A lot of people have asked me what it’s like to have two under two. I’ve been called brave by women in the grocery store, I’ve been asked if my children are twins, and I have also been asked how I survived it. Don’t worry, it’s not impossible and although it was really hard, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. If you’re facing two under two, let me give you my best advice.
Your crock-pot and take out are your best friends
It can be really challenging to make anything more complicated than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with two tiny people depending on you for pretty much everything. I loved using my crock-pot when both my children were really small because I could throw things in and if they needed me I could stop and tend to them before finishing up and the food wouldn’t be ruined or burned. It would just be slowly simmering away so if I needed to come back in five minutes to finish putting some carrots in, no big deal.
A good friend gifted us an Ubereats gift card when my daughter was born and it was one of the most amazing baby related gifts I have ever received. Seriously, if it’s in your budget to order takeout do it.
Go at your own pace and what you’re comfortable doing
There are two moms in my playdates group who were out doing things with babies who were just six and eight weeks old. To be totally honest, I didn’t feel very confident taking both of my children to very many places until my youngest was six months and could sit up on her own. We mostly stuck to go on walks with friends or to the park by our house. My daughter was also born premature so we were advised not to take her out until she was at least two months old any way. But it’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with. If you are feeling rested enough to chase your toddler around, then go for it! If you are a really big extrovert and need adult conversation then make it happen.
Even though I feel much more confident and capable taking my kids out together now, there are still some places I don’t like to go to by myself. Unfortunately those giant indoor play areas that you pay to get into are out until both of my kids are a lot older. It’s just way too much to make sure my toddler doesn’t get hurt and if the baby suddenly gets upset then I’m in trouble. The zoo is another destination that I would not venture out to by myself. I stick to what I know is doable for me and I don’t let other people pressure me into doing something I’m not comfortable with.
Figure out how to get the most sleep you can
Can your spouse take a shift at night if the baby wakes up? Or maybe your spouse can wake up with your toddler and let you and the baby sleep in? Everyone’s family is different with different schedules and commitments so you’ll have to think through what works best for you. What worked for my family was when my husband wasn’t traveling for work, he would let me sleep as soon as the baby went to sleep, even if it was ridiculously early (think like 7:00 PM, I was really tired from chasing a toddler and waking up with a baby several times a night). It was worked what for our family at the time and we did what we had to do to function.
Even during the day if you can just lay down a few minutes, it helps a lot. Just having a few minutes of rest can really help you get through the day. Lay down and rest when you can, especially if both children happen to be sleeping at the same time.
Forget when people say it can wait
As a mom who had to pump breastmilk, that’s not always true, when you have to pump it can’t always wait! Or, when you need to sanitize your pumping equipment or bottles, that can’t always wait either. I would suggest to really think about what is truly a priority. For me, it was feeding the dog, cleaning bottles, and cleaning up any major messes. I don’t think it’s true that everything can wait, but I think the non-critical items on your to-do list really can. Your laundry can wait until the weekend and you don’t have to clean up all the crumbs from the floor right this second.
In this season of life, a messy house is totally normal. Don’t always believe what you see on Instagram or Pinterest.
Find what works for you
One mom I know wore both of her kids in body carriers at the same time. She wore her toddler on her back and her infant on her front and that’s how she would go grocery shopping. She said people always stared or made comments, but that was what worked for her.
There are so many options out there! You could try going to stores that have double shopping carts, using your double stroller, buying a buggy seat that clips into your cart, using a single stroller and holding your toddler’s hand, or baby wearing. Try them all out and find what works for you. As your children get older, sometimes you have to adjust what you do as well.
Shop online and curbside grocery pickup
When your children are really small it can be challenging to get through long trips at the store. Shopping online for most everything is a lot easier during this season. Having big boxes of diapers and wipes brought to your door is amazing. I’m also much less likely to forget things and then have to go back to the store.
In the trenches of two under two, I preferred to pick up all of my groceries using curbside pick-up services at my local grocery store. I also found that I was much less likely to forget items, I would just add them to my cart using the app throughout the week and a lot less likely to make impulse purchases. I also found it a lot easier to price check items online to make sure I was getting the best deal.
Pack your diaper bag and set out outfits the night before
Prepare, prepare, and did I say prepare? Have backups for your backups, extra wipes, diapers, and snacks! Keep extras in your car too, including extra clothes for both children and an extra shirt for you (trust me on this).
I don’t have the most fashionable diaper bag, right now I have a plain jane backpack diaper bag but it makes things so much easier. I’m always packed and prepared. I know right now it might be unimaginable but one day you won’t even need a diaper bag!
If you and your family are on a traditional schedule, use your Sundays wisely. On Sundays I would usually cook a big meal like lasagna or gumbo that yields plenty of leftovers. Later in the week I would mostly make crock-pot meals, use a freezer meal, or order takeout. You can also set out outfits and get ahead on some of the laundry.
Give yourself grace
It’s impossible to be a perfect mother or to get it all done or never lose your patience. The only thing you have to do every day is make sure your children are taken care of and loved. You don’t have to be perfect, just be present and try your best. Sometimes it’s just chaos everyone is crying, and everything is a mess, but it’s all just temporary. Take it day by day.
Did I mention coffee?
Pour yourself a big mug full. Cheers momma, you’ve got this! With two children, your workload will definitely double but so will the love in your heart. It gets easier over time and having a sibling is such a wonderful gift for your children. My kids LOVE to play together now and to me, the best sound in the entire world is hearing both of my children laugh together.