Friday, January 18, 2013

Moms of 2 or More: How Do You Do It?!

{Ironically, I’ve had this post in my head for weeks and finally sat down to type it last night.  Then this morning I found out that due to steadily increasing high blood pressure for the last 3 straight weeks, my c-section has been bumped up to this Monday morning…as in, less than 72 hours from now!  So I’d definitely appreciate any input as I enter these final days as a mom of one!}


Confession:  I truly can’t wrap my head around having two kids. 

It’s not one of those situations that you hear a lot like, “I just can’t imagine how I’m going to love another child when I already love my first child so much” or something like that.  On the contrary – we are soooo in love with this little girl already!  She was such an unexpected gift to us and we already feel so blessed by her presence.  We wanted another child for years and just never expected she would come to us this way.  It also might help that she is a different gender – it’s been SO fun to prepare for a little girl coming and Chris keeps walking around saying, “I just can’t wait to hold my little girl.” ;)

Nope, my issue is more that I seriously can’t picture my everyday life with two kids!  (I mean, I can in the future, but not with a newborn, if that makes sense.)  I mean, it’s been a looooong time – 3 1/2 years – of just me and Luke.  We have a routine and a system.  We want to go somewhere, we go.  He fits easily into a cart at the store and I only have to worry about one set of snacks, one drink, and one bedtime schedule to adhere to. 

He doesn’t take naps anymore (it’s okay – he sleeps great at night), but if I’m tired during the day (aka like now near the end of pregnancy) I lay on the couch next to him while he plays or watches a movie.  He consumes all my time and attention – and it works just fine.  He’s my life during the day!

So I just can’t fathom how this is actually going to work!  I can’t wrap my head around giving two kids my time and attention.  I anticipate feeling like a rubber band, constantly being pulled in opposite directions.  How will I balance it all?  How will I ever go ANYWHERE?!  Will I ever have FIVE minutes to myself again? 

I’m looking for advice here – or words of wisdom, or really anything.  What has worked for you, personally?  Strict schedules?  Just going with the flow?  Everyone has told me that going from 1 to 2 kids is the hardest transition there is, and I believe it.  It’s funny now to look back at having Luke and thinking how hard that was in the beginning…and now realizing what a piece of cake it actually was in retrospect.  I could take a nap or do whatever I wanted when he slept!  Now, on the other hand, if I’m exhausted from being up all night with Livi, I still have to be on my A-game because my preschooler will be wide awake and wanting to play even when she’s napping during the day. 

I’m prepared to hear “It’s really horrible during the transition time.”  Honestly.  (And on the flip side, if it wasn’t a big deal for you, feel free to let me know! ha!) I just want to know what it’s like from moms (and any dads!) who have been there. 

How do you do it?!  Seriously?!  lol


  1. I feel like I should preface by saying "Umm...I have NO clue what I'm doing." But here's my two cents.:)
    I felt terrible at the beginning mostly because I couldn't do stuff with my girl. She wanted to play; I want to sit and do nothing. Having family there to help at the beginning was HUGE for me. They played with her. They walked to the park with her. They did those fun things that I couldn't do while I recovered.
    As far as while I was nursing or something where I couldn't get away, she did great playing and understanding why I couldn't.
    I do remember being frustrated once buddy took naps in his crib (those early days weren't bad because he could sleep in his carseat and eat anywhere). I missed the freedom of going out in the mornings. Now that he's down to one nap it's a little easier. Two is harder. I mean, obviously, it's another kid.
    My mom told me yesterday that it gets easier every kid you add after that. Do I want to find out? Not today. :)
    You're going to great. Luke will do great, too. There will be a transition, but before too long you'll be trying to remember what you did with just one kid. I'll be praying for you Monday, and I can't wait to see pictures!!!!

  2. One thing to remember is that you aren't out to win momma of the year award with a newborn and 3 year old. Get yourself into "vacation" mode. Let things go and just focus on one day at a time.
    The biggest issue for me was guilt. I felt torn between two kids. I ignored baby 2 when he was good so I swear that was why he was so fussy... only time he got attention! haha! Ok wasn't THAT bad but it's how I felt. I also felt bad that #2 didn't get alone bonding time with me but he truly did. It was just different. He was blessed with a very attentive older sister. Love is multiplied, not divided!
    Besides he got all me when #1 went to preschool. (And that doesn't even matter now bcs neither of them remember this anyway!)
    As far as post-partum, the kids won't remember the days that you made them watch 6hrs of tv in one day just to get thru pure exhaustion. Be flexible. Just love on your babies - both of them. That's the most important thing and I have no doubt you have that mastered!!!

  3. Oh boy. Well, I'm sure it depends a lot on what the individual kids are like and their personalities. For us it was definitely a hard transition for Celia. She just turned into a little monster and took a few months to adjust to having a new baby around. I seriously thought we had psychologically damaged her by having another baby. Ha! It helped a lot to give her individual time with us and keep her on her schedule, but it was still difficult at times. It also helped a lot to get Henry on a schedule as early as possible so our days were more predictable and I knew I had some built-in time during his naps to prep dinner, give Celia attention, etc. And having the older sibling help take care of the baby is really helpful too. You will definitely get used to getting out of the house with two. It's really not that bad at all, but just takes more time to get everyone ready and out the door.

  4. Yes, it is hard. I don't really have experience adding a baby with a preschooler - there are only 12 months between #1 and #2 and 14 months between #2 and #3. I echo what the others have said - give yourself grace, let go of expectations, remember that it is only a season, love on both babes.
    Once you are feeling better, I say get out of the house! It will do you good and it's way easier with a little baby than when they are older and don't sleep as much or when getting out would interrupt their naptime.
    Make special time for Luke so that he doesn't feel like he's been pushed to the back burner. Have some special toys/treats to bring out on rough days. Don't feel bad letting him watch more shows than normal.
    The only way I keep what little sanity I have, is to have all mine nap/rest at the same time every afternoon. Even if Luke doesn't nap, maybe he can have quiet time or something so you can have some time to yourself.
    Also remember, don't beat yourself up...especially over the small things. It's not worth it.
    Make time to read God's Word or devotional everyday (even if it's just ONE verse) - it makes all the difference in how your day goes.
    I'm praying for you and I'm so excited to see pictures!

  5. For me the early days were not that bad (it was really hard from 4-7 months). Lucy was a fairly decent sleeper at night. I mean she would wake up every 2-3 hours to eat but would go back to sleep. I was lucky that Liam at the time was still napping so i did have a few minutes of me time during the afternoon. Liam was ALL OVER Lucy in the beginning and one thing we did was let her nap in her bouncy seat in the pack and play that way i could leave the room and not worry about him smushing her. On one hand i am a totally "go with the flow person" in that i just did whatever Lucy wanted so that she was well rested, so she slept in the boucy seat for the first few months and napped in her swing, she coslept until she was 7 months old and at the time i needed to let her to all those things so that i could sleep and maintain sanity. (haha at the end of the day i guess it is all about sleep). Now she is 15 months and is an AWESOME sleeper and napper in her crib so no damage done in those beginning months. Going out is hard, it still is. Not that it is hard but that i am usually winded by the time we get in the store HAHA. Once Livi is sitting and you came put her in the cart you will despise people that take double carts and only have one kid (kinda like the elderly people that take the stork parking when you are 9 months pregnant!). Going to walks in the spring/summer was wonderful for me last year (although Lucy did scream through most of it but eventually learned to relax and enjoy the ride). It got us out of the house (but we were still close to home) and if anything came up we could go right back home if need be. I think one of the hardest things in those early days is if you struggle with nursing. You and I already talked about this but you know i quit WAY earlier with Lucy (like day 2) then with Liam. The stress just was not worth it when i knew deep down it wasn't going to work for me again (dang crazy hormones). Having her on a bottle and having other people be able to take over baby duty from the beginning definitely helped keep me sane. I also started drinking a lot more coffee :-)

    You will do great and soon enough you will find yourself in a "new groove" and just flowing along. Lucy is only 15 months old and i am already missing those "baby days". Enjoy it, even when it is hard, because just like the first time around, the second one flies by too! The saying "the days are long but the years are short" is so so so very true!!!!

  6. You will be fine. Even though mine are now 9 1/2 and 12, it was a very big adjustment for me because I went from working full time with one to stay at home mom of 2. As others have suggested, go with the flow. The days of spotless houses and order will be gone for a while. They will return someday in the distant future. The most important thing you can do is spend time with both children and try to enjoy every sleep deprived minute. It really does fly by. Prepare meals in bulk when you have the time and freeze for future meals, order pizza if you need to and curl up on the couch with both kids to get some rest. They will not remember the occassional day when the TV was on all day. We had days the TV was never even turned on, so it all balances out in the end. Don't feel guilty for special alone time for yourself when your husband is home, or someone offers to come over for a bit to help out. Even if it's a solo trip to the grocery store, hair salon, or 1/2 hr locked in the bathroom to read a magazine, take that time once a week. If you stay healthy, happy and sane, the entire family will benefit. A happy mama makes for a happy family. Good luck :)

  7. I have four children...of course they are now 38, 33, 29 and then...we had a 'tag-a-long' when I was 38...he is now 21! THAT was hard! It was like starting all WAS starting all over! We didn't plan on more children after we had gotten rid of everything as she outgrew/outused it!
    But...we loved every minute of #4...and the other 3 are married with homes of their own...two of them with children of their own.
    I now spend my days taking care of daughter #2 two little girls while she is at work as a teacher.
    You want to know some challenging days? The girls are 33 months and 15 months!! I am pooped at the end of the day...but...I wouldn't trade one single minute of it for anything else...
    When our daughter was 4 months pregnant with her second daughter, she found out she was having some problems...due to her uterus almost rupturing, she delivered via c-section 3 weeks early...her doctor said her uterus was so thin he was amazed she had gone so, there was too much amniotic fluid.
    Little Bridget was born with some kidney issues (hydronephrosis), and this past July she had surgery on her bladder and right kidney. This little amazes us...she is a miracle, and a fighter!!
    When we knew she would be facing some medical issues, we knew, after much prayer, that my husband and I would change our lifestyle/income rebudget so that I would be the daycare provider for them...I quit my job and we haven't looked back. Loving the fact that we have such a strong bond with our two grandgirls, and praising God for this wonderful opportunity.
    Now, we sit at times and ask ourselves...'how in the world did we raise 3 at the same time...then a fourth?'...
    We just did it. God gives you the unlimited love...and your world just changes, routines change, and you don't even think a whit about just do it...
    Try to keep to a routine...but there will be many 'go with the flow' days...just like you probably have now. :)
    Take time for yourself/ repeat a quote 'if momma ain't happy - then nobody is happy'. :P
    Your life is about to change - in the most wonderful wonderful way - a boy and a girl!!! Perfection! God blessed perfection!
    Congratulations...will peek in again to see how you are doing! Saying a prayer for you right now...just snuggle those little ones tight as they grow up so very fast!!! That is the truth!! :)
    (commenting as anonymous as anythng else will not let me comment).

  8. I don't have the time to read through all the comments, which is definitly part of being a Mom to 2 kids. The most important things I found were...
    1) I always had snacks and sippy cups lined up in the fridge, so my older could go in and get a snack whenever he needed, rather than waiting until the moment I started feeding/changing.
    2)There were days that were awful, and I gave myself grace to 'survive, not thrive' those days. Yes we all got more TV than we should, but sometimes between healing and lack of sleep, the only thing you can do is snuggle on the couch with the kids.
    3)This one depends on your kid, butI found that my oldest was WAY more interested in baby than in time with me; so rather than feeling guily that he wasn't getting special time just one on one, I brought him in and included him in most things baby needed... he was my diaper and wipes fetcher, ect.
    4) I already said there were awful days (esp the 1st week of healing, and 3/4mo to 7/8mo), but there were also great days... take advantage of them, and make snacks/meals that can be stored up for one of the bad days.
    5)Let people help you - and this one was really hard for me, but people see you with a new baby and just want to help, so say yes:)
    6)Have you ever tried wearing your baby? Like with a Moby wrap of Peanut shell? These were my lifesavers- when AJ was young enough to be in the cart, baby Daniel went in one of these and slept the entire shopping trip away,close to my heart where he should be, but hands free for me :) I found I liked the peanut shell better because I am petite, but once you get the moby on it's not bad, esp. in the winter because of the layers.

    Newborns sleep a lot, even though much to our chagrin it's not continuously or through the night... I was terrified of having two (esp since my oldest has some special needs) but in the end, the first few weeks I was almost bored sometimes, because the baby was sleeping (again). The hardest time for me was when he was 4 months old and he started being really awake for stretches, because I could never get nap times to coincide for both boys, and it felt like I could never make noise because someone was always asleep.

    Also, remember that for the first 6 weeks or more you will have massive hormones flooding your body - they will make your love for the newborn seem greater for a little while (at least this was my experience) and it really, really, bothered me(AJ was always the light of my life, and suddenly I didn't like him much) - but those feelings faded away after a couple weeks; it is completely hormone related and does not make you a bad mother!

    God gives you exactly what you can handle... enough to grow you, but not so much to break you. Keep close to Him, and He will guide you through it all. :)

  9. And another thing I forgot was...if you have both kids doing something to where you feel like you have a little time to yourself(if Luke is with Daddy and baby is sleeping, or bedtime, ect.) You cannot start doing housework or important things until you have taken the time to do something for yourself, that you cannot do with the kids. It may only be watching an episode or reading a chapter of a book,doing your nails or a small craft project. But if you get the time you need to TAKE IT! Those unexpected times to forget myself for a couple minutes were what helped keep my sanity the other times :)

  10. Jessica,
    I stumbled upon your blog via pinterest and while I'm sure that you're well into having an idea what life is like with two since this post, I can't help but share my two cents, because I feel like I get the "how do you do it?" question a lot. My husband and I have been blessed with seven amazing kiddos, ranging in age from 3-14, and yes, we'd take more! (We have two littles in Heaven that we didn't even get to meet). I remember being elated and nervous with #1--I'd never been a mom before and I learned that text books don't have all the answers. I questioned how I could possibly love a second one as much prior to his arrival when #1 was 18 months old, and then magically, I had the capacity to love them both with all my heart! I also remember thinking, "Holy cow...what did I think I was busy with when I only had one????" Same song, different verse as the rest of them arrived, and while my life as a mom was different with 4 than when I had one, I honestly learned to manage 4 (or seven) the same way I learned to manage one, and then two and then three. God doesn't give us more than we can handle, and I guess I felt good that he had so much confidence in me. :) He also provides the grace to do it. It isn't always pretty, or easy, but it is always beautiful! So...I do seven the way you do is all a matter of perspective. We joke that our only routine is constant modification. You already know that you cant and don't do it alone, so you're clearly ahead in the game! Congratulations!! I plan to check back for an update on the newest member of your family!

    Blessings from just another mom!!

  11. Jessica, I understand. I am a mom of 4 sons , and what you are feeling is normal. You will be able to handle them both. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish, what you can remember and how much love you can give. Just take a deep breath. God placed them with you and He knows your heart. And theirs. Congrats on your family! They are a blessing. ~Liz

  12. The day before another kid arrives: How can I handle 2/3/4?
    The day after the next baby arrived: How could I ever life without this kid.

    It feels as it always has been there, and its arrival makes everyhting complete, things finally fall in place.

    But you know that by now.

    Hugs, Baerbel


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