I have taken care of two kids, in fact I have babysat somewhere around five at once by myself. I even did as a teenager. But nothing quite prepares you for being a mother and transitioning to two kids. In fact, the season of life when two becomes a reality and the first week comes where you’re going to be at home by yourself with two babies is terrifying, exhausting, and exhilarating all in one.
Today my daughter is a month old and I am absolutely still in this new season of life. I am still learning, still sleep deprived, and still reeling from the whole home birth experience. I was blessed to have my husband home for the first two weeks to help with our older daughter and my mother in law was here off and on for a week and a half to help clean the house and entertain our toddler. So when Monday rolled around and it was going to be my first week at home alone with two kids, I felt like I had not gotten any chance to acclimate. I went from having two extra adults to it just being me!
Whatt I have learned about having a toddler & newborn
- Loving two little humans and wanted to fill their every need is exhausting, but not impossible. (Eat, Sleep, get changed, be loved… right? That’s all they need.) And watching your husband love them is too beautiful for words.
- Your toddler will try to cry like your newborn to get attention
- The house will become a fun game including an obstacle course to climb through, a scavenger hunt to find a clean fork, a mystery to find out what that smell is, and a climbing adventure for your toddler to scale the piles of unfolded laundry.
- Everyone’s pooping & bathroom schedule will synchronize, including yours, the dog, and your children, and you will have to decide if you can hold it, if the dog is faking it, and if the newborn or toddler should be taken care of first. [And personally, I am resigning myself to getting food poisoning with every kid. It’s happened both times so far].
- Freezer meals are the best idea and invention for a new mother… meal trains for fresh food too, but unfortunately we don’t know enough people for that. Ultimately… I made one meal and only for my own satisfaction.
- While not likely, working to synchronize naps = pure glory.
- Tandem nursing a toddler and newborn is a great excuse to stay on the couch all day. Because they both wanted to eat, in shifts, all day long.
- It’s not easy, but it’s still very fulfilling.
- Your husband will not understand your day no matter how hard it was, how frazzled you look, or how much you try to explain.
- Watching your toddler love on your newborn will absolutely melt your heart.
These hard days will pass. These beautiful, new, magical days will pass. I am taking them in one by one as I work on transitioning to two kids. Transitioning my days, my expectations, my to-do lists, and my everything. I am so thankful to experience the explosive and unfathomable love I can have with more than one child.
What my first week transitioning to two children looked like
My first day, Monday, with two was easier than expected. We only had broken bowl, my toddler went down for a nap without a fight, and I cooked a home cooked meal just to be able to say I did it and to prove to myself it was possible. I was utterly exhausted. Tuesday came and the baby decided to have a nice long nap and my toddler was keeping herself entertained. So I decided I would try to have some alone time and take a shower. All was good and then my toddler came in and announced “THE BABY IS CRYING!”
So in a panic, I got out and ran to her… and found that she was sound asleep. Well played, well played. This was the moment that I knew my toddler had figured out how to get my immediate attention.
Wednesday came and went with little excitement, little sleep, and little food. Thursday, my toddler had a complete meltdown and did not want to get out of her rocking chair because there was dirt that the dog had tracked into the house right where her feet would go. But what I didn’t know in the thirty minutes of her screaming not wanting to stand up and not wanting me to pick her up is that she thought it was poop. I mean, I am flabbergasted. I apparently should have known a tiny bit of dirt=dog poo. And finally Friday came and the only memory I have is napping on the couch together with my two girls.
Explore & read more stories on the seasons of motherhood from other mothers who have been there.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 5 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!
I totally sympathize with having a toddler and a newborn. My oldest 2 are 19 months apart and I often thought it would have been easier to have twins as nursing with a 19 month climbing all over you (he wasn’t interested in TV yet), was not the most coordinated and comfortable situations. Everyone warns you how much a baby will change your life when you are pregnant with your first. NOBODY warned me of the changes a 2nd child would bring, and I had an easy 2nd baby. I can only imagine having a baby with colic or some issues. Having #3 though was a breeze for me. Once you have learned to pour chocolate milk, cut dinner, set the table, build with magnatiles, adding one more thing (snuggling with the baby) is just a part of the multitasking day. Thanks so much for the article. I really enjoyed it.
I have heard that after the second, the rest just kind of fall into place with your life. It really is an interesting transition and nursing two kids of different ages really is a crazy task. I never thought I would have to worry about my older daughter putting all her weight on her newborn sister or trying to “steal” her milk. Such an interesting transition for us for sure!
I have no experience with this because I started off with two – but I have watched so many friends go through this challenge. I remember you writing about how being a parent of just one does not make you less of a mom and I agree – a parent is a parent regardless and being a parent is always a hard job – but from what I’ve seen going from one to two kids to worry about and love and care for is a huge adjustment. Hang in there – it will only get better.
I remember my doctor saying that if I wanted twins I better hope for them up front because it’s easier starting off with two than making the adjusting to two. I don’t know though and completely applaud you for surviving two newborn lives at the same time! Because as difficult as it is to have two, at least my toddler can fetch me diapers when I need them. 😉