Two Under Two is Hard: Yes, It Can Even Suck

When a friend of mine recently delivered her second baby...within two years, she said to me, "If someone told me how this was, I would tell them it sucked and not do it!" So says most moms of two under two. Which is why, my friend and I are writing a book on this topic. (It's been at the publishers now for five weeks. My agent swears we should hear in about two.)

I could see her struggling, just as I did at this point when Anna was born.

• Half-buckling your infant into the car seat at the mall, only to realize that your toddler has left your side and darted into the parking lot.

• Arriving at your toddler’s much loved and anticipated weekly gymnastics class, only to have your infant’s dirty diaper leak all over him, you and the Baby Bjorn. So much for spotting your toddler on Little Gym equipment.

• Emerging from a much needed bathroom break—your first all day, in fact—to find your toddler shoving his peanut butter sandwich in your infant’s mouth.

These are daily occurrences in the life of those of us with kids less than two years apart. As they get older, it gets easier. It even becomes fun. But for those first 18 months...that's right, 18 months...it can be a foggy haze for moms. The good news is that neither your toddler nor your baby will remember this chaotic time.

As I was listening my friend's stories--her oh-so-familiar stories--I wondered what advice I could give to her for those early weeks. Here are a few: (If I give you too many, than you won't buy the book.)

1. Get a sling. If you start early with baby, you can get him used to the sling and they will possibly sleep, eat and hang out while you multitask.

2. Get help from someone--babysitter, friend, mom, grandmother, aunt. Someone to help you make meals, do the laundry, watch your toddler, etc.

3. Don't worry about the mess. Two kids is hard, but when your oldest hardly talks or listens, getting him to clean up toys or keep food on the table is impossible. Have low expectations for cleanliness and embrace organized chaos (aka: lots o' bins to hide the mess).

4. Pick one room that you keep organized so that you can escape the mess during the day.

5. Do laundry on set days. This advice from another mom saved me. I used to do laundry all week long. She suggested I pick only two days to all my laundry. This way I didn't feel I was spending my whole week folding clothes.

6. In the first few weeks or even couple of months, the tone should be survival. Do what you have to do to get everyone asleep and fed, including you.

7. Babies can cry. Try to get around the fact that your little one will cry. You need to tend to your toddler first if you can. Your baby, unfortunately, will learn to wait.

8. Nothing about the first few months of two under two is fun. But I swear it will become fun when your kids are new best buddies early on.

If you are a new mom to 'two under two,' congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of chaos. It's a fun ride!


Modern Allergy Mom said...

I hear ya. I have 3 total a girl(6)the youngest 2 are boys 19 months apart. There is never a dull moment. My 4 year old wants to know when his brother will be able to play "like a big boy."

Lori said...

I rarely post comments, but this post struck a cord with me. My girls are 25,almost 24, and 22; 3 years and one month from #1 to #3. The first few years of their lives are a complete blur to me, but I wouldn't change it for the world. It is not just a challenge when they are babies, the teen years are INSANE, but you'll survive and so will they. My girls are happy, self sufficient, practical young adults. None of them are "high maintenance" people and I attribute that to growing up as a group.