Now I’ve got your attention… did you think I actually had tips…does anyone?! I remember before my daughter was born jokingly but seriously asking people with multiple kids for tips on how to cope with two kids….no one responded. At first I thought, that’s just rude really…a girl just needs some advice, and now I realise that everyone is full on blagging their way through parenthood and no one can offer any tips because some of their survival techniques are unconventional or tailor made to suit them, or they’re simply just surviving!! Whatever your ‘methods’ I salute and chest bump you with passion. It ain’t easy!
Well…. I am three months into having two children, just when I thought I had got the shower routine mastered, got my hair out of doo doo plaits and ditched the stained hareem pants, I go and have another child! This new addition was never going to propel me into more self loving and uninterrupted ‘me time’. I now have even less time, am even more exhausted… if that’s even possible and actually considered sitting in my double pram whilst the toddler was at nursery, pulling the hood down and having a kip next to the baby the other day… I was that tired.
Whilst I have no real tips as such there are a few things that I wish I had known and that have helped me ‘survive’ so far. So I’m sharing in the hope that even one parent out there receives some light and love from this post, even if it is just a warm virtual bear hug reminding you, you’re not alone! We’re all just fumbling around in the dark hoping not to cause any irreparable damage! And we are essentially doing great, we just need reminding of that occasionally! Please share things that work for you too! Every little helps!!
So here it is, my top ten suggestions:
Get a baby carrier - I never used one with my first child. I never really needed to! I had the luxury of not having to regularly multi task whilst holding my son, so although I had one only used it a handful of occasions. When you have more than one child, a baby carrier is like air! Fundamental!!! You’ll need your hands free to do stuff, tend to your other child, household stuff, whatever, but in those early stages casually sitting breastfeeding or cuddling your newborn for hours isn’t always possible. Look for your nearest sling library and try before you buy!
Get a decent bag. Notice I didn’t say baby bag. If you find a fit for purpose baby bag that works for you then run with it, but you really need a bag that’s big enough for what you need, accessible, and can be attached or hung on your pushchair with ease. If you buy a large bag you can purchase inserts for each child to differentiate between their things,
Always carry a water bottle and food (not just for the kids!) - rehydrate and feed yourself too!! Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, a fuelled mummy is a happier mummy. Water is essential especially when breastfeeding. I remember getting headaches in the first few weeks of my daughters birth when I was dehydrated. Easy resolution! Drink!! And I don’t mean cocktails! As for eating, I had a habit of just eating in between meals, eating my sons left over food and sometimes being too tired to have my own meal once the kids are sleeping. This isn’t sustainable and you need to make sure you’re looking after yourself. So batch cook if it’s easier.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. My husband and I have always done everything ourselves due to geography, which has put a strain on us both as we seldom get time out. But now we have 2 children we actively welcome opportunities to get help and in the first 2 months of my daughters life I received help with my toddler to ensure he was stimulated daily, happy and engaged. Asking for help from your loved ones is not a sign of weakness or inability to cope. It really does take a village to raise a child. Put your village on speed dial and get them involved!
Do your best to schedule your kids naps as close together as possible. Nap time is sacred. My son no longer naps. I know, I cried about it too, but if he did I would be taking this on board! Try and be consistent with bedtime too. Children love routine and once they know what to expect you’ll have an easier time getting them to comply.
Find distraction techniques for the older child. Have quick go-to toys and games that your child loves to keep him/her occupied if you need to attend to the younger one.
Get out of the house! Yes I know it sounds like a logistical nightmare and it can be the first couple of times when you work out what works for you, and literally ‘how’ to get you all clothed and fed to leave the house! But… once you get past the chaos, it will feel like you’ve reached nirvana! The fresh air and change of scenery will do wonders for your mental health and the children will feel better too!
Sleep when they sleep. If you manage to get both kids sleeping simultaneously….grab your duvet and get involved! The washing, cooking, laundry, phonecall, can wait!
Date night. In-between feeds, nappy changes, projectile vomit, nursery runs and reruns of paw patrol remember how it all began and make some time for the love that started it all.
Make time for yourself at least once a week. Even if it’s just half an hour of uninterruption. Do something you enjoy! Read a book, paint your nails, have a hot bath, go to the cinema, go for a swim. Whatever floats your boat, make time for it. You will always have lots to do, the list is endless, but if you make time for the things that are important to you and make them a priority rather than a ‘nice to have’ the rest of your time will be filled with the daily responsibilities and you’ll feel better for the little moments you made time for.