Yes, I am one of “those moms” who had two kids under two. Two in diapers. Two using soothers. Two babies. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done but by far the most rewarding.
For those first-time moms out there who are feeling comfortable as a mother of one and debating about trying for another, this is for you. I’m here to tell you the hard facts about life with two under two.
Although our second pregnancy was planned, I was still unprepared for how drastically my life would change going from one to two kids, even from the moment I saw the two pink lines.
Little 1 was ten months old when I found out I was pregnant. My husband was nervous at the thought of having two children, but I was confident that we could do it. I had been a mother for almost a year, and it was easy. I thought, “I got this! How hard could it be? What’s one more baby going to change?”
Everything, as it turns out.
(I’m going to skip over the whole “how the second pregnancy is different” part because that is another post on its own. For now, I’m going to focus on things post-baby.)
You Have to Learn How to Parent a Toddler While Pregnant/Postpartum.
As I said, I had a ten month old baby when I got pregnant. I had zero clue what it was like to parent a toddler (spoiler alert, SUPER HARD!). We were in the easiest stage. Little 1 was crawling and learning so many cute and adorable things. He took two long naps a day. He wasn’t throwing temper tantrums, disobeying, and pushing boundaries. Most importantly, he wasn’t walking yet and I hadn’t learned how exhausting it was to run after a small child all day. Toddlers take up a lot of your energy, something that you do not have a lot of when you are pregnant/have a newborn.
I was four months pregnant when my passive, immobile baby turned into a demanding whirlwind that needed my focus 100% of the time. It was then I realized that I may have not thought this all the way through.
The First Six Months Are The Hardest.
Or until your new baby stops waking up fifty million times a night. For us, that was around the six month mark. I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to function during the day when I am up multiple times at night. When I’m low on sleep, I’m low on patience. It is so much harder to take everything in stride when you feel like you haven’t slept in days. Toddler spills his milk? The world might as well be ending, for both of you.
My job as a mom of two became so much easier once Little 2 dropped the majority of his night wakings. There’s an entire box of Cheerios on the bathroom floor? No big deal. Jam smeared on the kitchen cupboards and both kids having a meltdown? Mama’s got this.
I would highly suggest establishing good sleep habits early and aim to have night wakings at a minimum by the time your baby is 6 months old. And teaching your baby to nap alone will be a lifesaver.
Somebody Will Always Be Crying.
Whether that’s the baby, the toddler, or even you. I certainly joined in the crying often in those early days, thanks to postpartum hormones and lack of sleep. During the first four months especially, it felt like there was at least one little person crying at any given time. Listening to crying and whining all day is exhausting and takes a lot of patience which, oh right, you’re running low on because you’re barely sleeping.
They will often need something at the same time, and you only have one set of hands. Mom confession…I focused on one child at a time in this situation and ignored the other. Trying to calm both at once was overwhelming, frustrating, and it ended up taking much longer to get them both happy. Depending on who needed me the most, I would take the other and put them in their bed or crib while I tended to their brother. Once number one was happy and quiet, I could deal with number two much more calmly. I always told myself that a little crying wouldn’t hurt them, and they need to learn patience and waiting their turn. Start them young, right?
So Many Diapers.
Some days I felt like I was glued to the change table. I was changing about 16 diapers a day for the first couple of months. They would often tag team. One would poop and just as I finished cleaning one bum it was time for the next one.
Expect to budget around $60-$70 a month for diapers, depending on which brand you buy and if they’re on sale. We use Amazon Prime and get two boxes delivered to our doorstep once a month. It’s cheaper than any of the stores, and we never run out. Nobody wants to make a frantic diaper run to Walmart at 6 pm. Do yourself a favour and check out Amazon.
Going Out Anywhere is a Huge Process.
It takes more planning than your wedding to take a trip to the grocery store or around town running errands. Trying to work around both kids’ nap times and feeding schedules (which probably aren’t in sync with each other) takes an incredible amount of planning ahead. Forget spur of the moment trips for now, it takes an hour and several well-written checklists to pack all the paraphernalia two small children need. You’ll think you’re going away for the weekend once you get the car loaded.
It took almost a full year before I could get all three of us ready to leave within half an hour. And I’m running around like a headless chicken the full thirty minutes.
But It Will Get Easier. And It’s All Worth It.
By six months you’ve usually overcome the early breastfeeding struggles, the four-month sleep regression, and colic. Baby is more mobile and independent which gives you a bit of a break and some free hands to play with #1. Nap schedules start to align, and things begin to get easier. You get into a routine as a mom of two. You learn how to deal with toddler meltdowns while nursing the baby. Actually, you learn how to do everything while nursing since you don’t always have the luxury to sit and breastfeed like you did the first time.
Having two under two is twice the work, but also twice the joy. It is exhausting and time-consuming for a while, but in the grand scheme of things, it is only a short time. Before you know it your second child is reaching the toddler years and everything changes. My kids are approaching 3 and 1 now and they’re both sleeping through the night, napping at the same time every afternoon and playing nicely together (for the most part…they are boys, after all).
The first thing they look for every morning is their brother. They are always excited to be together and watching them giggling while they play is making me forget how hard and sleepless the first half a year was.
Would I do it again? If I could go back and have a bigger age gap, I don’t know I would change anything. It was hard, but I did it. We all survived and now I’m so happy that they have a playmate so close to them. It’s forcing them to learn to share and be sweet at a young age, and I’m glad for that.
However, all our future children will be spaced at least three years apart…doing this once was enough for us. Everyone survived, but we don’t want to push our luck. Can you die from lack of sleep? Because it feels like you can.
For those of you on the fence about becoming a family of four, now you know. It’s hard, I’m not going to lie. But once you emerge on the other side of all the crying and diapers and broken sleep, you’ll be glad you took the plunge.
What about you? Do you have (or have had) two under two? If you could go back would you change anything? What do you wish you had known before you had your second? Let me know below.
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