come out.
- Don’t get too caught up in ‘one on one’ time. I know that down the track it will be nice and important to carve out time to bond one on one with each child, but right now, for us, we are a pretty much a package deal. We are always together, as much out of preference as necessity. We are lucky that my husband has so much flexibility with his job, but really he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves nothing more than being with us and will do everything in his power to manoeuvre his schedule so that he is around when the kids are awake. If he is not around however, it is always me with the kids. As much as individual time is important, I think that a strong family bond and foundation is a beautiful gift to give to your children as well.
- “The day are long, but the years are short”. I know, we’ve all heard it, and I’m the first one to admit that when the days are long, they are really bloody long. It is true though that every stage passes and the hard times do get easier (until they are replaced by something harder, haha). Perhaps it’s because I am writing this after both kids slept through the night for the first time in months last night, but I really do think that a little bit of perspective and looking at the bigger picture of life goes a long way in helping you get through the challenges of babies and toddlers :).
As I said, I am by no means an expert and these are just the things I do, but I hope that some of you have found it useful or interesting. If anybody asks me if I recommend having two close together I would say 100% yes although I do believe there are pros and cons to every situation. I would also spend ten minutes telling you how exhausting it is and how two babies in nappies, needing bottles, sleep schedules that aren’t aligned etc can be really hard. I would then spend the next TWENTY minutes however telling you how watching them grow together is the sweetest thing ever. How people always confuse them for twins because they have a close bond and how although we will always cherish our time alone with Hazelle for her first year, she will never remember a time without her brother by her side.
And if you ask me if we are planning to have another one, the answer would be….yes. I think. But, not anytime soon haha. Two under two was enough for me, those mamas who do 3 under 3 need a medal, a coffee and a strong drink! xx
PS- we don’t love sharing a heap of photos of our kids on the internet so thats why I try to avoid full face shots, but trust me, they are cute ;).